Many crucial biological processes such as embryo development or cancer progression involve forces and deformations at all scales from molecules to tissues. However, little is known about the interplay between material properties, forces and the underlying biology. Studying this interplay is an important step towards understanding a number of developmental defects and diseases. This line of enquiry defines the field of Mechanobiology, concerned with the way cells and tissues feel and respond to mechanical perturbations, and control their own mechanical properties.
Building on the experience available in the research group to characterise and model the mechanical response of cells and tissues, the work will focus on unravelling the links between (i) millimetre scale tissue properties (including viscoelasticity, response to large deformations and fracture) and (ii) cellular properties that can be influenced through drugs or genetics. While biological manipulations will most likely be handled by our collaborators, the student will be in charge of the design and development of models and instruments for mechanical and physical characterisation, data analysis and theoretical work. The balance between these different components of the work will depend on the project needs and interests of the student.
Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in Engineering, Physics, Computer Sciences or Mathematics. Programming skills are required. Experience in Bioengineering and/or Biophysics would be beneficial.
EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/.
To apply for this studentship, please send your two-page CV, your undergraduate transcripts, a covering letter describing your previous research experience and why you would like to undertake a PhD, to Dr Alexandre Kabla (email@example.com) to arrive by midnight on the 3 February 2019.
Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg.
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