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UK/EU studentship: EPSRC Sensor CDT PhD Project with AstraZeneca: Advanced Imaging of Extracellular Vesicles


The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, is inviting applications for a fully funded 1+3 years MRes + PhD studentship, commencing in October 2020. The studentship will be hosted by Professor Clemens Kaminski in the Laser Analytics group (https://laser.ceb.cam.ac.uk/) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Please note that this studentship is only available to UK and EU nationals who meet the residency criteria; overseas nationals are not eligible and should not apply.

In this project you will investigate the potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) to deliver active cargo into cells. The project will make use of advanced microscopy techniques and molecular biology techniques developed in the host group. Extracellular vesicles are membrane-enclosed vesicles secreted by virtually all living cells. They are capable of transferring biologically active proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, which can evoke multiple physiological responses in the recipient cell. Due to their outstanding safety, circulation half-life and biocompatibility profiles, EVs are also being investigated as drug delivery vehicles for various cargos including innovative nucleic acid-based drugs, developed by Astra Zeneca. However, therapeutic applications require further investigation of how EVs interact with their recipient cells. Spatiotemporal imaging of the mechanism of cargo delivery and subsequent action is difficult due to the small size of EVs. We have recently developed a novel single molecule translation imaging approach which allows us to track single nucleic acids and ensuing protein translation in real-time at high resolution. This method will be applied to understand the mechanism of cargo delivery by EVs and its physiological effect. In addition, the translational use of EVs for drug delivery will be investigated in this project in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

The studentship is fully-funded for 4-years and will be hosted at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. The student will be enrolled in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future (http://cdt.sensors.cam.ac.uk). The first year involves a highly interdisciplinary programme consisting of lectures, research and team projects covering a wide range of technologies sensing and imaging. Successful completion of the first year will lead to a Master of Research qualification (MRes) and optimal preparation for the PhD project in years 2-4.

We are seeking a highly motivated student with a strong academic background, as demonstrated with a 1st class degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. The candidate will have a demonstrable interest in high resolution imaging and application of biophysical techniques and their application in cell biological systems. Strong analytical skills (data analysis, image processing, and programming) are desirable.

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Clemens Kaminski (cfk23@cam.ac.uk). To apply for this position please visit http://cdt.sensors.cam.ac.uk/how-to-apply The deadline for applications is 30 April 2020. Note that full funding is available at the Home/EU rate. You can check if you qualify for the Home or EU fees here: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees/what-my-fee-status

Please quote reference NQ22573 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.