Nanotechnology: KESS II Funded PhD Studentship: Graphene sensor platform for detection of Hepatitis biomarkers

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 7 July 2017

\This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.\*
Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Brief summary of project:
Exceptional electronic properties, surface sensitivity and selectivity, make graphene ideal for sensor applications. Novel, generic, real-time monitoring sensor technology, based on chemically modified graphene channels, will be demonstrated for the detection of blood / serum or salivary / biomarkers.
The project will develop an innovative generic graphene based point-of-care sensor platform. Graphene is a wonder material, with superlative electronic, mechanical and thermal properties. However, to develop graphene into biosensors, attachment of a specific bio-receptor (antibody, micro RNA or enzyme) to the graphene must be performed in order to obtain fabricate a selective biosensor. This bio-receptor functionalised graphene device can then detect binding events with target biomarkers from consequent electrical or electrochemical changes.
Together with industry sponsor Biovici, the PhD student will develop graphene sensor technology and graphene devices for detection of biomarkers – including those related to hepatitis.
The PhD scholar will address a critical challenge in developing methods to passivate the metallic electrical contacts of the graphene device, during chemically modification of the active graphene element of the device (which requires aggressive chemicals) - enabling chemical modification of the graphene without degradation of the metal contacts.
The PhD will also develop strategies for connecting graphene sensor chips to PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), whilst integrating this chip / PCB assembly with microfluidic channels. The microfluidics allow biological fluid samples (blood) to be transported on to the active sensor.
This project will focus on developing a sensor platform and application of this as a diagnostic device for monitoring of hepatitis.
Though the sensor platform will be developed with a focus on hepatitis markers, the generic platform can also be adapted for the detection of other disease markers including, heart disease and cancer.
The project will link with partners at the National Physical Laboratary and partners in China. The successful PhD candidate would be expected to interact with these partners and potentially visit them. This is a huge market which will generate significant economic growth and jobs in Wales – whilst benefiting patients worldwide.
Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 3 years of funding with a 6 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 60 credit award.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree or higher in a relevant subject, such as Chemistry, Physics, Electronic Engineering, Materials, Biochemistry or a related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees.


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The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of ÂŁ14,198 p.a. dependent upon the applicant's financial circumstances.There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.


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