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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

Developing Bone Secondary Microenvironments for Personalised Medicine

Supervisors: Elizabeth TANNER

Application Deadline: 31-01-2019

Project Details

This project is part of the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme, through which students spend the middle 2 years conducting research at one of the A*STAR Research Institutes in Singapore, under the supervision of an A*STAR supervisor. Year 1 and the final 6 months will be spent at Queen Mary University of London.

This project will develop a microenvironment to model that in which bony secondaries develop and grow, to allow optimisation of drugs or drug combinations for individual patients. Bone is a very stiff tissues thus secondary tumours (metastases) that develop in bone are particularly painful due the pressure that they exert on the surrounding bone which cannot expand easily to allow tumour growth. This pressure generates a unique environment with low oxygen concentration (hypoxia) and contact with bone giving novel combination of biochemical and biomechanical signals. To choose the optimal drug regime for a specific patient a similar environment is required, but is complex. This project will develop such a tumour niche model.

Year 1 QMUL Prepare and structurally characterise natural polymer–bone mineral analogue composite materials with Professor Tanner. A range of natural polymers and bone minerals will be used.

Year 2 NTU Use the most relevant combinations of materials to manufacture niches into which cells will coalesce with Assistant Professor Tay in Materials.

Year 3 NTU Undertake biological assessment: immunostaining, real time PCR, bioinformatics, etc with Associate Professor Tan in Biological Sciences.

Final 6 months QMUL Write up thesis and complete paper submission.

QMUL/ A*STAR Research Studentship Details

  • Available to Home/EU Applicants only.
  • Full Time programme only.
  • Applicant required to start in September/ October 2019.
  • The studentship is jointly funded by QMUL and A*STAR Singapore. Alongside full tuition fees and living stipend (currently set as £16,777 in 2018/19) for 3.5 years. A*STAR will provide additional funds for relocation and flights.
  • Awardees will typically spend up to 2 years at A*STAR research institutes and are provided with the following during their attachment in Singapore: Monthly stipend of S$2,500; One-time airfare grant of up to S$1,500; One-time settling-in allowance of S$1,000 (provided that you spend at least 1 year at an A*STAR research institute); Medical insurance; Conference allowance.
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).
  • Please note that this studentship is only available to Home/EU Applicants. (See: for details

Supervisor Contact Details
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Professor Liz Tanner
Tel: 020 7882 6785

Or Assistant Prof Dalton Tay, School of Materials Science and Engineering, NTU
Phone: (+65) 6316 8921

Application Method
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Biomedical Materials programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Materials:

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2019 QMRS ASTAR EKT2’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.