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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

Design of an organ-on-a-chip model of soft-hard tissue interfaces

Supervisors: Julien GAUTROT

Application Deadline: 08-03-2019

A PhD studentship in the design of organ-on-chip tissue culture models is available in the group of Dr J. Gautrot, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline. The project will focus on the understanding of soft-hard tissue interfaces and their remodelling in physiological and pathological scenarios.

Interfaces between hard and soft tissues are essential for the biomechanical function of the musculo-skeletal system. Such soft-hard interfaces indeed transfer significant stress during biomechanical stimulation and macroscale motility. However, in pathological scenarios and during ageing, these interfaces can typically weaken and lose some of their strength and associated biomechanical function. In collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, the proposed project will make use of organ-on-chip platforms developed in the Gautrot lab to study soft-hard tissue interfaces, their formation and remodelling during physiological and pathological scenarios, and in response to mechanical challenge.

The successful candidate will develop multidisciplinary skills in biomedical engineering, the fabrication of organ-on-chips and stem cell culture for the development of advanced 3D tissue culture models. To support this work, the successful candidate will be trained in the characterisation of biological samples (confocal microscopy, live microscopy, electron microscopy, western blotting, qPCR) and biophysical characterisation techniques. This project will be integrated with other projects in our group focusing on the development of novel smart biomaterials and biointerfaces (, fields in which our research group has a strong track-record (see Nano Lett 2018 and 2014, ACS Nano 2018, Nature Materials 2012, Nature Cell Biology 2010, Chem. Rev. 2014).

QMUL Research Studentship Details

  • To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) applicants must have:
    Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay;
    Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to October 2019. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences);
    Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education.
  • Full Time programme only.
  • Applicant required to start in September/October 2019.
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (Currently set as £16,777 in 2018/19).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in Bioengineering, Biological Sciences or 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 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).

Supervisor Contact Details
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Julien Gautrot

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

Research degrees in Engineering

Further Guidance

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2019 SEMS BBSRC/GSK ICASE JEG’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.