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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

SES-76-183 PhD/EngD Studentship: Droplet based microfluidics for real time sensing of organ-on-a-chip and patients

Microdroplets are typically water droplets in oil or oil droplets in water, possessing a size of less than one micrometer (µm) to over 500 µms in diameter, and can be carried through microchannels in a microfluidic device to perform experimental analyses. Recently, droplet-based microfluidics has emerged as a new and exciting technological tool for applications within the chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sciences.

This exciting research project will study the real-time sampling and monitoring of dynamic immune/metabolic responses of tissue or cells, such as the evolution of cytokines, or other small molecules like cortisol, glucose and lactose, using both organ-on-a-chip devices and dialysate from patients. The main objectives of the project will include: (a) designing and fabricating droplet fluidics and droplet on demand devices for bio-molecular sensing and detection, (b) collaborating with biologists to achieve appropriate organ-on-a-chip platforms and (c) applying the devices and technologies to study the real time responses of cells or tissues for drug screening and toxicology applications and/or for clinical microdialysis, where endogenous or exogenous molecules from patients are monitored using ultra small sample volumes.    

The successful candidate will work with a group of highly motivated, first class research students from Univ. Southampton, ETH Zurich, Imperial College and Cambridge. The successful candidate will obtain world leading training in a range of disciplines during the PhD including, advanced micro and nano fabrication, microfluidics, microsensor development and high resolution microscopy.

This position is available to EU/UK applicants only, unless additional funding/scholarships are obtained by the student to cover the overseas fees difference (£12,388 for 2011/12).  

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Xize Niu, Email:   or Prof Hywel Morgan, Electronics and Computer Science Email:, Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3330.

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