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Postgraduate research project

Early detection and stratification of dementia using transformative non-invasive holistic optical biomarker technology in biofluids

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Globally, there is a growing and a huge unmet need for tools and technologies that allow rapid, affordable and accurate dementia diagnosis. Overlapping symptoms and natural changes make this challenging. 

In this project, we will build on the promising preliminary results with our new multi-excitation Raman spectroscopy (MX-Raman) method. 

We will develop the method as well as a clinically-deployable device for its implementation, on easily accessible biofluids (such as blood, nasal secretions) and test its diagnostic performance. 

Success will bring our new technological solution ready for clinical translation.

Our overall vision is to transform dementia diagnosis. Imagine being able to detect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and differentiate between related neurodegenerative diseases with a simple method 20 years before manifest symptoms. Early and accurate diagnosis is essential for adequate patient care planning and for the development and administration of disease-specific drugs.

We have been developing a simple diagnostic test based on our innovative laser-based technique called MX-Raman. It can potentially be 10x cheaper and 10-100x faster than current tests, whilst being highly accurate at telling apart different dementias.

The laser-based MX-Raman technique provides disease-and stage-specific “fingerprints” unique to the type of dementia. We have tested our novel diagnostic test on a cohort of dementia patient cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples with excellent preliminary results. We now want to develop the method further and establish it on the more easily available, less invasive biofluid samples and test on a larger population of dementia patients with a range of different diseases and at different stages.

Thus, in this interdisciplinary PhD, the novel and cutting-edge technological advance will be bought close to clinical translation by both developing and validating the method as well developing a prototype device that can be potentially used in the clinic.

Enthusiasm to work in an interdisciplinary scientific environment together with chemists, physicists, biologist and clinicians and a strong interest/background in either analytical chemistry/spectroscopy, data analysis and/or device development/prototyping is highly desirable.

Full support and training in all areas, including analysis and prototyping will be provided. There will be support and funding for professional development opportunities including attendance at national and international conferences.