Postgraduate research project

Near-patient rapid on-chip infrared spectroscopy for the assessment of dynamic surfactant metabolism and oxidative stress during hypoxia and hyperoxia in critically ill patients - a pathway for individualised therapy

Competition funded View fees and funding
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

Acute hypoxic respiratory failure is a significant problem in the intensive care unit setting. Supplemental oxygen is essential for treatment of acute hypoxic respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), were impaired gas exchange results in severe hypoxaemia. While oxygen is a ubiquitous adjunct to mechanical ventilation, it is not without harm, and recent studies suggest adverse outcomes with overzealous use of oxygen.

This project will explore an 'omics' approach to oxygen-induced alveolar damage with a comprehensive quantification of alveolar and serological markers of redox signalling, oxidative stress, lung surfactant lipidomic and proteomics candidates that govern the heterogeneous nature and endotypes of hypoxic/hyperoxic organ injury. Better understanding of metabolic signatures may enable further improvements in diagnosis and management of hypoxia/hyperoxia mediated organ damage.

Laboratory analysis often takes too long to inform critical clinical decisions. Real-time optical spectroscopic measurements in combination with machine learning have the potential to enable rapid bedside analysis of multi-model metabolomic data within few minutes without sample preparation and basic prototypes are already under development for neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (nRDS) application.

The ultimate vision of this project is to develop benchtop analytical platforms exploiting disposable spectroscopic chips (developed in our cleanrooms) that can be deployed to guide individualised therapy in critically ill patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting. This multidisciplinary project will be undertaken collaboratively between the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Southampton/University Hospital Southampton.