Reference code: PH003

Closing date: Advertises until position is filled

Supervisors: Dr Keng Wooi Ng, School of Pharmacy

Start date and duration of the award: October 2019 for 3 years


This project aims to develop a microneedle device to enable rapid and accurate diagnosis of skin diseases, such as skin cancer.
Many skin diseases are difficult to diagnose accurately based on signs and symptoms alone. Efficient detection and analysis of skin biomarkers can greatly enhance the speed and accuracy of disease diagnosis based on molecular evidence of specific pathological conditions. Our minimally invasive microneedle (i.e. microscopic needle) technology enables in situ access to skin biomarkers directly and painlessly, without requiring invasive procedures such as skin biopsies. Inserted into the superficial skin layer, the microneedles can capture biomarkers in the skin without removing any perceptible amount of biological fluid or causing pain. Recently, we have detected skin burns by measuring biochemical changes in the skin in real time using a microneedle biosensor. Building on these capabilities, we are now seeking a suitable PhD student to refine and adapt the microneedle technology for specific diagnostic applications.

This multidisciplinary project sits at the interface between chemistry, biology and medicine. It offers the opportunity to work closely with scientists, engineers and clinicians between the School of Pharmacy, School of Engineering and various research institutes within the university and beyond. It will provide broad skills training in chemistry, material science, analytical science, tissue culture, molecular biology and product development, among others.

Relevant publications:

• Skaria E, et al. (2019) Analytical Chemistry [In press].
• Ng KW, Moghimi SM (2018) Precision Nanomedicine 1(2):124-127.
• Ng KW, et al. (2015) Drug Delivery and Translational Research 5(4):387-396.

Administrative Contacts & How To Apply

For further details, please email Dr Keng Wooi Ng.

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this, please select ‘How to Apply’ and choose the ‘Apply now’ button.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • Click on programme of study
  • Insert 8300F in the programme code section and click search.
  • Select Programme name ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (full time) – Pharmacology’.
  • Insert PH003 in the studentship/partnership reference field.
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code PH003 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.
  • Attach degree transcripts* and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualification.

*You will not be able to submit your application until you have submitted your degree transcripts.

Entry Requirements

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in biomedical engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology, chemistry, biomedical sciences or a related area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

Funding Notes

Award covers tuition fees at UK/EU rate, an annual stipend of £14,553 and research costs.

Funding Information

Application Deadline:

Advertise until position is filled

Please see our website for how to apply:
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