Calling Engineers, Physicists, Chemists, and Biologists

PhD Studentship 1 of 2

Ultrasound drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier for the treatment of paediatric brain cancer

Application deadline: 20 November 2017

Start date: October 2018
Duration: 4 years PhD

Children diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) have an 18-month survival rate of only 10%. Over time, nearly every one of these children will die from their cancer. This devastating prognosis comes from the diffuse spread through healthy tissue, reducing the impact of localised surgery and radiotherapy. In such a diffuse cancer, chemotherapy would normally be the better treatment option; but DIPG spreads behind an intact blood-brain barrier (BBB), where drugs are unable to reach. 

We have shown that short pulses of ultrasound can produce controlled, temporary changes to BBB permeability. This project will develop and test the first short-pulse ultrasound drug delivery method for DIPG. By allowing drugs to cross the BBB, it has the potential to revive previously abandoned therapies that showed great promise for the treatment of DIPG. 

Candidates must have a first class or upper second class honours BSc Honours/MSc or equivalent in Physics or Engineering (with particular emphasis on biological or medical applications) or Biology (with strength in physics). 

PhD Studentship 2 of 2

Passive Imaging of Acoustic Sources - Novel imaging algorithms for monitoring therapeutic ultrasound

Application deadline: 8 January

Start date: September 2018
Duration: 1 year MRes and 3 years PhD

The aim of the PhD project is to visualise acoustic sources using an array of microphones. Sound is normally difficult to locate, because it spreads in many directions. In this project, the student will be challenged to develop algorithms that can better locate and identify sound using a passive array of microphones. These algorithms should have a dynamic range of applications that span from earthquake detection to therapeutic ultrasound monitoring and control.

We are seeking an applicant who is interested in learning image processing and beam forming algorithms. Preferred candidates should be comfortable with undergraduate-level mathematics and have a basic understanding of physics.

Projects Available

If you have your own funding support or would like to apply to a funding body yourself, contact Dr. James Choi at about which projects are available in the laboratory.

Facilities and Resources

The Laboratory

The laboratory is equipped to run experiments at multiple levels:

  • Physics
  • Phantoms
  • In vitro (cell cultures, ex vivo human skulls)
  • In vivo

We manufacturer or design transducers and microbubbles in-house. Some of the equipment we have include:

  • Transducers: 16 single-element transducers (0.5, 1, 5, and 7.5 MHz), a linear imaging array
  • Multi-element array manufacturing setup
  • Microbubble manufacturing setup
  • Signal generators, power amplifiers, filters, scopes, etc.
  • Microscope
  • Experimental water tanks
  • Basic life sciences equipment
Focused ultrasound equipment.

Focused ultrasound equipment.

We work closely with Dr. Mengxing Tang's Ultrasound Imaging Group who has built state-of-the-art facilities in ultrasound imaging.

Department Facilities

We also have access to all shared Department facilities including:

  • Histology Room
  • Tissue Culture Room
  • Microscopy Suite (including confocal microscopy) 
  • Electronics Workshop
  • Machine Workshop