Chemical sensing using nanoparticle immunoassays in a microfluidic chip

Many chemical and biological sensing applications (eg pregnancy tests) rely on lateral flow immunoassays in which visible lines appear on test strips as a result of the selective binding of nanoparticles to functionalised surfaces. This project concerns the translation of these widely used tests to a microfluidic platform using microphotonic resonators as a detection instrument, thereby to enhance sensitivity, improve quantitative analysis, allow automation and parallelisation, and eliminate human error from the measurement process.

The project will involve the investigation of selected assays to establish their limits of detection, sensitivity and specificity. It will involve some apparatus development including the adaptation of existing nanoparticle analysis apparatus, which will be carried out in collaboration with scientists at Oxford HighQ Ltd, a recent spin-out from the two Oxford research groups.

The project is in collaboration with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and is supported by Industrial CASE funding.

This is a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship in conjunction with DSTL and will provide full fees and maintenance for a student who has home fee status (this includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study). Candidates with EU fee status are eligible for a fees-only award, but normally would have to provide funding for their living costs from another source such as personal funds or a scholarship. The stipend will be at least £17,009 per year. Information on fee status can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/fees-and-other-charges.

Candidates are considered in the January 2020 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 24 January 2020.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor Jason Smith (jason.smith@materials.ox.ac.uk). General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to graduate.studies@materials.ox.ac.uk. You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/index.html

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