PhD Studentship (3 years): Small Animal Mimicking Phantoms for Biophotonics-based Imaging and Optical Diagnosis (R220724)

Aston University
January 31, 2023
Offerd Salary:£16,062
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Job Ref.:N/A
PhD Studentship (3 years): Small Animal Mimicking Phantoms for

Biophotonics-based Imaging and Optical Diagnosis

College of Engineering & Physical Sciences - Studentships Location: Aston University Main Campus

Basis: Full Time Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Tuesday 31 January 2023 Reference: R220724 Release Date: Tuesday 25 October 2022

Supervisor: Prof. Igor Meglinski and Dr. Laura Leslie

Project Reference: EPSMeglinskiMimickingPhantoms

Key words: Biophotonics, optical imaging, small animals, 3D printing

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, to be undertaken within the Mechanical, Biomedical & Design (MBD), School of Engineering and Technology at Aston University. The studentship is offered in collaboration with the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

The position is available to start in March 2023, subject to negotiation.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home fees rate. Home students will also receive a maintenance allowance of at least £16,062 in 2022/3 (subject to eligibility). Applicants from outside the UK may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between ‘Home' and ‘Overseas' tuition fees, the difference currently being £13,404 per year in 2022/23. International students must confirm that they have applied for, or secured, this additional funding in their application.

Background to the Project

The proposed project aims to design and fabricate realistic small animal- mimicking 3D printed phantoms with confirmed structural and opto-mechanical properties. The ultimate goal is to reduce animal use for research purposes in Biophotonics-based imaging and related fields.

In current practice, many pre-clinical studies, biomedical research methods and healthcare-related teaching use small animals, such as mice and rats, for various purposes, including validating various innovative imaging/diagnostic modalities and optimization of their technical parameters. Animal research in the EU is regulated under Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. In the UK, the corresponding legislation is the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which was updated to include the changes mandated by the EU Directive from 1st January 2013. The Directive and the Act aim to protect animals, ultimately replacing all animal research with non-animal methods. They set out legal requirements to implement the 3R principles (replacement, reduction and refinement) introduced originally by Professor William Russell. This is the first time that small animal 3D printed phantoms will be prepared to mimic the microscopic structural properties of cancerous, pre- and non- cancerous tissues, as well as blood flow malformations in brain and tumours, and tested through hyper-spectral imaging experiments.

The successful applicant will start the project with a review of the basics of interaction between light and acoustic waves with biological tissue, and will select the materials suitable for 3D printing and mimicking of actual opto- mechanical and structural properties of biological tissues in different conditions. The alterations in tissues which influence light and/or acoustic waves will be identified and quantified using the opto-mechanical metrological equipment available in Aston. Based on the selection, the interchangeable organ-blocks containing inclusions with different opto-mechanical properties (alterations) will be designed and created using the 3D printed technologies at Aston. Finally, the developed small animal phantoms will be tested and validated using photo-acoustic imaging systems in partnership with the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

This Doctoral work will have a cross-disciplinary supervisory team of world experts in Biophotonics, opto-mechanical properties of biological tissues, material sciences and opto-acoustic imaging: Prof. I. Meglinski (MBD, Aston, main supervisor), Dr. L. Leslie (SET, Aston), and Prof. S. Bohndiek (Cambridge).

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in relevant areas such as engineering, physics, optics or photonics. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of optical and/or acoustic imaging, properties of biological tissues and 3D printing technologies.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EPS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Prof Igor Meglinski by email:

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree; this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English.
  • A research proposal statement
  • A personal statement
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency
  • Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.

    Please select “Mechanical Engineering” from the application form options.

    The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

    Please include the supervisor's name, project title, and project reference in your Personal Statement.

    If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

    Aston University is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. It promotes equality and diversity in all aspects of its work. We are committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter https:// www., recognised by a silver award, and we are a Disability Confident Employer Level 2. We strive to have robust inclusivity strategies in place, including race and sexual orientation, to encourage colleagues to have the confidence and freedom to be themselves in the workplace. For more information, visit: https: //

    As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

    If you require the job details document or an application form in an alternative format please contact the recruitment team at

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