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PhD Miniaturised 3D biomedical imaging: multimodal miniature microscope development

A 42-month fully-funded PhD, offered by the University of Strathclyde and working within a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship programme, focusing on the development of miniaturised biomedical imaging systems using a combination of MEMS micromirrors, fluorescence microscopy and photoacoustic microscopy.

Number of places



Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend


17 January 2018


31 March 2018


3.5 years


To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second (2.1) UK BEng Hons or MEng degree in a relevant engineering or physics related subject
  • Be a UK or eligible EU national and adhere to Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria
  • Have a strong desire and enthusiasm for experimental research and career development in biomedical imaging, microsystems and image processing
  • Have good communication and interpersonal skills.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

The aim of the PhD project is the development of novel cost-effective, miniaturised biomedical imaging systems using MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) technology and active micro-optics.

Emerging imaging technologies have contributed immensely to the understanding of biomedical development processes and interactions in recent times, with two Nobel Prices related to biomedical imaging techniques awarded in the last 5 years alone. These novel techniques are however still costly, limiting distribution and accessibility in less funded labs and developing countries.

 Tackling this availability gap, an approach of miniaturisation for the development of a miniaturised light sheet microscopy (LSM) system with complementary photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) readout is targeted in this studentship. LSM has the benefit of fast 3D fluorescence imaging with low light doses and low photo toxicity, allowing investigations of long term biomedical processes, while PAM has seen an increased research interest in recent years, with tomographic and optical resolution schemes implementing the benefit of label free, deep tissue imaging in biomedical applications.

 The project will develop new techniques to miniaturise and combine multiple imaging modalities, looking at increasing imaging depth and imaging potential in thick biological samples. This miniaturisation will be based on optical Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, micro-optics and 3D-printing, with the student receiving support and gaining experience on all technological parts of this through the supervisors and further members of our research group working on biomedical imaging systems.

The PhD position will benefit and contribute to a wider programme of research on miniaturised biomedical imaging systems, sponsored by a Royal Academy of Engineering RAEng Engineering for Development Research Fellowship which has active collaborative partners in developing countries, specifically India (Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar), as well as the United States (Stanford University) and Japan (University of Tokyo). The student will be expected to be integrated and contribute to these collaborative involvements, including spending time at partner laboratories.

The project will commence on 1 October 2018.

Funding Details

Funding for this project is available to UK & EU applicants only who fulfil the Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria.

The project is for 3.5 years with an annual tax-free stipend of around £14,500 available to the successful candidates. Additionally, travel costs for attending international conferences and participating in visits to international collaborators is available.


The primary supervisor will be Dr Ralf Bauer, a Lecturer and a RAEng Engineering for Development Research Fellow in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, who has expertise in miniaturised optical system development and biomedical imaging technologies.

The secondary supervisor will be Professor Deepak Uttamchandani, of the Centre for Microsystems and Photonics, within the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications (InstSSC) of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering.  Professor Uttamchandani has extensive knowledge and expertise in optical microsystems.

Contact us

How to apply

Interested candidates should first email Dr Ralf Bauer ot tel: +44 (0)141 548 2685 for further information on the project and the application process.  Thereafter, a CV, academic transcript, and a covering letter outlining the candidate's suitability for the position should be emailed to Dr Bauer.

Following review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be invited for interview.

Application submission deadline is 31st March 2018.

The project will start on 1st October 2018.