Fully Funded PhD Studentship - Microscope in a Needle


I have a fully-funded PhD position available to work with me in the field of endoscopic microscopy (biomedical optics) at the University of Kent, starting in September 2017.

The aim of the project is to develop a ‘microscope in a needle’ for optical biopsy of living tissue.

needleOptical biopsy (or endomicroscopy) is a real-time, minimally-invasive alternative to conventional histology, offering the prospect of faster and more accurate medical diagnostics and image-guided intervention. The current generation of needle probes, using fibre image bundles or gradient index lenses as image conduits, suffers from poor resolution and a low pixel count, limiting the range of potential applications. The student will work on new techniques for imaging through ultra-narrow conduits, with the aim of improving the resolution and field-of-view of the images, while simultaneously reducing the outer diameter of the probe. This will involve numerical simulations, designing, building and testing optical/electrical hardware and software, and developing clinical applications together with collaborators.

kentcampusYou will be based at the University of Kent's main campus in Canterbury as part of the Applied Optics Group in the School of Physical Sciences. The parkland campus is self-contained, and only 25 minutes walk from the centre of Canterbury, a historic city in South East England, with medieval buildings, lively bars and atmospheric pubs as well as a wide range of shops.

Occupying two floors of the University’s Photonics Centre, with the use of modern optical laboratories as well as clean-room and workshop facilities, the Applied Optics Group offers a wide range of optical prototyping, test and measurement equipment to support this project. As well as specific training in biomedical optics and microscopy, you will also gain a more general appreciation of the role of physics and engineering in medicine, preparing you for a career in industry, clinical science or academia.

This PhD studentship is due to start in September 2017.


Entry requirements and Funding: You should have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or a related subject. You will have, or be willing to develop, strong laboratory and computing skills, and be comfortable working at the interface of different scientific disciplines. This is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, which will be offered at the standard UK Research Councils' rate (currently £14,553; to cover living costs) and will additionally cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate (currently £4,121 per annum).  This scholarship is available to both UK and EU nationals and will involve undertaking teaching/demonstrating duties during the period of study.

Contact: For further information or informal enquiries, please get in touch.

How to Apply: To apply please go to: http://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgrad/apply/index.html. I strongly recommend getting in touch with me directly first to discuss your application, and to let me know directly if you have submitted an application. The post can also be viewed on the School of Physical Sciences website, alongside other opportunities.

kentcampusviewYou will need to apply through the online application form on the main University website. Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details, education and employment history and supporting documentation (Curriculum Vitae, transcript of results, two academic references). For the course of study select PhD Physics, 2017 entry. You do not need to complete the research proposal box as this is a specific funded project. Please make sure you include Dr Michael Hughes as your preferred supervisor.

Deadline Date for Applications: 23rd April 2017

Interviews to be held between: 1st-5th May 2017 (allowance will be made for clashes with exam periods).