Development of a high resolution microscope using microfluidic technology

Supervisor(s)

Contact Dr Jung-uk Shim to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

The goal of this project is the creation of a novel microfluidic platform that will be applied to develop a high resolution microscope. Microfluidics is the science and technology of systems that control a small amount (nano- to atto- liters) of liquids in channels with dimensions of between 10 and 100 μm.

It is emerging as an essential component of the new generation of nanoscale (super-resolution) microscopy methods which have transformed Cell and Molecular Biology over the last decade. Some of the latest super-resolution techniques include DNA-PAINT and Expansion Microscopy (ExM) which promise spatial resolution of mere nanometres for visualising proteins and molecules within biological samples. One limitation in the current state of the art is its inability to standardise the intrinsic chemistry of the samples and the excessive manual handling of the biological structures.

Microfluidic devices promise a unique opportunity to control the precise chemistry and the dimensions of the sample and enable researchers to carry out the super-resolution imaging in non-specialised instruments. In this project, we will develop a new microfluidic device which can perform ExM (a concept that we call MicroExM) on different cell types.

The MicroExM device will then be trialled on various imaging platforms including commercially available fluorescence microscopes and custom-built super-resolution microscopy systems. Built-into the MicroExM device, will be a DNA-based calibration system which reports the internal chemical environment of the sample and the spatial resolution that is achieved in the optical images.

A principal outcome of the project will be a versatile and novel platform which makes ExM a robust and versatile super-resolution microscopy technique that is available to a wider community of Cell and Molecular Biologists than at present.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.

Additional staff contact

Dr Izzy Jayasinghe (Biology)

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Development of a high resolution microscope using microfluidic technology' as well as Dr Jung-uk Shim as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office, e: maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk