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PhD Position at University of South Australia

PhD Position in Australia

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The University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering an opportunity to apply for a project-based PhD Position with real-world impact in our Future Industries Institute, in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Ph.D. Position -Developing a Point-of-Care Field Effect Transistor biosensing platform for predicting adverse birth outcomes through finger-prick blood

Develop innovative biosensing technology to identify preterm preeclampsia. Suppose you are seeking to advance your career in bioengineering and are interested in nanotechnology. In that case, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering an opportunity to apply for a project-based Ph.D. with real-world impact in our Future Industries Institute, in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Antenatal care for women living in rural and low-resource settings needs to be improved, especially in terms of diagnosing women presenting with suspected preterm preeclampsia. Our research team, in collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Royal Flying Doctor Services, will develop a point-of-care biomarker testing technology based on nanoscale field-effect transistor biosensors and lab-on-chip technology.

This is a significant development, as measuring preeclampsia biomarkers in maternal blood is rapidly becoming standard. However, current biomarker assays such as the Roche Elecsys must be conducted within laboratories, and these logistics, plus the inherently lengthy time-to-result, greatly limit applicability in rural settings.

You will join a cross-disciplinary team focused on developing and commercializing the testing platform. Implementing this test in routine prenatal care would enable more timely and accurate diagnosis and management of preterm preeclampsia and, consequently, help avoid unnecessary hospitalization and the associated socio-economic impact.

Through this research degree project, you will receive advanced training in solid-state biosensing and microfluidics and benefit from the state-of-the-art facilities available at the Future Industries Institute bioengineering labs. The project will also provide you with excellent learning opportunities in commercialization.

You will also have exclusive access to the state-of-the-art facilities of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), both in South Australia and across its national network. As well as access to top-of-the-range 3D printers for rapid prototyping at the Industries 4.0 Testlab and the UniSA STEM microelectronics workshop.

The platform testing and end-user development interface are supported by our clinical collaborators (Lyell McEwin Hospital and Royal Flying Doctor Service), providing you with hands-on industry and professional networking experiences.

This is a valuable opportunity to undertake cutting-edge, end-user-driven research that has the potential to lead to employment beyond academia. Strong links and close collaboration with key stakeholders through on-field research will help you to build significant links with industry and clinicians around Australia.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will conduct high-quality basic and translational research independently and in collaboration with the supervision team, end-users, and other project stakeholders. You will be responsible for designing, fabricating, and characterizing solid-state biosensors and blood sampling processing devices.

You will carry out multivariant data analysis using SPSS, Minitab, R program, and Python, and undertake bioelectrical signal analysis. You’ll also be required to test prototypes and develop an end-user interface in collaboration with the end-users.

You will also receive advanced training in medical device development under a Quality Management System compliant with ISO standards.

There is potential for travel for international and national conferences, and opportunities to undertake an industry placement. You may also be able to carry out some research at other academic institutions through the ANFF network.

Upon completion, you will have an extensive suite of highly employable skills, including expertise in biosensing and point-of-care biodiagnostic technologies; proficiency in multivariant data analysis and model testing, solid-state electrical signal testing methodology and data analysis; and point-of-care biodiagnostic technology validation involving human participants

You will also understand how to carry out additive manufacturing and microfabrication and the quality management system for medical devices. An entrepreneurial understanding of commercial and regulatory requirements for developing and implementing diagnostic technologies will also hold you in good stead in your future career.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII) which was established with a new research culture in mind – one deeply engaged with industry, with the end goal of building economic growth through relevant innovation and industry partnership.

The Institute reflects the University’s strategic ambition to be the Australia’s University of Enterprise which engages fully with the professions and industry globally, and whose research is informed, leading-edge and relevant. FII continues to forge national and international research partnerships in new industries and technologies that address real-world issues. Our goal is to support a creative and engaged culture and to help develop a sustainable ecosystem in which innovation, complex, growth-focused industries thrive.

FII’s research supports state and national research priorities and comprises of top research teams able to collaborate across disciplines and work with industry partners to deliver innovative solutions.

With a vibrant research environment, a strong industry orientation, and active international and national academic and industry-based links, the Institute is among the very best in Australia and attracts and retains leading researchers.

Supervisory Team

Dr Duy Phu Tran – Principal Supervisor
Professor Benjamin Thierry – Co-Supervisor
Professor Gustaaf Dekker – (Lyell McEwin Hospital and Modbury Hospital)
Fergus Gardiner (Royal Flying Doctor Service)

Financial Support

The project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $28,854 per annum is available to eligible applicants. A fee offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to application from domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project.

A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our Mawson Lakes campus in the north of Adelaide.

Important Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Friday, 3rd June.

How to apply:

Preview Application Form

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

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