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Optical and magnetic resonance imaging using upconversion nanoparticles


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
Professor Gin Jose and Professor Sikha Saha
Additional supervisors
Professor Jurgen Shneider and clinicians will be invovled in supervision/collaboration
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Applied Photon Science
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The project will involve the synthesis of advanced upconversion nanoparticles and their characterisation aimed at assessing their suitability as dual-mode (optical and MRI) imaging materials for cancer tissues. Upconversion nanoparticles are inorganic nanoparticles that are capable of emitting visible light under near-infrared laser excitation allowing us to image deeper into the tissues with less interference compared to other light-based imaging techniques.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px">The synthesis of upconversion nanoparticle (UCNP) based systems and their surface functionalisation with selected Affimers/antibodies for dual-mode imaging applicable to cancer tissues is the overall objective of this project. In this project we propose to develop different types of UCNPs doped with different rare earth ion sensitizer and activator combinations (Yb3+, Er3+, Tm3+ and Ho3+) will be developed. The factors such as type of precursors, surfactants other preparative conditions are varied to obtain particles having different shapes, phase and high photoluminescence intensity. Surface modification with various polymers and other suitable methods (such as coating with silica) followed by conjugation of Affimers will allow targeted imaging. Development of particle systems which suits dual modal imaging (Optical/magnetic) applications seek importance. The cytotoxicity analysis of particles of interest will be carried out using MTT assay, NRU assay or comet assay, which could be assessed before preclinical trials.</p> <p>Advanced structural characterisation of the UCNP systems using electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and laser spectroscopy will be undertaken prior to their use in imaging experiments.&nbsp;The imaging experiments will be carried out in collaboration with Leeds Teaching Hospitals and the&nbsp; School of Medicine and Health.&nbsp;In the dual model imaging, the student has to develop the functionally modified particle with optically and magnetically active centres in order to acquire optical and MRI image.&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study that you are applying for<em><strong> PHD Chemical &amp; Process Engineering FT,&nbsp;</strong></em>in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is&nbsp;<em><strong>Optical and magnetic resonance imaging using upconversion nanoparticles</strong></em> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Gin Jose</a> as your proposed supervisor&nbsp;and in the finance section, please state clearly&nbsp;<em><strong>the funding that you are applying for, if you are self-funding or externally sponsored</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 3 April 2024 for Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship or&nbsp;8 April 2024 for Leeds Doctoral Scholarship:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (open from October 2023). <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (now closed for 2024/25). The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:&nbsp;</strong> Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are not covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor Gin Jose by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>