Printed polymer-based electrical biosensors for micro-RNA detection and point-of-care disease diagnostics

Circulating micro-RNAs can be found in a wide range of bodily fluids including blood, saliva and urine, and therefore offer great potential as a new source of biomarkers for the early diagnosis and prognosis of disease (particularly cancer) through simple, non-invasive testing. Current methods for micro-RNA detection are expensive and slow, making them unsuited to point-of-care diagnostic applications.

However, recent advances at the University of Edinburgh have lead to the development of new semi-disposable polymer-based micro-RNA sensor technology, potentially capable of low-cost medical screening and diagnosis. In this project, you will work within a multidisciplinary team across Chemistry and Engineering, and in collaboration with sponsoring industry, developing engineering and electrical aspects of the sensor technology. This includes the development of ink-jet printed micro-RNA sensor arrays, and the optimisation of electrical interrogation techniques for improved sensor performance.

Further information about the electrical biosensor technology will be available upon request closer to the start date, but is currently subject to commercial confidentiality restrictions.  This multidisciplinary project will have an engineering/applied physics/bioelectronics focus, but will involve significant collaboration with academic and industrial colleagues with polymer chemistry and biochemistry backgrounds. 

Closing Date: 

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Prototype low-cost micro-RNA sensors for the detection of acute leukaemia.
Prototype low-cost micro-RNA sensors for the detection of acute leukaemia.

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Dr Michael P. Shaver, School of Chemistry


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


This project is open until the position is filled. 

This project has funding available for eligible UK and EU students through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Sensing and Measurement (CDT-ISM).

To apply please see the CDT-ISM website. 


Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: