Interfacing Electronics and Synthetic Biology

There is huge potential for growth in the cross-over between bioelectronics and synthetic biology. We aim to develop an interface that allows information transfer between the two domains. In the future, readout platforms that use this type of interface could be applied in many areas, such as medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and wearable devices.

The project will involve creating and characterising a novel multiplexed electronic readout for cell-free systems, commonly used to house synthetic genetic circuits and biosensors. The practical work will make use of silicon microfabrication techniques to produce and functionalise miniature electrodes, biochemical techniques including protein expression in cell-free systems, and electrochemical analysis using amperometry and impedance spectroscopy.

This work will be highly interdisciplinary. We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic candidate who would enjoy the challenges and opportunities that interdisciplinarity presents. They will be encouraged and supported to develop expertise in both microsystems engineering and molecular biology.

The research will take place within a new group, led by Dr Jamie Marland, that focuses on the development of bioelectronic interfaces for broad range of applications, from in vitro assays to implantable sensors. The student will be based in the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems within the School of Engineering, and they will have access to cutting edge facilities including a well-equipped silicon cleanroom and biological laboratory space. 

The supervisory team will include advisors from the Institute from Bioengineering and Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys).

Full funding is available for both UK and international students, including all tuition fees and a stipend for 3.5 years. The ideal start date is September 2022, but this can be flexible.

Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


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.

Applications are particularly encouraged from students with a multidisciplinary background in electronic engineering and biology/biotechnology. However, we may also consider applicants with a purely engineering or biological academic background if a strong interest and aptitude for the other areas can also be demonstrated.


Tuition fees + stipend are available for Home/EU and International students

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: