In vitro modelling of lung response to environmental nanoparticulates PhD studentship

Programme Description

Applications are invited for a 4 year PhD studentship starting in Autumn 2020 within the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science Further information on the group’s research visit can be found here.

Start date: Autumn 2020

Duration: 4 years

Partner: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science


The successful applicant will receive a studentship that covers tuition fees and stipend, paid at the standard UKRI rate.

The project

Rapid developments in the field of nanotechnology over the past decades, which have led to the production of an expanding range of nanomaterials being used in an increasing number of products, have been paralleled by growing concerns about the potential health effects of exposures to these materials. Strong associations have been demonstrated by epidemiological and toxicological studies between increases in inhaled nanoparticulate and premature mortality, cardiopulmonary diseases, asthma and allergic sensitization, and lung cancer.

This multidisciplinary project will develop in close partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and will bring together cutting-edge in vitro lung models, advanced deposition technologies and image analysis algorithms to characterise the lung tissue response to environmental nanoparticulate and to shed light upon their mechanisms of toxicity. Within this project the successful PhD candidate will expose 2D cell culture to known environmental nanoparticulate standards. Machine learning approaches will be applied for identification of in vitro morphometric phenotypes associated with in vivo acute and chronic toxicity, and expression studies will allow to explore mechanisms of nanotoxicity and to identify potential therapeutic targets.

Informal enquires can be made to Dr Laura Urbano.

Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science

During your doctorate, you will learn to research in diverse multidisciplinary teams, gain an advanced understanding of the core physical science of aerosols, and collaborate with industrial and public sector partners, equipping you to undertake ground-breaking research in aerosol science.

During the first 7 months of your PhD, you will join the CDT cohort based at the University of Bristol. Core training in aerosol science, research methods, professionalism and translation will be delivered by team based learning. You will then undertake a short research project at your home or partner institution before starting your PhD research. You will gain experience outside academia in a placement with an industrial/public sector partner in Year 2 or 3.

Applicant requirements

Candidates who aspire to work in a multidisciplinary field, and hold or will achieve a minimum of an upper second-class undergraduate degree in any of these areas are encouraged to apply: chemistry, physics, biological sciences, life and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical and environmental sciences.


Application Process

Apply here.

Closing date for applications: Monday 3 February 2020

Interview dates: Monday 10 February 2020

Expected studentship start date: Autumn 2020