PhD scholarship in In vitro and in vivo evaluation of miniaturized allergy test

Wednesday 24 Jul 19

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Apply no later than 31 August 2019
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We are looking for a talented PhD candidate to join the project ‘InstaPatch – instantaneous monitoring of allergic reactions’, which is funded by a grant from the Danish Independent Research Council.  

 

Allergy is one of the world’s most common chronic conditions and caused by immunoreaction of the human body towards in principle harmless proteins. An increasing number of people are diagnosed as allergic towards insect stings, pollen, dust, animal dander, foods or drugs. The state-of-the-art method for allergy screening and monitoring is the skin prick test (SPT) where different allergens are introduced into the skin of the tested person. The evaluation of the SPT requires an experienced health care professional assessing visible changes of the skin due to local inflammation. This method is non-quantitative, a relative low number of tests can be performed and patients might experience unpleasant reactions.

 

In the InstaPatch project, we will develop a novel allergy test providing instantaneous and quantitative monitoring of allergic reactions in the skin. The project is based on close collaboration between DTU Nanolab, the Allergy Clinic at Gentofte Hospital, DTU Food, Cardiff University and Malmö University.

 

We are based at DTU Nanolab, where we conduct interdisciplinary research and where micro- and nanotechnology is applied to a wide range of scientific disciplines and applications. The Biomaterial Microsystems group is a highly ambitious group, pursuing research on microfabrication of 3D polymer and carbon structures and devices and their application in drug delivery, bioelectrochemistry and biosensing. Furthermore, the PhD candidate will be associated with the Food Allergy group at DTU Food, which main objective is to develop new and improves preventive, treatment and diagnostic methods.

 

Responsibilities and tasks
You will be part of a project team with two other members, which focus on the microfabrication of the allergy test and the implementation of the biosensor functionalities, respectively. Your main contribution will be the in vitro and in vivoevaluation of the novel allergy test. For this purpose, methods for testing of the mechanical stability for penetration of the skin and the biosensor performance will be established. Next, in vivo studies will be performed at DTU Food to evaluate tissue damage, eventual immunological responses and quantitative allergy testing. Finally, clinical testing will be planned and executed in collaboration with the Allergy Clinic at Gentofte Hospital to assess the invasiveness and the performance of the allergy test, and compare it to the SPT. On a technological level, methods for deposition of allergens on the biosensor such as inkjet printing or spray coating have to be established.


We expect that you:

  • embrace the responsibility to plan and execute experimental research
  • have experience with in vitro and in vivo studies of immunology, preferably related to allergy and/or skin
  • have hands-on experience with molecular and immunological methods like histology, flow cytometry and/or ELISA
  • have excellent engineering skills and an analytical mindset
  • are eager to explore new research areas such as material science and microfabrication
  • are motivated to contribute to technology enabling in vivo diagnostics
  • like teamwork and have the ability to interact and collaborate with researchers and laboratory technicians in a very cross-disciplinary environment
  • have good commands in written and spoken English

Qualifications
Candidates should have a master's degree in bioengineering, immunology, biology, pharmaceutical engineering, material science, biomedical engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. The PhD project will be very interdisciplinary and the candidate is expected to have the interest to explore new applications of microfabricated devices for healthcare. A high grade average is decisive to be considered for the scholarship.


Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Stephan Sylvest Keller (DTU Nanolab) and Senior Researcher Katrine Lindholm Bøgh (DTU Food).


We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.


Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.


You can read more about career paths at DTU here.


Workplace
The preparation of the allergy test and in vitro testing will be carried out at DTU Lyngby Campus at DTU Nanolab. In vivo studies will be performed at DTU Food. An external stay at Cardiff University will be part of the PhD study.


Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Stephan Sylvest Keller, suke@dtu.dk, tel.: +45 4525 5846 and Associate Professor Katrine Lindholm Bøgh, kalb@food.dtu.dk, tel.: +45 3588 7092.


You can read more about DTU Nanolab and the Biomaterial Microsystems group at www.nanolab.dtu.dk and about DTU Food and the Food Allergy group at www.food.dtu.dk


Application
Please submit your online application no later than 31 August 2019.


Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.


All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


DTU Nanolab is a common infrastructure and research facility located at and fully owned by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. The core facilities consist of a large cleanroom and a state-of-the-art electron microscopy center inaugurated in 2007. The research activities carried out at DTU Nanolab span from nano- and microfabrication with Silicon-based materials, carbon and polymers to the highly sophisticated analysis of nanoscale materials in hard and soft matter. Since 2018, DTU Nanolab is extended to provide expertise in soft matter from small molecule complexes to biological cells.

 

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.