Opportunities

1. Functionalisation of electrospun conductive substrates for cell capture and release

A fully funded PhD scholarship (stipend + fees) is available for a highly motivated candidate with a high level B.Sc. Honours or M.Sc. in Chemistry, Engineering or Biochemistry. The successful candidate is expected to have strong knowledge and experience in at least some of the following: synthesis and characterisation of conducting polymers, polymer chemistry, biochemistry, biosensing and electrochemistry.
This project involves fabrication of highly porous conducting polymer filters that can detect as well as reversibly capture and release various target-specific biological samples, including cells and oligonucleotides, in solution. Developing such technology for molecular diagnostics offers an important advance that accesses a global market for biomedical devices. The project will involve synthesis and characterisation of conducting polymer filters as well as developing the methodology towards capture/release of target biomolecules.
This PhD position will be funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) research programme – supervised by Prof. Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, Prof. David Williams and Prof. David Barker in the School of Chemical Sciences at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. The position is available immediately.
Expressions of interest should comprise a full CV and cover letter, with any supporting
documentation, and should be sent to
Prof. Jadranka Travas-Sejdic (j.travas-sejdic@auckland.ac.nz).

2. Development of biosensor to detect mammal pests

https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=87874

Introduced invasive mammals are one of the greatest threats to New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. Biosensors that can detect pest-specific biomarker molecules have potential to produce a step-change in the remote sensing of such pests for eradication. Based with our Molecular Sensing team in Plant & Food Research (PFR) in Auckland, this is an exciting PhD opportunity at the biotech/nanotech interface which aims to develop biosensor technology for mammal pest detection and surveillance.

The PhD project will involve the development of biological receptors for the sensitive and selective detection of mammal pest-specific biomarker molecules. This will include characterisation of these receptors ligand binding abilities and coupling to sensor formats for incorporation in wireless devices for remote sensing in the field. The student will work with Dr Andrew Kralicek, Molecular Sensing Team Leader (PFR) and Professor Jadranka Travas-Sejdic from the School of Chemical Sciences (University of Auckland).

The studentship offers 3-year PhD stipend/fees funded by the NZ Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Candidates will have relevant postgraduate qualifications in molecular biology and experience in data analysis (qualitative and/or quantitative). A background in materials chemistry would be desirable. Candidates must meet the University of Auckland eligibility criteria to enrol for this PhD.

3. MBIE PhD Scholarship

Anti-fouling, Pulsing Filters for Water Purification

A MBIE funded PhD scholarship is available for a collaborative project between Plant & Food Research and the University of Auckland.

The project will focus on the design and fabrication of filters with anti-fouling properties for applications such as water purification or wine filtration. These will be made by utilising electrospinning methodologies and polymer chemistry, including electrochemistry and surface functionalisation.  The filters will be dynamic and stimuli-responsive, with an optimized balance of elasticity, conductivity, porosity, mechanical integrity, and anti-fouling properties.

The project may require some time spent at Plant & Food Research Lincoln, Christchurch.

The successful candidate must be driven, enjoy working in a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution environment, have good scientific writing skills and have completed an Honours or Masters degree in a suitable major, including subjects such as polymer chemistry, materials science or electrochemistry.

Applicants should send their CV, including a statement of their research interest and their university transcript to j.travas-sejdic@auckland.ac.nz (Professor Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, School of Chemical Sciences, The University of Auckland).