This doctoral training programme aims to create a new generation of researchers, capable of integrating quantitative and analytical methods to drive discovery and innovation in the biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The programme includes a one-year MSc in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research and a three-year PhD supervised by internationally leading experts from the physical and biomedical sciences and industry.
Projects available for September 2020 entry:
Project title: Machine learning for predicting cellular states in 3D lattice light sheet microscopy
Warwick supervisors: Prof. Till Bretschneider, Prof. Andrew McAinsh and Prof. Nigel Burroughs
Industry supervisors: Dr Benjamin Atkinson and Dr. Hella Baumann (3i - Intelligent Imaging Innovations Ltd.)
Novel lattice-light sheet microscopy (LLSM) is an ideal tool to resolve fast cellular dynamics by optically sectioning single cells at rates of 1 second per volume. To achieve these speeds only one cell can be imaged at a time, however, reducing chances of capturing rare events like cell divisions significantly. In this project the student will develop an integrated pipeline for online image analysis, employing deconvolutional and recurrent neural networks to predict the stages of mitotic cell division. Anticipation of rare events will be used to automate recordings and increase the throughput of LLSM, building on the expertise of 3i in microscopy control and design.
Applicants should be highly motivated and have a good undergraduate degree in computer science with an interest in machine learning, image analysis and software development for the biomedical, health and clinical sciences.
Project title: Toward improved rapid diagnostics for carbohydrate biomarkers: Mapping epitope-paratope interactions that drive glycan recognition
Warwick supervisor: Dr Ann Dixon (Warwick)
Industry supervisors: Dr James Schouten and Prof. Paul Davis (Mologic)
Rapid and accurate detection and diagnosis of diseases such as tuberculosis and diabetes can have strong implications in the severity and treatment of the disease. Sugar molecules act as important biomarkers for these diseases and are recognized at very low concentrations by highly selective antibodies in immunoassays. However, the molecular basis of these recognition events is currently poorly understood, and there is wide variability in the performance of antibodies for reasons that remain unclear. In this project the student will use biochemistry, molecular biology and analytical methodologies to understand what features direct carbohydrate recognition by antibodies. These results will form the basis of rational engineering of high affinity antibody interactions that will enhance the sensitivity of diagnostic assays to sugar targets.
Applicants should be highly motivated and with a good undergraduate degree in chemistry or biochemistry and a strong interest in solution-state NMR spectroscopy.
Project title: Modifying macrophage phenotype as a potential treatment for endometriosis
Warwick supervisors: Dr Erin Greaves, Dr Andrew Blanks and Prof. Sebastien Perrier
Industry supervisor: Dr Greg Ferguson (Ferring Pharmaceuticals, San Diego)
Endometriosis (ectopic growth of endometrial-like tissue) is a chronic inflammatory disorder associated with pelvic pain and infertility. Current treatments are limited and associated with side-effects and recurrence. New therapies are desperately needed. Immune cells called macrophages are central to the pathophysiology of endometriosis. The local disease environment modifies macrophages such that they promote growth, vascularization and innervation of lesions. The Greaves lab. is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to explore the modification of macrophage phenotype using targeted drug delivery. This is a collaboration between Warwick Medical School, the Department of Chemistry and Ferring Pharmaceuticals and offers a 3-month placement in San Diego, California, at Ferring headquarters.
Applicants should have a strong undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences (or similar) and interests in immunology and polymer chemistry / materials science.