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Unravelling micro-plankton populations through lab-on-a-chip-based sorting and analysis platforms


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January 2019

About this project

Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain; knowledge of the plankton community structure is fundamental for assessing marine biodiversity. Plankton size is important: large cells can be consumed directly by herbivorous zooplankton and small fish, whereas small-celled picoplankton (<2 µm) are less important as food source and export less carbon to the deep ocean.

Current methods are complex and inaccurate, relying on a combination of observations and models and the coastal ocean is greatly under-sampled for plankton data.

The PhD student will develop inertial focussing and sorting approaches to be linked with highly sensitive nano-plasmonic spectroscopy readout (from project 4) towards an accurate estimation of plankton size with an ability to rapidly sort cells for biochemical, optical and genetic analysis.

Project supervisors:

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

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The studentships will include full fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants for all projects should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in physical, engineering or environmental sciences, or a related discipline, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

A candidate with a background in Chemistry, Physical Sciences, Engineering or a related discipline would be suited for this project.