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Open PhD positions, BioPhotonics, Tyndall.

13 Oct 2023

WP5 - A: Long-term Continuous Biosensor for Real-Time In-vivo Monitoring of Biomolecules for Chronic-Pain Management. 

Chronic Pain (CP) affects at least 10% of the world’s population. It not only is detrimental to the quality of life of the sufferer, but also poses a significant economic burden to our society, costing about $1T inclusive of productivity losses. The ability to monitor, in real-time in-vivo, pain-related biomolecules, such as cytokines, endocannabinoids, and/or circulating analgesics over an extended period of time is of tremendous significance for both fundamental study and intervention development. Existing biosensing technologies have not met this requirement. Up-conversion Nanoparticles (UCNP) have recently attracted much attention for its unique features such as ultra-photo-stability as well as the ability to circumvent optical interferences from the body’s background fluorescence. In this project, we will question how such unique properties can be exploited for long-term bio-sensing in the body. More specifically, we will look at how the luminescent lifetime of UCNP grafted with molecule-capturing receptor would be modulated upon binding to its target molecules. Two lifetime-modulating schemes will be looked at: a) fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), which occurs when photon energy is transferred non-radiatively out of an excited UCNP upon binding; b) lifetime changes due to local increases in the refractive index surrounding an excited UPLN as a result of binding. We will also investigate whether the use of UCNP-metallic-nanoparticles hybrid in place of UCNP could result in electromagnetic field enhancements that lead to increased detection sensitivity. Finally, by working in tandem with experts at IPIC, you will be tasked to build a miniaturized bio-sensing prototype. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, you should be willing to adopt and develop a multidisciplinary approach to research.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Preferably a bioengineering background.
  • Be well versed in optical physics, electromagnetic theory, engineering mathematics, numerical calculations (MATLAB).
  • Preferably with some knowledge of material science.
  • Ability to construct a miniaturized device.
  • You must also be willing to carry out some surface chemistry experiments among other tasks and be comfortable working with biological samples (e.g., animal blood or cells). 

The annual stipend starts on €19,000 pa and increases to €22,000 pa with effect from 1st Jan 2024.

In addition, yearly University academic fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Stefan Andersson-Engels at

Please indicate WP5-A in your application.

Application Instructions

Step 1 - Click here to download the Application form and indicate the Job Reference SAE-26

Step 2 - Return the completed Application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations ( Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

School of Physics

Scoil na Fisice

Room 213 (Physics Office), 2nd floor, Kane Science Building, University College Cork, Ireland.,