M2A

Development of a novel nanofiber biosensing coating using a scalable electrospinning technique

Key Information

Supervisors: Prof O Guy and Dr C Wright

The global biosensing market is estimated to be worth $15.6 billion and growing.

Biofilms adversely affect all types of process water infrastructure and are a cause of avoidable financial loss within the industrial sector. Biofouling of water infrastructure results in product contamination, microbially induced corrosion and reductions in the efficiency of heat exchangers. Furthermore, once established, biofilms are almost impossible to remove due to a suite of inherent resistance mechanisms.

Currently, there are no scalable techniques for the in situ detection of microbial biofouling. Electrospinning, shows promise for the fabrication of nanofibers for applications in biosensing. However, the small scale manufacturing capabilities of the needle electrospinning technique brings limitations.

Free-surface electrospinning has demonstrated significant promise as a scalable technique. Functionalisation of nanofibres with relevant biomarkers offers a unique opportunity for the fabrication of a scalable biosensor, which can be employed as a functionalised coating for the purposes of biofilm detection.   

 Swansea University is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

The research aims to develop a prototype coating capable of detecting early stage biofouling allowing for deployment of early intervention strategies, reducing the economic impact of biofouling on the sector.

 The Research Engineer will:

  • Identify suitable sensing biomolecules and functionalisation techniques
  • Work with identified biomolecules delivering functionalisation of nanofibers.
  • Fabricate and optimise a prototype sensor and scale up of the prototype into a functional coating.
Sponsoring Company Hybrisan Ltd
Eligibility

We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding.

 To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.
Funding

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.

Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019


Apply Now

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk