Phd Project: Brillouin Microscopy To Study Cell Biomechanics Based At The Australian Institute For Bioengineering And Nanotechno
University of Queensland Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Phd Project: Brillouin Microscopy To Study Cell Biomechanics Based At The Australian Institute For Bioengineering And Nanotechnology


Job no:507032

Area:Aust Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology

Salary (FTE):UQ Scholarship (RTP Rate)NON-BANDED ($27,596.00 - $27,596.00)

Work type:Full Time - Scholarship

Location: St Lucia, Brisbane



The Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology


The University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is a dynamic multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to developing technology to alleviate societal problems in the areas of health, energy, manufacturing and environmental sustainability. AIBN brings together the skills of more than 450 world-class researchers complimented by an extensive suite of integrated facilities, working at the intersection of biology, chemistry, engineering and computer modelling. With a reputation for delivering translational science, AIBN conducts research at the forefront of emerging technologies, and has developed strong collaborations with leading members of industry, academia and government. AIBN goes beyond basic research to develop the growth of innovative industries for the benefit of the Queensland and Australian economies. Information about the Institute can be accessed on the Institute’s web site at


Our people are our greatest asset. We offer collaborative, inclusive work and study places, which are enriched by the significant diversity of our staff, students and community. We genuinely believe that creativity and innovation flourishes in an environment where people feel supported, valued and empowered. Mutual respect, inclusivity and accountability are at the cornerstone of UQ’s culture.


AIBN is committed to supporting the career growth of women researchers and have a number of initiatives to support women in developing and achieving a fulfilling research career at the institute. For more information, please visit our AIBN Women in Science web site at



The rigidity of cells and tissue is an important property that defines structure, guides cell fates, and influences respiration. It is currently difficult to measure stiffness within live samples at high resolution. Brillouin microscopy is an emerging technology that can characterize the 3D rigidity in otherwise inaccessible regions, including the interior of cells or within the lens of eyes. However the technique is slow, which makes it difficult to apply in most experiments. We are currently developing new methods for Brillouin microscopy that aim to improve the speed and precision. This project involves developing new methods, and implementing them in cellular biomechanics experiments.



We are looking for a highly motivated student to develop the Brillouin microscopy technology and translate it into biomechanics research. Specifically, this project aims to


    Build the microscope and associated optical systems

    Develop signal processing to extract useful parameters from the noisy data

    Experimentally validate the system with controlled hydrogels

    Use the microscope to characterize stiffness variations associated with sol-gel phase transitions in the protoplasm of amoeba


This is an interdisciplinary research project and the successful applicants should be prepared to work across disciplines with people from different backgrounds. The project is led primarily by Dr Michael Taylor and in collaboration with Prof. Alan Rowan.


Students will be supported to present their outcomes at meetings and conferences to enhance their knowledge, receive wider feedback and network in the fields of optics and biomechanics. This innovative project, developing novel techniques for biomechanical imaging, is an emerging area of research, together with current studies is expected to rapidly generate high impact publications.

The person


Expressions of interest are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic Australian and international graduates with a First-Class Honours, or equivalent qualifications through a relevant Masters degree. Candidates will have a background in physics, biophysics, or engineering. Experience and interest in optics, data processing, or biomechanics is an advantage.


Applicants must fulfil the PhD admission criteria for the University of Queensland, including English language requirements, and demonstrate excellent capacity and potential for research. Demonstration of research ability through publication output in peer reviewed international journals is desirable.


For further information on the Basis of Admission to a UQ research higher degree, please visit  Successful applicants must accept and commence within 6 months of receiving an award.


Here at UQ we value diversity and inclusion, and we actively encourage applications from those who bring diversity to the University. Our Diversity and Inclusion webpage contains further information and points of contact if you require additional support. Accessibility requirements and/or adjustments can be directed to



Prospective students will be provided with assistance to apply for a scholarship. Domestic students will be expected to apply for an APA or equivalent scholarship, while international students will be expected to apply for UQ scholarships for international students for stipend and tuition support.


The 2019 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$27,596 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply).  For further information on this scholarship refer to:



Applicants should contact Dr Michael Taylor ( to discuss the project and their interest in it. All applicants should supply the following documents:


    Cover letter that addresses how you meet the requirements for participation in the project

    Detailed academic CV with a focus on past research and laboratory skills and details of two referees

    Complete tertiary academic records (with grades/GPA scores, and official grading scale details)


Please DO NOT use the Apply button below.



To discuss this role further please contact Dr Michael Taylor ( or Professor Alan Rowan (


Advertised: 21 Feb 2019

Applications close: 20 May 2019 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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