Dr Rebecca Fisher, Royal Holloway University of London
Dr Rebecca Welbourne, Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory
This studentship seeks to investigate the interaction between atmospheric pollutants and the degradation of the thin films that protect mammalian eyes. Eyes are one of the most exposed interfaces on mammals and oxidation of the film may result in dry eye disease. In this PhD you will undertaken novel research to understand how the morphology of eye film becomes altered in the presence of the atmospheric oxidant ozone in both indoor and outdoor settings.
You will be based at Royal Holloway University of London but will frequently travel to use the enviable neutron facilities at ISIS(Oxfordshire) and the ILL(France). You will make artificial tear films and will extract organic material from real tears with ophthalmic experts from the Manchester school of ophthalmy and Pharmacy. You will then study the chemical and morphological alteration of these materials on exposure to air. Neutron reflection studies will determine the morphology and thickness of the organic material, allowing an assessment of its biological lifetime and resistance to degradation. There will be an opportunity to develop coding and modelling skills to help interpret your data.
You will train in advanced techniques to study the interface between tears and atmospheric pollutants. You will be trained in soft matter chemistry, physics of neutron reflection, chemical extraction of biological materials, atmospheric sampling and atmospheric modelling. You will achieve a PhD with modelling, health and laboratory components. The Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory will allow you to interact with many world-leading scientists and you will be embedded in the Royal Holloway Centre of Climate, Ocean and Atmosphere.
Please contact Martin King (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an informal chat. Candidates with numerical degrees in Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Engineering or Earth Science are encouraged to apply.