The University of Newcastle, Australia

Interfacing organic electronics with living tissue

Closing Date: 19 July 2018

PhD Scholarship

The fields of neurobiology and electronic devices have developed rapidly in the last century, which has presented the tantalising prospect of directly interfacing electronic devices with living tissue. In this way, devices can directly supply information to the neural network of a living entity and neurons could directly trigger electronic devices thus controlling them by a mere thought.

A deep understanding of how neurons interact with electronic materials, in particular semiconductors, benefits a wide range of futuristic and current medical applications. Examples of applications are controlling electrical appliances by neuronal read-out, deep-brain stimulation to treat Parkinson disease, cochlear implants and retinal prosthetic devices to cure blindness or vision loss. Our research project focusses on interfacing organic electronic devices with living tissue. Organic semiconductors have been identified as a suitable class of materials that meet both the biological requirements (e.g. elasticity, ionic conduction) and electronic requirements (e.g. solid-state charge conduction), which make them an ideal material for bio-electronic applications. Research involves culturing appropriate cells on organic semiconductors, eliciting and measuring action-potentials and other interactions between organic semiconductors and neurons. These results direct the development of devices such as sensors/probes, artificial retinas and other bioelectronic applications.

The project aims to improve our fundamental knowledge of neuronal stimulation using organic semiconductors and develop bio-electronic devices. A fully funded PhD position has become available at the University of Newcastle to contribute to the above biophysics research. We are looking for an enthusiastic, full-time PhD student preferentially with a background in biomedical science/engineering, neurobiology, electrical engineering, chemistry or physics and who is highly committed to developing their skills as a researcher.

The successful candidate must commence his/her PhD programme before 31 October 2018. The supervisory team consists of sensory neurobiologists, physicists and experts in organic electronics. The successful candidate will work at the Centre for Organic Electronics and the Centre for Brain & Mental Health Research, consisting of neurobiologists. The Centre for Organic Electronics was established in 2007 at the University of Newcastle and is one of Australia’s leading research groups in organic electronics. The interdisciplinary nature of the project provides an exciting environment with opportunities to learn a wide range of fabrication and characterisation techniques from experts in the field. To thrive in such an environment, good collaboration/communication skills are desired. The student will work under the supervision of Dr Krishna Feron, Dr Rebecca Lim, Prof Alan Brichta and Prof Paul Dastoor.

PhD Scholarship details

The successful candidate will receive a University living allowance for three and a half years and a relocation allowance of up to $1500. The current living allowance stipend rate is AUD$27,082 per annum (2018 rate, indexed annually) tax-free.

Supervisor: Krishna Feron

Available to: Domestic and International

Eligibility Criteria

Minimum eligibility criteria: English proficiency. A research Master's Degree or Bachelor Degree with Honours Class One or equivalent.

The successful candidate must commence his/her PhD program before 31 October 2018.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest, including scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project, to by 19 July 2018 at 5pm.

Applications Close 19 July 2018

Contact Krishna Feron
Phone +61 2 4985 4378

PhD and Research MastersFind out more