Funded* Masters Degree Projects

Masters by Research Projects (x2) in Biophysics – Magnetic Materials.

Applications are invited for two full-time Masters (by research) positions in Biophysics and Magnetic Materials within the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute. This is multidisciplinary research based within the Magnetic Materials Research Group and the Biomedical Research Facility.

*Funding:  UK (and in some circumstances EU) students may be eligible for (and must be able to secure) funding via a new government postgraduate loan (for up to £10,000) to study for a Physics Masters by Research degree.   Please check the government website for up to date eligibility criteria.  Self-funded applicants will also be considered.

These post-graduate Masters positions are available for up to one year full-time and the postgraduate loan will cover the cost of postgraduate research tuition fees at UK/EU rates (£4,195 2017/18 rates) and bench fees (£1,000).  If required and successfully secured, this means that the remainder of the full £10,000 loan (£4,805) may be taken and used to support maintenance costs.  Applicants not eligible for the government loan may also apply but need to be able to self-fund all the associated project costs and their expenses.  For international students this includes tuition fees above the UK/EU rate.

Projects Description

The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute is pleased to announce the availability of two new Masters (by research) Studentships in Biophysics and Magnetic Materials.

This research involves two parts:

  1. Development of an in situ AC magnetometer for the measurement of time dependent hysteresis of nanoscale superparamagnetic particles.
  2. Investigation of tumour cell apoptosis through superparamagnetic nanoparticle mediated hyperthermia.

For more information click here

It is envisaged that these two projects when completed will form the basis for further postgraduate research work at doctoral level.

Candidates should have (or expect to hold) a good UK Bachelor of Science degree  in a related area (or equivalent qualification). These positions are ideally suitable for a Physics graduate with an interest in Medical Physics/Biophysics, but as this is multidisciplinary research, students from other relevant disciplines such as Engineering or Biology may also be considered.

International applicants require an English Language level of UKVI IELTs 6.5 (no sub-score below 6.0) or equivalent qualification.


Further information

For informal discussion, please email either Dr. Shane O’Hehir or Dr. Tim Mercer .

There is no application closing date, but specific deadlines for funding may apply. This research starts from the last week in September 2017.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the start. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.



Magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) based hyperthermia is the process of locally heating tissue with magnetic nanoparticles using an external alternating magnetic field. This technique can be utilised in the in vivo targeted destruction of cancer cells.

Current in vitro investigations regarding cell death and magnetic nanoparticle meditated hyperthermia do not always differentiate between necrotic and apoptotic cell death mechanisms. The primary mode of action leading to apoptosis or necrosis may be a purely physical one, or one that involves an induced biological response.

Characterisation of magnetic nanoparticles under AC field conditions has not been routinely measured and reported in the literature to date. This is a necessary parameter for the characterisation of the heating effect (SAR) of magnetic nanoparticles.

The first phase of this project will involve the development of an in situ AC magnetometer for the measurement of time dependant hysteresis of nanoscale superparamagnetic particles. This novel approach will allow for measurements of magnetic properties under identical field conditions to those of the hyperthermia apparatus. The resulting nanoparticle characterisations will be used in the second phase of this research to optimise nanoparticle heating effect. Nanoparticle heating will be applied to the investigation of apoptotic death rate of tumour cells. AC field exposure time, amplitude and MNP composition and concentration will be varied and corresponding cell assays will be performed.

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