PhD Opportunities at RMIT

18 Jun 2021 11:58 AM | Christine Browne (Administrator)

Light Scattering Techniques for Characterising Blood Platelets In Solution

Human platelets are one of the key cell types found in whole blood. They have a primary role of halting blood flow, where they are essential to maintain the integrity of the vascular system. Blood services globally face logistic challenges due to the short shelf life: the daily demand is unpredictable, so balancing an adequate inventory without incurring excessive wastage is problematic. In 2018, ~ 150,000 units of platelets were supplied to hospitals in Australia, and approximately 9% (13,000) were not transfused due to expiry, with an estimated cost of $7.5 million. Methods for safe long-term storage could prevent large amounts of wastage and save millions of dollars per annum. When stored in the cold or cryopreserved, platelets change morphology from their resting discoid shape to a more spherical form, accompanied an increase in microparticle formation along with a range of biochemical changes. This project will develop new methods for the characterization of the platelet’s morphology and their associated microparticles using light scattering techniques and use this knowledge to develop improved long-term storage strategies for platelets. The experimental program will involve several related techniques: 1) Combined Static and Dynamic Light Scattering (MDLS). DLS is a standard technique. However, very few labs have the expertise to conduct combined multi-angle Static and Dynamic Light Scattering. CI Bryant is a world leader in the application of such techniques, from early work on MDLS for the extraction of particle size distributions, to the accurate characterization of nanoparticle shape and conformation. 2) Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Small angle X-ray scattering is a powerful technique for determining the shape of particles in solution. CI Bryant has been investigating biological problems using SAXS and related techniques such as small angle neutron scattering (SANS), for his whole career, including understanding the interactions between proteins and membranes and for characterizing complex particles in solution. The PhD student will work in collaboration with a research fellow who will handle the biology and platelet preparation. The PhD student should have a good Honours degree or equivalent in Physics, Physical Chemistry, Applied Maths or Engineering.

Other information

  • Stipend: $31,000 per annum (pro rata), for 3 years with possible extension to 3.5 years.
    Opening date: 24/02/2021
    Closing date: 30/04/2021
    Eligibility: Good Honours or Masters degree in Physics, Biophysics, Physical Chemistry or related fields.
    Suitably qualified International students who are currently residing in Australia may be eligible for a fee scholarship.

 How to apply

 Please submit the following documents to the email below:
• A cover letter (research statement)
• A copy of electronic academic transcripts
• A CV that includes any publications/awards and the contact details of 2 referees.

 Contact Details: To discuss this project further and details on how to apply please contact:  Prof Gary Bryant (gary.bryant@rmit.edu.au)


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