The University of Dundee has been awarded funding of almost €4million to bridge the gap between the life and physical sciences in order to better understand cardiovascular pathology and diseases such as cancer.
The PHOQUS (PHOtonic tools for Quantitative imaging in tissUeS) project has received a €3.8million (£3.2million) grant from the EU’s FP7 Marie Curie- Innovative Doctoral Programme to further develop state-of-the-art live cell and tissue imaging methodologies and use them to better understand the complex cellular processes underlying embryonic development and disease.
The three-year initiative will train postgraduate students as interdisciplinary scientists at the interface between Physics/Photonics, medicine and life sciences.
The University will recruit 13 PhD fellows for the project, and the successful candidates will work with leading researchers from the Colleges of Life Sciences (CLS), Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing (CMDN) and Art, Science and Engineering (CASE).
PHOQUS fellows will have access to world-class expertise in life sciences, surgical and image interventional technologies, nanomedicine and photonics at the University, as well as at industrial and academic partners from across Europe.
Project coordinator Professor Kees Weijer from CLS said, “We will train a new generation of exceptional scientists in the life and physical sciences, without the historic barriers that have existed between disciplines.
“The purpose of this is to develop new photonics tools that will feed into the design and development of smaller, more cost effective instruments that can investigate the cellular and molecular dynamics which drive the critical cell behaviours such as division, differentiation and cell movement in order to understand their role in development and disease.”
Scientists recruited to PHOQUS will work as a cohort, developing an identity as interdisciplinary researchers. PHOQUS aims to develop scientists with the correct mindset to discover and address the big problems in biology/medicine and physics from an early stage in their research careers.
Each of the PhD students will be based at the University, but will also have access to the academic and commercial expertise and training for key aspects of the programme provided by partners.
PHOQUS will develop state-of-the-art photonic technologies that will enable development of new imaging tools and non- or minimally-invasive diagnostic systems for the Life Sciences, necessary to make significant advances in the understanding of a range of outstanding biomedical problems from the molecular and cellular to the tissue and organ level scales.
The programme is made possible by the world-renowned expertise at Dundee, and 13 leading researchers from CLS, CMDN and CASE and Medicine will work alongside the PhD fellows on various aspects of the initiative.
Associated partners in the project are: Tampere University of Technology, Institute for Photonic Sciences, Aston University, University of Berne, University of Edinburgh, University of Frankfurt, University of Oxford, University of Pisa, University of Tuebingen, Carl Zeiss gmbh, Coherent ltd, Imsol ltd, Innolume gmbh, Leica gmbh, M-Squared Lasers ltd, Photometrics ltd, Spe Lazma, Teravil ltd and Tydex.