Search UK Society for Biomaterials.

This site uses cookies ⇒ more information on how and why we use them

Vacancy – PhD Studentship KCL

Excellent opportunity here for a fully funded 3.5 year PhD: Lifetime prediction of implanted electronics operating at increased relative humidity.

Lifetime prediction of implanted electronics operating at increased relative humidity – Kings College London.

Aim of the project:

Active implants, like cochlear implants, must guarantee decades of safe operation in the body, surrounded by fluid. Without protection, electronics exposed to such conditions would rapidly corrode. Most implants, irrespective of the clinical application, achieve long-term reliability by sealing the electronics inside a hermetic enclosure, to prevent the ingress of moisture.

However, no enclosure is perfectly hermetic, water vapor does penetrate at a very slow rate. With technological advances and the miniaturisation of electronics (future implants will have free internal volumes < 1 mm3), even this slow rate is becoming a challenge. Operating at elevated relative humidity introduces new failure mechanisms, we need new understandings, to develop a new method to predict microimplant lifetime [Vanhoestenberghe 2013].

We believe that it is possible to create micro-implantable-devices that operate safely for the required lifetimes despite the internal relative humidity being elevated, and the aim of this project is to design experiments to rigorously evaluate this claim. The outcome will be a new understanding of the lifetime of such microdevices, enabling us to deliver a range of new clinical applications.

Project description:

This project is a study of the reliability, and failure mechanisms, of electronics in biomedical applications, specifically electronics packaged in hermetic or semi-hermetic enclosures. This is a technology development project, at this stage no specific clinical application is targeted. Our aim is to ensure the safety and long-term reliability of the next generation of active implantable micro-devices, for applications such as brain computer interfaces, wearable sensors, spinal cord stimulators. This very timely work will support the rapidly developing field of bioelectronics medicine.

Our focus is on the failure of ICs over time as a function of environmental conditions typically found in implants and wearable devices. There will be several competing failure mechanisms to study, we expect in particular to see both wirebond failure and corrosion of the integrated circuits (IC) [Gan 2014]. One challenge will be to conceive an experimental protocol that can discriminate between these failure mechanisms to evaluate their relative contribution to the failure rate. A second challenge is the need to accelerate the failure rate, since implants should operate safely for decades, yet it would be impractical to run an experiment for such a long period. Instead, the environmental stresses (temperature and relative humidity) are increased, to accelerate the failure rate and observe failures within months [Hallberg 1991].

The candidate will design an innovative experimental protocol and build the associated equipment, to control the accelerated aging environment and automatically collect data on the failure rate of electronics. We are interested in the effect of the residual ionic contaminants that remain after the final cleaning steps during assembly. The student will validate their equipment and prepare the samples in year 1 (Y1), run the experiment (Y2) and analyse the data to acquire a new understanding of the time to failure, and acceleration, based on a comparison with measurements taken on day 0 (Y3).

As with every novel equipment, the final ageing protocol is unknown at this stage, it will be designed by the candidate. We anticipate that for IC corrosion, the samples will be CMOS ICs with InterDigitated Electrodes (IDE) on the top metal layer. Monitoring the impedance between the electrodes gives information about the corrosion of the IC, a method we and others have used successfully in previous work [Vanhoestenberghe 2013, Lamont 2021]. Aged wirebond reliability will be evaluated using a different test sample design, that will be developed by the student. After a period under test, the samples will be characterised by complementary methods, such as SEM, Focused Ion Beam imaging including Transmission Electron Microscopy and Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry as appropriate. Some of these methods may be available in house, other characterisation will be performed collaboratively with research partners, such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin.

This project is multi-disciplinary, and therefore we are open to candidates with a broad range of backgrounds, whether in electronics, electrochemistry, biomedical engineering or material sciences. What we look for is commitment to rigorous scientific enquiry, and a desire to conduct research that can make a difference in people’s life.

For more info please email Prof. Anne Vanhoestenberghe – email a.vanhoest@kcl.ac.uk or check here.

PDRA Vacancy – 3D Bioengineering

Over a number of years, the Research Group led by Prof. Mark Lewis has developed approaches for the manufacture of bioengineered 3D musculoskeletal tissues with applications towards modelling exercise, injury, disease and other interventions relating to this tissue. The group currently has numerous ongoing projects including those modelling neuromuscular disease, musculoskeletal injury and regeneration. This specific post will provide support to Professor Mark Lewis, assisting with the management and supervision of research activities within this remit, as well as contributing towards the development of future research activities. 

This full-time post is offered on a fixed-term contract until 31st July 2023 (duration linked to the tenure of Professor Mark Lewis as Dean of School).

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Mark Lewis, Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology, via email to M.P.Lewis@lboro.ac.uk.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 13th April 2022.

https://vacancies.lboro.ac.uk/jobdesc/REQ220269.pdf

Research Assistant/Research Fellow at UCL

In collaboration with the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences, were awarded an ORUK Translation grant to investigate novel non-ionising MRI imaging technique and accelerate the diagnosis and pre-operative planning and development placement of screw guides in scoliosis surgery using latest generation Machine Learning techniques. The objective is to significantly reduce radiation exposure for young patient groups and improve accuracy and safety of spinal surgery.


The project is at pre-clinical stage and will progress to clinical trial following this study.


The post holder will work on a strategic series of experiments that will form the basis for the development and optimisation of the device design based on pre-operative CT and MRI scans and generate qualitative and quantitative data based on human cadaveric study. This will ensure device is ready for first in human trial during length of the project.


The main purpose of the position is development and optimisation 1) protocol for bone imaging technique with CT imaging. 2) Device design based on pre-operative CT and MRI imaging and generate qualitative and quantitative data based on patients’ data alongside validation in cadaveric study. 3) prepare QMS and clinical approval documents for clinical trial.  


This post is funded until 14th April 2023 in the first instance.

See website here for more details and to apply.

Vacancy for UKSB council members

The UKSB is looking to expand its council. We are happy to receive interest and nominations from those working in the multidisciplinary area of biomaterials, from academic, industrial or clinical backgrounds.

To nominate yourself or someone else please email president@uksb.org stating clearly why you or your nominee would be a good candidate for the UKSB council.

New Vacancy in Bioengineered Meat

Are you interested in a career in science that could help to solve many of today’s major problems ?

Ivy Farm Technologies based in Oxford are hiring. Check out their ideas on creating cultured meat   https://www.ivy.farm/

Here at Ivy Farm, we’re an inquisitive bunch of bioengineers and scientists who love animals, love the planet, but also love bacon sandwiches. What we don’t love is the scary and damaging effects of industrialised farming. When we realised that tasty, sustainable meat didn’t exist, we decided to make it. We use novel technology created at the University of Oxford to grow real mince meat that’s free from slaughter, free from GMO and free from antibiotics. It’s called cultured meat. It’s high in protein, low in saturated fat and tastes fantastic in sausages, meatballs or a spag bol. With global demand for meat only set to grow, this is big news for animals, people and planet. So watch this space – because science just got juicy.

Do you have this essential experience ?

·        Experience in a laboratory

·        Laboratory experience – at least one individual or shared project

·        Good numeracy and problem-solving abilities

·        Engage with a multi-disciplinary team

·        Following and setting-up new standard operating protocols

·        Computer literate and ability to learn new software platforms

If so have a look that the following vacancies with Ivy Farm  https://www.ivy.farm/careers/

Positions Available

2 Posts available within the Biomaterials groups at the University of Manchester

Experimental Officer in Biomedical Materials – permanent position! – click here for more info and to apply.

The Henry Royce Institute (Royce) is an EPSRC-funded national institute. With its Hub at The University of Manchester, the Institute has spokes at nine Partner and Associate organisations: the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Cranfield, Oxford and Imperial College London, as well as at the UK Atomic Energy Authority and National Nuclear Laboratory. Royce, driven by a vision of ‘advanced materials for a sustainable society’, supports the UK in growing its world-leading research and innovation in advanced materials. Strategic investment in the Biomedical Materials research area has enabled us to develop comprehensive suites of equipment to ‘make, characterise and test’ biomedical materials which will help accelerate the development of advanced materials in the healthcare sector.

The Experimental Officer will be primarily responsible for managing the highly specialised equipment that form a suite of facilities, including containment level 2 cell culture laboratories, within the new, £105m Royce Hub Building. You will provide support for ongoing laboratory studies as well as overseeing the organisation and daily running of specific projects and practical courses in cell culture, molecular biology, and biomaterials/tissue engineering. You will actively participate in the broader community associated with Royce’s Biomedical Materials research theme, including researchers, students, industry collaborators and customers, and will provide support to facility users on the use of a wide range of scientific equipment and the interpretation of acquired data.

Closing date – 18th August 2021



PhD in metallic oesophageal stents – ideal for Materials Science graduate with an interest in improving outcomes for patients. Click here for more info and to apply.

Cancer Research UK describes 9,200 new cases of oesophageal cancer per year in 2017. 70% are diagnosed at a late stage, being incurable and causing 7,925 deaths / year.

Treatments using chemotherapy and radiotherapy – and more recently hormone therapy – have improved patient survival in recent years, extending survival of stent patients after receiving a stent from an average of 3months in 2004 to currently 15-18months. Most oesophageal cancers present late and are not curable and most patients eventually require insertion of a stent (most commonly a nitinol stent) to keep the lumen of the oesophagus and allow the patient to continue to eat.

These stents were originally designed for use in blood vessels but have been adapted for use in the gastro-intestinal tract and oesophagus therefore subjecting the stents to a different working environment especially chemical, due to exposure of the low pH of gastric acid, but also mechanical due to the movement and compression of oesophageal function (peristalsis). As a consequence an increasing number of patients experience device failure, requiring repeat procedures.

The re-intervention rate at 6months reaches 60%, which is now resulting in increased stent failures, which necessitate further procedures, and puts the patient at additional risk.

By improving the properties of these nitinol stents, we can improve their working life and remove the need for removal and replacement. This will improve clinical outcome and patient experience and reduce the need for repeat procedures and the associated costs to the NHS.

Banner caption: Phase contrast microscopy of SHSY in collagen gel
→ More member's images are available in our gallery