This project aims in using technologies like microfluidics and image analysis to interpret the attained data together with researchers active in the field of microalgae for future biodiesel production. The metabolism (how nutritions are taken up by the algae and utilized) and its fluctuations can be followed by imaging, but in concert having control of the extracellular milieu is totally novel and never previously performed for this cell type and, hence, requires a proper interdisciplinary approach be for a successful outcome.
The PhD student’s role, will be to focus on the experimental setup and the signal processing of the attained data. The experimental setup involves the fluorescence microscope combined with a laser used as optical tweezers to manipulate the algae cells inside the microfluidic device. The optical table, pump speeds to infuse the fluid into the microfluidics and the imaging is controlled and automatized via software.
The experimental preparation involves fabricating the microfluidics and possibly alter the design to fit the application if necessary, algae culturing and cell preparation, the actual measurements and last but not least, the image analysis and signal processing. Skills and experience in MatLab is preferential.
The supervisor at the dep of Physics is Caroline Beck Adiels and the collaborating partner Prof. Benoit Schoefs (at Dep of Sea Molecules & Health, France) will be co-supervisor. The student will have the opportunity to attain hands on experience on how novel technologies can be applied and utilized for research questions in another field, hence, the bridge between biology and physics is very obvious from a teaching perspective. If the appropriate candidate is found, the affiliation at the department of Physics is optimal, since here are situated the experienced teachers and students already working in the field of optics, microfluidics and metabolic signaling and this interdisciplinary research topic fits well into the strategic research fields of the department.
Potential for teaching and supervising
There is always a need at the department for pedagogical skilled persons with the appropriate experience, and since the student has experience of teaching, she/he could serve as supervisor for physics teacher students at the university.
The student could also potentially teach in the department’s course “Miljöfysik”, which fits its content. Moreover, possibly, there will also be an opportunity for the student to be involved in the didactic teaching of other PhD students enrolled at the department of physics. The leading teacher and supervisor at that level would be Jonas Enger.