Hybrid Diamond Sensing for Smart Wound Dressing

This PhD scholarship is part of a NHMRC-funded project to develop a smart dressing that can monitor a wound for signs of infection like an ‘early warning’ system.

This scholarship is ideally suited for an enthusiastic PhD student to work on a multidisciplinary project between nanomaterials science, optical imaging and biology that aims to use fluorescent nanodiamonds for temperature sensing.

$31,885 per annum for three years with a possible extension of six months (full-time).

Candidates with a background in physics, chemistry or biotechnology, ideally with experience in nanotechnology and fluorescence microscopy are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • have a first-class Honours or equivalent in physics, chemistry, nanotechnology, biotechnology or related disciplines
  • be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an international student meeting the minimum English language requirements
  • provide evidence of good oral and written communication skills
  • demonstrate the ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team
  • meet RMIT University’s entry requirements for the Higher Degree by Research programs.

To apply, please submit the following documents to Professor Brant Gibson at brant.gibson@rmit.edu.au and Dr. Asma Khalid at asma.khalid@rmit.edu.au:

  • 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.

For international applicants, evidence of English proficiency may be required.

Prospective candidates will be invited to submit a full application for admission to the PhD Applied Physics Program (DR230).

Scholarship applications will only be successful if prospective candidates are provided with an offer for admission.

Applications are now open.

Applications will close once the candidate is appointed.

Each year in Australia, over 8000 patients are hospitalised for burn injuries, with acute treatment costing over $106 million and chronic care often extending for many years. Early identification of infection, the main complicating factor in burns, is critical to shorten acute care and reduce long-term complications. However, because the integrity of the skin epithelium is damaged in burn wounds, they are fully covered by dressings. Assessing wound repair requires removal of the dressings, which is painful, time-consuming and increases risk of infection.

The NHMRC-funded Ideas Project aims to develop a highly innovative smart dressing that provides real-time assessment of wound quality and healing. We have identified three critical parameters: wound temperature, pH and the microvasculature. Temperature provides an indicator of inflammation and infection. pH has been shown to indicate wound healing success, with highly acidic or basic changes indicating deterioration. Wound microvasculature is critical for tissue regeneration and scar formation.

In preliminary work, the team has developed a novel, biocompatible silk membrane that encapsulates temperature-sensitive nanodiamonds and a pH-sensitive fluorophore. When illuminated by specific wavelengths of light, our multi-functionalised silk membrane emits a fluorescence signature from which temperature and pH are calculated. In this project, we will develop a smart wound dressing built upon our nanoparticle-enriched silk substrate.

This scholarship will be governed by RMIT University's Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

Professor Brant Gibson at brant.gibson@rmit.edu.au and Dr. Asma Khalid at asma.khalid@rmit.edu.au.

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.