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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

PhD Development of smart electrochemical nanosensor systems

AOR-26 PhD Development of smart electrochemical nanosensor systems for Animal Health and wellbeing

Contract: Full Time/Fixed term

Job Description

Advancing our ability to sense and predict animal well-being in real time will require new technologies integrated into an end-to-end sensor system. We have recently developed new integrated electrochemical nanosensors employing nanowires as sensing elements on-chip and have demonstrated significantly enhanced sensitivity, when compared to the state of the art, for a range of important molecules including: chemical analytes (e.g., pesticides) and biochemicals analytes (e.g., glucose, dopamine).  These new sensors have been sufficiently developed to allow electrochemical-based label-free detection of binding events including antibody-antigen.  Recently we have shown label-free immunoassays at single nanobands and demonstrated real-time detection (time to detection: 15 minutes) of viruses and antibodies in serum.  This PhD project will develop saliva based sensor for key target analytes including, enzymes and proteins gases.  This will provide real-time data on animal health status, permit informed decision making surrounding therapeutic implementations, increase animal wellbeing and decrease disease and production losses.

Key Challenges

  • Develop approaches to selectively modify nanowire surfaces with a range of chemical biomolecules specific for target molecular analytes.
  • Develop impedimetric based approaches for label-free detection of viruses in serum and saliva.
  • Demonstrate sensitive and selective sensing of selected analytes in real time in laboratory settings and working with other team members transfer these protocols to enable real time detection in the field.
  • Working with a multidisciplinary team, integrate these sensor devices with instrumentation (under development) and develop a portable disease diagnostics tool.
  • Undertake field evaluation of integrated sensor on-Farm

The successful student will receive training in all research methods required and will work alongside experienced professional researchers within the Nanotechnology Group, attend conferences and publish in high impact journals. The research is supported by a suite of equipment and laboratory facilities within the group that are amongst the best in Europe.

Essential Criteria

  • Applications are invited from scientists and engineers who hold an honours undergraduate degree (2.1 or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, materials science, agricultural science or a closely related discipline. 

Desired Criteria

  • Experience in undertaking electrochemistry at micro and nano or micro electrodes on silicon chips is desirable.

For further information on this position, please contact Dr. Alan O’Riordan, Nanotechnology Group, Tyndall National Institute (Email: group webpage:

Please send listing academic results to date and details of any previous laboratory experience, together with a cover letter containing the names of two referees and follow application instructions.

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for this successful candidate for this position.  Yearly University academic fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions

Step 1 -  Click here to download the Application form and indicate the Job Reference AOR-26

Step 2 - Return the completed Application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations ( Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.