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Research Fellow in imaging ultrasonic deformation of biological cells and tissues

Mechanical Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £30,395 to £32,236
Full Time Fixed Term (3 years)
Closing Date:  Friday 05 October 2018
Interview Date:   Wednesday 07 November 2018
Reference:  1053718DA

This post is part of a recently awarded EPSRC Programme Grant entitled ‘Surgery enabled by ultrasonics’, which aims at delivering research to bring a step-change in the design of surgical tools powered by ultrasonics. This is a multi-partners, multidisciplinary 5-year project (Glasgow, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Southampton). Our group in Southampton is responsible for exploring new avenues to measure the mechanical deformation of biological tissues and cells at ultrasonic frequencies, linking novel ultrasonic excitation tools developed in our group with ultra-high speed imaging (5 Mfps) and image processing (Digital Image Correlation). Eventually, the mechanical response will be correlated with the cell/tissue biological response to evaluate morbidity or stimulation depending on the application. 

Main roles and responsibilities 

The main role consists in designing new experimental protocols to quantify the deformation of tissues and cells submitted to ultrasonic excitation in the frequency range from 20 kHz to 1 MHz. Digital image correlation will be used to process grey level images to extract deformation. Ultra-high speed imaging (up to 5 MHz) will be used to record images. High magnification imaging will be performed by coupling the ultra-high speed camera with a microscope, using pulsed laser illumination. The work will be conducted at several scales, from macro to micro scale. The work will be undertaken in close collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow (ultrasonic transducers and horns), Birmingham (cellular mechano-transduction) and Edinburgh (tissue and mock-up level), requiring periods of training there. 

  The ideal profile for the candidate has:

  • PhD* or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in mechanical engineering.
  • Experience in optical full-field deformation measurements, including Digital Image Correlation, and experimental mechanics.
  • Experience in mechanical testing of biological tissues and/or cells.
  • Experience in finite element modelling of deformation of solids.
  • Experience in high rate deformation of solids (including biological tissues/cells).
  • Excellent command of the English language and great communication skills (written/oral).

About the University 

The University of Southampton is an institution in the top one per cent of world universities* and one of the UK’s top 15 research-intensive universities.  We have an international reputation for research, teaching and enterprise.  

About the Faculty 

You will join a leading Engineering Faculty with an excellent record of collaborative research with industry and academic institutions in the UK and abroad.  In September 2013 an Athena SWAN Bronze award was received in recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science and engineering.

The Faculty offers exceptional research facilities in the areas of fluids, structures and their interactions, including a new world-class fluid dynamics facilities complex in the Boldrewood Engineering Campus, complete with a 138m towing tank. 

Application procedure

You should submit your completed online application form at or alternatively telephone +44 (0)23 8059 2507 for an application form.  Please quote the vacancy reference 1053718DA on all correspondence.  

Informal enquiries to Professor Fabrice Pierron, +44 (0)2380 592891,

At the University of Southampton, we value diversity and equality.  

*QS World University Rankings 2012-13

* Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded, the title of Research Assistant will be assigned.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment 

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

Further details:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.

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