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Improving quality of diffusion MRI: detection of motion artefacts

Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can provide valuable insight into microstructural properties of the brain white matter in health and disease. However, obtaining high-quality diffusion MRI data is challenging because of relatively long acquisition times and the patients’ inability to remain still for this length of time. Diffusion MRI data is particularly prone to artefacts caused by motion due to head movement and cardiac pulsation. These artefacts need to be detected and corrected to provide accurate measures of microstructure.In this …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Thermochemical conversion of wastes to energy and chemicals

Reducing society’s dependence on fossil fuels requires replacement of chemical building blocks currently sourced from the petrochemical industry. Nature produces over 150 billion tonnes of biomass per year by photosynthesis, with only 3-4% used by humans for food and non-food purposes. So, as biomass is abundant and a renewable resource of fixed carbon it can be used to produce chemical building blocks, fuels and chemicals.Thermochemical conversion processes and low temperature hydrolysis are typically suited for the transformation of biomass, waste …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

He-ART (Heart Adaptive Radiation Therapy): Automated contouring and adaptive radiotherapy for the heart

Myocardial infarction is one of the proven cardiotoxic effects caused by incidental irradiation of the heart in patients with breast and lung cancer treated with radiotherapy (Darby et al 2013, van den Bogaard et al 2017, Bradley et al 2015). A clear dose-effect relationship was observed: the higher the dose of the incidental radiation to the heart, the higher the likelihood of a cardiovascular complication, such as a heart attack (Darby et al 2013, Wang et al 2017).These cardiotoxic effects …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Formation, photochemistry and fate of gas-phase peroxyl radicals

The gas-phase chemical reactions of organic peroxyl radicals control the combustion efficiency of engines and influence the chemical and physical composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. Despite their central importance, these reaction intermediates have proven elusive; with limited experimental observations of the radicals themselves and the complex reaction networks governing their formation and fate. This study will deploy two advanced mass spectrometric methods to isolate and interrogate the chemical and photochemical reactions of peroxyl radicals in the gas phase. Direct measurement …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Biorefinery process modelling and economics

Worldwide transportation fuel production is currently circa 100 million barrels per day with the vast majority from fossil fuel sources. Pyrolysis and liquefaction are potential promising thermochemical technologies for producing renewable fuels and chemicals from biomass, however, the resultant biocrude/bio-oil has many complex properties inherited from the characteristics of the original feedstock, which make it a generally low-grade fuel alternative. Upgrading of the bio-oils are necessary to produce higher quality products and challenges exist to cost-effectively achieve this target. There …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Spider silk: structure, mechanics and processing

Spider silks possess a range of qualities that are rarely found simultaneously in one material, and it is no surprise that an enormous effort has been made to replicate or learn from them.1,2 Toughness, extensibility and strength are only a few of the desirable traits that make spider silk of such interest. Silk is biodegradable and, unlike synthetic high-performance fibres such as Kevlar, it is extremely lightweight.3,4 A further advantage lies in its processing conditions and requirements. Whereas production of …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Understanding and exploiting the phenomenal properties of collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and, as one of its principal building blocks, plays a dominant role in the function of many tissues. As such, the structure-property-function relationships in collagen are central to understanding health and disease, and developing materials-based strategies for regenerative medicine. A better understanding of these relationships further provides a biomimetic target for high-performance, multifunctional fibre-based materials in applications outside of biomedicine. The defining feature of collagen is an elegant structural motif …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Surgery with rockets

Self-propelled nano/microscale rockets have been developed that consume locally supplied chemical fuels to generate thrust, analogous to how large rocket engines ignite onboard propellants. Such rockets offer tremendous advantages as nano/microdevices. They can be designed for low or high velocities (up to 1000 body lengths/sec), can tow large loads, have remarkable design flexibility, and allow surface functionalisation with nanomaterials and biomolecules.1,2Unlike their macroscale counterparts, these rockets have the advantage of harvesting their chemical fuel directly from their surrounding environment. In …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Encapsulation of adsorbents in polymeric beads

Not all adsorbent materials synthesised have the ideal physical properties for water treatment applications. Therefore, this research will investigate the performance of adsorbents encapsulated in polymeric beads and methods for improving capacity.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Retaining and regaining hydrogel mechanical properties

Hydrogels have great potential in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, where they serve as an artificial extracellular matrix. However, they typically have poor mechanical properties, which limits their applications.  Double network hydrogels can overcome some of these limitations, with substantially improved stiffness and toughness compared to traditional single network hydrogels.  Nonetheless, double network hydrogels can lose these properties over time and with repeated loading.

Study level
Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Stochastic patterns of tissue inclusions

Biological tissue growth involves the secretion of new tissue (extracellular matrix, collagen fibers) by cells. This secretion incorporates scattered inclusions such as proteins and minerals into the new tissue. During bone tissue growth, some of the tissue-secreting cells themselves become incorporated into the new tissue. The distribution of these tissue-embedded cells is believed to influence subsequent tissue growth processes.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Mathematical Sciences

Understanding and exploiting the phenomenal properties of collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and, as one of its principal building blocks, plays a dominant role in the function of many tissues. As such, the structure-property-function relationships in collagen are central to understanding health and disease, and developing materials-based strategies for regenerative medicine. A better understanding of these relationships further provides a biomimetic target for high-performance, multifunctional fibre-based materials in applications outside of biomedicine. The defining feature of collagen is an elegant structural motif …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

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