Joint International PhD Opportunity in Glaucoma, Imperial College London & National University of Singapore

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Joint International PhD Opportunity in Glaucoma

Imperial-NUS PhD Scholarship


Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK

Department of Bioengineering, National University of Singapore (NUS).



We are searching for a suitable candidate to join an application for a joint international 4-year PhD studentship between Imperial College London and the National University of Singapore, in collaboration with the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology, USA. If the application is successful the student can expect to start in September 2013. The first two years of the project will be spent at Imperial College London in the UK, and the second two at NUS in Singapore.


The proposed study will investigate the structural and mechanical basis of glaucoma. A common ophthalmic disease, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. The World Health Organisation has estimated that globally there are 12.5 million people blind from glaucoma with the total number affected by this condition around 66 million. In Singapore and the UK the disease accounts for approximately 40% and 10% of blindness respectively.  The condition often arises when the internal (intraocular) pressure of the eye rises in old age, distorting the shape of the optic nerve. Our aim is to understand how the resulting biomechanical insult at the level of the lamina cribrosa leads to vision loss. Specifically the objectives are to (i) measure the deformations of the lamina cribrosa in whole human eyes due to increases in IOP. Such work will allow us (ii) to fully quantify the biomechanical environment (stresses, strains) within the lamina cribrosa. Then (iii) investigate whether deformations in the lamina cribrosa compress, distort or damage the retinal nerves. Tissue structure will be quantified using a novel 3D micro-CT based approach. Strains and stresses will be quantified using digital volume correlation and the finite element method.


The proposed PhD student will be required to actively participate in writing the research proposal and online application forms. The deadline for submission of the proposal is January 25th 2013. As such the project would suit a postgraduate with a strong engineering background, or medic or biologist (with skills in numerical methods) interested in studying the role of human tissue structure and function in disease. No prior knowledge of ophthalmology is required.


There has been good success in past studentship competitions, i.e. a large fraction of applicants are awarded studentships.


For Further details please contact Richard Abel ( orMichaël Girard (


For more information about our research please visit:


For more information about the scholarship please visit:

Important Note: While the scholarship covers tuitions and a stipend for a period of 4 years, non-European students will be required to pay oversea fees on the order of £15,000 pounds per year. Please see above link for more information. 


Dr Richard Abel  (Lecturer, Imperial College)

Dr Michaël Girard (Assistant Professor, NUS)

Prof. Ross Ethier (Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology)