Precision Pain Relief

Current project

Applications for the 2021 intake open 14 September 2020.

Fill out the Expression of Interest Form if you're interested in applying.

Spaces are limited!

VIP Snapshot

Deliver pain relief exactly where it is required through optogenetics. This novel technique uses light to stimulate and inhibit neurons in situ and has the potential to vastly improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and other conditions resulting in chronic pain. 

Precision Pain Relief High Res

VIP ChallENG research goals

We’ll work to create a new program of therapy using optogenetic activation/inhibition of the spinal cord. This specifically includes:

  1. Designing the right nanoparticle conjugates that can bind with channel rhodopsin (the protein responsible for making cells light sensitive) or plasmids that express the protein.
  2. Designing an approach to selectively deliver the particles to the central nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.
  3. Designing an implantable stimulating ‘optoelectrode’, a light generating device that “shines” light on the modified neurons to excite and/or inhibit them.  

Research, design or technical ChallENG

Students will be divided into three teams, one team based at each of the following schools: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering and medical sciences. Each team will tackle the above three goals in parallel.

Desired Background

All degrees are welcome however, students specialising in the below areas are encouraged to apply.

Research Areas Desired Degrees
  • Drug/gene delivery
  • Nanoparticles
  • Neuroscience
  • Electrical engineering
  • Physiology
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Nanotechnology
  • Electrical engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Computer science
  • Chemical engineering
  • Physiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Biological science
  • Chemistry
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics
  • Materials science