PhD Position – FTIR, Raman and SIMS Imaging in Lipidomic Analysis

A PhD Studentship is available in Peter Gardner’s laboratory to study the “FTIR, Raman and SIMS Imaging in the Lipidomic Analysis of Cellular Systems“. This is a joint project with Dr Nick Lockyer in the School of Chemistry/MIB with Dr Mick Brown and Mr Noel Clarke in the Institute of Cancer Sciences and The Christie Hospital

Deadline for applications is 26 November 2014.

More information can be found here:

The role of lipid metabolism in a number of cellular processes including (i) stem cell differentiation, (ii) drug-cell interactions and (iii) epithelial/adipocyte cell interactions, are generally poorly understood. For example it has been recently shown that PC3 cells when co-cultured with adipocyte cells sequestrate omega-6 lipids and their metabolites which subsequently stimulate cell migration whilst promoting proliferation [1]. Similarly lipids have been shown to play a key role in the differentiation of stem-cells, and recent investigations using FTIR have shown that lipid signatures may indicate early signs of differentiation [2]. These fundamental cell processes mediated by lipids are currently a major focus of research.

We propose to use Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) hyperspectral imaging, high resolution Raman imaging and time of flight mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) alongside established co-culture protocols to examine the role of lipids and their metabolites in cells. FTIR imaging of cells has become possible through the recent development of scatter correction algorithms [3]. In addition, the very recent development of new high magnification optics coupled with an array detector means that for the first time infrared hyperspectral images with similar pixel resolution similar to that of Raman and ToF-SIMS can be obtained, meaning that full multimodal chemical image characterisation can be achieved. The new state-of-the-art Raman system was funded through the BBSRC and has a spatial resolution that spans that of the FTIR and SIMS. The ToF-SIMS instrument developed in Manchester also has unique capabilities in the UK [4,5]. This multimodal imaging approach will facilitate unique lipidomic studies of cellular systems.

[1] M. Brown, C. Hart, E. Gazi, P. Gardner, N. Lockyer, N. Clarke, The influence of the omega 6 PUFA arachidonic acid and bone marrow adipocytes on the metastatic spread of prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 102(2) (2010) 403-413 doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605481

[2] G. Clemens, K. R. Flower, A. P. Henderson, A. Whiting, S. A. Przyborski, M. Jimenez-Hernandez, F. Ball, P. Bassan, G. Cinque, P. Gardner. The action of all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and synthetic retinoid analogues (EC19 and EC23) on human pluripotent stem cells differentiation investigated using single cell infrared microspectroscopy. Molecular BioSystems, 9(4) (2013) 677 – 692 doi:10.1039/C3MB25505K

[3] P. Bassan, A. Kohler, H. Martens, J. Lee, H. J. Byrne, P. Dumas, E. Gazi, M. Brown, N. Clarke, P. Gardner, Resonant Mie Scattering (RMieS) Correction of Infrared Spectra from Highly Scattering Biological Samples, Analyst, 135 (2010) 268–277 doi:10.1039/b921056c

[4] S. Rabbani, J. S. Fletcher, N. P. Lockyer, J. C. Vickerman, Exploring subcellular imaging on the buncher-ToF J105 3D chemical imager. Surface and Interface Analysis 43 (2011) 380-384 doi:10.1002/sia.3457

[5] J.S. Fletcher, N.P. Lockyer, J.C. Vickerman, Developments in molecular SIMS depth profiling and 3D imaging of biological systems using polyatomic primary ions. Mass Spectrom. Rev. 2011, 30, 142-174. doi:10.1002/mas.20275

Funding Notes

Eligibility and Funding

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

The studentship is available to UK and other EU nationals (due to funding criteria imposed by the Research Council, EU nationals must have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship) and provides funding for tuition fees and stipend, subject to eligibility. Please visit the BBSRC DTP website for full details


If you have any queries regarding the application process, projects on offer or your eligibility, please contact the DTP Recruitment Office in the first instance:

DTP Recruitment Officer: Mrs Jessica Bowler
Telephone: +44 (0)161 275 5537 or +44 (0)161 275 5608
Fax: +44 (0)161 275 5657

You may wish to contact the main supervisor directly about the project;
Prof. Peter Gardner email:

Deadline for receipt of online application forms: Wednesday 26 November 2014, 5pm

PhD Position – FTIR, Raman and SIMS Imaging in Lipidomic Analysis