PhD thesis: Physical fingerprinting of cancerous cells by combined atomic force microscope and digital holography microscopy

DescriptionThe Bionanomechanics group is focused on the development of physical technologies, in particular nanomechanics and optomechanics, for their application in microbiology and oncology. The group has successfully proposed and developed disruptive concepts at the boundary between physics and biology, such as the identification of biophysical markers for cancer cell characterization (ACS Nano 2016, 10, 3365, ACS Sens. 2019, 4, 12, 3325, PCT / ES20 / 070236) and for the detection of pathogenic organisms (Nature Communications 2016, 7, 13452, PCTES2017 / 070098, Nature Nanotechnology 2020, 15, 469, PCT / EP19 / 063680). Among its most recent lines of research, the group is addressing the development of innovative nanotechnology-based tools for cancer mechanobiology (ERC-StG-Nanoforcells (ERC-StG), of high relevance to this PhD project. This PhD Project starts from the following hypothesis: We cannot predict tumour evolution if we ignore tumour mechanobiology. Thus, the goal will be to develop high throughput and reliable technologies to study biophysical properties of cancer cells. The intended micro- and nano-technologies will merge atomic force microscopy, nanomechanical systems, cavity optomechanics and digital holography microscopy for the study of cancer cells. This PhD Project will train the candidate in the different multidisciplinary aspects of this research: instrumentation development (hardware and software), numerical models and finite element simulations to understand cell mechanobiology, optics, mechanics and deep learning algorithms for data analysis. The work will be developed in a multidisciplinary environment and under the supervision by experts in nanotechnology, nanofabrication, engineering and biology. The work involves experimental and theoretical skills, instrumentation design and optomechanical and biological characterization. To: Bachelors in Physics. Minimum score of 2 (excluding TFG and master grades) in a scale ranging from 1 to 4. Previous experience in research will be positively evaluated but it is not required. The candidate must show enthusiasm, high motivation and capability to learn new topics.

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Micro and Nanotechnology Institute
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