School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Combining high-throughput live-cell imaging and artificial intelligence tools for Cancer studies

Project description

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for working with cutting-edge technologies in the field of (Optics) Microscopy, Machine Learning (Computer Vision) and Cell Biology.

Investigation of highly dynamic biological processes like cell division requires high-speed imaging techniques. Conventional microscope systems for live-imaging in 3D are restricted in their spatial-temporal resolution. Therefore, the Draviam group at QMUL will use a highly innovative Electrically Tunable Lens technology that allows precise high-throughput image acquisition in the millisecond regime in 3D. The large volume of live-cell movie data generated through such microscopes offers a unique opportunity for the student to use and develop Machine Learning tools for analysing the images of cancer cells. He/she will work closely with optical engineers, Computer Scientists, Statisticians and Biologists within a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment. As a LIDo-interdisciplinary and iCASE PhD student, you will be assigned to SysMIC courses at UCL and be part of the LIDo networking consortium.

This project will be completed in close collaboration with an industrial partner IMSOL, who have over 25 years extensive experience in developing bespoke imaging solutions for live-cell microscopy. At IMSOL, the student will acquire skills to exploit point-spread functions, deconvolution algorithms and microscope control software. A dedicated microscope platform will be provided for generating the metadata and implementing software tools. You will receive additional funding for presenting your work at international conferences. Researchers from the Draviam group have gone ahead to set up their own start-up company or research group; others are employed in either academic or biopharmaceutical research sectors. 

For more information on LIDo programme visit the website:

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Viji Draviam (


The studentship is funded via the BBSRC LIDo DTP and will cover tuition fees and an annual tax-free maintenance allowance for 4 years at Research Councils UK rates (£16,777 in 2018/19). UK students, and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years are eligible for full BBSRC funding.

Elibigibility and Applying

Applicants must meet the entry requirements for our PhD programmes.

Ideally, the PhD student has a background in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or related fields. Being able to write software codes (For example, in the C++, Matlab or Python languages) is essential. An interest in Cell Biology and Optics is crucial. Training will be provided for learning cell culture and microscopy techniques.

To apply, please email Dr Viji Draviam ( explaining your interest in the project and including your CV by the stated deadline.