Interfacing electronics and synthetic biology

There is huge potential for growth in the cross-over area between bioelectronics and synthetic biology. The aim of this project is to develop an interface that enables information transfer between the two domains. In the future, readout platforms using this type of interface could be applied in many areas, such as medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and wearable devices.

The project will involve creating and characterising a novel multiplexed electronic readout for cell-free systems, commonly used to house synthetic genetic circuits and biosensors. The practical work will make use of silicon microfabrication techniques to produce and functionalise miniature electrodes, biochemical techniques including protein expression in cell-free systems, and electrochemical analysis using amperometric techniques.

The research will be highly interdisciplinary. We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic candidate who would enjoy the challenges and opportunities that interdisciplinarity presents. They will be encouraged and supported to develop expertise in both microsystems engineering and molecular biology.

The successful student will join a new research group, led by Dr Jamie Marland, that focuses on the development of bioelectronic interfaces for broad range of applications, from in vitro assays to implantable sensors. They will be based in the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems within the School of Engineering and will have access to cutting edge facilities including a well-equipped silicon cleanroom and biological laboratory space. The supervisory team includes advisors from the Institute from Bioengineering and Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys).

The studentship is fully funded. The ideal start date is January-March 2022, but this can be flexible.

Please note that this position is open until filled, and it will be closed once a suitable candidate is identified.

Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree.

Applications are particularly encouraged from students with a background in electronic engineering and a strong interest in biology/biotechnology. However, we would be happy to consider applicants with a biology/chemistry background if an interest and aptitude for engineering can also be demonstrated.

Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home, Overseas and EU applicants.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: