Faculty of Science

Ultrahigh-resolution optical microscopy deep in tissue: A nanoscope-in-a-needle

We are developing ultrahigh-resolution optical microscopy deep in tissue: a nanoscope-in-a-needle.

  1. Summary of the project
  2. Eligibility criteria
  3. Readings
  4. Contact the research team leader
  5. How to apply
  6. Scholarships

Summary of the project

Our group is the pioneer of a Microscope-in-a-Needle, which allows an optical microscope to penetrate into opaque and scattering biological tissues via a hypodermic needle.

There are many methods to 'optically section' biological tissues, such as optical coherence tomography and confocal microscopy, but none can penetrate more than a few millimetres into the tissue. The needle platform we have developed makes it possible to do this in a very small, minimally invasive footprint – achieving near micro-scale resolution at centimetre depths in tissue, that cannot be achieved in any other way.  We now wish to evolve the Microscope to a Nanoscope, to achieve a resolution sufficient to see sub-cellular entities within intact cell clusters and tissues.

There are a number of subprojects within the overall scope of this project in theory and modelling of tissue optics, optical design, optical and photonics instrument building, optics experiments, and image analysis, processing and visualisation.

Back to top

Eligibility criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

This interdisciplinary project can take many directions. Projects may be adjusted suit physicists, computer scientists, electrical, mechanical, and biomedical engineers, cell biologists, and physiologists – or any combination. Working collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary team is essential.

Back to top


Back to top

Contact the research team leader

Once you have ensured that you meet the eligibility criteria and are ready to discuss a proposal, contact the research team leader to identify a potential supervisor.
Professor David Sampson
I direct the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis and head the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, at The University of Western Australia. My research in biomedical optics, biophotonics and biomedical engineering is aimed at new optical devices for application in biology and for translation to clinical medicine.

Back to top

How to apply

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader you should be in a position to proceed to step two of the UWA application process: 'Lodge an application'.

Different procedures apply to domestic and international students.

Back to top


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to Australian applicants for study in participating countries and regions.

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to international applicants from participating countries and regions.

Indigenous students

Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.

Forrest Foundation scholarships

All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

Back to top