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Graduate Student (MSc or PhD) (req4457)

The University of Saskatchewan values diversity, and Indigenous engagement is a strategic priority.

Department: Medical Imaging
Location: Saskatoon
Status: Term, 2 years with the possibility of extension for up to 5 years
Employment Group: Graduate Students - PSAC
Posted Date: 6/7/2019
Closing Date: Until Filled.
Number of Openings:

Description: There is one opening in my laboratory for a graduate student at the level of MSc.  Exceptional candidates may be considered for PhD. Located in Saskatoon.

Project Title: Understanding the biochemical mechanism of ultrasound-mediated permeability of endothelial junctions, and its use for site-specific drug delivery

Institution: Department of Medical Imaging, University of Saskatchewan

Start Date: September, 2019

Program of Study: Master’s degree (M.Sc.) with the possibility of continuing towards a Doctorate degree (Ph.D.). For more information visit:

Project Description:  One of the most exciting advancements in targeted drug delivery has been the use of ultrasound and microbubbles as a tool to site-specifically make the vasculature permeable, allowing therapeutics to leave circulation at a specific location. Microbubbles are small (1-4 um), vascular restricted ultrasound contrast agents that consist of a lipid shell surrounding a gas core.  When they come into contact with a focused ultrasound beam, they begin to expand and contract (cavitation), giving off a unique and detectable signal.  This can cause vasculature to become transiently permeable to material, including therapeutics, with the most common application being bypassing the blood-brain barrier. Though this tool has been rapidly translated into clinical trials, we still do not have a fundamental biological understanding of how microbubble cavitation leads to a transient breakdown of vascular endothelial cell junctions.  This project will investigate the role of mechanoreceptors in this process.  Visit for more information about our lab.

The prospective student will be responsible for building 3D vascular networks in mice using protocols in our lab and applying microbubble cavitation to those networks.  They will learn how to make gas-filled microbubbles, and how to initiate cavitation using a custom High Intensity Focused Ultrasound System, how to culture and transfect cells and work with animal models.  They will use different analysis techniques including Western Blotting, immunostaining, and advanced confocal microscopy to investigate the biochemical mechanism.  The prospective student will be expected to apply for relevant scholarships, publish their results in relevant journals, and present their results at national and international conferences

Financial Support: The position is funded and the candidate is guaranteed a stipend during their graduate education and training, but will be expected to apply for internal and/or external scholarships.

Research Advisor: Steven Machtaler, PhD.  Website:

Candidate Profile: Must hold an undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry, or a related discipline.  We employ a team science approach in my lab, so candidates will be expected to work with other graduate students/medical residents, and other labs as required.

How to Apply: Potential candidates must submit electronically:

1) A letter explaining why you want to do research, and what are your career goals

2) Your curriculum vitae (CV),

3) A copy of your undergraduate transcripts

4) Contact information for three individuals each willing to provide a reference you to 


The University of Saskatchewan is strongly committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers all employees to reach their full potential. All members of the university community share a responsibility for developing and maintaining an environment in which differences are valued and inclusiveness is practiced. The university welcomes applications from those who will contribute to the diversity of our community. The University must, however, comply with federal immigration requirements. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.