Marie Curie Trainee on Heart Modelling/Atherosclerosis Modelling at UCL

Closing date 27 July 2015
UCL

A 3-year EU-funded early stage position is available in the Multiscale Cardiovascular Engineering group as part of the VPH-CaSE European Training Network (ETN). 

VPH-CaSE is a consortium of 5 leading European research institutions and 4 major industrial players that will involve 14 Early Stage Researchers working collaboratively to develop state-of-the-art tools to guide personalised cardiovascular support, underpinned by simulation and experimentation, building on the foundations of the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) Initiative. 

The research in VPH-CaSE will focus on three research clusters: (i) Cardiac tissue function and cardiac support (ii) Cardiovascular haemodynamics - pathology and intervention (iii) Image-based diagnosis and imaging quality assurance. The work will be directed by the needs of industrial and clinical beneficiaries and partners. The inclusion of a technology translation SME within the consortium is designed to promote the delivery of novel, tangible research outputs, providing benefits to a breadth of European sectors. 

The post includes registration to study for a PhD degree with fees (at the UK/EU rate) available from the project. There are 2 projects applicants can choose from but only 1 position available. Please state your preference when applying. 

Project 1 aims: Atherosclerosis is a serious condition where arteries become clogged up by fatty substances known as plaques or atheroma. The plaques cause affected arteries to harden and narrow, which can be dangerous as restricted blood flow can damage organs and stop them functioning properly. If a plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot. This can block the blood supply to the heart, triggering a heart attack, or it can block the blood supply to the brain, triggering a stroke. The objective of this project is to develop a patient-specific model of atherosclerosis based on previous work from the group, to capture later stages of the disease, including a biomechanical model of the plaque. This model will involve the modelling of both, the blood flow and the arterial wall. Additionally, an analysis on the sensitivity, robustness and uncertainty of these models will be carried out as these have strong implications in healthcare. The clinical impact and viability of these technologies will be tested via University College London Hospital. 

Expected Results: 

  • A patient-specific simulation framework for early and advanced stages of the disease 
  • Proof-of-concept of the use of these technologies in the clinic 
  • Proof of feasibility of the use of these models in a clinical setting 

Project 2 aims: The goal is to develop a physiologically-based cardiac contraction 3D model. The testing of medical devices such as LVADs for example is restricted to controlled-lab experiments and simulations using boundary conditions that are far removed from the real clinical situation. A 3D model of cardiac contraction able to reproduce arrhythmias is necessary to assess left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) under realistic conditions. This will provide important results to complement the capabilities of project partner Lifetec (www.lifetecgroup.com) as in-silico experiments are quicker and cheaper to use as a testing ground before proceeding with expensive ex-vivo testing. It will also provide a unique platform to assess LVADs under realistic condition ex-vivo and in-silico. 

Expected Results: 

  • Realistic 3D contraction of beating heart (flow/pressure) in Finite Elements (FE). Incorporation of activation mechanisms. 
  • Coupled LVADs – 3D Heart in-silico assessment 
  • An in-silico assessment platform 

Key responsibilities and outcomes: 

The post holder will be responsible for conducting research in line with research project set out in the project proposal (as outlined above). The post holder will be expected, in collaboration with their supervisor, to develop a career development plan of appropriate training. The post holder will also attend the necessary courses and training to acquire the skills necessary for his or her development as an independent researcher. The post holder will be expected to spend a non-negligible portion of their time abroad, working with project partners, in order to achieve the objectives of the programme of work. For project 1 the post holder will have the responsibility to develop a patient-specific multiscale atherosclerosis model and to perform uncertainty analyses. For project 2, the post holder will have the responsibility to develop a 3D mathematical model of cardiac contraction (in Finite Elements) involving physiological mechanisms. 

Internal/External Relationships:

The project is conducted in strong collaboration with other network partners and will involve secondments of up to 6 months to develop the model(s) and validate it. 

Key communications:

The post holder will also be expected to write regular progress reports, be in charge of technical report preparation for the European commission review processes, and publish regularly in internationally leading peer reviewed journals and conferences. This job description reflects the present requirements of the post, and as duties and responsibilities change/develop, the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the post holder. The post holder will carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as requested by the line manager or Head of Department/Division. The post holder will actively follow UCL policies including Equal Opportunities policies and be expected to give consideration within their role as to how they can actively advance equality of opportunity and good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it. The post holder will maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations. The post holder will carry out their duties in a resource efficient way and actively support UCL’s Sustainability policies and objectives within the remit of their role. 

Full information on the post can be found here

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Date: 13/07/2015 | Tag: | News: 399 of 616
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