UK: PhD Studentship in Multi-scale Modelling of Vascular Mechanobiology at University of Sheffield

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Supervisor: PN Watton, Department of Computer Science

Co-supervisors: P Evans, Department of Cardiovascular Science

CM Perrault, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Description: We are seeking applications from motivated mathematics, science or engineering graduates interested in studying for a Ph.D. in an exciting interdisciplinary environment.

Vascular mechanobiology (VM) relates to the interaction between vascular biology and mechanics. It plays a central role in vascular development and disease. Computational models of VM have the potential to provide fundamental insight into disease processes and guide clinical decisions, e.g. ‘should we treat, and, if so, how do we optimise treatment?’ However, whilst models of vascular solid and fluid mechanics have become increasingly sophisticated, detailed modelling of the VM is lacking. Consequently, the insight such models can provide and their potential application remains limited.

The objective of this PhD is to develop a novel multi-scale vascular mechanobiology computational framework(VMCF), validate the VMCF with an in vitro model and then apply it to model a clinical problem. The project will extend a VMCF developed by Watton which incorporates: a realistic microstructural model of the arterial wall; a computational framework which quantifies the mechanical stimuli acting on the vascular cells; phenomenological algorithms which represent the VM, i.e. interaction between mechanics and biology. The research will involve three stages: (i) integrate explicit representations of vascular cell mechanobiology into Watton’s model (with Prof Paul Evans); (ii) apply the model to simulate the evolving mechanobiology of a vascular cell-seeded scaffold (endothelial cells) housed within a flow-bioreactor system (with Dr. Perrault) so that the VM can be evaluated in a controlled biological scenario; (iii) apply the VMCF to simulate the evolution of a vascular disease, e.g., aneurysm evolution, in-stent restenosis.

This project will be supervised by Dr Paul Watton (Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science) and Dr Cecile Perrault (Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering) who are both core members of the new Insigneo Institute for In Silico Medicine. The internally funded studentship, (which is available immediately and must start by January 2014), will include full payment of fees at the UK/EU level, along with a stipend of £15k per annum.

Eligibility:The successful candidate will be expected to have a good 2:1 or 1st class degree in Mathematics, Engineering or Science subject with evidence of sound mathematical and programming skills. Previous experience in continuum mechanics and the finite element method preferred.

For an informal discussion :on the project please email Dr. Paul Watton: P.Watton@sheffield.ac.uk
Please attach your CV and two references, and indicate on your form that you are replying to this advert.

Application Deadline: 1st December 2013

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