About the Project
Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death worldwide requiring millions of vascular bypass/replacement surgeries each year. Bypass surgery requires the incorporation of blood vessels to circumvent blocked arteries using blood vessels harvested from the patient, which is unsuitable for a large number of patients. Synthetic vascular-grafts can be use, however, they have low success rate. Therefore, this project proposes an interdisciplinary approach to tackle this problem. A 3D-bioprinter will be used to build synthetic blood vessels loaded with drugs and containing stem cells. These artificial blood vessels will provide a structure for the cells to form new blood vessels and subsequently will be biodegraded leaving a new functional blood vessel. The devices will contain drugs to prevent blood clot formation.
The first stage of the project will cover the design and manufacturing of these blood vessels. This first part will cover disciplines such as 3D-design, material sciences, advance manufacturing techniques and chemistry. On the other hand, the second part of the project anticoagulant drugs will be incorporated into the 3D-printed vascular grafts incorporating a pharmaceutical sciences angle to the project. The third part of the project will evaluate the incorporation of organoids generated from cells provided by donors into the vascular grafts. This part of the project will rely heavily on tissue culture, biological methods including in vivo studies.
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date.
Important, applicants must fulfil the eligibility criteria set out by the Department for the Economy which can be found at this link: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/department-economy-studentships