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An In silico model of action potential propagation, biologically validated in the HL1-6 myocyte cell line: The ideal combination for characterising myocardial propagation.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr E Dupont
    Prof S Sherwin
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisors: Dr Emmanuel Dupont ([Email Address Removed]), Professor Spencer Sherwin ([Email Address Removed]), Dr Chris Cantwell ([Email Address Removed]) and Professor Nicholas Peters

Applications are invited for this MRes/PhD studentships within the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial College London, one of five starting October 2016. The studentships are funded through a training grant from the BHF on a tax-free bursary starting from £17,500 per annum. Tuition fees will be paid at the Home/EU rate. There is no provision for overseas student fees.

Imperial College London’s BHF Centre of Research Excellence, sponsored by the UK’s leading charity for pioneering research into heart disease, is an established cross-disciplinary venture. Our aim has been to foster a unique collaborative research environment that draws on Imperial’s world class reputation in cardiovascular science, engineering and collaborating physical sciences.

Students will first undertake the MRes in Biomedical Research, a full-time master’s course in the Cardiovascular Science, Technology and Medicine (C/STEM) stream, with projects and taught classes provided by BHF Centre members. Our trainees receive cross-disciplinary supervision, with at least two supervisors drawn from different Faculties or Departments. Upon successful completion of the MRes year, students will progress to a 3 year PhD training programme in an aligned area.

Project summary
Our understanding of the underlying mechanisms initiating and perpetuating arrhythmias in the heart is often derived from computer simulations and observations of pharmacological effects on single cells. Computer models are capable of testing hypotheses which are challenging or impossible to test biologically, such as specific electrical coupling or ionic modifications. However, computer simulations have not been systematically validated against the biological substrates they are representing. During the first MRes project the student will acquire biological data from an immortal cell line – HL1-6 – that generate and propagate action potentials in exactly the same way as in myocardial tissue but constitute a simpler 2D model of propagation than the organ. The student will then use these data to develop a computer model for HL1-6 myocytes during the second MRes project. The PhD is a systems biology project and a continuation of the two sides of the MRes. The student will refine the biological experiments using a cell-discrete computer model that he or she will develop and validate from the biological observations in a constant crosstalk between the two sides of the project. The model will then be adapted to real myocardial tissue using published observations (e.g. 3D cell geometry, fibrosis). This project is most suitable for a student with a mathematics, physics, engineering or computational engineering background since knowledge of the myocytes’ biophysics is relatively easy to learn and understand.

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research student training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

How to Apply
Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate subject from a recognised academic institution. Candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria and meet BHF residency requirements. To apply, please send your CV, the names and addresses of at least two academic referees and a personal statement of no more than 1,000 words explaining your interest in a cross-disciplinary approach to cardiovascular science relevant to the project to Dr Gunvanti Goding by email on [Email Address Removed]

Please assume that your application has not been successful if you have not heard from us within a month of the closing date.

Closing date for all applications: 15th February 2016

Interviews will be held in March 2016


Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

Funding Notes

The studentships are funded through a training grant from the BHF on a tax-free bursary starting from £17,500 per annum. Tuition fees will be paid at the Home/EU rate. There is no provision for overseas student fees.

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