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Development of a Motor and Control System for a new Rotary Blood Pump for Right Heart Support

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Critical Care Research Group (CCRG), based at the The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) in Brisbane, Australia, is seeking highly motivated, skilled and committed PhD candidates to join our multidisciplinary and international research team to commence a PhD project.

The project will be primarily based within the Innovative Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology Laboratory (ICETLAB); the biomedical engineering arm of the CCRG at TPCH.

Right heart failure is a common post-operative complication following Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implantation. At present, there is no clinically approved Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) for long-term use, and it is commonplace for a second rotary LVAD to be used to support the failing right ventricle. Since LVADs are designed to support the systemic circulation where the pressure is notably greater than in the pulmonary circulation, LVADs are adapted for RVAD support. However, these adaptations come with inherent complications resulting in an increased risk of blood damage. Thus, the ICETLAB aims to develop an RVAD to combat these complications.

The aim of the present project is to develop and evaluate a motor and controller to drive a new rotary blood pump for right heart support.

- Design and evaluation of a motor to drive the hydraulic system of a rotary blood pump.
- Design and evaluation of a motor controller that allows for both constant speed control and speed modulation to create pulsatility.
- In vitro validation of motor / controller design in a mock circulatory loop (mechanical representation of the heart and circulatory system).

The present project will result in a prototype motor and control system for a novel right ventricular assist device, which will be an essential step towards the overall aim of developing an RVAD system.

The CCRG is the largest acute care multi-disciplinary research group of its kind in Australia. It is a collaborative group of multi-disciplinary researchers committed to finding world-first innovative solutions that will lead to healthier living, improved quality of life, fewer hospitalisations and more efficient clinical treatment. Our team of researchers includes physicians, surgeons, intensivists, nurses, scientists and engineers, as well as an array of university Honours, Masters and PhD candidates.

The PhD candidate will be based in the ICETLAB, which is located within TPCH (Australia’s largest cardiac hospital) and only a two minute walk to the operating theatres and intensive care units where clinical and patient feedback can be obtained, and only a five minute walk from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT’s) Medical Engineering and Research Facility (MERF). ICETLAB research projects centre on cardiovascular engineering, with the primary aim of improving outcomes for heart and lung failure patients receiving mechanical circulatory and respiratory support.

The ICETLAB was founded in 2007 and has since produced over 50 peer-reviewed publications and been awarded over 7 million AUD of competitive grant funding. The ICETLAB has grown continuously and now houses approximately 15 full- or part-time researchers of postdoctoral, PhD, Masters, or undergraduate levels with expertise including medical, mechanical and electrical engineering, biological and health sciences and manufacturing. Furthermore, the ICETLAB closely collaborates with CCRG’s Scientific and Translational Research Laboratory (STARLAB) to form a silo-free research environment amongst engineers, scientists, clinicians and patients. This research environment allows for rapid translation from bench-top testing through to clinical implementation.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements for entrance to a PhD program at any of: The University of Queensland (UQ), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) or Griffith University.

Please refer to the relevant university webpages for specific entrance requirements into Higher Degree by Research programs:
- UQ website:
- QUT website:
- Griffith University website:

- Demonstrated ability in electrical engineering
- Experience in motor and control design
- Demonstrated ability to work in a team
- Strong work ethic
- Good oral and written communication skills

Prospective candidates should contact Dr Jo Pauls (Technical Director ICETLAB) by email:

Funding Notes

Both Australian and international applicants may apply and a competitive scholarship will be available for successful candidates (approximately $28,000/year up to three years). Successful international candidates will need to secure a scholarship to cover tuition fees from UQ, QUT or Griffith University. International scholarships are competitive and only applicants with a strong academic performance (First Class Honours/Masters) will be considered. Demonstrated research excellence indicators (e.g. peer-reviewed publications) are desirable but not essential. Selected candidates will be assisted to apply for a scholarship.

Please refer to the relevant university links:
- UQ View Website
- QUT View Website
- Griffith University View Website

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