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  Dr Rylie Green, Dr F Ng, Dr Josef Goding  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

British Heart Foundation and National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI)

4-year MRes/PhD Studentship, within the BHF doctoral training programme at Imperial College London

Applications are invited for a BHF 4-year MRes/PhD studentship starting in October 2023 at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) in partnership with the Bioengineering Department at Imperial College. There are four BHF DTP MRes/PhD studentship places (3 studentships funded by the BHF and 1 matched Departmental studentship).

The Cardiovascular Sections of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, are located within the Main Campus at South Kensington, the Brompton Campus, and Hammersmith/White City Campus. Bioengineering is also located at Main Campus at South Kensington and at White City. Students will have the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art facilities within a highly developed research environment where our ambition is to translate research findings to help those with cardiovascular diseases. 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.

Project summary

The BHF 4-year MRes/PhD studentships typically comprises a 1-year MRes in Biomedical Research, followed by a 3-year PhD. During the MRes year, students undertake two laboratory projects which will prepare them for the PhD. The Student will join a well-established doctoral training program with bespoke teaching activities, seminars, mentors, and workshops.

Cardiac pacemakers are composed of a pulse generator producing an electric charge and a lead delivering the charge to the cardiac tissue via an electrode. The lead is the weak link and principal cause of complications. Lead fracture is the most common concern, resulting in the need for replacement with incumbent risks of infection, thrombosis, occlusion and cardiac damage. Traditional pacemakers also prevent patients from benefiting from diagnostic MRI due to the metal lead generating unsafe amounts of heat inside the body.

Novel conductive elastomer (CE) wires developed in Prof. Green’s lab are flexible, conductive, and meet several ISO standards for operation of pacing leads. This program aims to design and fabricate polymeric pacemaker leads with integrated electrodes and demonstrate robustness and safety in biologically relevant conditions.

The first MRes project will aim to explore fabrication methods for scaled-up manufacturing of CE leads, using 3D printing and moulding approaches. The second MRes project will aim to explore methods of fixation of CE leads to explanted rat hearts, analyse robustness of adhesion, and assess tissue damage with histology. The PhD project will consist of characterising the leads across a range of mechanical and electrical properties, then assessing safety and efficacy with ex vivo and in vivo studies in rats. The leads will be implanted chronically and ability to pace the heart will be assessed along with tissue damage analysis. MRI studies with explanted hearts will be conducted to assess MRI compatibility of the devices.

Prof. Rylie Green is a Professor of Polymer Bioelectronics and Dr. Josef Goding is a post-doctoral researcher specialised in medical devices – their research aims to understand cell-material interactions at the interface between tissue and bioelectronic devices. They are based at the Bioengineering department in the South Kensington and White City campus. You can learn more about their research here:

Dr. Fu Siong Ng is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Electrophysiology at the NHLI and is based at the Hammersmith campus.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in bioengineering, neuroscience, neurotechnology, medical science, material science, or similar from a recognised academic institution. Candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria.

How to Apply

To apply, please email Jaya Rajamanie ([Email Address Removed]) with the following documents.

-      Your CV

-      The names and addresses of at least two academic referees.

-      A personal statement of no more than 1,000 words explaining your interest in the project and ensure that you specify your degree classification for your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (and attach scanned copies of the certificates if possible).

Selected candidates will get a tour of the relevant campus. 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: 20th February 2023

Interviews will be held online mid/end of March.

Funding Notes

Studentships will cover tuition fees (at the Home rate) and a tax-free stipend starting from £22,278 per annum for a total of 4 years.
In addition, there is a consumable allowance £4000 per student for the MRes year (plus the additional in-course £2500 per MRes project) for both BHF and Department funded studentships and £10,000 (BHF funded studentship) and £5000 (Department studentship) per PhD year. A travel fund of £1000 in total per student will be provided.
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