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Fundamental understanding of blood pressure measurement physiology


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Expressions of interest are sought from suitable candidates to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research higher degree in clinical blood pressure physiology at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

Non-invasive blood pressure (BP) measurements are performed every day in clinical practice. The measurement usually involves an inflatable upper-arm cuff and either manual or automatic recording of BP. Cuff measured BP is strongly related to clinical outcomes, however recent evidence has shown it is inaccurate compared with gold-standard, invasive (intra-arterial) BP. Cuff BP is over 100 years old, but the reasons for measurement inaccuracy and potential implications are not well understood. There is also substantial variability in BP across the large arteries (BP amplification) that appear to contribute to issues on cuff BP accuracy, yet the hemodynamic reasons for (BP amplification) remain unclear.

The prospective Blood Pressure Phenotypes (BP TYPE) study seeks to address these issues. We have established a network of international collaborators and work locally with the Royal Hobart Hospital Cardiology Department. BP TYPE forms the basis of this PhD program, where the following specific questions will be addressed:
1. What are the reasons underlying disparities between cuff BP and invasive BP?
2. What are the hemodynamic correlates of BP amplification and do they influence cuff BP accuracy?
3. How important is central versus peripheral artery stiffness for cuff BP accuracy?

Supervision will be from the BP TYPE study investigators, Dr Dean Picone (https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=Ng6fgjkAAAAJ&hl=en), Dr Martin Schultz (https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=V4K8wuIAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra) and Prof James Sharman (https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=Ma5uhYAAAAAJ&hl=en). Dr Picone is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and conducted much of the seminal work that underpins the rationale for this PhD program. Dr Schultz is a Senior Research Fellow and clinical exercise physiologist (AEP) at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, supported by a National Heart Foundation Future Leader fellowship. Professor Sharman is Deputy Director of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and leader of the Blood Pressure Research Group.

The successful applicant will also have access to the resources, support and mentorship of the broader Blood Pressure Research Group, as well as a national and international network of established research collaborators.

For more information on Menzies and our research, please refer to our website http://www.menzies.utas.edu.au/.

Application criteria:
Essential attributes:
- Completed a bachelor’s degree (preferably in clinical science/physiology or similar health/medical field) with first class honours or equivalent degree; or equivalent industry/clinical/research experience.
- A high level of English language proficiency, both written and verbal
Desirable attributes:
- Previous experience working with large clinical/research datasets
- Knowledge of statistical techniques and associated software

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