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Manufacturing of Balloon for Intra-Ventricular Balloon Pump

  • 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 The Prince Charles Hospital.

BACKGROUND
Short-term mechanical circulatory support devices are getting more interest for providing short-term support to patients with severe heart failure. An intraventricular balloon pump designed and developed at the ICETLAB has been investigated to provide short-term support. The IVBP consists of a balloon inserted inside the left ventricle which, by inflating and deflating in synchrony with the cardiac cycle, increases cardiac output. The IVBP haemodynamics were analysed in a mock circulatory loop and the intraventricular flow were analysed with particle image velocimetry. Further development and testing need to be conducted to improve the IVBP biological and mechanical reliability and efficiency.

AIM
Translate the preliminary IVBP testing and development into a prototype; develop a balloon manufacturing process including the balloon anchor and introducer.

SPECIFIC TASKS
- Balloon manufacturing
- Material bio-compatibility
- Balloon shape control
- Durability
- Balloon introducer and anchor.

SIGNIFICANCE
The IVBP aims at supporting patients up to 90 days, introduction of this device in clinical practice would fill the gap between the acute short-term (few days) and long term (decades) devices that are available on the market. The significance of this project relies in proving the mechanical and clinical feasibility of the IVBP.

RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
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.

The PhD candidate will also be a key participant within the Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices (AMMD) Hub, based at the University of Queensland. The Hub team seeks to concurrently develop materials, technologies and flexible manufacturing processes, as advanced manufacturing technologies are crucial to enabling the next generation of medical devices. The AMMD Hub received funding of $2.8 million for five years from the ARC through the Industrial Transformation Research Program. This investment was matched by industry partners, with a total value of more than $10 million of cash and in-kind funding.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
To be eligible, applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements for entrance to a PhD program at The University of Queensland (UQ). Please refer to the university webpage for specific entrance requirements into Higher Degree by Research program:
- UQ website: https://graduate-school.uq.edu.au/uq-research-degrees

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
- Demonstrated ability in mechanical or biomedical engineering
- Experience in manufacturing and material sciences
- Demonstrated ability to work in a team
- Strong work ethic
- Good oral and written communication skills

CONTACT
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. 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

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