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Modelling and Simulation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell derived Cardiomyocyte Grafts

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

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Applications are invited for a BHF Centre of Regenerative Medicine – National Heart and Lung Institute 3 year PhD studentship starting in October 2018 at the BHF Centre of Regenerative Medicine at Imperial College London. The studentship will cover tuition fees (at the Home/EU rate) and a tax-free stipend starting from £18,000 per annum for a total of 3 years.

The BHF Centre has internal partners from Imperial’s NHLI and Materials Departments, as well as the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre. Our main external partner is the Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering & Modelling at University of Nottingham. We also have expert partners at the Universities of Hamburg, Glasgow, Westminster and Oxford. Our expertise complements the other two BHF Centres at Oxford/Cambridge and Edinburgh.

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.

Project summary

This project aims to understand how to use human pluripotent stem cell technology to generate new cardiac muscle grafts that can be used to repair damaged hearts. The project will focus on developing biophysical models to simulate and analyse stem cell physiology and how this changes in tissue grafts, how grafts interact with biomaterial vectors and the interrelationship between the graft and the host heart.

Human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes offer an exciting opportunity to grow exogenous tissue grafts to replace damaged regions of the heart. Grafts are grown on a biomaterial that can then be attached to a damaged heart with the hope that the graft will replace or augment the damaged tissue. Understanding and optimising the interaction between the graft, biomaterial and the damaged heart are crucial to successfully repair cardiac function. Computational biophysical models provide a common physically
constrained framework to integrate, analyse and optimise the interface between cellular, biomaterial and tissue properties.

This project will develop biophysical models of the electrophysiology of human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, stem cell grafts and damaged hearts. These models will be used to determine the optimal graft and biomaterial properties to ensure a safe and effective electrical coupling of the graft to the damaged heart.

This project will involve: processing, analysing and interpreting data to infer model parameters and validate model predictions; image processing and mesh creation; and multiscale simulations using high performance computing resources. The cardiac models require the numerical solution of systems of differential equations to model cellular physiology and the monodomain partial differential equations for simulating cardiac electrophysiology. The project will involve working closely with the biological researchers at Imperial College London and biomedical engineers at Kings’ College London.

Applicant Requirements

This project will suit a candidate with a passion for applied mathematics, computer science and computational biology. A strong mathematical and programming background from a recognised academic institution will be essential for this project. Experience with C/C++ (or equivalent), Linux, MPI and HPC would be beneficial.

Candidates must fulfil College admissions criteria and meet BHF residency requirements.

How to Apply

To apply, please email Jinata Subba ([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

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 March 2018

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