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Next generation of endovascular catheter-based cardiac procedures using soft robotics.


   Department of Electronic Engineering

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  Dr Manish Chauhan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Medical Robotics Lab at the University of York has career opportunities in interdisciplinary area of Medical soft Robotics, Mechatronics. Applications are invited for a PhD student in medical robotics and related basic sciences.

Background: Beating-heart procedures represent a less invasive alternative to standard open-heart surgery with fewer perioperative complications, and shorter recovery time. However, several engineering challenges still preclude performing reconstructive surgical procedures via endovascular approach, which currently can mostly be done on the open and stopped heart.

Current endovascular catheter-based platforms still provide limited distal dexterity, lack sensor feedback, and cannot apply significant number of forces. Furthermore, the highly dynamic environment given by the beating heart, makes precise positioning of the tool very challenging, resulting in significant risks in manipulating delicate intracardiac structures. Robotic catheters have been explored in cardiovascular conditions like endoscopic cardiac, vascular/endovascular surgery, ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation and percutaneous coronary intervention. Though promising, its application is challenged by environmental problems (continuous heart pulsation, blood flow) and engineering limitations (maintaining sufficient contact forces, avoid puncturing the cardiac wall, micro-fabrication, and poor tip navigation control through tortuous vascular geometry). This project proposes to overcome above challenges by exploring micro-fabrication, mathematical modelling, developing control strategies using magnetic actuation and experimental validation for long-slender robotic catheters.

Objective and proposed solution: The proposed project aims to develop a new class of endovascular soft robotic actuator for stable, precise, remote based control of rapid, repeatable catheters for in-vitro testing in cardiac phantom, animal cadaver and minimally invasive and safe patient care.

Key areas of research include:

  • Exciting opportunity to explore interdisciplinary research of surgical care, cancer diagnosis and corresponding therapeutics, soft robotic structures, novel actuation techniques, AI, data processing and bioengineering.
  • Investigation of clinical workflows and validation of developed robot-assisted medical device in collaboration with clinical partners.

We are interested in candidates with a strong background in one or more of the following areas:

  • Proficiency in Data Analysis (Python, MATLAB), programming (Micro-controller/processors), mechanical CAD design (SolidWorks, hands-on experience of 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D scanning).

Training provided: Research will include working with synthetic biochemical compound, cancerous tissues, mechanical and electronic circuit designs, prototyping and pre-clinical in-vitro testing of surgical medical devices (i) exploring novel actuation methods (like magnetic field), (ii) soft robotic fabrication and control technique, (iii) integration of sensors, camera interfaces into soft robotic devices, (iv) training in soft robotic material and biomedical engineering course, (v) material science.

Impact: Novel Collaboration for synergizing interdisciplinary research (soft robotics, clinical science, medical imaging) for surgical intervention in cardiovascular diseases.]

Academic entry requirements:

Candidates must have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second-class honours degree (2.1) in an Engineering discipline, Materials Science, Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Biotechnology or in a related subject.

Candidates with a prior knowledge or experience in the handling of any of the techniques such as microfluidics, micro-fabrication, biosensors, CMOS designing, molecular diagnostics, diagnostic testing, LabView, MatLab, biochemistry or PCR handling will be desirable although it is not essential requirement. 

How to Apply: Applicants must apply via the University’s online application system at https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/apply/. Please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process. To apply, please select the PhD in Electronic Engineering for October 2022 entry. Please specify in your PhD application that you would like to be considered for this studentship.

Applications for this studentship will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable applicant is identified.


Funding Notes

This studentship will cover the tuition fee at the home rate (£4,596 in 2022/23) and a stipend at the standard research council rate for a period of up to 3.5 years (£16,062 in 2022/23). International candidates are also welcome to apply but will be required to pay the difference between the UK and international tuition fee rates (approximately £17,000 per year for the duration of the programme).
Applications for this studentship will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable applicant is identified.
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