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Pump Design and Development 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 comprises 4 main components: 1- the intraventricular balloon, 2- the anchor to fix the balloon in the ventricle, 3- the extracorporeal pump and 4- the pump controller including the biological control sensors. The IVBP haemodynamics were analysed in a mock circulatory loop and the intraventricular flows were analysed with particle image velocimetry. Further development and testing need to be conducted to improve the IVBP biological and mechanical reliability and efficiency and to develop a portable controller/power source.

AIM
Translate the preliminary IVBP testing and development into a prototype; design and develop the portable extracorporeal pump.

SPECIFIC TASKS
- Pump design.
- Controller development including biological sensors (e.g. ECG, fibre optic pressure sensors).
- Pre-clinical trial to address interaction between the IVBP and cardiac function.

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. After acute heart failure, the longer the patient is left untreated, the greater life-threatening problems the patient will face. Access to the IVBP would assist the patient while providing more time to doctors and relatives to evaluate the situation and make adequate decisions. 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.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
To be eligible, applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements for entrance to a PhD program at any of: The University of Queensland (UQ), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) or Griffith University.

Please refer to the relevant university webpages for specific entrance requirements into Higher Degree by Research programs:
- UQ website: https://graduate-school.uq.edu.au/uq-research-degrees
- QUT website: https://www.qut.edu.au/research/study-with-us
- Griffith University website: https://www.griffith.edu.au/research-study/what-is-a-hdr/phds-research-degrees

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
- Demonstrated ability in mechanical, biomedical, mechatronic, electronic or electrical engineering
- Experience in 3D design (Solidworks), control design
- 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, QUT or Griffith University. 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
- QUT View Website
- Griffith University View Website

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