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(MRC DTP) Multimodal image-based modelling of placental flow and transport

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  • Full or part time
    Dr I Chernyaysky
    Prof O Jensen
    Dr E Johnstone
    Dr P Brownbill
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The placenta is responsible for sustaining fetal life and enabling fetal growth during pregnancy. In up to 8% of pregnancies, placental function is compromised, resulting in babies that fail to grow to their full potential. This condition (fetal growth restriction) can have lifelong consequences, including higher risks of heart disease, diabetes or stroke later in life. The human placenta is characterised by a unique arrangement of densely packed fetal blood vessels drawing oxygen and nutrients from maternal blood. Image-based modelling has the potential to reveal how disruption of this intricate structure in disease impacts placental function. We have developed a system using micro-CT technology to image vascular casts of the feto-placental vasculature tree, revealing micro-structure in normal and abnormal placentas. We have also used X-ray synchrotron imaging to reveal features of the complementary porous medium occupied by maternal blood. Our published micro-CT study has only started to explore the potential of the imaging technology; mathematical, statistical and computational approaches are now needed to characterise the vessel network structure, and to assess the relationship between placental structure and function at the whole-organ level. Using existing and emerging imaging data, we will develop multiscale models of the placental circulation, which can be validated against data from ex vivo perfusion of whole placental lobules, and use these models to assess nutrient transport in normal and abnormal placentas. The project will suit a student taking a Masters-level degree in applied mathematics, physics, bioengineering or a related area who has enthusiasm to apply their skills to a challenging biomedical application. Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a related subject.

Entry Requirements
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the MRC DTP website

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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