Investigation of haemodynamics of dissected aortas: an in vitro, in-vivo and in-vitro
UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is offering a three year studentship focusing on the study of haemodynamics of aortic dissection using experimental flow diagnostics and computational flow dynamics techniques.
The studentship is funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and offers full tuition fees and a stipend of £22,280 to £26,057 per annum (for 3 years) (see https://www.bhf.org.uk/research/information-for-researchers/how-to-apply/costing-salaries-and-stipends for full rates).
Aortic dissection is a life threatening cardiovascular condition associated with high mortality rates; the condition is very patient specific and its progression depends on the haemodynamic characteristics of the dissection; detailed knowledge of the dissection flow-related variables can aid clinicians to tailor the treatment to individual patients, decide when to intervene surgically and optimise the management of the disease. Computational fluid dynamics combined with in vivo, medical imaging techniques, has the potential to revolutionise the clinical management of such diseases; however, a number of important challenges have to be overcome in order to achieve this, such as for example accuracy and computational speed.
In this study, in vivo measurements, in vitro experiments and in silico fluid-structure interaction studies will be combined in order to understand the haemodynamics of aortic dissections. A pilot computational study of a patient-specific dissected aorta has been conducted using dynamic boundary conditions and has already highlighted the role of hemodynamic parameters in identifying regions of the dissection at risk of false lumen enlargement, rupture or malperfusion; this study will be extended to include the effect of vessel wall compliance through fluid-structure interaction simulations and validated rigorously through in vitro measurements involving compliant patient-specific phantoms. The validated tool will be subsequently rolled out to a number of patient cases in order to provide insight on the effects of dissection morphology on haemodynamics and eventually clinical prognosis, with the ultimate goal to develop a reliable and computationally efficient tool that can aid the clinician in understanding and managing the disease. The proposed approach will eventually be used to develop robust and valid methodologies for in-silico analysis of other aortic diseases.
An engineering graduate with good knowledge of fluids mechanics, strong analytical skills, passion for both numerical and experimental work and experience with Matlab and design/instrumentation is required. Any previous experience with optical flow diagnostics such as PIV will be a plus although it is important to mention that training will be provided. The student is expected to develop an experimental facility and patient specific phantoms for in vitro flow diagnostics and apply fluid structure interaction techniques in ANSYS/CFX to conduct patient specific simulations of aortic dissection. Very close interaction with the clinical team will be maintained throughout the project and hence a driven and results oriented person with strong interpersonal skills is needed for the project. Additional support in terms of the modelling will be provided. The successful applicant will be part of a highly enthusiastic and interdisciplinary team, with an excellent record of training and mentoring PhD students and young researchers.
A 1st class or high upper 2nd class degree, or MSc with merit or distinction is required.
Funding is at UK rates and therefore candidates should be UK/EEA nationals (full residency requirements can be found in www.bhf.org.uk/research/information-for-researchers/how-to-apply/essential-information).
Applications for this post should be made via https://www.prism.ucl.ac.uk/#!/?project=138
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