Fully funded PhD studentship about a novel cardiovascular assisting device

University College London - Mechanical Engineering

A challenging opportunity with a 3-year PhD studentship is available at UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering for an enthusiastic student interested in development of a novel cardiovascular assisting device.

This device is aimed at helping the blood circulation of patients with total cavopulmonary connection (TCPC), typically seen in children after surgeries for functional single ventricle physiology. The lack of a subpulmonary pumping chamber in a TCPC creates a circulatory paradox with relentless systemic venous hypertension on the liver, the mesenteric and the lymphatic circulation. The complications can be debilitating, and the management of such important short term and late consequences are very challenging. Bespoke mechanical pumps have been tried at some centres and, so far, the results have been disappointing.

To work alongside the conventional approach, our pilot work / research hypothesis is to design a circulatory support system incorporated within the TCPC model, which is robust enough to provide a small gain in energy for forward blood flow (to reverse the circulatory paradox) with low power requirement. The structural concept would also require a low space occupation, surgical feasibility and safety in mind.

This is highly multi-disciplinary project including following aspects:

  • human pathophysiology
  • fluid-structure interaction of flexible tubes
  • fluid mechanical and electrical optimisation of pumping performance
  • device design (shape optimisation, control system and electric circuit)
  • metallic and soft material characterisation

Instrumentation and device design, experimental and computational fluid mechanics will be the key components of the project. The project will be carried out in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Supervisors: Dr. Ryo Torii, Prof. Richard Bucknall, Dr. Gaetano Burriesci (UCL Mechanical Engineering) and Prof. Victor Tsang (Great Ormond Street Hospital)

Eligibility: UK/EU students

Start Date: as soon as possible

Financial support: UK/EU tuition fee and tax-free stipend at RCUK standard London rate, £16,553 p.a.

Key Requirements

Applicants should have a very good degree in engineering, physical science or mathematics. Understanding, skills and aptitude for fluid mechanics and power systems analysis are essential. Experience on experimentation is also desirable. Education and training in advanced computational modelling and cardiovascular biological sciences along with other appropriate training will be provided additionally.

Application Process
Applicants should in the first instance email their CV and a brief covering letter/statement to Dr Ryo Torii. The supervisory team will arrange an interview for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL website. Applicants are also encouraged to informally contact Dr Torii prior to formal application.

Application Closing Date: 31/01/2018

Application and enquiries to: Dr Ryo Torii (r.torii@ucl.ac.uk)

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