PhD Studentship: Computational Modelling to Evaluate, Understand and Predict the Placental Transfer of Xenobiotics as an Integrated System

University of Southampton - Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Placental transfer of drugs and other potentially harmful xenobiotics from mother to fetus is a critical safety issue that currently cannot be fully evaluated due to the biological complexity of the transport mechanisms involved. Systems biology approaches using mathematical modelling can provide solutions to capture this complexity, however current pharmacokinetic models for placental transfer are largely phenomenological and fail to reflect the underlying physiology. Therefore, this project will develop novel mechanistic computational models for the functional characterisation of complex biological transport systems and test these extensively against data from the ex-vivo perfused placenta, Transwell and placenta-on-a-chip setup. Such closely integrated computational-experimental tools and technologies are highly timely and will allow for the first time the systematic quantitative evaluation of new and existing compounds and their transport interactions in the placenta.

The successful candidate will have a strong background in computational/mathematical modelling and a degree in a relevant quantitative discipline, such as for example Applied Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, or Quantitative Pharmacology

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Bram Sengers, research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3300.

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South East England