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PhD Studentship: Multiscale Analysis of the interactions between a Novel Total Artificial Heart and the Native Cardiovascular System

University of Bath - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009 maintenance stipend, UK/EU tuition fees, training support fee of £1,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th June 2019
Closes: 12th July 2019

Supervisory team:  Dr Kate Fraser & Dr Andrew Cookson

Project enquiries:


For patients with severe end-stage heart failure the only hope of long term survival is a heart transplant. However, donor hearts are scarce, and not available for all who need them. Some patients may be supported by Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) but patients with both right and left ventricle failure need two VADs, greatly increasing the risks of complications. An alternative is a Total Artificial Heart (TAH), a mechanical device to completely replace the native heart. Only one such TAH is currently available, and it suffers from a number of issues. Scandinavian Real Heart AB are developing a TAH with a completely novel pumping concept: based on the function of the native heart the Realheart TAH uses the motion of an atrio-ventricular valve plane to pump blood. It is hypothesized that this use of positive displacement, rather than rotation, for pumping, has major advantages compared to other TAHs in development.

Mechanical circulatory support devices (MCSDs) such as the Real Heart operate within the native cardiovascular system. The interactions between the MCSD and both the small scale components of the cardiovascular system, such as the blood cells, and the large scale components, such as the arteries, are vital to successful implantation. This project then aims to investigate these interactions for a novel Total Artificial Heart (TAH) with the specific aims of calculating the amount of damage done to the blood, in particular the red blood cells, and the difference in the pressure wave propagating through the arteries, as compared with the native heart.

The project will involve the use of computational fluid dynamics to simulate blood flow within the Realheart, the development of numerical models for damage to the blood components, and the use of mathematical modelling to investigate pulse waves in the arteries. There will also be the opportunity to perform experimental validation of the numerical results.


The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree or very good 2:1 or MSc distinction (or equivalent).  English language requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding.

Due to the funding restrictions, this position is only available for UK/ EU candidates.


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Funding is for up to three and a half years. It includes UK/EU tuition fees, training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a Maintenance stipend of £15,009 per annum (2019/0 rate). EU students are eligible to apply if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing.

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019 but applications for 20 January 2020 will be considered

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