Supervisory Team: Prof Neil Bressloff & Prof Nick Curzen (FoM)
Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship working on the design of novel delivery and retrieval systems for replacement heart valves. You will join the world-leading Computational Engineering & Design Research Group in the School of Engineering on the Boldrewood Innovation Campus. The University of Southampton is a member of the Russell Group and ranked in the world’s top 100 Universities.
You will be supervised by Professor Neil Bressloff (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences) and Professor Nick Curzen (Faculty of Medicine). Therefore, you will benefit from their long-standing, inter-disciplinary collaboration and their strong links to the bioengineering and life sciences community in the University and to clinicians at the University Southampton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Degenerative heart valve disease is a growing problem in both the developed world and in the global south. Conventionally, open heart surgery has been used to replace a diseased valve but transcatheter implantation procedures are displacing the surgical approach. Even so, all types of prosthetic tissue valves are likely to degenerate within 7-15 years. The clinically relevant research question thus arises how to optimally treat a failing prosthetic tissue heart valve.
Currently, there are two approaches. One involves open heart surgery to replace the failing valve and the other uses the increasingly popular transcatheter procedure to implant another valve inside the failing valve, so called valve-in-valve. The transcatheter approach inevitably produces a reduction in flow area. Therefore, if both open heart surgery and loss of flow area are to be avoided, particularly in later life, a new technology is needed to address the potential global pandemic looming for heart valve patients over the full life course of their treatment.
With this in mind, the proposed project will design, test and build a prototype valve retrieval system for redo transcatheter valve replacement. The key measurable objectives are:
Develop an initial concept using finite element analysis to simulate the valve retrieval process and demonstrate its feasibility in silico;
Fabricate and test a working model in vitro;
Analyse the capabilities and reliability of the model in realistic clinical scenarios.
Thus, the project will involve advanced computational engineering modelling including computer aided design and finite element analysis, complemented by experimental analysis and validation of the computational model.
A very good undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering subject (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). Ideally, you should have some experience in computer aided design, finite element analysis and other computational engineering areas, and it will be advantageous to have experience of medical device design as well.
Closing date: 31 August 2021, It is planned to start the project in 2021, preferably no later than October.
Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.
Please apply via the 'apply online' below.
For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community.