Postgraduate Studentship on Modelling Coronary Blood Flow Dynamics - University of Oxford

Postgraduate Studentship
Modelling Coronary Blood Flow Dynamics
Department of Mathematics

STUDENTSHIP covers fees (University and College) and maintenance.

Applications are invited for a postgraduate studentship, funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Global Research Partnership [KAUST GRP], to work on “Modelling Coronary Blood Flow Dynamics” under the supervision of Dr Nic Smith and Prof. Jon Chapman. This DPhil studentship will start on 1 October 2009, is available to all nationalities, covers maintenance and full overseas fees and will be based in the newly established Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics (OCCAM).

OCCAM has been established with substantial funding from the KAUST GRP. The Centre, which is part of the Mathematical Institute, will be allied to a global network of mathematicians. Aiming to meet the ever-increasing global demand for quantitative understanding of complex scientific phenomena, OCCAM has been built on the strength of four pre-existing groups of applied and computational mathematicians working in Oxford: the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Centre for Mathematical Biology, the Numerical Analysis Group and the Computational Biology Group. It has a symbiotic relationship with other scientific communities which have a need for problem-solving mathematics both within the University of Oxford and beyond. Over the first five years the centre will employ 40 new staff and students.

Coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the western world. Recent advances in high performance computing and medical imaging have lead to the development of detailed models of vascular structure and blood flow respectively. These techniques now enable the simulation of perfusion through three dimensional representations of vascular geometry. However, there are two difficulties with these classes of models: (1) the computational simulation of flow through complete vascular beds from feeding vessels to capillaries is computationally prohibitive and (2) it is impossible to measure flow in all vessels and thus fully validate such models for clinical application. Recent developments in Perfusion MRI and Nuclear Medicine by our clinical collaborators at St Thomas’ Hospital now provide the ability to accurately measure blood volume in cardiac tissue. This presents an opportunity to develop a novel modelling framework to explicitly address these limitations by linking vascular structure to whole organ perfusion through the application of a multi-scale porous-flow model.

The goal of this project will be to develop models with the potential to directly interpret clinically acquired perfusion images and guide revascularisation strategies in the heart. The methodology will be based on homogenizing discrete vascular structures by applying previously developed asymptotic approach. A key mathematical challenge will be adapting the multiple scales technique to the hierarchical branching structure of blood vessels. This may lead to a continuum sub-model for each generation of vessel (e.g. capillaries, arterioles, small/large coronary vessels) which are coupled to produce a full multi-domain and multi-scale representational of coronary perfusion. These predicted perfusion fields will be mathematically validated via comparison with the perfusion fields determined using the discrete model whose structure was used to define the porosity tensor. Finally the model will be applied to human data collected at St Thomas’ to assess the clinical potential of the approach.

The collaborators on this project are Professor Jos Spaan (Department Medical Physics, University of Amsterdam) and Professor Eike Nagel (Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital).

The studentship is attached to St Anne’s College.
For information about OCCAM please visit the official website:

Applications can be made online at and should include a CV, covering letter, three references and a transcript of your undergraduate degree. Alternatively, applications can be sent to Margret Sloper at the Mathematical Institute using the University’s application form for graduate study, which can be downloaded from the above link. Applications must arrive by end of day Friday 27th February 2009. The reference for this application is BK/08/058; make sure that you state this in the covering letter. Applicants must arrange for their referees to send references directly to the Graduate Studies Assistant (fax or e-mail is sufficient) by the closing date. For further details about the projects, including the application process, please see the Further Particulars link below, or contact Graduate Studies, email graduate.studies [ -a-t- ] Oxford University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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