3D dynamic simulation of myocardial bridge: estimation of myocardial ischemia with a simplified biomechanical model’

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details:

  • Tuition Fee: Full fee waiver
  • Stipend/Bursary: £15,000pa (for the 2 years the candidate is based at Coventry, subject to satisfactory progress)

During the period at IHPC, Singapore (for a minimum period of 1 year, up to a maximum period of 2 years):

  • a monthly stipend of S$2,500 , subject to satisfactory progress;
  • a one-time settling-in allowance of S$1,000 provided the student spends at least a 1 year at the A*STAR
  • a one-time airfare grant of S$1,500;
  • conference allowances; and
  • medical insurance

Duration: Full-time – up to four years fixed term

Application deadline: 3 May 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021

Informal enquiries are essential before application; please contact Professor Dingchang Zheng, Professor  Yi Su, or Dr Haipeng Liu to discuss this opportunity.


Introduction

Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for two fully-funded PhD studentship in the Research Centre for Intelligent Healthcare (CIH).

Project details

Recently, myocardial bridge (MB) has been confirmed as a direct cause of myocardial ischemia especially in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). MB can cause atherosclerosis in its proximal segment and compression of epicardial coronary arteries that extends from systole to early diastole, reducing sub-endocardial perfusion in diastole. Currently, it is difficult to observe transient hemodynamic effects of MB in a whole cardiac cycle. Considering the increasing rate or CAD, there is an urgent clinical need to estimate the transient hemodynamic effects of MB on the risk of ischemia in a whole cardiac cycle for CAD patients. Based on invasive measurement in coronary arteries, patient-specific dynamic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation has been used to estimate the transient hemodynamic effects of MB. Moreover, the fluid-solid-interaction (FSI) analysis could simulate the process of MB in a whole cardiac cycle. However, these methods rely on the results of invasive measurement with the requirement of high computational resources.

In this PhD project, we aim to develop a simplified biomechanical model of cardiac contraction to non-invasively estimate the transient hemodynamic effects of MB on the risk of ischemia in a whole cardiac cycle using 3-dimensional (3D) dynamic simulation in low computational resources. The method to be developed is of high value for the screening of CAD patients with MB. The simplified biomechanical model of cardiac contraction will provide a platform for the investigation of other cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and coronary microcirculation dysfunction.

We are looking for highly motivated candidates who have a strong interest in developing innovative healthcare technologies and has a broad understanding of cardiac physiology. The PhD project requires working with clinicians, biomedical engineers, and computer scientists at different stages along the development pathway – and will lead to high-quality publications. It will involve clinical data collection and analysis, and a variety of computing work (including cardiac image processing, computational modelling, and statistical analysis).

Funding

Coventry University and A*STAR jointly offer two fully-funded PhD studentships to UK/EU and international students as part of the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme (ARAP).

Each studentship will include:

  • full tuition fees
  • a stipend (circa £15000/year) for the 2 years the candidate is based at Coventry, subject to satisfactory progress

During the period at IHPC, Singapore*:

  • a monthly stipend of S$2,500 , subject to satisfactory progress;
  • a one-time settling-in allowance of S$1,000 provided the student spends at least a 1 year at the A*STAR
  • a one-time airfare grant of S$1,500;
  • conference allowances; and
  • medical insurance.

*For a minimum period of 1 year, up to a maximum period of 2 years

Benefits

  • Throughout the programme the candidates will have a joint supervisory team and work in close collaboration with industry stakeholders in both UK and Singapore.
  • The successful candidates will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills at the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development at Coventry University
  • The supervisory team offers a substantial track record in successful doctoral supervision and expertise in the thematic areas identified.

How the joint programme will work

The successful candidate will enrol at Coventry University, UK as their home institution and will spend up to 2 years at the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) of A*STAR.

A typical 4-year pattern of attendance is shown below although the concrete plan would be developed in response to the proposed research design and with the mutual agreement of the supervision team. 

Year Study place Tuition fee waivers + Stipends
1 Coventry University, UK Tuition fee waivers + Stipends
2 IHPC Singapore Tuition fee waivers + Stipends
3 IHPC Singapore Tuition fee waivers + Stipends
4 Coventry University, UK Tuition fee waivers + Stipends

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Cardiology, or a related discipline with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average;
  • In the event of a undergraduate degree classification of less than 2:1, a Master’s Degree in a relevant subject area as mentioned above will be considered as an equivalent;
  • Minimum English language proficiency of IELTS Academic 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, if you are an EU (non UK) or overseas national;
  •  

In addition

  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 4 years;
  • Previous experience of 3D reconstruction or modelling;
  • Knowledge of cardiology, biomechanics, fluid dynamics, and statistical analysis;
  • Knowledge of related software (MIMICS, VTK, SOLIDWORKS, ICEM, CFX, SPSS, etc.);
  • A record of presenting papers at conferences and of publishing peer reviewed research papers (desired);
  • Ability to think innovatively and critically analyse data and results;
  • Good written and oral communication skills;
  • Ability to meet deadlines, sometimes under pressure;
  • Ability to work independently and also as part of a local and international multidisciplinary team;
  • Willingness to take on roles to enhance research team activities and profile.
  • Degrees from high-ranking universities, high-quality recommendations, and related research experience will be important for successful application.

Please be aware that A*STAR have in place their own separate application reviewing process.

How to apply 

Informal enquiries are essential before application; please contact Professor Dingchang Zheng, Professor Yi Su, or Dr Haipeng Liu to discuss this opportunity. 

All applications require full supporting documentation (including published works, awards, and introduction of involved projects), a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Please also add at least 2 recommendation letters from past supervisors.

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