Investigating the physiological deformation of heart valves using in vivo and in vitro techniques
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Mechanical and Design Engineering
October and February
Applications accepted all year round
The work on this project involves:
- Quantifying deformations endured by the semilunar valves during their function using a range of in vivo and in vitro techniques
- Quantifying the ensuing deformation rates
- Quantifying the rate effects on the mechanical behaviour of the valves at physiological and pathophysiological conditions versus the general testing conditions in vitro performed in labs
- The in vivo and in vitro techniques will be developed based on real-time patient-specific images of valves’ opening and closure, as well as multi camera digital volume correlation in conjunctions with bioreactors mounted with valves
In a series of recent publications, the supervisory team has demonstrated that the mechanical behaviour of semilunar heart valves is rate-dependent. Therefore, a correct understanding of the true mechanical behaviour of the semilunar valves, and thereby developing appropriate computational models and improved (bio)prosthetic valve designs crucially relies on an accurate quantification of the deformation characteristics of the valves in vivo, particularly the true physiological deformation rates and the actual amount by which the valves deform.
The PhD programme involves quantifying: 1- Deformations endured by the semilunar valves during their function using a range of in vivo and in vitro techniques; 2- The ensuing deformation rates; and 3- The rate effects on the mechanical behaviour of the valves at physiological and pathophysiological conditions versus the general laboratory testing conditions. The in vivo and in vitro techniques will be developed based on clinical patient-specific images of valves and multi camera digital volume correlation (MCDVC) of valve function within a custom-designed bioreactor.
This project will be carried out in a close collaboration with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Heart Science Centre, National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), Imperial College.
The successful candidate will be based at the Cardiovascular Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), but expected to spend time at the collaborating hospital to develop the imaging protocols and acquire the images, as well as the NHLI for setting up the MCDVC system with the bioreactor. Clinical supervision will be provided by the collaborating hospital, and the activities at the NHLI will be supervised by Dr. Adrian Chester.
Fees and funding
Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).
2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a
International full-time students: £16,400 p/a
International part-time students: £8,200 p/a
PhD by Publication
External candidates £4,407 p/a
Members of staff £1,680 p/a*
2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)
PhD and MPhil
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
International full-time students: £17,600 p/a
International part-time students: £8,800 p/a
All fees are subject to annual increase.
PhD by Publication
External Candidates £4,407 p/a*
Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*
If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
You'll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
You should have a strong background in biomechanics, mechanical engineering or a closely related field. Previous experience in mechanical testing of soft tissues and programming in MATLABis desirable.
How to apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Afshin Anssari-Benam at email@example.com to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.
When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. An extended statement as to how you might address the proposal would be welcomed.
Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.
If you want to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SMDE4590220 when applying.