18/03/2019
The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Open PhD position in Computational Brain and Cardiac Development and Remodelling

This job offer has expired


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra - ETIC
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    EngineeringBiomedical engineering
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    09/04/2019 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
  • LOCATION
    Spain › Barcelona
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    Temporary
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    37,5
  • OFFER STARTING DATE
    01/05/2019

OFFER DESCRIPTION

A PhD position is available at the BCN-MedTech Research Unit (https://www.upf.edu/web/bcn-medtech/), Department of Information & Communication Technologies (DTIC) of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain, in close collaboration with IDIBAPS and BCNatal - The Fetal Medicine Research Centre (https://medicinafetalbarcelona.org) of Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, starting October 2019

PhD project: The Heart-Brain axis, or There and Back again: the journey towards brain development traverses vascular territories

The heart and the brain are arguably the two most fascinating and important organs of the human body. Scientists have been studying these organs for centuries but mainly at an individual organ level. There is a need for a more systemic approach to study the physiology of some neurological and cardiovascular processes that remain not well understood, even with the current deluge of medical data and tools available nowadays. A good example involves brain development, especially in abnormal conditions such as after insults during pregnancy (Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction, IUGR). There are plain and numerous evidences on the effect of IUGR on the cardiovascular system and in the brain of these infants, but they have never been studied together. The aim of this project is to create a computational modelling platform, linking heart and brain systems, to test the influence of mechanical forces originating from vascular anatomy, haemodynamics and metabolic characteristics on brain development in normal and abnormal conditions. This research will open up opportunities for understanding systems-based mechanisms of other conditions affecting heart and brain such as congenital heart disease, schizophrenia, autism, neurodegenerative diseases or neurocardiology applications.

The first task will involve the development of a model of neurological development coupling brain mechanics (Fig. 1) with a multi-scale model of blood circulation and metabolism. Local forces will arise from anisotropic tissue surrounded by fluid and skull as well as pulsatile forces through vessels and their acute and chronic remodelling. Blood circulation models from the heart to the brain will provide regional flow and pressures at different scales, whereas metabolic exchange models will be included to describe oxygen and nutrients diffusion from vasculature to brain tissue. In a second phase of the project, parametric studies will be performed to identify the most relevant characteristics for normal and abnormal brain development. Mesh-less numerical techniques will be explored. Robust verification and validation experiments of the developed computational models will be implemented, both for each sub-system individually and g