The aim of this research project to develop a new a mathematical and computational model of the coronary arterial and veno us circulation in the beating heart to include changes that are manifest once circulation has been restored after a heart attack, and to predict the consequent angiogenesis. We will develop a new circulation model for pulsatile flow and pressure that incorporates structured-trees that represent the small coronary arterial and venous vascular beds, in order to quantify the effects of the external pressures on the small vessels due to the contraction of the wall of the beating heart. Wave intensity analysis w ill be used to identify differences in reflected waves post-MI and the model will be validated with laboratory measurements The flows in the vascular beds, together with data on the stresses and strains from full fluid-structure simulations of the left ventricle, will be used to extend our individual- and force-based model of tiss ue in the myocardium to predict angiogenesis in and around the infarct, accounting for cell-cell, cell-fibre and cell-ECM interactions.
Optoelectronic imaging systems offer the potential of rapid screening for cancer with high sensitivity. The project will develop plasmonic structures imaged and optical sources delivering tunable polarisation for identifying biomolecules, particularly those associated with cancer, with high sensitivity. Semiconductor laser sources that can emit light in any desired polarisation state and can be tuned continuously from any state to another will be developed. Plasmonic structures will be designed and fabricated to enhance optical scattering from molecules. A system to acquire a series of polarisation dependent images will be assembled using the component parts.
There are currently 12 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, so there is a fundamental need to understand the ageing process and develop interventions supporting healthy ageing. Advanced age is associated with deterioration of cognitive-motor skills. This manifests as a slowing of movements and deficits in the selection of appropriate actions, which negatively impacts the daily life activities. These declines in cognitive-motor control occur in parallel to changes in the brain. For instance, the way different brain areas interact with each other is altered: some areas are newly engaged, while others become more disconnected. Here, the PhD student will employ state-of-the-art technology that allows participants to visualise and control their own brain activity, termed fMRI neurofeedback. The student will combine it with a task involving planning and selection of the appropriate movement. This task is particularly sensitive to age-related changes as it engages both cognitive and motor processes. While doing this task inside a MRI scanner, participants will attempt to enhance the interaction between different brain areas. After this intervention, the student will test for improvements on a variety of other behavioural tasks, including a daily life activity questionnaire. This will allow the student to identify which brain connections are important for cognitive-motor performance and the independent living in older age. The student will also test whether participants can use strategies to enhance brain connections even in the absence of neurofeedback. To this end, the student will use quantitative and qualitative methods to identify behavioural strategies that can potentially be used at home. During this project the PhD student will be trained in advanced neuroimaging data acquisition and analysis, behavioural testing, advanced statistical methods (e.g. permutation testing, linear mixed models, multiple linear regression, etc.) and basic programming (e.g. Python, Matlab, R etc.).This project will further our understanding of the ageing process and provide proof of concept for a cutting-edge intervention tool to support healthy ageing and the independent living of the older person.
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