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Fully Funded Doctoral Studentship in Computational Cardiovascular Science

Posted: 18th July 2019

Supervisor: Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio

Start Date: October 2019

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford is offering one fully funded DPhil studentship in the Computational Biology and Health Informatics theme under the supervision of Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio, to commence in October 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project Description: The function of the human heart is carefully synchronised by the propagation of waves of electrical activity through the heart muscle. Most cardiac diseases affect this electrical balance, but importantly they also affect the structure of the heart muscle. An exemplar of this is the cardiac disease known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy , characterised by massive tissue growth, loss of connection of the muscle fibres, and presence of micro-anatomical scarred tissue, together with severe alterations in electrical properties. As a consequence, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy remains as the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in children and young adults, including young athletes.

However, little is yet known about how these structural and electrical factors combine to increase the risk of deadly episodes in the disease, as this cannot be easily studied in living patients. In this context, the aim of this Scholarship is to investigate through Modelling and Simulation science how the various components of the disease play a role in establishing arrhythmias in human Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy hearts, in close synergy with experimental and clinical research. This offers very attractive learning and scientific challenges for a DPhil. From the modelling and simulation perspective, the project involves the development of state-of-the-art multiscale computer models of human cardiac tissue, going from its very microscale up to the whole organ level. Mathematically, it offers the opportunity of connection with novel theories on anomalous diffusion and fractional calculus, or advanced statistical methods such as extended noise fields or emulation. Given that most adverse effects of drugs in the heart arise in patients with structural heart disease, it also offers links with other initiatives of our group, such our “ In Silico Human Drug Safety and Efficacy ” project.

The successful applicant will join the Computational Cardiovascular Science team, an internationally leading research group in the modelling and simulation of the human heart, and with an established network of collaborators across industry, academia, hospitals and regulatory agencies. The group regularly present their work at leading conferences in Cardiology, Computational Medicine and Scientific Computing. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with other members of group, and to utilise the methods, models and software developed in the group towards their own research objectives.

Please see the links for more information about Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio’s research and the Computational Cardiovascular Science group .

The project will provide an annual stipend to the student of at least £15009 per annum for 3 years. The project will also cover the costs of course tuition fees at home/EU level (international students will need additional funding), travel to conferences and workshops, and provision for a laptop computer.

Applicants must satisfy the usual requirements for studying for a doctorate at Oxford. Given the nature of the project, candidates are expected to have a strong computational and/or mathematical background, with undergraduate studies in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or related disciplines. Candidates must also have good writing, communication and presentation skills (see the University's web pages on the DPhil in Computer Science for details).

You should apply online by 12th August 2019, quoting studentship reference CS-ABO-2019

We expect to invite shortlisted applicants to interview in week commencing 19th August 2019.

For further information about the project or for informal discussions about suitability, please contact Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio ( ). For further information about the studentship or the application process please e-mail Computer Science Graduate Admissions .