MSc, PhD and Post-doctoral Fellowships in Computational Cardiac Mechanics

Submitted by Sebastian Skatulla on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 16:06

The Computational Continuum Mechanics Research Group of the University of Cape Town together with the Department of Medicine, the Department of Human Biology and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine invite applications from suitable candidates for Post-doctoral, PhD and MSc Scholarships as part of the collaborative project "Patient-Specific Simulation of Ventricular Remodelling in Inflammatory Heart Diseases” funded by the NRF Blue Skies Programme".

This project aims at combining medical imaging techniques, mechanical tissue testing, as well as cell and molecular biological analysis of cardiac tissue samples with computational cardiac mechanics to gain insight into the chronology of inflammatory heart diseases from the medical and the biomechanics perspective to guide decision making in finding patient-specific treatment options most suitable to these kinds of pathological conditions of the heart. The core outcome is therefore to identify the processes involved in the conversion of mechanical stimuli into biochemical events that induce maladaptive changes in myocardial structure and function leading to pathological cardiac hypertrophy and remodelling, as well as the transition to heart failure.

Clinical research will comprise of histological and proteomics studies and will be based on biopsies taken from patients having undergone surgery. Bioinformatical analysis of the acquired data will help to formulate mathematical models describing the mechanisms underlying mechanotransduction in cytoskeletal and sarcolemmal structures in cardiac myocytes. These models will be implemented in an existing in-house developed comprehensive computational cardiac mechanics software package to supplement clinical research by means of computational case studies simulating the electrophysiology and biomechanics of the whole heart.

This project is a multidisciplinary collaboration also comprising of external investigators from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), the Institute of Mechanics at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and the Institute of Statics and Dynamics for Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Stuttgart (Germany). Parts of the research work may therefore be conducted by studies abroad.

Further information  can  be  obtained  from, and  applications  submitted  to A/Prof Sebastian Skatulla (Email: sebastian.skatulla@uct.ac.za, Tel  +27 21 650 2595) and Prof Ntobeko Ntusi (Email: ntobeko.ntusi@uct.ac.za, Tel  +27 21 406 6200), or Dr Tertius Kohn (Email: tertius.kohn@uct.ac.za, Tel  +27 21 650 5234).