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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


PhD Studentship on Engineering-Based Tools for the Treatment of Peripheral Arteriovenous Malformations

Mechanical Engineering
Duration of studentship:
3.5 years
Stipend :
£17,285 per annum + UK/EU fees
Closing date :
15 Jun 2021

Vacancy Information

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a disorder in which the blood vessels within a specific area of the body are incorrectly formed, resulting in multiple abnormal, high flow, communications between the arteries and the veins that bypass the capillary bed.

There are currently no quantitative tools to understand or treat AVMs. Patients with AVMs are subject to numerous, often sub-optimal interventions throughout their lives. Ultimately, many patients face severe consequences, including limb loss, blindness or death.

The research will focus on the development and validation of sophisticated engineering tools (patient-specific computer-assisted and haemodynamic simulations and in vitro emulators) of peripheral AVMs -AVMs located outside the head, neck or spine- in order to optimise personalised treatment (via chemical route or surgery). The computer simulation models will be informed by patient-specific clinical imaging data, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 3D printed AVM phantoms will also be fabricated from these clinical data and experimentally tested in our bespoke circulatory loop facility using advanced optical diagnostic techniques.

These in vitro and in silico models will assess the haemodynamics of patients with AVM and evaluate the outcomes of patient-specific treatment scenarios.

This project will provide a blueprint and proof of concept for the use of in-silico and in vitro tools in the personalised management of AVMs. The clinical impact and viability of these technologies will be tested via our partner Hospitals in the UK and Europe.

Studentship Description

A fantastic and exciting 3.5-year funded position is available in the WEISS Centre at UCL as part of a longstanding collaboration between the Multiscale Cardiovascular Engineering ( and FluME ( groups of UCL Mechanical Engineering.

This PhD studentship is funded by the Butterfly AVM Charity and is the cornerstone of an exciting collaboration between UCL Mechanical Engineering, the Royal Free Hospital and the Butterfly AVM Charity itself. This is a truly groundbreaking opportunity for a PhD student that will combine bioengineering/biomedical engineering and imaging and can make a real contribution to the lives of many patient suffering from peripheral arteriovenous malformations. This opportunity is open to, UK EU students.

If you want to make a difference in patients’ lives and build a career in the cardiovascular engineering field, this is for you!

Person Specification

Essential: MSc or equivalent in Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics or a related subject.

Essential Experience and Skills:
– Strong background in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, physics, applied mathematics; in particular, strong knowledge of how to derive and manipulate differential equations
– Excellent programming skills in any of the following languages: C, C++, FORTRAN, Matlab, Octave or Python
– Experience in CFD.
– Good oral written and presentation skills.
– Well-organised, attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.
– Ability to think logically, create solutions and make informed decisions.
– Fluency and clarity in spoken English.
– Good written English.
– Independence and ability to work collaboratively as part of a team.

Desirable Experience and Skills:
– Excellent IT skills.
– Experience with image processing software, such as MIMICS or ScanIP


This funding is available to UK and EU (non-UK) nationals. We actively encourage the application of female applicants for this position.

Further Details

Eligible applicants should contact Profs Vanessa Diaz ( or Profs Stavroula Balabani ( forwarding a CV (including at least two referees), a covering letter and a transcript of results (listing all subjects taken and their corresponding grades/marks) by 15th June 2021 at 23:59.

More information can be found here. 

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