Mathematical Biology: Funded PhD Studentship: Multiscale Modelling of Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis: Towards Developing Virtual Tumour Models (Joint PhD Research Study)

Closing date: 30 June 2017

Key Information

Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

PhD Joint Research Study – Swansea University and Communauté Université Grenoble Alpes

Multiscale Modelling of Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis: Towards Developing Virtual Tumour Models

This scholarship is for a joint Swansea-Grenoble PhD. During the candidature the successful applicant will spend time at the College of Science, Swansea University and the TIMC-IMAG Laboratory, Université Grenoble-Alpes with a minimum requirement of one year spent in each site.

Project start date: 1 October 2017

Interviews are expected to take place in July 2017.

Project supervisors:

  • Supervisor 1 Dr Gibin Powathil (Mathematics, College of Science, Swansea University)
  • Supervisor 2 Dr Angelique Stephanou (TIMC-IMAG, Doctoral School Health, Cognition and Environmental Engineering, Université Grenoble Alpes)
  • Supervisor 3 Dr Raoul van Loon (College of Engineering, Swansea University)

Subject areas: Mathematical Biology, Computational Biology, Mathematical and Biomedical Modelling

Project description:

Mathematical Oncology is currently an emerging and vibrant research area where we use mathematical and computational tools to study various aspects of cancer growth, invasion and associated multimodality treatments with an aim of providing better, individualised treatments to the patients (https://mathematicalmedicine.wordpress.com/).

The vascular network is one of the most essential elements of the tumour and plays a vial role in tumour evolution, aggressiveness and invasiveness. Metastatic spreading is highly dependent upon angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, i.e. on the way the tumour acquires new vessels and lymphatic system. The processes by which the tumour cells are able to enter the vessels, to be carried by the bloodstream and to extravase to form distal metastases are now well documented, implicating the role of the vasculature in tumour metastasis. Historically, lymphatic vessels were considered passive participants in tumour metastasis by simply providing channels for tumour cells to transit through. However, recent experimental findings several key lymphatic-specific molecular markers and an increased availability of in vitro and in vivo experimental systems to study lymphatic biology have highlighted a significant and active role for the lymphatic vasculature in metastatic tumour spread.

This project aims to develop a multiscale mathematical and computational model for tumour angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis incorporating the fluid flow dynamics to study vascular tumour evolution, anti-cancer drug delivery and anti-vascular therapies. The model can be also used to study various hallmarks of metastatic tumour such as changing cellular metabolism and cell migration. Furthermore, it can be incorporated into other modules of tumour modelling project that aim towards developing an in silico patient-specific virtual tumour to aid in anticancer therapy planning. 

This is a multidisciplinary project with national and international collaborative partnerships from engineering, computational and experimental researchers. Successful candidate will develop, implement and analyse mathematical and computational models relevant to the project and he/she will also have opportunities to do related biological experiments at TIMC-IMAG lab in Grenoble.

Eligibility

As this is a joint degree applicants must meet entry / funder requirements of both Universities, namely:

Communauté Université Grenoble Alpes:

Applicants must hold a Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline (Applied Mathematics, Physics, Computational and Biomedical Engineering).

Swansea university:

Either a First Class Honours Degree with a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline (Applied Mathematics, Physics, Computational and Biomedical Engineering) or, a Master’s Degree with distinction.

Required skills and qualities:

  • Knowledge in cancer biology is not essential but the candidate will be required to learn appropriate biological and clinical knowledge in order to develop predictive mathematical and computational models.
  • The candidate is expected to have a strong applied mathematical or related subject background.
  • Strong computational and programming skills in one or more programming languages such as C, C++ and Matlab are preferred.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to work and learn independently will be required.  

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 (RCUK rate) provided by Swansea University and Université Grenoble Alpes.

The student will also receive funds of £500 per annum to assist with travel and accommodation.

How to Apply

To apply please complete the following documents and send to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (postgraduate-research@swansea.ac.uk):

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed to Dr Gibin Powathil (g.g.powathil@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 606255) or Dr Angelique Stephanou (angelique.stephanou@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr / +33 (0)4 56 52 00 41).