Funding: We have research funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand that will cover tuition fees and provide support (an annual tax-free allowance) for two PhD students. Funding is for three years, with possible extension for a further year.
Description: The successful candidates will work with Dr Jichao Zhao and the ABI cardiac group to investigate mechanisms underlying atrial fibrillation (AF) and the optimal treatment by developing novel signal analysis approaches and image-based computer models.
AF, leading to an irregular and rapid heart rate in the smaller/upper chambers of the heart, is the most common sustained heart rhythm disturbance. AF is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. However, the current clinical treatment for persistent/permanent AF or AF with concurrent cardiac diseases is suboptimal.
The main reasons behind the poor performance of current clinical treatments for AF are: 1) lack of effective signal processing approaches to analyse patterns of AF; and 2) the need for quantitative tools to investigate optimal ablation strategies. The two PhD students will work on developing computational tools and use them to aid our understanding of AF and the proposed projects are part of an international collaboration. The research topics of the two PhD students are:
- To develop novel signal processing tools, such as wavelet approach and phase mapping, to effectively analyse atrial recordings obtained using basket catheters from patients with AF. The goal is to increase our understanding of the substrates which directly sustain AF in patients and to aid accurately targeted ablation in clinics.
- To develop atrial cellular kinetics models by including the most up-to-date measured human cellular data and image-based 3D computer models to investigate the basic mechanisms behind AF and effective ablation strategy for AF termination.
Requirements:The ideal candidates will have a Masters' or a Bachelors' degree with Honours (Second Class Honours, Division One or better) in Engineering or Mathematics, and are good at least one computer language (Matlab/C/C++/Fortran). Experience in scientific/numerical computing would be an advantage. The candidate needs to be passionate about research.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr Jichao Zhao.