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Research Fellow - EPSRC Grant "Design and direct metal laser sintering of replacement heart valves"

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Location:  Boldrewood Campus
Salary:   £30,395 to £35,211 Per annum
Full Time Fixed Term for 3 years
Closing Date:  Thursday 01 August 2019
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1156619DA

Recent developments in the transcatheter treatment of valvular heart disease inspired this successful EPSRC grant application, funded for three years, starting on 1st October 2019. It represents a significant, exciting new chapter in the long-standing, inter-disciplinary collaboration between biomedical engineer Professor Neil Bressloff (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences) and interventional cardiologist Professor Nick Curzen (Faculty of Medicine).

You will be based in the Computational Engineering & Design Research Group on the Boldrewood Innovation Campus with strong links to the bioengineering and life sciences community in the University and to clinicians at the University Southampton Hospital NHS Trust.

Degenerative heart valve disease is a growing problem in the ageing populations of Europe and North America. Further, tens of millions of both young and old people experience valve failure from bacterial infections in low- and middle-income countries such as those in South Asia and Africa.

The current state of the art for the treatment of heart valve disease is rapidly moving towards transcatheter approaches, seeking to deploy replacement valves comprising frames that are laser cut from metallic tubes. However, to develop new valve concepts that can better address existing and emerging challenges globally, alternative manufacturing methods will likely be necessary. In response to this opportunity, we successfully conducted a preliminary pilot study involving additive manufacturing of valve frames using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). In so doing, we have demonstrated the feasibility of 3D printing these type of thin strut structures.

Through this project, you will 

1. Establish a detailed understanding of optimal settings for maximum precision, accuracy and structural integrity of metal sintered valve frames

2. Develop novel device concepts made possible by additive manufacturing, one of which will be specifically designed for treating young patients across all territories of the world

3. Collaborate with international companies focussed on replacement heart valves and/or on DMLS

4. Disseminate the findings of our work at international conferences and meetings and through published journal articles

The Italian manufacturing company, SISMA, brings additive manufacturing expertise to the project, and wide ranging facilities will be used in the School of Engineering, including the Mu-Vis Imaging Centre and the Engineering Design and Manufacturing Centre. Additionally, we have a strong focus on our pathway to impact, particularly in relation to the contrasting needs of heart valve patients in both developed and low- and middle-income countries. The University’s Public Policy Research Facility will support the project’s engagement with policymakers internationally and our large network of med-tech associates, advisers and companies will enable us to establish a strong framework for future development.

To join us in this exciting project you will have a PhD or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in computational engineering, including finite element analysis and advanced Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof Neil W. Bressloff, Email: n.w.bressloff@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5473.

Application Procedure

You should submit your completed online application form at https://jobs.soton.ac.uk. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Ita Holmes (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 9002. Please quote reference 1156619DA on all correspondence.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder: Faculty of Engineering

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We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.


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