PhD Studentship Computational Modelling of Biomarkers to Predict Treatment Response in Patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health

Supervisor: Dr Allan Lawrie & Dr Hua-Liang Wei


Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease defined by cardiac catheterisation as a mean pulmonary artery pressure of at least 25 mmHg. Patients with PAH have significant morbidity and untreated a median survival of 2.8 years. Pathologically, PAH is characterised by progressive narrowing of small resistance pulmonary arteries and arterioles due to a process of vascular cell proliferation and inflammatory cell infiltration. There are currently 3 classes of drugs, all of which target the vasoconstrictive aspects of the disease through either endothelin receptor antagonist (e.g. Bosentan) phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (e.g. sildenafil) or prostacyclin analogues (e.g. Ventavis). These drugs fail to reverse the disease but do relieve symptoms of disease, and moderately increase survival. However, individual patient response is often temporary and there is no clear evidence for which drug will be most efficacious to individual patients. We hypothesise that mathematical modelling of longitudinal biophysical biomarkers and clinical phenotype data will help predict treatment response, and provide a drug-based predictive stratification of PAH.

The candidate will be required to perform some biological assays to measure biomarker levels in samples recruited to the Sheffield Pulmonary Hypertension Biobank and work closely with Dr Wei to develop the mathematical models.

Entry Requirements:

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree. Research experience in data analysis, or a strong interest in data modeling, experience in MATLAB or familiarity with mainstream statistical software would be a major advantage.

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Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Allan Lawrie (

How to Apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form and attach at least two references to your application. To complete the application form please click the ‘Apply’ button below.

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select ‘Cardiovascular Science’ as the department.


Closing Date: 3rd February 2014

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