Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD studentship in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Brighton starting on 1st January 2014. The studentship is part of a Leverhulme Trust funded project that will investigate a mechanical process for the formation and growth of cavities in the spinal cord which are characteristic of the condition syringomyelia. The purpose of this research project is to develop a mathematical model of the spinal cord which can be used to test the hypothesis that it is a mechanical process which is responsible for the formation and growth of the cavities, and that the whole process is driven by changes in pressure of the surrounding cerebral-spinal fluid.
The research student appointed to this project will expected to developÂ a mathematical model which can be used to determine the deformations of the spinal cord due to changes in the pressure of the fluid surrounding the cord. The spinal cord will have to be treated as a porous medium with solid and liquid phases, and the model developed by the student will need to incorporate both the fluid flow in the liquid phase and the deformation of the solid phase. Since the solid phase is known to exhibit both viscoelastic and plastic behaviour, the student appointed will need to extend existing porous media models, which only use the basic linear elasticity equations for the solid phase, to include these more complicated effects.
In addition to the modelling aspects of the project, the student will need to develop appropriate numerical methods for solving the governing equations using techniques such as the finite element method or the boundary element/integral method.
We require a highly motivated and able researcher, with enthusiasm to undertake leading edge research in mathematics applied to solving problems in the biological sciences. Applicants should possess, or expect to be awarded, a first or 2(I) honours degree (or equivalent) in mathematics.
Application form and further details can be found on our website at the apply button below.
Deadline for applications: 30 November 2013