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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

SES-73-160 PhD Studentship: Microfluidics within biomimetic microvascular networks for therapeutic embolisation

Embolisation is a therapeutic procedure involving the introduction of embolic agents (e.g., microspheres) into blood vessels in order to reduce or completely block the blood flow. This methodology, owing to its non-surgical and minimally-invasive nature, has been widely used in clinics to treat a variety of conditions such as hypervascularised tumours and arteriovenous malformations. However, there still remain challenges to effectively use the embolisation process for clinical applications, in particular, for the delivery of embolic microparticles to the target in an accurate and controllable format without damaging neighbour tissues.

In this research, we propose to develop a microfluidic based system to mimic and quantitatively characterise the embolisation performance of a range of selected microspheres which have currently been used in clinics. The main objectives will include: (a) design and fabrication of microfluidic devices with biomimetic microvascular networks, (b) study of both mechanical and fluidic performances of microparticles in the physiological microenvironment in a biomimetic format within microfluidic systems, and (c) characterisation of the embolisation process such as fluidic conditions and microparticle spatial distributions. Both experimental and computational (e.g., CFD) approaches will be employed in the study.

This is a collaborative project involving industrial partners. The successful candidates will thus experience a wide variety of fluid mechanics, biomedical engineering and materials-centred technologies. It will be based in the School of Engineering Sciences, but with substantial interaction with the company involved.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Xunli Zhang, Bioengineering research group, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5099, or Prof Martyn Hill, Electromechanical Engineering research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3075.

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