PhD Studentship, Thermal Modelling of Ablative Techniques in Pelvic Venous Reflux

Guildford, United Kingdom
25 Jun 2019
End of advertisement period
15 Sep 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Location:      Guildford
Post Type:      Full Time
Closing Date:      Sunday 15 September 2019

Project Description

A fully funded PhD opportunity has become available in the Centre for Biomedical Engineering within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences at the University of Surrey.

Venous reflux in the legs has been treated very successfully in the past two decade using thermal ablation conducted under local anaesthetic. The treatment of venous reflux disease elsewhere in the body has improved in the last decade with the diagnosis of pelvic venous reflux, currently diagnosed using duplex ultrasound the gold standard technique developed at The Whiteley Clinic (TWC). This is currently treated by coil embolization. Recent work between TWC and the University of Surrey has led to the development of a new thermal ablation technique to treat pelvic veins; however, the nature of the pelvic region (where if the vein perforates, there is direct contact to major organs) means that significant development and validation work must be done before the new approach can be introduced for human clinical use.

This PhD will develop this new technique by constructing an accurate model of thermal conduction through the tissues of the abdomens of patients suffering with pelvic venous reflux. These models will be developed from patient scans and the reconstructed into 3D models before being analysed by finite element analysis software such as ANSYS or COMSOL. Blood flow in the vessels will also need to be simulated, as it plays an equally important role in the dynamic temperature profile. Recent studies published on Discrete Vasculature Models have proven impractical for clinical applications; there is a need for efficient temperature based optimisation method including thermal mechanical effect of discrete vasculature in the pelvic region taking the biochemical environment as well as all the other boundary conditions.

The study will explore the how thermal mechanical boundaryconditions play a role in the ablative technique in the pelvic region, where the dynamic temperature distribution across the pelvic region, which is of extreme importance in assessing the risk of introducing a thermal ablative technique in an area of the pelvis. More importantly, it will seek to ensure that the ablative energy used within the vein will not affect the major organs that are around the veins that are being treated. This will allow for safe, risk assessed feasibility of the new thermal technique proposed to be developed to the next stage of product development.


This studentship is only open to UK students with a first class degree in engineering or physical sciences. Experience of biomedical engineering and numerical modelling, particularly finite element analysis, would be beneficial but is not necessary. Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an enhanced tax-free stipend of £18,000 p.a.

Contact Details

Interested parties are encouraged to contact the project supervisor, Professor Mike Hughes ( for further information.

Telephone enquiries about applications should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Team ( and 0800 980 3200)

Start Date

1st October 2019


Applications should be made online via the link ‘PhD in Biomedical Engineering’ which can be found at:

Please state the project title and supervisor clearly on all applications. When following the online application procedure, please also make sure to include a CV and covering letter.