Electrophysiology of menstruation; a multiscale modelling approach

PhD Project

Contractions of the uterus vary during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. These contractions are thought to facilitate transport of sperm for egg fertilisation during the late follicular phase and to aid the menstruation process during menses. These contractions can also be a cause of pain during menses. Abnormalities in uterine contractions have been hypothesised to contribute to retrograde menstruation: the loss of menstrual debris out of the fallopian tube. Retrograde menstruation, in turn, is thought to be the root cause of endometriosis: a chronic disease affecting 1 in 9 women, in which lesions form when endometrial-like cells grow outside the uterus.

This project aims to:

  • Develop mathematical models for the activation of contractions in smooth muscle tissue of the uterus.
  • Model cell contraction within a tissue using agent-based modelling approaches, and explore the relationship between agent-based model results and continuum models of electrical patterns in the uterus.
  • Use the models to investigate normal and abnormal contractions in the uterus.
  • Stretch goal: model the interaction between contractions and menstrual fluid.

Desired skills

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in engineering, applied mathematics, or equivalent. 
  • Strong background in computational modelling. 
  • Some experience with C++ or Matlab desirable.


Aotearoa Fellowship

Contact and supervisors

For more information or to apply for this project, please follow the link to the supervisors below: