Smooth Muscle Organ Function: From data to model

PhD Project

Smooth muscle organs exhibit rhythmic electrical activity that helps to coordinate organ function. For example, bio-electrical waves in the stomach muscle wall coordinate the peristalsis responsible for digestion, in the uterus, labour and preparation for labour, while in the bladder, the detrusor muscle remains relaxed during filling, and contracts when emptying. These contractile patterns are coordinated by electrically active pacemaker cells. The patterns of electrical activity in the uterus and bladder are generally poorly understood, however, disordered electrical activity is believed to be associated with a number of clinical disorders such as overactive bladder and endometriosis, and premature labour.

This project aims to:

  1. Use multi-electrode electrical mapping data to assess the spatio-temporal electrical patterns in the bladder and uterus.
  2. Develop new analytical techniques to quantify and visualise these results.
  3. Develop mathematical models of the electrical activity in the uterus and bladder to aid in the interpretation of the experimental results.

Desired skills

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, physics or physiology. Strong background in computational modelling or signal processing. Some experience with experimentation, measuring bio-electrical signals (e.g., ECG, EMG), scientific analysis (e.g., MATLAB, Python) would be desirable.