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A multi-scale computational model of brain blood flow: Enhancing MRI for assessing brain health

This research project is in competition for funding with one or more projects available across the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Usually the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding. Find out more information about the DTP and how to apply.

This PhD project is well suited to students who would like to combine their knowledge of computational modelling, physics and mathematics to better understand human brain blood flow and how it can go wrong with brain disease.


Abnormal blood flow is an important factor in many brain diseases including stroke and dementia. Changes in blood pressure, disease of major large blood vessels and alterations in the smaller vessels that penetrate brain tissue can all interfere with the constant supply of nutrients to the brain.

We, at Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), are developing MRI tools, using state-of-the-art 3T and 7T systems, to assess the health of the brain's blood vessels.

To support this, we would like to develop computational models that describe brain blood flow, linking it to MRI signals. Such models will enable us to extract more detailed information about changes to the brain’s blood vessels with disease.

Project aims and methods

In this PhD project, you will develop computational models of blood flow in different compartments of the brain’s vascular tree, from major arteries to the smallest capillaries. The first year will focus on understanding current computational models of brain blood flow at different scales. Training in MRI simulations will be provided (if required).

In the second year, you would combine these models and the Bloch equations that determine MRI signals into a software simulation package of realistic vascular trees.

In the third year, we will use these simulations to inform the development/optimisation of new MRI sequences and test if they can better extract health signals from the brain. Thesis write up will be completed in 3.5 years.

The project would suit a physics, maths or computer science graduate with an interest in neuroscience and brain physiology. Equally it would suit a neuroscientist with a strong mathematical and computational interest.


Professor Kevin Murphy

Professor Kevin Murphy

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow
Head of Brain Imaging Group

+44 (0)29 2088 8743
Professor Richard Wise

Professor Richard Wise

Professor, Head of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

+44(0)29 2087 0358

Programme information

For programme structure, entry requirements and how to apply, visit the Physics and Astronomy programme.

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