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PhD Project – Computational Simulations of Optic Nerve Head Blood Flow

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Job description: We are looking for a bright, dynamic, and highly motivated individual to perform research in biomechanics with applications to ophthalmology. We are currently developing engineering tools for the diagnosis and therapy of ocular disorders (e.g. glaucoma and myopia). For more information about our In Vivo Biomechanics Laboratory, please visit:

The lamina cribrosa (LC; a porous connective-tissue structure of the optic nerve head at the back of the eye) is the main site of axonal loss in glaucoma – a blinding ocular disorder. The LC also consists of a network of micro-capillaries that provides nutrients and oxygen to the axons responsible for transmitting light information to the brain. Recent studies have suggested that a deficient blood flow supply within the LC may be the cause of axonal death but this remains to be verified.

For this PhD project, the successful candidate will computationally simulate how blood flow propagates through the LC using 3D anatomically accurate geometries of LCs from normal and glaucoma subjects. This work has strong potential to elucidate one of the main mechanisms behind glaucoma. The candidate may also be involved in measuring ocular blood flow in vivo using new optical coherence tomography technology for validation of the numerical models.

This specific project is in collaboration with the Devers Eye Institute (Portland, Oregon, USA), the Singapore Eye Research Institute, and Dr Leo Hwa Liang from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NUS.

Qualification: For NUS students, a Cumulative Average Point of 4 (out of 5) or higher is required (or equivalent for non-NUS students). Very good programming skills are required (e.g. in Matlab or C/C++). Knowledge of the finite element method (fluid and solid mechanics), CFD, and image processing techniques (e.g. segmentation, particle image velocimetry) is considered an advantage. Hands-on experience in mechanical or biomechanical testing is also considered a plus. No prior background in ophthalmology is required. Candidates with degrees in Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, or other related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Starting Date: Early January 2015 (No other starting date is possible)

Duration: 4 years 

To apply, please email a detailed CV and the names of two references to:


Dr. Michael JA Girard
In vivo Biomechanics Laboratory
Department of Bioengineering
National University of Singapore

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