Project ID BE-MI2024_10


Co Supervisor 1A Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, London Institute for Healthcare EngineeringWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, Department of Biomedical EngineeringWebsite

Additional Supervisor Dr Alys Clark, Dr Rosalind Aughwane

Modelling blood flow and perfusion in the twin placenta

The project develops new methods for modelling placental blood flow in pregnancy. The aim of this project is to establish functional markers of clinical and pathological placental blood flow and how can these be modelled to predict the effect of intervention.
In Yr 1 the student will learn about methods of fetal imaging, principles of mathematical modelling, applying advanced image analysis and recent advances in fetal therapy. The student will learn techniques for extracting the placental vessel network from multiple sources including photography, MRI and microCT.
Yr 2: The student will extend their methods to predict the effect of different formations of connecting vessels on blood flow and perfusion in the placental tissue. Data will include photographs of the chorionic plate and contrast enhanced microCT of feto-placental vessels. This will include systematic perturbation of the feto-placental vessel system based on placental shape and enhancements to the existing modelling strategy.
Yr 3: The student will use high resolution structural imaging data from microCT to model materno-placental blood flow in the post-delivery placenta. Imaging data will be used to simulate diffusion and flow of blood through the villous structure – providing a physiological link to measurements of perfusion made by IVIM-MRI and other imaging modalities. This information will be combined with the existing feto-placental results to simulate the interaction of the dual fetal and maternal circulations. The novelty and technical complexity of these steps will result in conference and journal publications.
In Yr 4 the student will use computational flow modelling to predict the major vessel signals seen on pre-delivery Doppler ultrasound. Measurement from in vivo MRI of chorionic vessels and vascular density will enable us to generate a computational model of anastomoses and predict the intra-operative effects of laser vessel ablation on the flow dynamics of twin placentae during intervention.

Representative Publications

1. Melbourne, A. et al. Separating fetal and maternal placenta circulations using multiparametric MRI. Magn Reson Med 81, 350–361 (2019).

2. Flouri, D. et al. Placental MRI Predicts Fetal Oxygenation and Growth Rates in Sheep and Human Pregnancy. Advanced Science (2022)

3. Byrne, M. et al. Structure-function relationships in the feto-placental circulation from in silico interpretation of micro-CT vascular structures. J Theor Biol 517, 11

1. Hermida U, et al. Learning the Hidden Signature of Fetal Arch Anatomy: a Three-Dimensional Shape Analysis in Suspected Coarctation of the Aorta. 2022, Journal of cardiovascular translational research.

2. Hessenthaler, A. et al. Time-periodic steady-state solution of fluid-structure interaction and cardiac flow problems through multigrid-reduction-in-time In: COMPUTER METHODS IN APPLIED MECHANICS AND ENGINEERING. 389, 114368.

3. Marlevi, D. et al. Non-invasive estimation of relative pressure for intracardiac flows using virtual work-energy 2020, Medical Image Analysis.