Full-time, two years fixed-term
The Pregnancy Modelling Group (led by Dr Alys Clark and Dr Jo James) seeks a full time Research Fellow for a two year fixed-term contract to undertake high quality researchinvestigating how the uterine blood vessels adapt to pregnancy. This position would suit someone who has recently been awarded a PhD. Expected start date is March-May 2019.
The vision of the Pregnancy Modelling Group is to develop novel in silico models of the human uterine and placental circulations, informed by anatomical and in vitro data in order to understand how each component of these circulations contribute to placental perfusion and exchange. This will allow us to focus on obtaining meaningful metrics of fetal health and growth in vivo during pregnancy, so that we can better predict which babies will be born too small. For the advertised role, we are seeking applicants with a physiology/cell biology background, who will undertake in vitro cell and artery level experiments and generate imaging datasets that are both informed by complementary computational modelling work in the group, and provide key information to further refine these models. Together, this combination of physiological and computational approaches will allow us to more fully understand how events at the cellular level affect whole organ function.
The successful applicant would be primarily based in Dr James's laboratory with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, but would be expected to work as part of a multidisciplinary team, based both within this faculty and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Where possible, they will be involved with the supervision of honours level and postgraduate students and development of independent research funding.
The University of Auckland's Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology is New Zealand's pre-eminent academic Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department and has a long-standing track record of undertaking high calibre world class clinical and basic science research.The Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) at the University of Auckland is pioneering the development of mathematical models of human physiology and new instrumentation techniques for a wide variety of healthcare applications. Our vision is to provide virtual human models that can be personalised and used with new medical devices, as the basis for improved and lower cost healthcare. For more information see: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/fmhs.html andhttp://www.abi.auckland.ac.nz/
Information about the project:
During pregnancy, the placenta modifies the uterine blood vessels to increase blood flow to nourish the fetus. If this process is dysfunctional, fetal health is compromised. Research has focussed on how small blood vessels (the spiral arteries) at the uterus/placenta interface change downstream flow to the placenta. We have flipped this viewpoint by showing that these changes also impact upstream flow, and that larger uterine arteries (in particular the radial arteries) may make critical but overlooked contributions to pregnancy success. This project aims to integrate novel computational and experimental approaches to understand how the larger vessels adapt to pregnancy, and why this may go wrong to restrict fetal growth.
The uterine circulation is so rarely accessible in pregnancy, that connectivity of the arteries and changes in their structure, although dramatic, are not well understood. In this project, we will first use samples from the Boyd Collection in Cambridge to create a novel 3D Atlas of the structure of the uterine blood vessels in the first half of pregnancy. Using this 3D Atlas we will refine existing computational models to determine the mechanical stimuli that these vessels are exposed to throughout the first half of pregnancy as blood flow from mother increases to feed the growing baby. This information will be used to drive experimental studies that assess the interplay between these mechanical stimuli and the unique hormonal environment of the uterus and placenta in pregnancy, to determine how and why the larger uterine arteries dilate as pregnancy progresses. The overall aim of this work is to use this new knowledge to propose new ways to look at the uterine arteries in pregnancy that provide physiologically driven metrics of health.
We are seeking applicants with the following:
•A PhD in a related area
•A background in uterine/placental anatomy and/or physiology.
•Experience in laboratory-based biomedical science
•Confident in academic writing.
•Excellent communication skills and a be team player
Why work with us?
The Pregnancy Modelling Group holds research grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Marsden Fund, Auckland Medical Research Foundation and the NIH. We pride ourselves on our reputation and work closely with a number of research groups based in the US, Germany, Belgium and Australia. We offer the opportunity to join a high performing and dedicated research group.
In additional, the University of Auckland is committed to providing an excellent working environment through the following:
•Flexible employment practices
•Career development programmes
•A competitive salary with five weeks' annual leave
•Company superannuation scheme, discounted car parking, a generous parental leave allowance, childcare and a number of other discounts on internal and external services.
How to apply
Please include your cover letter and CV combined as one document.
Applications closeWednesday, 9 January 2019.
For further information and to apply online please visit www.auckland.ac.nz/opportunities
The University is committed to meeting its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and achieving equity outcomes for staff and students in a safe, inclusive and equitable environment. For further information on services for Maori, Pacific, women, LGBTI, equity groups, parenting support and flexible work go to www.equity.auckland.ac.nz
Direct enquiries only please - no agencies.