Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Mark Allenby
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (AQF)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr David Alonso Caneiro
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health
Professor Zhiyong Li
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Mia Woodruff
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Craig Winter, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
  • Dr Marita Prior, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
  • Dr John Clouston, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital


Intracranial aneurysms are bulging, weak areas of an artery that supply blood to the brain which are relatively common. While most aneurysms do not show symptoms, 1% spontaneously rupture which can be fatal or leave the survivor with permanent disabilities. This catastrophic outcome has motivated surgeons to operate on approximately 30% of aneurysms despite their rate of complications arising and cost of operation.

The impact of aneurysm morphology on blood flow shear stress and rupture could educate surgical decision-making and better identify at-risk aneurysms for either endovascular or neurosurgical procedures.

In this project, medical image datasets of patients admitted with intracranial aneurysms will be leveraged to produce digital and physical aneurysm models using medical image analysis and artificial intelligence, computational and experimental fluid dynamics, and 3D printing. These models will identify at-risk aneurysmal features leading to an automated referral software to guide clinical decision making.

This project has been granted ethical approval and has access to hundreds of patient medical records. This project has also received support from the RBWH Foundation.

Research activities

This project will develop the your skills in computational and experimental technologies. These skills are useful in a wide breadth of healthcare and manufacturing industries.

You'll be involved in:

  • a literature review of current pathology, surgical treatment and research approaches
  • medical DICOM image reconstruction (MRI, CT) and analysis using Materialise MIMICS and MATLAB
  • computational fluid dynamics/mechanics simulation using AMIRA
  • computer-aided design of surgical models and devices using ANSYS AutoCAD
  • 3D printing of vascular models for surgical diagnosis or experimental fluid perfusion studies.

Your supervisor/s can work with you to tailor the research project to your study level (PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours or VRES).

There is scope and flexibility for incorporating tangential fields the group is working in, such as soft robotics and cell culture, for example in creating biological aneurysm models in the laboratory. Please discuss with the supervisor if there is interest.

You'll be working with a talented team across the Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology group, Cardiovascular Engineering group and Herston Biofabrication Institute. This team includes physicists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists and the clinicians who are operating on the patients.

You'll be able to attend surgeries and consultations and will be expected to attend lab group meetings once per week alongside full-time research.


The aim of the current project is to:

  • develop a medical image 3D reconstruction procedure
  • 3D print vascular models which are visually transparent at high resolution and deformable with a realistic, surgical feel
  • develop a computational and/or experimental fluid dynamics pipeline to simulate blood flow through and around aneurysms
  • correlate fluid dynamics outcomes with at-risk imaged aneurysm features
  • validate at-risk aneurysm features with new medical image cases.

As the project develops, there is scope for altering existing aims or developing new aims.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you need to have completed, or be completing, a degree in one of the following disciplines:

  • engineering
  • computational
  • physics.

Relevant computational experience (eg. AutoCAD, MIMICS, Amira, MATLAB) is useful, but not required.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.