Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Zhiyong Li
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


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 it can 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, 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.

Research activities

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

You will be involved in:

  • a literature review of current pathology, surgical treatment and research approaches
  • medical DICOM-image reconstruction (MRI, CT) 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.

You will be working with a talented team in Cardiovascular Engineering group and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. This team includes physicists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists and the clinicians who are operating on the patients.

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


This project has already been granted ethical approval and has access to dozens of patient medical records.

The aim of this 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.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you need to have completed or be completing a degree in an engineering, computational or physics discipline. Relevant computational experience (eg. AutoCAD, MIMICS, Amira, MATLAB) is useful, but not required.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.