Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Zhiyong Li
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Plaque growth is a chronic inflammatory response induced by the interactions between vascular endothelial cells, lipids, monocytes/macrophages, vascular smooth muscle cells and platelets in the arteries. The mechanism involves interactions between the activities of cellular and acellular components in plaque microenvironment. Experimental studies have revealed the contributing roles of many different biological factors and processes, such as:

  • lipid deposition
  • inflammation
  • angiogenesis
  • haemorrhage.

Due to the difficulties in experimental measurement and visualisation of the multiscale process, and the complex nature of the local environment, these complex processes remain far from being understood.

Research activities

We propose developing a mathematical modelling framework to interpret plaque growth by integrating these dynamic mechanobiological processes.

The overall objective is to gain a systematic understanding of the dynamics of the mechanobiological interaction between lipid deposition, inflammation, angiogenesis and microcirculation during plaque growth. This includes:

  • developing an integrated modelling framework for plaque growth
  • calibrating the parameter system of the mathematical model based on the team’s experimental database from the plaque research program
  • investigating the role of inflammation and angiogenesis in plaque growth and destabilisation.

The team you'll be working with has an extensive plaque research program over the last 15 years, developing technologies in:

  • vessel imaging
  • biomechanical analysis
  • mathematical modelling
  • numerical methods.


The results of this research will:

  • offer a systematic rational understanding of plaque growth
  • potentially serve as a theoretical platform for the investigation of the underlying mechanisms
  • demonstrate the importance of mathematical models in interpreting biological data
  • contribute to our knowledge in quantifying complex biological mechanisms during growth and development.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, we expect you to have a mathematical or computational background with experience in either:

  • mathematical biology
  • theoretical biology
  • mechanobiology.


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

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.