## Mathematics thesis topics

Below are sample topics available for prospective postgraduate research students. These sample topics do not contain every possible project; they are aimed at giving an impression of the breadth of different topics available. Most prospective supervisors would be more than happy to discuss projects not listed below.

Funded projects are projects with project-specific funding. Funding for other projects is usally available on a competitive basis.

## Algebra - Example Research Projects

Our group has an active PhD student community, and every year we admit new PhD students. We welcome applications from across the world, and we encourage you to browse our available supervisors, and also to consult our general advice on how to navigate the application process.

## Algebraic Geometry - Example Research Projects

Our group has an active PhD student community, and every year we admit new PhD students. We welcome applications from across the world, and we encourage you to browse our available supervisors, and also to consult our general advice on how to navigate the application process.

## Analysis - Example Research Projects

Our group has an active PhD student community, and every year we admit new PhD students. We welcome applications from across the world, and we encourage you to browse our available supervisors, and also to consult our general advice on how to navigate the application process.

## Continuum Mechanics - Example Research Projects

Information about postgraduate research opportunities and how to apply can be found on the Postgraduate Research Study page. Below is a selection of projects that could be undertaken with our group.

#### Continuous production of solid metal foams (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart**Relevant research groups:** Continuum Mechanics

Porous metallic solids, or solid metal foams, are exceedingly useful in many engineering applications, as they can be manufactured to be strong yet exceedingly lightweight. However, industrial processing methods for producing such foams are problematic and unreliable, and it is not currently possible to control the porosity distribution of the final product a priori.

This project will consider a new method of solid foam production, where bubbles of gas are introduced continuously into a molten metal flowing through a heat exchanger; foaming and solidification then occur almost simulatanously, allowing the foam structure to be controlled pointwise. The aim of this project is to construct a simple mathematical model for a gas bubble moving in a liquid filled channel ahead of a solidification front, to predict optimal conditions whereby the gas bubble is drawn toward the phase boundary, hence forming a porous solid.

This project will require some background in fluid mechanics and a combination of analytical and numerical techniques for solving partial differential equations.

#### Radial foam fracture (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart**Relevant research groups:** Continuum Mechanics

Gas-liquid foams are a useful analgoue of crystalline atomic solids. 2D foam fracture has been used to study the mechanisms of fracture in metals. A two-dimenisonal network model (formed from a large system of differential equations) has recently been produced to study foam fracture in a rectangular channel which is pressurised along one edge. This model has helped to explain the origin of the velocity gap (a range of inadmissable steady fracture velocities), observed both in foam fracture experiments and in atomistic simulations of brittle fracture. This project will apply this network modelling approach to study radial foam fracture in a Hele-Shaw cell, to mimick recent experiments. This system has strong similarity to radial Saffmann-Taylor fingering, where fingering has been observed when a less viscous fluid displaces a more viscous fluid in a confined geometry. This project will involve studying systems of ordinary and partial differential equations using both numerical and analytical methods.

#### Numerical simulations of planetary and stellar dynamos (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Using Fluid Dynamics and Magnetohydrodynamics to model the magnetic fields of the Earth, planets, the Sun and stars. Involves high-performance computing.

#### Mathematical models of vasculogenesis (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Vasculogenesis is the process of forming new blood vessels from endothelial cells, which occurs during embryonic development. Viable blood vessels facilitate tissue perfusion, allowing the tissue to grow beyond the diffusion-limited size. However, in the absence of vasculogenesis, efforts to engineer functional tissues (eg for implantation) are restricted to this diffusion-limited size. This project will investigate mathematical models for vasculogenesis and explore mechanisms to stimulate blood vessel formation for *in vitro *tissues. The project will involve collaboration with Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, as part of the SofTMech^{MP} project.

#### A coupled cardiovascular-respiration model for mechanical ventilation (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart, Nicholas A Hill**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Mechanical ventilation is a clinical treatment used to draw air into the lungs to facilitate breathing, used in treatment of premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome and in the treatment of severe Covid pneumonia. The aim is to oxygenate the blood while simultaneously removing unwanted by-products. However, over-inflation of the lungs can reduce the blood supply to the gas exchange surfaces, leading to a ventilation-perfusion mis-match. This PhD project will give you the opportunity to develop a mathematical model to describe the coupling between blood flow in the pulmonary circulation and air flow in the lungs (during both inspiration and expiration). You will devise a coupled computational framework, capable of testing patient-specific ventilation protocols. This is an ideal project for a postgraduate student with an interest in applying mathematical modelling and image analysis to predictive healthcare. The project will give you the opportunity to join a cross-disciplinary Research Hub that aims to push the boundaries of quantitative medicine and improve clinical decision making using innovative mathematical and statistical modelling.

#### Observationally-constrained 3D convective spherical models of the solar dynamo (Solar MHD) (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev, David MacTaggart, Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Solar magnetic fields are produced by a dynamo process in the Solar convection zone by turbulent motions acting against Ohmic dissipation. Solar magnetic activity affects nearEarth space environment and can harm modern technology and endanger human health. Further, Solar magnetism poses fundamental physical and mathematical problems, e.g. about the nature of plasma turbulence and the topology of magnetic field generation. Current models of the global Solar dynamo fall in two classes (a) mean-field dynamos (b) convection-driven dynamos. The mean-field models are only phenomenological as they replace turbulent interactions by ad-hoc source and quenching terms. On the other hand, spherical convection-driven dynamo models are derived from basic principles with minimal assumptions and potentially offer true predictive power; these can also be extended to other stars and giant planets. However, at present, convection driven dynamo models operate in a wrong dynamical regime and have limited success in reproducing a number of important 1 observations including (a) the sunspot cycle period, polarity reversals and the sunspot butterfly diagram, (b) the poleward migration of diffuse surface magnetic fields, (c) the polar field strength and phase relationships between poloidal/toroidal components. The aims of this project are to (a) develop a three-dimensional convection-driven Solar dynamo model constrained by assimilation of helioseismic data, and (b) start to use the model to estimate turbulent properties that determine the internal dynamics and activity cycles of the Sun.

#### Modelling the force balance in planetary dynamos (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Robert Teed, Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Current simulations of magnetic field (the 'dynamo process') generation in planets are run, not under the conditions of planetary cores and atmospheres, but in a regime idealised for computations. To forecast changes in planetary magnetic fields such as reversals and dynamo collapse, it is vital to understand the actual fluid dynamics of these regions. The aim of this project is to produce simulations of planetary cores and atmospheres with realistic force balances and, in doing so, understand how such force balances arise and affect the dynamics of the flow. The importance of different forces (e.g. Coriolis, Lorentz, viscous forces) determine the dynamics, the dynamo regime, and hence the morphology and strength of the magnetic field that is produced. This project would involve working with existing numerical code to perform the simulations and developing new techniques to determine the heirarchy of forces at play.

#### Identifying waves in dynamo models (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

This project would involve using existing (and developing new) techniques to isolate and study magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves in numerical calculations. Various classes of waves exist and may play a role in the dynamo process (which generates planetary magnetic fields) and/or help us better understand changes in the magnetic field.

#### Magnetic helicity as the key to dynamo bistability (PhD)

**Supervisors:** David MacTaggart, Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

The planets in the solar system exhibit very different types of large-scale magnetic field.The Earth has a strongly dipolar field, whereas the fields of other solar system planets, such as Uranus and Neptune, are far more irregular. Although the different physical compositions of the planets of the solar system will influence the behaviour of the large-scale magnetic fields that they generate, the morphology of planetary magnetic fields can depend on properties of dynamos common to all planets. Here, we refer to an important and recent discovery from dynamo simulations. Remarkably, two very different types of chaotic dipolar dynamo solutions have been found to exist over identical values of the basic parameters of a generic model of convection-driven dynamos in rotating spherical shells. The two solutions mentioned above can be characterised as ‘mean dynamos’, MD, where a strong poloidal field dominates and ‘fluctuating dynamos’, FD, where the poloidal component is weaker and the large-scale field can be described as multipolar. Although these two states have been shown to be bistable (co-exist) for a wide range of identical parameters, it is not clear how a particular state, MD or FD, is chosen and how/when one state can change to the other. Some of the bifurcations of such states has been investigated, but a deep understanding of the dynamics that cause the bifurcations remains to be developed. Since the magnetic topology of MD and FD states are fundamentally different, an important part of this project will be to probe the nature of MD and FD states by studying magnetic helicity, a magnetohydrodynamic invariant that combines information on the topology of the magnetic field with the magnetic flux. The role of magnetic helicity and other helicities (e.g. cross helicity) is currently not well understood in relation to MD and FD states, but these quantities are conjectured to be very important in the development of MD and FD states.

Bistability is also related to a very important phenomenon in dynamos - global field reversal. A strongly dipolar (MD) field can change to a transitional multipolar (FD) state before a reversal and then settle into another dipolar equilibrium (of opposite polarity) again after the reversal.This project aims to develop a coherent picture of how bistability operates in spherical dynamos. Since bistability is a fundamental property of dynamos, a characterisation of how bistable solutions form and develop is key for any deep understanding of planetary dynamos and, in particular, could be crucial for understanding magnetic field reversals.

#### Stellar atmospheres and their magnetic helicity fluxes (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev, David MacTaggart, Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Our Sun and many other stars have a strong large-scale magnetic field with a characteristic time variation. We know that this field is being generated via a dynamo mechanism driven by the turbulent convective motions inside the stars. The magnetic helicity, a quantifier of the field’s topology, is and essential ingredient in this process. In turbulent environments it is responsible for the inverse cascade that leads to the large-scale field, while the build up of its small-scale component can quench the dynamo.

In this project, the student will study the effects of magnetic helicity fluxes that happen below the stellar surface (photosphere), within the stellar atmosphere (chromosphere and corona) and between these two layers. This will be done using two-dimensional mean field simulations that allow parameter studies for different physical parameters. A fully three-dimensional model of a convective stellar wedge will then be used to provide a more detailed picture of the helicity fluxes and their effect on the dynamo. Using recent advancements that allow us to extract surface helicity fluxes from solar observations, the student will make use of observations to verify the simulation results. Other recent observational results on the stellar magnetic helicity will be used to benchmark the findings.

#### Efficient asymptotic-numerical methods for cardiac electrophysiology (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

The mechanical activity of the heart is controlled by electrical impulses propagating regularly within the cardiac tissue during one's entire lifespan. A large number of very detailed ionic current models of cardiac electrical excitability are available.These realistic models are rather difficult for numerical simulations. This is due not only to their functional complexity but primarily to the significant stiffness of the equations.The goal of the proposed project is to develop fast and efficient numerical methods for solution of the equations of cardiac electrical excitation with the help and in the light of newly-developed methods for asymptotic analysis of the structure of cardiac equations (Simitev & Biktashev (2006) Biophys J; Biktashev et al. (2008), Bull Math Biol; Simitev & Biktashev (2011) Bull Math Biol)

The student will gain considerable experience with the theory of ordinary and partial differential equations, dynamical systems and bifurcation theory, asymptotic and perturbation methods,numerical methods. The applicant will also gain experience in computerprogramming, scientific computing and some statistical methods for comparison with experimental data.

#### Electrophysiological modelling of hearts with diseases (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

The exact mechanisms by which heart failure occurs are poorly understood. On a more optimistic note, a revolution is underway in healthcare and medicine - numerical simulations are increasingly being used to help diagnose and treat heart disease and devise patient-specific therapies. This approach depends on three key enablers acting in accord. First, mathematical models describing the biophysical changes of biological tissue in disease must be formulated for any predictive computation to be possible at all. Second, statistical techniques for uncertainty quantification and parameter inference must be developed to link these models to patient-specific clinical measurements. Third, efficient numerical algorithms and codes need to be designed to ensure that the models can be simulated in real time so they can be used in the clinic for prediction and prevention. The goals of this project include designing more efficient algorithms for numerical simulation of the electrical behaviour of hearts with diseases on cell, tissue and on whole-organ levels. The most accurate tools we have, at present, are so called monolithic models where the differential equations describing constituent processes are assembled in a single large system and simultaneously solved. While accurate, the monolithic approaches are expensive as a huge disparity in spatial and temporal scales between relatively slow mechanical and much faster electrical processes exists and must be resolved. However, not all electrical behaviour is fast so the project will exploit advances in cardiac asymptotics to develop a reduced kinematic description of propagating electrical signals. These reduced models will be fully coupled to the original partial-differential equations for spatio-temporal evolution of the slow nonlinear dynamic fields. This will allow significantly larger spatial and time steps to be used in monolithic numerical schemes and pave the way for clinical applications, particularly coronary perfusion post infarction. The models thus developed will be applied to specific problems of interest, including (1) coupling among myocyte-fibroblast-collagen scar; (2) shape analysis of scar tissue and their effects on electric signal propagation; (3) personalized 3D heart models using human data. The project will require and will develop knowledge of mathematical modelling, asymptotic and numerical methods for PDEs and software development and some basic knowledge of physiology. Upon completion you will be a mature researcher with broad interdisciplinary education. You will not only be prepared for an independent scientific career but will be much sought after by both academia and industry for the rare combination of mathematical and numerical skills.

#### Fast-slow asymptotic analysis of cardiac excitation models (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Mathematical models of cardiac electrical excitation describe processess ocurring on a wide range of time and length scales.

## Geometry and Topology - Example Research Projects

## Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics - Example Research Projects

Information about postgraduate research opportunities and how to apply can be found on the Postgraduate Research Study page. Below is a selection of projects that could be undertaken with our group.

#### Numerical simulations of planetary and stellar dynamos (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev, Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Using fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics to model the magnetic fields of Earth, planets, the Sun and stars. Involves high-performance computing.

#### Observationally-constrained 3D convective spherical models of the solar dynamo (Solar MHD) (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev, David MacTaggart, Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Solar magnetic fields are produced by a dynamo process in the Solar convection zone by turbulent motions acting against Ohmic dissipation. Solar magnetic activity affects nearEarth space environment and can harm modern technology and endanger human health. Further, Solar magnetism poses fundamental physical and mathematical problems, e.g. about the nature of plasma turbulence and the topology of magnetic field generation. Current models of the global Solar dynamo fall in two classes (a) mean-field dynamos (b) convection-driven dynamos. The mean-field models are only phenomenological as they replace turbulent interactions by ad-hoc source and quenching terms. On the other hand, spherical convection-driven dynamo models are derived from basic principles with minimal assumptions and potentially offer true predictive power; these can also be extended to other stars and giant planets. However, at present, convection driven dynamo models operate in a wrong dynamical regime and have limited success in reproducing a number of important 1 observations including (a) the sunspot cycle period, polarity reversals and the sunspot butterfly diagram, (b) the poleward migration of diffuse surface magnetic fields, (c) the polar field strength and phase relationships between poloidal/toroidal components. The aims of this project are to (a) develop a three-dimensional convection-driven Solar dynamo model constrained by assimilation of helioseismic data, and (b) start to use the model to estimate turbulent properties that determine the internal dynamics and activity cycles of the Sun.

#### Modelling the force balance in planetary dynamos (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Robert Teed, Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Current simulations of magnetic field (the 'dynamo process') generation in planets are run, not under the conditions of planetary cores and atmospheres, but in a regime idealised for computations. To forecast changes in planetary magnetic fields such as reversals and dynamo collapse, it is vital to understand the actual fluid dynamics of these regions. The aim of this project is to produce simulations of planetary cores and atmospheres with realistic force balances and, in doing so, understand how such force balances arise and affect the dynamics of the flow. The importance of different forces (e.g. Coriolis, Lorentz, viscous forces) determine the dynamics, the dynamo regime, and hence the morphology and strength of the magnetic field that is produced. This project would involve working with existing numerical code to perform the simulations and developing new techniques to determine the heirarchy of forces at play.

#### Identifying waves in dynamo models (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

This project would involve using existing (and developing new) techniques to isolate and study magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves in numerical calculations. Various classes of waves exist and may play a role in the dynamo process (which generates planetary magnetic fields) and/or help us better understand changes in the magnetic field.

#### Magnetic helicity as the key to dynamo bistability (PhD)

**Supervisors:** David MacTaggart, Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

The planets in the solar system exhibit very different types of large-scale magnetic field.The Earth has a strongly dipolar field, whereas the fields of other solar system planets, such as Uranus and Neptune, are far more irregular. Although the different physical compositions of the planets of the solar system will influence the behaviour of the large-scale magnetic fields that they generate, the morphology of planetary magnetic fields can depend on properties of dynamos common to all planets. Here, we refer to an important and recent discovery from dynamo simulations. Remarkably, two very different types of chaotic dipolar dynamo solutions have been found to exist over identical values of the basic parameters of a generic model of convection-driven dynamos in rotating spherical shells. The two solutions mentioned above can be characterised as ‘mean dynamos’, MD, where a strong poloidal field dominates and ‘fluctuating dynamos’, FD, where the poloidal component is weaker and the large-scale field can be described as multipolar. Although these two states have been shown to be bistable (co-exist) for a wide range of identical parameters, it is not clear how a particular state, MD or FD, is chosen and how/when one state can change to the other. Some of the bifurcations of such states has been investigated, but a deep understanding of the dynamics that cause the bifurcations remains to be developed. Since the magnetic topology of MD and FD states are fundamentally different, an important part of this project will be to probe the nature of MD and FD states by studying magnetic helicity, a magnetohydrodynamic invariant that combines information on the topology of the magnetic field with the magnetic flux. The role of magnetic helicity and other helicities (e.g. cross helicity) is currently not well understood in relation to MD and FD states, but these quantities are conjectured to be very important in the development of MD and FD states.

Bistability is also related to a very important phenomenon in dynamos - global field reversal. A strongly dipolar (MD) field can change to a transitional multipolar (FD) state before a reversal and then settle into another dipolar equilibrium (of opposite polarity) again after the reversal.This project aims to develop a coherent picture of how bistability operates in spherical dynamos. Since bistability is a fundamental property of dynamos, a characterisation of how bistable solutions form and develop is key for any deep understanding of planetary dynamos and, in particular, could be crucial for understanding magnetic field reversals.

#### Stellar atmospheres and their magnetic helicity fluxes (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev, David MacTaggart, Robert Teed**Relevant research groups:** Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Continuum Mechanics

Our Sun and many other stars have a strong large-scale magnetic field with a characteristic time variation. We know that this field is being generated via a dynamo mechanism driven by the turbulent convective motions inside the stars. The magnetic helicity, a quantifier of the field’s topology, is and essential ingredient in this process. In turbulent environments it is responsible for the inverse cascade that leads to the large-scale field, while the build up of its small-scale component can quench the dynamo.

In this project, the student will study the effects of magnetic helicity fluxes that happen below the stellar surface (photosphere), within the stellar atmosphere (chromosphere and corona) and between these two layers. This will be done using two-dimensional mean field simulations that allow parameter studies for different physical parameters. A fully three-dimensional model of a convective stellar wedge will then be used to provide a more detailed picture of the helicity fluxes and their effect on the dynamo. Using recent advancements that allow us to extract surface helicity fluxes from solar observations, the student will make use of observations to verify the simulation results. Other recent observational results on the stellar magnetic helicity will be used to benchmark the findings.

## Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics - Example Research Projects

Information about postgraduate research opportunities and how to apply can be found on the Postgraduate Research Study page. Below is a selection of projects that could be undertaken with our group.

**Quantum spin-chains and exactly solvable lattice models (PhD)**

**Supervisors:** Christian Korff

**Relevant research groups:** Algebra, Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

Quantum spin-chains and 2-dimensional statistical lattice models, such as the Heisenberg spin-chain and the six and eight-vertex models remain an active area of research with many surprising connections to other areas of mathematics.

Some of the algebra underlying these models deals with quantum groups and Hecke algebras, the Temperley-Lieb algebra, the Virasoro algebra and Kac-Moody algebras. There are many unanswered questions ranging from very applied to more pure topics in representation theory and algebraic combinatorics. For example, recently these models have been applied in combinatorial representation theory to compute Gromov-Witten invariants (enumerative geometry) and fusion coefficients in conformal field theory (mathematical physics).

**Integrable quantum field theory and Y-systems (PhD)**

**Supervisors:** Christian Korff

**Relevant research groups:** Algebra, Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

The mathematically rigorous and exact construction of a quantum field theory remains a tantalising challenge. In 1+1 dimensions exact results can be found by computing the scattering matrices of such theories using a set of functional relations. These theories exhibit beautiful mathematical structures related to Weyl groups and Coxeter geometry.

In the thermodynamic limit (volume and particle number tend to infinity while the density is kept fixed) the set of functional relations satisfied by the scattering matrices leads to so-called Y-systems which appear in cluster algebras introduced by Fomin and Zelevinsky and the proof of dilogarithm identities in number theory.

#### Cherednik Algebras and related topics (PhD)

**Supervisors**: Misha Feigin

**Relevant research groups**: Algebra, Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

The project is aimed at clarifying certain questions related to Cherednik algebras. These questions may include study of homomorphisms between rational Cherednik algebras for particular Coxeter groups and special multiplicity parameters, defining and studying of new partial spherical Cherednik algebras and their representations related to quasi-invariant polynomials, study of differential operators on quasi-invariants related to non-Coxeter arrangements. Relations with quantum integrable systems of Calogero-Moser type may be explored as well. Some other possible topics may include study of quasi-invariants for non-Coxeter arrangements in relation to theory of free arrangements of hyperplanes.

#### qDT invariants and deformations of hyperKahler geometry (PhD)

**Supervisor**: Ian Strachan

**Relevant research groups**: Geometry and Topology, Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

The project seeks to understand and exploit the integrable structure behind quantum Donaldson-Thomas invariants in terms of deformation of hyperKahler geometry and quantum-Riemann-Hilbert problems.

#### Almost-duality for arbitrary genus Hurwitz spaces (PhD)

**Supervisor**: Ian Strachan

**Relevant research groups**: Geometry and Topology, Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

The space of rational functions (interpreted as the space of holomorphic maps from the Riemann sphere to itself) may be endowed with the structure of a Frobenius manifolds, and hence there also exists an almost-dual Frobenius manifold structure. The class of examples include Coxeter and Extended-Affine-Weyl orbit group spaces. This extends to spaces of holomorphic maps between the torus and the sphere, where one can proved stronger results than just existence results. The project will seek to extend this to the explicit study of the space of holomorphic maps from an arbitrary genus Riemann surface to the Riemann sphere.

## Mathematical Biology - Example Research Projects

#### Efficient asymptotic-numerical methods for cardiac electrophysiology (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

The mechanical activity of the heart is controlled by electrical impulses propagating regularly within the cardiac tissue during one's entire lifespan. A large number of very detailed ionic current models of cardiac electrical excitability are available.These realistic models are rather difficult for numerical simulations. This is due not only to their functional complexity but primarily to the significant stiffness of the equations.The goal of the proposed project is to develop fast and efficient numerical methods for solution of the equations of cardiac electrical excitation with the help and in the light of newly-developed methods for asymptotic analysis of the structure of cardiac equations (Simitev & Biktashev (2006) Biophys J; Biktashev et al. (2008), Bull Math Biol; Simitev & Biktashev (2011) Bull Math Biol)

The student will gain considerable experience with the theory of ordinary and partial differential equations, dynamical systems and bifurcation theory, asymptotic and perturbation methods,numerical methods. The applicant will also gain experience in computerprogramming, scientific computing and some statistical methods for comparison with experimental data.

#### Electrophysiological modelling of hearts with diseases (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

The exact mechanisms by which heart failure occurs are poorly understood. On a more optimistic note, a revolution is underway in healthcare and medicine - numerical simulations are increasingly being used to help diagnose and treat heart disease and devise patient-specific therapies. This approach depends on three key enablers acting in accord. First, mathematical models describing the biophysical changes of biological tissue in disease must be formulated for any predictive computation to be possible at all. Second, statistical techniques for uncertainty quantification and parameter inference must be developed to link these models to patient-specific clinical measurements. Third, efficient numerical algorithms and codes need to be designed to ensure that the models can be simulated in real time so they can be used in the clinic for prediction and prevention. The goals of this project include designing more efficient algorithms for numerical simulation of the electrical behaviour of hearts with diseases on cell, tissue and on whole-organ levels. The most accurate tools we have, at present, are so called monolithic models where the differential equations describing constituent processes are assembled in a single large system and simultaneously solved. While accurate, the monolithic approaches are expensive as a huge disparity in spatial and temporal scales between relatively slow mechanical and much faster electrical processes exists and must be resolved. However, not all electrical behaviour is fast so the project will exploit advances in cardiac asymptotics to develop a reduced kinematic description of propagating electrical signals. These reduced models will be fully coupled to the original partial-differential equations for spatio-temporal evolution of the slow nonlinear dynamic fields. This will allow significantly larger spatial and time steps to be used in monolithic numerical schemes and pave the way for clinical applications, particularly coronary perfusion post infarction. The models thus developed will be applied to specific problems of interest, including (1) coupling among myocyte-fibroblast-collagen scar; (2) shape analysis of scar tissue and their effects on electric signal propagation; (3) personalized 3D heart models using human data. The project will require and will develop knowledge of mathematical modelling, asymptotic and numerical methods for PDEs and software development and some basic knowledge of physiology. Upon completion you will be a mature researcher with broad interdisciplinary education. You will not only be prepared for an independent scientific career but will be much sought after by both academia and industry for the rare combination of mathematical and numerical skills.

#### Fast-slow asymptotic analysis of cardiac excitation models (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Radostin Simitev**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Mathematical models of cardiac electrical excitation describe processess ocurring on a wide range of time and length scales.

#### Mathematical models of vasculogenesis (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Vasculogenesis is the process of forming new blood vessels from endothelial cells, which occurs during embryonic development. Viable blood vessels facilitate tissue perfusion, allowing the tissue to grow beyond the diffusion-limited size. However, in the absence of vasculogenesis, efforts to engineer functional tissues (eg for implantation) are restricted to this diffusion-limited size. This project will investigate mathematical models for vasculogenesis and explore mechanisms to stimulate blood vessel formation for *in vitro *tissues. The project will involve collaboration with Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, as part of the SofTMech^{MP} project.

#### A coupled cardiovascular-respiration model for mechanical ventilation (PhD)

**Supervisors:** Peter Stewart, Nicholas A Hill**Relevant research groups:** Mathematical Biology, Continuum Mechanics

Mechanical ventilation is a clinical treatment used to draw air into the lungs to facilitate breathing, used in treatment of premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome and in the treatment of severe Covid pneumonia. The aim is to oxygenate the blood while simultaneously removing unwanted by-products. However, over-inflation of the lungs can reduce the blood supply to the gas exchange surfaces, leading to a ventilation-perfusion mis-match. This PhD project will give you the opportunity to develop a mathematical model to describe the coupling between blood flow in the pulmonary circulation and air flow in the lungs (during both inspiration and expiration). You will devise a coupled computational framework, capable of testing patient-specific ventilation protocols. This is an ideal project for a postgraduate student with an interest in applying mathematical modelling and image analysis to predictive healthcare. The project will give you the opportunity to join a cross-disciplinary Research Hub that aims to push the boundaries of quantitative medicine and improve clinical decision making using innovative mathematical and statistical modelling.