Josh Williams

Project Title: Patient-specific computational models for optimising particle deposition in human respiratory systems

In Scotland, 7% of the population are receiving treatment for asthma. For those with respiratory issues such as asthma or cystic fibrosis, inhalation of medication is a key process. Optimal dosage and deposition of medication is crucial for disease management and strategies are in place to help patients with asthma. However, these strategies are not able to flexibly account for changes in the patient’s circumstances and environments and to adjust medication levels. At the same time, these strategies are not able to account for additional effects stemming, for instance, from inner city pollution or adverse weather conditions. Computational tools such as computational particle-fluid dynamics could help to provide this flexibility and develop personalised, “real-time” treatments.

Therefore, this project seeks to develop a robust computational framework to simulate the process of medication inhalation. These simulations will consider interactions at various scales, from general air flow in the system, to absorption of the medication at cellular level. These simulations are made patient-specific with medical images ranging from CT scans to a simple chest X-ray. Results can then be analysed and used to inform the development of a patient’s inhalers and allow for significantly improved drug absorption throughout the lungs, allowing patients to better manage their illness.

Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

Field: Engineering

University: Heriot-Watt University

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