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Modelling dynamics of swimming in 3D

PGR-P-718

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Funding
Competition funded
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Supervisors
Professor Netta Cohen
Schools
School of Computing
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

We study the neuromechanical basis of behaviour in the nematode worm C. elegans. In this project, you will combine data-driven and theory-driven analysis of the dynamics of locomotion in the worm, quantified in terms of the sequence of its postures; in terms of its movement through space; and as a function of the fluid properties in which it is immersed. This project is highly interdisciplinary, combining data-driven and theory-driven investigation, and the topic described falls into several disciplines of physics, mathematics and computer science, including active diffusion; soft matter physics; biomechanical control of locomotion; and dynamical systems, and with applications to biorobotics, control engineering and autonomous systems.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>A better understanding of the range of possible postures, and their dynamics over time can shed light into the muscle activation patterns required to generate these behaviours. A better understanding of the trajectories of the worm and the link between postural dynamics and trajectories in space can, in turn, shed light on the movement strategies of the worm, its navigation and foraging strategies, its interaction with the phsyical environment and its biomechanics. Specific topics will be chosen from the scope and remit of the project, but tailored to individual interests and skills.</p> <p>This project is likely to include any combination of:</p> <ul> <li>Dynamical systems analysis of 3D postural dynamics</li> <li>Modelling the active diffusion and active swimming of C. elegans</li> <li>The construction and testing of mechanistic and/or statistical models of muscle activation patterns required to generate the observed postural dynamics in 3D (including a combination of optimisation approaches, machine learning and simulations of biomechanical models).</li> </ul> <h5>Background</h5> <p>This studentship forms part of a larger collaborative and interdisciplinary project, that currently includes two academics (Thomas Ranner and Netta Cohen), two postdoctoral fellows and three PhD students. We study the neuromechanical basis of behaviour in the nematode worm <em>C. elegans</em>. Research combines biological experiments, mathematical and computational modelling of the neural control as well as investigations of the physics of the worm and its interaction with the environment. We are seeking to appoint up to four further PhD candidates focusing on the undulatory motion of this worm: one project on the mathematical understanding of numerical methods for biomechanical models (with Thomas Ranner), one on modelling the neural control of locomotion (with Netta Cohen), one experimental project, combining behavioural experiments and machine vision (with Netta Cohen) and one exploring the dynamics of the worm&rsquo;s behaviour (with Netta Cohen). All projects are envisioned within this multidisciplinary setting. You will join a multi-disciplinary, dynamic, and creative group within the School of Computing at the University of Leeds, with close ties to the Fluid Dynamics Centre for Doctoral Training, the Hope Laboratory and the van Oosten-Hawle Laboratory in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, where additional biological experimental facilities are housed. Informal enquires are welcome from all potential candidates.&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing-research-degrees/doc/apply">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Modelling dynamics of swimming in 3D&rdquo;&nbsp;as well as <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing/staff/301/professor-netta-cohen">Prof Netta Cohen</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in writing and at 6.0 in reading, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A highly competitive EPSRC Studentship Award offering Academic Fee at Home/EU Fee rate, plus Maintenance of &pound;15,285 per year for 3.5 years. The EPSRC Studentship Award is Competition-Funded and the funding is linked to a specific EPSRC Scholarship Award project. Note to EU Candidates: To be eligible for the full award of fees and maintenance, you must be have residency in the UK for 3 or more years. If you do not have 3 years residency in the UK, you may be eligible for a Fee Only award. Please note that International applicants are not eligible to apply for this funding. Please see projects below for further information including application deadlines as they all differ.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding the application procedure,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk">phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Prof Netta Cohen<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:N.Cohen@leeds.ac.uk">N.Cohen@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>