Current PhD opportunities

4 year PhD studentship on elastoinertia turbulence (EIT) 

A 4 year PhD position is currently available with October 2020  start for EU/home students. The project is funded through a Fundamental Engineering Research  initiative  and aims to elucidate the onset and nature of elastoinertia turbulence (EIT) induced by polymers and its implications for manufacturing. Using a Taylor Couette flow configuration- a paradigm for hydrodynamic instability- and flow visualisation methods we have elucidated the flow transitions (see figure below) of a Boger (Newtonian but elastic) fluid from Couette flow to disordered flow oscillations and elasto-inertia turbulence (EIT). We have shownthat the transition to elasto-inertia turbulence is elasticity driven, attributed to elastic waves that interfere with the inertia, vortical structures present in the flow.

Space-Reynolds flow map in a Taylor Couette flow of a Newtonian elastic fluid (Boger) (Lacassagne et al 2020)

However, the nature of EIT and the exact mechanisms involved in the laminar –EIT transition are poorly understood. In particular; there is a paucity of experimental data and many unresolved questions. In this project we will apply advanced flow diagnostic techniques in macroscale and microscale flows of polymer solutions of varying viscoelasticity with a view to elucidate the nature of EIT, establish onset criteria and harness it to enhance transport phenomena.

Person specificationWe are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated engineering or physics/applied maths graduate with excellent knowledge of fluid mechanics and an interest in complex fluids to join our group (FluME). Strong analytical, organisation and communication skills, creativity and an aptitude for experimental work are essential. Matlab programming skills are highly desirable.

EligibilityThis funding is available to UK and EU (non-UK) nationals subject to EPSRC  student eligibility requirements.  We actively encourage the application of female applicants for this position.

Application:  Eligible applicants should contact Prof Stavroula Balabani ( forwarding a CV (including at least two referees), a covering letter and a transcript of results (listing all subjects taken and their corresponding grades/marks) by 15th July 2020. We expect the successful candidate to start in October 2020.

3.5 year- PhD studentship on Hemodynamics of Aortic Dissection

A 3.5-year PhD  studentship aiming to develop tools for the pre & post-operative in-silico planning and treatment for Aortic Dissections. The post is funded by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCL as part of our BHF funded project ‘VIRTUOSO’ (A Virtual Platform for Precision Vascular Surgery) and based at the WEISS Centre at UCL.

This project will be an exemplar application that will provide a blueprint and proof of concept for the use of in-silico tools in the personalised management of aortic diseases in general (applicable also to other pathologies).  The clinical impact and viability of these technologies will be tested via our partner Hospitals in the UK and Europe.  These models will be validated using a sophisticated experimental setup available (including PIV) within the group.

Person specification: Strong background in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, physics, applied mathematics; in particular, strong knowledge of how to derive and manipulate differential equations. Excellent programming skills in any of the following languages: C, C++, FORTRAN, Matlab, Octave or Python; Experience in CFD; Good oral written and presentation skills; Well-organised, attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines;Ability to think logically, create solutions and make informed decisions. Independence and ability to work collaboratively as part of a team

Supervisory Team and Training: Prof. Vanessa Diaz and Prof. Stavroula Balabani will lead for Engineering, and Prof. Janice Tsui and Prof Aung Oo (Barts) will lead for Vascular Surgery.  The successful applicant will be provided superb training by an experienced team that works well together and has led students to win more than 22 national and international prizes, including ‘Best Thesis Awards’ from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Reynolds Prize and the European Society of Biomechanics. We offer state-of-the-art training with 1 to 1 supervision and co-location with clinicians at the Royal Free Hospital/Barts Hospital part of the week.

World Class Science, Excellent Location and Experience: The successful candidate will become part of the Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS)at UCL and will benefit from a dynamic and world-class learning and working environment in the Centre’s unique facilities, as part of the main UCL campus.  WEISS offers a number of opportunities including close interactions with internationally leading researchers of different specialties, a dynamic programme of scientific outreach and close links with industry.

Eligibility: This funding is available for UK and EU passport holders. International students may apply, however, fees will be capped at UK/EU level (students will be required to pay the difference in fees).  There is no minimum qualifying residence requirement for applicants from the EU. We actively encourage the application of female applicants for this position. Please DO NOT enquire about this studentship if you are ineligible.

Closing and Start Dates:  Please apply by 15 July 2020. However, we will be continuously having informal discussion with interested candidates until this position is filled. We expect the successful candidate to start in October 2020 but there is flexibility regarding the dates.

Application: Eligible applicants should contact Profs S. Balabani ( and V. Diaz ( forwarding a CV (including at least two referees), a covering letter and a transcript of results (listing all subjects taken and their corresponding grades/marks).


We welcome applications from enthusiastic students and postdocs with an interest in experimental fluid mechanics to join our group.  Strong background in fluids as demonstrated from relevant project or research work is required. We have an excellent record of successful PhD completion and researcher mentoring with many of our students winning national awards.

Dr Mona Alimohammadi  (middle)  winner of UK’s Best Medical Engineering PhD Prize and a place in Springer’s “Best of the Best” Theses for her PhD work on aortic dissection supervised by  V. Diaz and S. Balabani. 

Please contact Prof  S. Balabani for more information.