PhD in Psychology: Computational modelling and prediction of brain shift to improve surgical navigation

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Social sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)


CUBRIC (Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre), School of Psychology and the Schools of Computer Science, and Engineering, in collaboration with Renishaw PLC seek a PhD student to join a research team developing computational modelling and MRI for surgical planning.


You will work with world-renowned experts in brain imaging, computer vision and tissue modelling and conduct research on the brain image analysis aspects of the research, working alongside two currently funded School of Engineering scholarships in brain tissue modeling and another PhD looking at measuring and modelling Brain deformation from MRI imaging.

Neurosurgical procedures for treatment of brain tumours and diseases such as Parkinson’s disease often require the insertion of catheters to deliver drugs to particular parts of the brain, or electrodes to enable precisely targeted stimulation.

It is important to be able to place these accurately and to avoid critical parts of the brain. Surgical trajectories are planned using preoperative MRI images and a robot system is used to set the correct direction relative to the skull. However, the brain is soft and moves around when the skull is opened for surgical access, affecting the accuracy with which particular features can be targeted.

There are several situations in which brain shift occurs:

  • It is often necessary to move the patient into different orientations to allow access from different directions. This causes repeated brain movements
  • Pushing catheters or other devices into the brain may cause shift and deformations, depending on the resistance of different tissues
  • Multiple catheters /electrodes may anchor the brain tissue and alter its subsequent deformation
  • Fluid flow within the brain arising from brain rotation can impact the degree of deformation.

This project aims to predict brain shift from pre-operative MRI scans and hence improve the accuracy of neurosurgical navigation.

We will investigate the effects of incremental shifts and produce models, simulation tools and algorithms to minimise targeting errors and facilitate surgical planning. The long-term aim is to incorporate these predictions into Renishaw’s neurosurgery systems and deliver better treatment to patients.

What is funded

Full UK/EU tuition fees and Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum.


3 years


We seek a high calibre graduate with a good degree (First or strong Upper Second Class) in Computer Science, Physics, Engineering or Mathematics with a high degree of computer programming proficiency and strong mathematical skills.

Experience in image registration, especially non-linear deformation would be desirable but not essential.


The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.