Project description

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in a gene called CFTR. This gene produces a protein (also called CFTR) that is an ion channel in the epithelial cells that line all the tubes in the body other than blood vessels. While lots of organs are affected, it is the airway disease that causes poor quality of life and early death. The CFTR ion channel defect results in dehydration of the airway surface liquid (ASL) and the inability to clear mucus via the normal clearance mechanism called mucociliary clearance (MCC). This creates the perfect environment for inhaled bacteria to grow in, causing a cycle of infection and inflammation that destroys lung tissue. We have run a long X-ray imaging program of work to develop non-invasive techniques to quantify ASL depth and MCC in lab animals. One challenge is accurate non-contact detection of the onset of respiration to allow reliable image acquisition. We recently developed and tested a method based on chest wall excursion detection by optical reflectance.  In 2021 our Flinders Biomedical Engineering Honours student tested a new laser sensor and built a respiratory waveform simulator. This project continues that work, and will develop new signal processing methods for predicting respiratory onset.

Assumed knowledge

Matlab and basic signal processing methods

Supervisors research focus

The Cystic Fibrosis Airway Research Group (CFARG) and Respiratory X-ray Imaging Laboratory (ReXIL) are located in Respiratory Medicine in the Gilbert Building at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We are dedicated to developing gene-based therapies for CF lung disease, as well as novel imaging-based methods for assessing the effectiveness of therapies.

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You must also contact each supervisor directly to discuss both the project details and your suitability to undertake the project.