PhD Opportunities in Astrophysics and Medical Physics

Feedback processes in star forming regions and the interstellar medium

This project will use (and futher develop) our new radiation hydrodynamics codes to syudy the effects of stellar feedback on the structure, dynamics, and star formation rates in star forming regions (parsec sizescales) and the interstellar medium (kiloparsec sizescales). Feedback processes that are readily incorporated into our codes include photoionisation, radiation pressure, dust heating, stellar outflows, and supernovae. In addition to studying these processes in star forming regions, the new numerical codes are also applicble to numerical studies of galactic outflows and the impact of feedback processes and leakage of ionising radiation into the intergalactic medium.

Diffuse ionised gas in galaxies

Extensive layers of diffuse ionized gas are observed in the Milky Way and other galaxies. This project will study the structure, ionization, heating, and dynamics of diffuse ionized gas using our newly developed radiation hydrodynamics codes that incorporate feedback processes including photoionisation, stellar outflows, and supernovae. Output from our 3D rad-hydro simulations will be compared with emission line observations of the diffuse ionised gas.

A description of the radiation hydronamics code CMacIonize that will be used for the above projects can be found in this publication by Vandenbroucke & Wood (2018).

Biophysical aspects of light-tissue interactions

Various projects are possible in this area using Monte Carlo radiation transfer simulations to study and optimise cancer phototherapies including photodynamic therapy of skin and brain cancer, photothermal therapy using gold nano particles, and studies of the damage and theraputic effects of sunlight.

We have a long term collaboration with the photodermatology group at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. On-going projects utilising out 3D Monte Carlo radiation transfer codes include: depth penetration of various light sources into skin for improving photodynamic therapies, studying DNA damage due to sunbeds, the benefits of sun exposure for Vitamin D production, and simulations of fluorescence to identify possible biomarkers of the early onset of heart disease.

These projects are also listed here.

The Monte Carlo radiation transfer techniques at the heart of these projects are very adaptable and can be applied to many diverse areas. Recent collaborations include: star formation scattered light images and thermal spectra; planetary nebulae models; galaxy images, polarization, and rotation curves; geometry of hot star winds and disks through polarization modeling; X-ray emission in coronal loops; ionization structure of the interstellar medium; applications of Monte Carlo radiation transfer to medical physics including photodynamic therapy and DNA damage from sunbeds.

If you are interested in any of these projects or other possibilities, contact me at