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An engineering approach to assess effect of bleeding on bone for patients with bleeding disorders

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr M Mengoni, Dr Hazel Fermor, Dr C Brockett  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A funded PhD is available to evaluate the effect of bleeding disorders on bone, using computational and experimental engineering methods. One area of interest will be the development of a multi-physics models to understand the direct and indirect effect of blood on joints. 

Haemophilia is a sex-linked inherited disorder that results in abnormal bleeding due to the lack of one coagulation factor. Musculoskeletal bleeds account for 90% of internal bleeds in patients with Haemophilia, mostly occurring in the ankle. Changes due to Haemophilia Joint Disease and other bleeding disorders are observed in bone shape and structure but their mechanism is unclear and poorly studied, which prevents the development of efficient targeted treatments. One of the effects in the ankle joint for example is geometric and bone quality changes, leading to a clinical reduction in ankle range of motion.

In this PhD project, you will access unique computational and experimental facilities and know-how developed through a previous programme of research. You will aim to develop a combination of in silico and in vitro models at diverse scales (spanning from the biological processes to the whole joint biomechanics depending on your main interests) to help understand the effect of blood on bone within joints, direct (through change in bone marrow or joint lubrication) or indirect (through bone remodelling and adaptation).

Example of objectives could be understanding changes in the joint biomechanics due to changes in bone, assessing the effect of blood on bone tissue micro-mechanical environment and cells, evaluating if changes in bone mechano-regulation can predict bone changes. The work will mainly involve computational modelling but also lab work, mainly for validation aspects.

You will have a background in Mathematical Modelling or Finite Element Analysis, if possible with knowledge of non-linear modelling. During the project, you may be expected to prepare and test human cadaveric tissue specimens; previous experience in handling human or animal tissue would be beneficial, but not essential. Full training will be provided on all laboratory methods and the associated health and safety requirements. You will learn practical aspects of project management, scientific writing for technical or non-technical dissemination, and gain presentation skills through international conferences and group meetings. You will gain specific technical skills and training in computational modelling including verification and validation aspects, 3D image analysis, and experimental testing of tissues. 

Funding Notes

A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant of £16,062 per year for 3.5 years. This opportunity is open to all applicants. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.

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