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Creating novel testing technologies for patient specific fracture fixation devices


   College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  Dr L Leslie  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Osteoporosis affects 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 causing 500,000 fragility fractures per annum with an economic burden of just under £3.5 billion (UK figures). Many of these fractures are fixed using fracture fixation devices i.e. plates and screws, however, re-fracture and reduced healing may occur.

There are new fracture fixation materials such as Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polyetheretherketone (CFR-PEEK) being used. These non-rigid materials can be manufactured to specific requirements e.g. tailored anisotropic strength and stiffness, providing potential for patient specific implants. However, currently only basic test methodologies and standard plate configurations and materials are available, therefore the healthcare system faces the limitation of fixation plates which are unsuitable for osteoporotic patients and no standard biomechanically relevant test methods to develop and compare new materials and designs.

The aim of this project is to deliver a new technology platform to evaluate mechanical integration of patient-specific internal fracture fixation plates comprising novel biomaterials. This will meet an urgent clinical need and advance non-animal technologies for health.

There are three Research Objectives in this project:

  1. Establish novel and robust mechanical test methodologies to allow for the effective biomechanical, fatigue and wear analysis of internal fracture fixation devices
  2. Use these novel methodologies to evaluate and validate the process in standard fracture fixation devices
  3. Use these novel methodologies to evaluate the use of new material configurations for bespoke patient specific fracture fixation plates in the treatment of fragility fractures

This project will run in collaboration with both industrial and clinical partners, providing support and advice, as well as a deeper understanding of the user requirements behind these innovative ideas.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in mechanical engineering, materials science, biomedical engineering or a related subject. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of mechanical testing of biomaterials.

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree; this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English
  • A research proposal statement*
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

*The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor name, project title, and project reference in your Personal Statement.


Funding Notes

There is no financial support available from Aston University for this position. Applicants should either be confident they can cover the costs from their own resources or be applying for an external scholarship. As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.
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