Development of micro-incubator OCT/ OCE bioreactor system to engineer a robust musculoskeletal tissue model

   School of Science and Engineering

About the Project

Achieving adequate musculoskeletal tissue healing is one of the most challenging factors in the repair of orthopaedic tissues. The problem of hard-to-soft tissue fixation is the major cause of failure of replacement grafts and leads to further musculoskeletal degeneration e.g. osteoarthritis. This project will explore how to develop a bioreactor system and optimise a stimulation regime to produce robust tissue-engineered models. The formation of tissue-engineered constructs will be approached using a fibrin-gel contraction model with bone anchor regions, mimicking native tissue interfaces. An innovative co-culture system will allow the production of a complete engineered interfaced construct and will endeavour to replicate the native tissue transitions found at the enthesis between tissue types in vivo. Complete tissue interface grafts will then undergo stretching regimes to aid tissue maturation. The maturation process will be qualitatively and quantitatively analysed by using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Elastography (OCE) in the modular bioreactor system. Development of this novel culture system will contribute to the knowledge regarding interface formation, optimum growth and stimulation requirements, and will provide a robust model to investigate enthesisal healing and repair. The findings from this study will have significant relevance in bioreactor development and musculoskeletal tissue-engineering.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Jan Bernd Vorstius ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK in a relevant discipline.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Dr Jan Vorstius () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Vorstius, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in either Biomedical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering:

- Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical engineering research degrees | University of Dundee

- Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical engineering and mechatronics research degrees | University of Dundee.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

 In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees, project specific bench fees and living expenses via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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