Effect of obesity on bone strength and implication on the risk of hip fracture

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

There is a clear and unmet need to address the diagnosis of hip fracture risk associated with osteoporosis. Whereas low weight is a well-documented risk factor for future bone fractures, a high body weight seems to protect against hip fracture. Of course, this does not mean that weight gain should be encouraged in order to reduce the risk of hip fracture because obesity is associated with increased morbidity from a range of other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The story is more complicated as being obese still increases the fracture risk at extremities. It is therefore important to quantify the lead protective factors associated with obesity against hip fracture risk in order to utilise them in the clinic. The proposed study aims to further our understanding of hip fracture risk and associated protective factors in obesity using a personalised computational modelling approach accounting for both 3D structural and mechanical changes in bone and surrounding soft tissues.

The objective of the proposed research is to quantitatively assess changes in bone and surrounding soft tissues with increased BMI and their effects on the risk of hip fracture. We seek to identify biomarkers that are protective of the bone given that hip fracture is known to occur less frequently in obese population. The investigation will be stepped up by quantifying local bone mineral density changes associated with specific hormonal levels in obesity. Once the lead protective factors have been identified, we will seek potential intervention options that mimic their effects that could be applied to normal and underweight population in the clinic.

This is a self-funded research project. We require applicants to have either an undergraduate honours degree (2:1) or MSc (Merit or Distinction) in a relevant science or engineering subject from a reputable institution.

Engineering (12) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded research project.

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