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Functional Evaluation of the Meniscus and Meniscus Replacement using MRI

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The aim of this PhD study is to develop new methods for examining the human knee joint under load using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The particular focus is on the meniscus, a fibrous horseshoe-shaped soft tissue that sits between the two cartilage surfaces of the knee joint. The techniques developed will be used to evaluate the mechanical performance of meniscus replacements, in comparison to the natural healthy joint.

Treatment for musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis cost the NHS more than £5 billion per year. The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (IMBE) at the University of Leeds is leading the development and testing of new treatments for knee osteoarthritis. Through a £4million EPSRC-funded Programme Grant, we are developing novel methods for testing early-stage treatments in a whole natural knee in vitro model. The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary team involved in this research, which includes leading engineers, clinicians, biologists and chemists.

The main objectives of the PhD will be to: 1. develop a novel loading system that can be used to apply physiological loading states to cadaveric knees within an MRI machine; 2. develop the necessary image analysis tools to be able to characterise the meniscal deformations under different loading states; 3 demonstrate the results are clinically relevant by making comparison to lower resolution images taken using an upright MRI scanner as part of an ongoing clinical study in Leeds; and 4. evaluate the performance of the natural meniscus and meniscus grafts under different patient and surgical variables.

The successful candidate should have experience in mechanical engineering design and testing, be competent at programming, and ideally have some experience of image analysis. During the project, you will be expected to prepare and test human cadaveric tissue specimens, so previous experience in handling either human or animal tissue would be beneficial, but is not essential. Full training will be provided on all laboratory methods and the associated health and safety requirements. You will need to be organised and diligent in keeping good laboratory records.

There will be opportunities to be involved in wider activities organised by the IMBE, including public and patient engagement events, and bespoke training for careers in the medtech sector. You will be encouraged to developed wider skills through training provided by the University and through opportunities to participate in international conferences or laboratory visits.

Funding Notes

A highly competitive School of Mechanical Engineering/EPSRC Studentship Award offering Academic Fee at Home/EU Fee rate, plus Maintenance of £15,285 per year for 3.5 years an linked to this specific EPSRC Scholarship Award project. Note to EU Candidates: To be eligible for the full award of fees and maintenance, you must be have residency in the UK for 3 or more years. If you do not have 3 years residency in the UK, you may be eligible for a Fee Only award. Please note that International applicants are not eligible to apply for this funding.

How good is research at University of Leeds in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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