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Improving surgical planning in foot and ankle reconstruction through a validated parametric foot model

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

Project Description

Musculoskeletal issues in the feet of growing children result in pain and gait problems during skeletal maturity in adolescence. Many of these cases require surgery to relieve pain and prevent disability in adult life such as joint arthritis. However surgical outcomes are varied and there are many variables during surgical planning where their significance to improving outcomes is unclear.

Our multidisciplinary team have developed tissue testing protocols, gait analysis and finite element analysis capabilities that will allow the development and validation of parametric human joints for surgical planning. This project aims to investigate the key parameters impacting surgical outcomes with the aim of improving surgical planning and prognosis in adolescent foot surgery.

Objectives and skills required:

- Develop a parametric finite element model of the foot in a preliminary clinical trial in collaboration with the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Birmingham, where you will use patient CT data and gait analysis.

- Lead on mechanical tissue testing from patient samples that will be used to validate the foot model.

- Carry out parametric analysis; inverse dynamics and statistical analysis to interpret results pre- and post-surgery.

The student will be provided with training in model reconstruction from medical images (Aston), FE modelling of soft tissue (Aston), mechanical testing techniques for hard tissue testing (Cranfield), Human Tissue Act training (both CU and Aston) and use of gait analysis for the foot/ankle model (Aston/clinical collaborators).
The student will also gain the skills of working in an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and engineers in terms of communicating technical and clinical principles as well as working with clinicians to ensure the needs of the stake holders (clinician, patients and hospital) are met. There will be opportunities for the student to present their work internationally, network with researchers across disciplines and publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.

Applications from UK, EU and international* citizens are invited for a Fully Funded 3 year EPSRC Doctoral training Partnership Postgraduate studentship, supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to be undertaken within the Biomedical Engineering Research Unit at Aston University and the Forensics Biomechanics Laboratory in Cranfield University. The successful applicant will join established experimental groups working on biomechanics and

Funding Notes

The position is available to start in October 2019.

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777/year for 3 years.

*Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, which is currently a difference of £14,240 per annum.
As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding elsewhere, if you are from outside of the EU


Applicants should have a Masters at merit level (or MEng) in an appropriate subject and a First class or upper second (2:1) class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Mechanical engineering, Biomedical Engineering or Biomechanics. The candidate will have an excellent academic track record and preferably have one or more of the following skills or knowledge/experience of: biomechanics, gait analysis, inverse dynamics, statistical data analysis, finite element modelling.

Please use reference number PHDCFI03 when applying via [email protected]

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