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Juvenile Skeletal Response to Changing Biomechanical Forces at the Talocrural Joint Throughout Development

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Cunningham
    Dr C Davies
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Understanding the ways in which the juvenile skeleton responds to changing forces is key to understanding the development of trabecular structure and organisation. There is a paucity of information regarding the ontogenetic development of trabecular architecture at the ankle despite this joint acting as a major conduit for load transfer in the upright bipedal individual. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis of juvenile skeletal remains, this project will aim to describe the changes that occur in trabecular bone organisation and structure at the ankle joint throughout development. In particular, changing mechanical loads will be mapped against trabecular signatures at key developmental milestones. This research will contribute to a greater understanding of the trabecular changes that occur with advancing development and may have clinical implications in terms of planning and managing therapeutic and surgical interventions in paediatric patients.

This project aims investigate the ontogenetic trabecular changes at the distal tibia and talus using specimens from the Scheuer Collection of juvenile skeletal remains. Qualitative radiography will be used in the first instance to map gross internal morphology. This will be followed by quantitative analysis of trabecular architecture using microcomputed tomography (microCT).


• Radiographic documentation of the developing bone architecture at the talocrural joint
• MicroCT analysis of an ontogenetic series of distal tibiae and tali.
• Histomorphometric analysis of microCT data to include: bone volume fraction, trabecular thickness, number and spacing, degree of anisotropy, and structural model index from selected volumes of interest.

Candidates must be UK/EU students and MUST have an undergraduate and/or Master’s degree which includes experience of full body gross anatomical human dissection. Applicants who do not have such experience will not be considered for the scholarship.

An essential part of the remit of the Greenhouse Research Studentship Programme is that successful applicants are required to teach in the dissecting room throughout semesters 1 and 2 and to assist with other classes as and when required.

Funding Notes

The studentship will commence in January 2020. The 2019/2020 tax free stipend for the scholarship is £15,009 p/a.

Candidates are requested to:
(i) submit their full CV,
(ii) indicate which of the two projects they wish to apply for,
(iii) provide a one page A4 summary of their suggestions for developing their research project choice.

Applications should reach Dr. Craig McKenzie ([Email Address Removed]) by midnight, 13th October 2019. Please do not use the ‘Email Now’ function as your application may not reach the correct department by the deadline.

Shortlisted applicants will be called for interview in week commencing 4th November 2019.

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