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Minimally Invasive Robot for Spinal Therapeutic Treatment

Project Description

The Medical Robotics Lab at the University of York has career opportunities in the area of Medical Robotics and Medical Mechatronics. Applications are invited for a PhD student in surgical robotics and related basic science.

Spinal injection is a minimally invasive technique used for treating conditions including, degenerative disc disease (DDD), lower back pain, lower extremity pain, neuropathic pain, and cord injuries, etc. Recent phase I human trials have shown promise for injection of cellular therapeutics into the cord to enable motor neuron regeneration for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The overall goal of this study is to develop a highly integrated robotic system to enable minimally invasive procedures in the spine under image guidance.

We are seeking exceptional, self-motivated individuals to work with an interdisciplinary team to construct and test a novel minimally-invasive device to reach far inside the human body. Research will include: mechanical and electronic circuit designs, prototyping and pre-clinical testing of diagnostic and therapeutic devices to address clinical problems. A thorough understanding and hands-on experience of user-centered designs, electronic circuitry, programming and system control in medical applications are highly appreciated. Publication of results is also an integral part of the positions.

Key areas of research include:
- Design, development and experimental validation of mechanical and electronic systems for robot-assisted surgery
- Integration of novel and established tools for controlling and validating accurate placement of diagnostic and treatment devices
- Investigation of clinical workflows and validation of developed robotic systems in collaboration with clinical partners

We are interested in candidates with a strong background in one or more of the following areas:
- Degree in Mechanical, Electronic, Electrical, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or related fields
- Hands-on experience of engineering designs, circuitry, system control and integration, particularly in mechatronic systems
- Demonstrated capability in designs, fabrications, and testing of novel devices
- Proficiency in LabView, Matlab and SolidWorks
- Hands-on experience of 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D scanning and rapidprototping
- Demonstrated capability in smartphone programming, internet of things (IoT) and RFID applications

In addition, the following skills and experience would be a plus:
- Knowledge in digital imaging, medical imaging (MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray), and tracking (optical and electromagnetic tracking) and image-guided therapy
- Programming experience in C, C++, Python, Android Studio, Xcode, App Inventor
- Previous experience in medical device prototyping

Candidates will conduct research in the area of minimally invasive interventions in close collaboration with clinical partners.

Entry requirements:
Candidates must have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent in Mechanical, Electronic, Electrical, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or related fields.

How to apply:
Applicants must apply via the University’s online application system at Please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process. To apply, please select the PhD in Electronic Engineering for October 2020 entry. Please specify in your PhD application that you would like to be considered for this studentship.

Funding Notes

This studentship will cover the tuition fee at the home/EU rate (£4,327 in 2019/20) and a stipend at the standard research council rate for a period of up to 3 years (£15,009 in 2019/20). International (non-EU) candidates are also welcome to apply but will be required to pay the difference between the UK/EU and international tuition fee rates (approximately £17,000 per year for the duration of the programme).

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