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Using anatomical morphometrics to guide tissue-engineered design for ankle ligament repair

   Deanery of Biomedical Sciences

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  Dr J Paxton  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Ankle ligament injuries are one of the most common musculoskeletal problems worldwide. Injury rates increase in younger populations and those engaging in sporting or military professions. While minor ankle sprains can be treated conservatively, there are high rates of re-injury and almost half of patients will complain of pain on ankle examination years later, highlighting that ankle ligament repair is poor. Notably, the enthesis, the hard-soft tissue connection, is postulated to account for some instances of ligament pain following injury.

This project is focussed on using anatomical morphometrics to design and develop tissue-engineered models for improving ankle repair strategies. It builds upon previous work in the host laboratory which examines the anatomical features of the enthesis in other anatomical areas [1] and the modification of existing tissue-engineered models [2,3].

This is an exciting multi-disciplinary project co-supervised by Professor Hamish Simpson, Edinburgh Orthopaedics. The project will include the following techniques;

  • Anatomical dissection
  • Macro and micro anatomical morphometric analysis
  • Histology
  • Tissue engineering (scaffold-based)
  • 3D printing
  • 2D and 3D cell culture

Applicants with an anatomical background and experience of dissection are strongly encouraged to apply.

To formally apply for this project, please send a full CV, cover letter and 2 references to [Email Address Removed]. Note that referees can send references directly if they prefer.

Funding Notes

Funding provided by the Anatomical Society.


1. Mortimer JW, Alsaykhan H, Vadibeler S, Rust PA, Paxton JZ. Anatomy and histomorphology of the flexor digitorum profundus enthesis: functional implications for tissue engineering and surgery. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2021 Dec 10;22(1):1032. doi: 10.1186/s12891-021-04922-1. PMID: 34893040; PMCID: PMC8665545.
2. Paxton JZ, Grover LM, Baar K. Engineering an in vitro model of a functional ligament from bone to bone. Tissue Eng Part A. 2010 Nov;16(11):3515-25. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0039. Epub 2010 Aug 28. PMID: 20593972.
3. Paxton JZ, Wudebwe UN, Wang A, Woods D, Grover LM. Monitoring sinew contraction during formation of tissue-engineered fibrin-based ligament constructs. Tissue Eng Part A. 2012 Aug;18(15-16):1596-607. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0535. Epub 2012 May 21. PMID: 22439983.
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