View Full Version : PhD Studentship in Spine Biomechanics

04-20-2009, 12:02 AM
School of Human & Life Sciences, Roehampton University

PhD Studentship in Spine Biomechanics:
Dynamic properties of the lumbar spine in subjects with arthritic conditions and non-specific back pain

About 80 percent of the population will experience low back pain at some stage in their life, costing the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK 480m a year. The Biomechanics team at Roehampton University and the Arthritic Association (http://www.arthriticassociation.org.uk/) have developed a joint research project to study this clinical problem.

A large body of evidence has clearly shown that the behaviours of lumbar spine muscles are altered in patients with back pain. However, some fundamental research questions remain unanswered. (1) Does muscle spasm exist in patients with arthritis of the spine and those with non-specific back pain? (2) Are the stiffness properties of the spinal muscles altered in these patient groups? (3) What are the biomechanical and clinical consequences of muscle spasm and changes in muscle stiffness if they do exist?

This PhD research project will examine the above research questions. It will provide sound scientific evidence which will guide the clinical work of the Arthritic Association, and through a better understanding of the biomechanical mechanisms underlying back pain, treatment can be rationalised and made most effective, bringing tremendous benefits to many back pain sufferers.

The School of Human and Life Sciences is based in Whitelands College, located in stunning parkland on the edge of Richmond Park, South-West London. It has state-of-art research and computing facilities and all the required resources to support the work. It has a thriving research community, and you will be an active member of a research team fully committed to academic excellence in musculoskeletal biomechanics. The team has a strong record of research in spine research and musculoskeletal biomechanics. This exceptional expertise, together with a team of dedicated technical staff, will provide the best support and learning experience for the research student.

This studentship is funded by the Arthritic Assocation for three years, subject to annual review of student progress and successful upgrading from MPhil to PhD. The current bursary rate is 14,940 per year (tax free). Tuition fees at the equivalent of full Home/EU rates are paid by the Arthritic Association, and successful overseas applicants are required to pay the difference between Home/EU fees and the Overseas rate.

The successful candidate will have a first or upper second class Bachelor degree in either (1) biomedical, mechanical or electronic engineering, physical science, or (2) physiotherapy, medicine and surgery.
The candidate is expected to be mathematically competent and have some experience in experimental work. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, a PhD candidate with physical or engineering science background may be required to undertake training in anatomy and physiology, and one with life science background may require training in engineering mechanics.

This PhD project will be jointly supervised by Professor Raymond Lee (r.lee@roehampton.ac.uk), Professor of Biomechanics, and Dr Siobhan Strike, Senior Lecturer (s.strike@roehampton.ac.uk). Please feel free to contact them if you require further information about the PhD position.

If you would like to apply for the PhD studentship, please visit

Please download the "initial application form" for MPhil/PhD and send the following documents to Didier Rochard, University Research Office, Lawrence House, Roehampton University, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PU.
- the completed application form (Please note that applicants do not need to complete section 11. In this section, please state "Project funded by the Arthritic Association. Details to be advised by the supervisors.")
- curriculum vitae
- covering letter explaining what expertise and experience you would bring
to your project

Deadline for application: 22nd May 2009

Interviews will be held in the Whitelands campus during the week beginning 1st June 2009.

Raymond Lee PhD
Professor of Biomechanics
Roehampton University, London
+44 (0)20 8392 3539
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