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rbaker47
11-10-2010, 09:32 PM
Appropriately complex models of human walking



This PhD scholarship offers support for an exceptional graduate to undertake an exciting PhD project and contribute to biomechanics research within the School of Health, Sport and Rehabilitation Sciences. It is an early part of the GAITway initiative being driven by Richard Baker, the School's new Professor of Clinical Gait Analysis. Part of this is initiative is to develop a new understanding of why we walk the way we do and this PhD will focus on a developing a new appropriately complex model of human walking to support this research.



The state of the art in biomechanical modelling of the human locomotor system, is represented by software packages such as OpenSIM or AnyBody. Almost all research so far has applied these advanced techniques to complex models representing anatomical modelling of the musculo-skeletal system, physiological modelling of muscle and kinematic modelling of movement. There has been an assumption within this process that it is important to model the full complexity of the human locomotor system. Whilst the technical achievements have been significant, the impact on our understanding of human walking has been somewhat disappointing. One reason for this is the complexity of the models which leads to considerable difficulty in understanding whether outputs are reasonable (and in some cases whether they are actually meaningful), whether results are generalisable, and how they should be interpreted.



The aim of this PhD is to develop an appropriately complex three dimensional model of the human musculoskeletal anatomy for use within OpenSim. Such a model will have between 10 and 13 "muscles" per lower limb and require estimates of muscle and tendon parameters for these. Simulations will be run of ideal synthetic motions to develop an understanding of model outputs, how sensitive they are to model perturbation and how they should be interpreted. Further work will run simulations of healthy subjects walking normally and with a range of simple perturbations to the walking pattern to understand how model outputs change in response to these and how these can be interpreted biomechanically.



The successful student will have a good first degree in physics, mechanical or biomechanical engineering. They will be able to demonstrate experience both of using high level modelling software and of programming with packages such as MatLab. Perhaps most importantly, they will have a strong interest in understanding the results of complex modelling packages in the context of the basic principles of dynamics. The PhD will be jointly supervised by Professors Richard Baker and David Howard.



For position specification and details of the application process contact Rachel Shuttleworth, Research Support Officer, School of Health, Sport and Rehabilitation Sciences, Allerton Building, University of Salford, Salford, M6 6PU - r.shuttleworth@salford.ac.uk or 0161-295-7016


Closing date is 3rd December 2010.



Funding Notes

PhD tuition fee paid for three years (UK/EU students only, Non UK/EU student welcome to apply but will need to demonstrate ability to fund the difference between UK/EU and international student fees)

Annual bursary of 14,000 (tax free).



Richard Baker PhD CEng CSci

Professor of Clinical Gait Analysis

Room 710

Allerton Building

The University of Salford

M6 6UP



Tel: 0161 295 2465