View Full Version : PhD position

Roland Steck
11-15-1999, 06:59 PM
A position for a PhD student at the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology (ETH) is available in the area of


The project consists of the formulation, validation and application of a
mathematical model of the human kidney for use in trauma research. The
model is to be based on a continuum mechanics’ approach whereby the
Finite Element (FE) method is applied. Constitutive relations to be
utilised are derived from measurements of the dynamic mechanical
properties of kidneys currently under way at the Swiss Federal
Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA). Sample preparation
for testing purposes is performed at EMPA (pig kidneys are presently
used as human-like model tissues) and at the Urology Clinic of the
University Hospital Geneva where also human samples will be made
available in the future in agreement with applicable regulations.
Besides a realistic gross anatomy, the effects of the inhomogeneous
structure of the kidney, the nonlinearity and viscoelasticity of the
various tissues as well as of the perfusion and intrarenal pressure have
to be taken into account in order that the model produces significant
results. Particular attention has furthermore to be given to the
specific mechanical environment in which the kidney is embedded within
the human body. Likewise, typical external impact situations causing
kidney injuries have to be interpreted in view of defining a
corresponding loading pattern to which the kidney model itself is
In trauma biomechanics, lacerations of inner organs of the abdomen, in
particular injuries of the kidney have received less attention to date
in comparison with injuries to the head, the thorax, the (bony) pelvis
and the lower extremities. This is mainly due to the fact that inner
organs of the abdomen are relatively well protected and kidney injuries
therefore are often minor. Nevertheless, in view of the enormous
significance of injuries for public health, a reduction of injuries of
inner abdominal organs can be expected to produce significant long-range
benefits in particular as severe kidney injuries cause large clinical

PhD Students participate in the teaching activities offered by the
Institute to students of the engineering sciences and physics in that
they supervise theoretical and laboratory exercises as well as semester
and diploma work. They are paid according to the guidelines observed by
ETH. Admission as a PhD student at ETH requires a MSc or equivalent
degree. There are no restrictions with respect to language.

Students interested in this project may contact:

Prof. Peter Niederer
Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Tel: +411 632 4568
Email: peter.niederer@biomed.ee.ethz.ch

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Roland Steck
Institute of Biomedical Engineering
University and ETH Zurich
Gloriastrasse 35
CH-8092 Zurich

Tel. +41 (0)1 632 2521
Fax. +41 (0)1 632 1193
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