Dear Biomech-L subscribers,

We would like to invite applications for the following PhD studentship:

Title: Mechanics and energetics of gait in bilateral amputees

Aims and Purposes
The aims of the proposed study are to investigate the mechanical bases of the different "styles" of gait adopted by bilateral amputees, to identify the mechanical indicators of efficient gait and to determine inter and intra-individual strategies for improving activity levels.

Background Information
Approximately 225 new bilateral amputees are referred for prosthetic rehabilitation each year. In spite of increases in National Health Service (NHS) spending (approximately £60m in 2004), 25% of all lower-limb amputees state that they do not use their prosthetic limbs as often as they would like. Abandonment of prosthetic limbs not only constitutes a serious waste of resource but also indicates that a large proportion of lower-limb amputees are likely to be inactive and unfit. Obesity is a well-recognised complication in adults after lower-limb amputation, particularly in above-knee (AK) unilateral and bilateral amputees. The problems associated with obesity are self-perpetuating; amputees put on weight during the rehabilitation process due to poor health and low activity levels, increased body weight and lower fitness levels make walking in prosthetics increasingly difficult and eventually, limbs are abandoned in favour of wheel chairs. The main reasons given for abandonment of prosthetic limbs are: discomfort, pain and excessive weight of limbs. Such problems are likely to have a mechanical basis yet quantitative research is extremely limited and is currently only available as case studies. We have recently performed a baseline study of locomotor mechanics in a population of bilateral amputees with differing levels of amputation and the data highlight several important areas for further investigation. This project aims to continue our work, defining existing gait strategies and improving locomotor mechanics in amputees in order to reduce the current trend of abandoning prosthetic limbs.

Procedure and facilities
The project will be conducted using standard gait analysis equipment e.g. a large equine treadmill, 3D optical motion analysis, force plates, EMG and a portable gas analysis system. The Structure and Motion Lab contains four lecturers with a research focus, four post docs, two lab managers and ten PhD students. The lab provides excellent facilities ( and expertise for a sound training in locomotor biomechanics. The lab is on two sites, approximately eight miles apart, in a semi rural setting to the North of London. Specifically, the labs are based at The Royal Veterinary College (Potters bar) and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) and University College London (both at RNOH, Stanmore) and the student will have full access to the facilities and resources of both institutions.

Ongoing research projects:
Cranial cruciate disease in large breed dogs, investigation of mechanical effects of surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Innovative techniques for studying animal locomotion
Limitations to performance in animals
Comparative functional anatomy (horses, greyhounds, ostriches, hares, primates, humans and okapi)
The evolution of carrying in hominoids.


Dr Robin Crompton, Liverpool University; Dr William Sellers, Manchester University; Dr Kristiaan D'Aout, Antwerp University, Dr Andy Biewener, Harvard University.

Stipend at RNOH, NHS London rates (currently £14000 per year plus fees and consumables)
Supervisors: Dr Rachel Payne (RVC), Dr Alan Wilson (RVC & UCL) and Dr Linda Marks (RNOH).
Application deadline: 17/10/05.
Start date: student must take up place by 01/01/06.

For further details please contact Rachel Payne as detailed below

Dr Rachel Payne
Royal Veterinary College
Structure & Motion Lab
Hawkshead Lane
Tel: 01707 666850