PhD studentship - skull biomechanics

Medical and Biological Engineering Research Group

This post is to support a BBSRC-funded project between the University of Hull, University College London and the University of Aberdeen, concerned with understanding the role of soft tissue structures in skull biomechanics.

Investigations into cranial biomechanics and the form and function of skulls has thus far focussed predominantly on the bone - its response to stresses generated in feeding and its role in the protection of the soft cranial contents. However, soft tissues such as the brain and eyes develop first, becoming enclosed by fibrous capsules (e.g. periosteum, dura) within which the skeletal units ultimately develop and are maintained and shaped. This close integration of hard and soft tissues is understood by craniofacial clinicians, but has received little attention in other studies. Our aim is to clarify and quantify the role played by apparently inert cranial soft tissues in skull biomechanics and to determine their relative significance in the frame-like reptile skull versus the shell-like skull of mammals.

The successful applicant will have a first class or 2:1 degree in mechanical engineering (or similar) with a good working knowledge of finite element analysis, and will work primarily on the development of a new complex model of a human skull.

Note: this studentship is for home/EU students only.

For more information and vacancies
To discuss this role informally, please contact Professor Michael J Fagan (

Closing date: 31 January 2015
Interviews: Week commencing Monday 16 February 2015

This fully funded studentship will start on 28th September 2015.