Examination of healthy and diseased bone at the cellular level to inform computational modelling of bone mechanotransduction

PhD project details

Original ad https://jobs.soton.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?id=9245&forced=1
Subjects Biomedical Engineering, Health Sciences, Computational Modelling, Bioimaging
Institution University of Southampton
Faculty: Engineering and the Environment
Group Bioengineering Research Group
Location Highfield Campus, University of Southampton
Closing date Applications accepted at any time until the position is filled
PhD project description

Disabilities due to musculoskeletal disorders have increased by nearly 50% over the last 20 years and affect millions of people. Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of pain and disability world-wide and the fastest increasing major health problem worldwide. Each year, more than 300,000 people suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture in the UK only. There is intense research to try to determine the origin of these musculoskeletal disorders although, critically, until recently the hallmarks of these bone-related diseases could not be studied in 3D at a cellular level. We are currently developing a framework for 3D bone imaging at the cell level through an ongoing PhD studentship within FEE, which will provide new insight into these diseases.

The proposed PhD project will address the controversy as to how mechanical loading is magnified and transferred to osteocytes, the most abundant bone cells, which are critically involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. Our hypothesis is that bone mechanotransduction is altered in disease due to changes in the 3D structure of the bone cell networks. To this end, the PhD candidate will derive quantitative hallmarks of bone at the cellular level in health and disease from osteoarthritic and osteoporotic patients and from rodent cohorts used in nutritional studies providing a lifecourse approach. The PhD candidate will develop realistic finite element modelling and fluid flow modelling approaches for bone mechanotransduction, respectively, and investigate bone mechanotransduction at the cell level for the different bone health conditions. This PhD project will identify relevant quantitative measures for the bone cell networks, which will serve as targets for diagnosing bone diseases and assessing treatment success in future pre-clinical and clinical studies.

This PhD offers a unique interdisciplinary life sciences programme based at a world-class research centre with shared support from the Faculties of Engineering and the Environment and Medicine at the University of Southampton (UoS). The PhD candidate will work closely together with partners at the Southampton General Hospital and the X-Ray Imaging Centre μ-VIS at UoS, while benefitting from the exceptional opportunity to gain expertise in cutting-edge bioimaging technologies and computational modelling methods applied to relevant health questions in our society.

The ideal candidate will have biomedical imaging experience and a good knowledge of computational modelling approaches. In general, the candidate must have a strong background in engineering sciences.

PhD application process

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Philipp Schneider, Bioengineering Science Research Group, Email: p.schneider@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 4640.

To apply, please use the following website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/enginee...ees/apply.page?