Two PhD Studentships on "Multiscale simulation of the musculoskeletal system"

Outstanding graduate students are invited to apply for two PhD Studentships to join a cross-disciplinary research group developing a multiscale model of the human musculoskeletal system that describes the mechanobiological processes from the whole body down to the cellular level. A computational platform, currently non-existent, for the management of musculoskeletal disorders would allow patient specific diagnosis and treatment with better predictions of the benefits to the patient, improvements in the quality of life and aid decision making for the individualised patient. This leads to improved outcomes and faster recovery. Two PhD studentships are available to study and contribute to different aspects of the multiscale platform. These exciting opportunities will involve collaboration with engineers, biologists and clinicians as part of a cross-disciplinary research group.

Projects and supervisors:

  1. A dynamic computational model of the cell cytoskeleton

Prof. Damien Lacroix , Mechanical Engineering & INSIGNEO Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK

Description: When mechanical loading is applied on a cell, a response from the cytoskeleton is expected with rearrangement of the organization of the actin filaments and microtubules. The objective of this thesis is to develop a finite element model of dynamic adaptation of the cytoskeleton in response to mechanical loading and perform a validation using long term AFM experiments. The effect of loading cycles and period of loading will be investigated by measuring the cell stiffness and visualizing the cell surface at different time points after applying a series of controlled indentation.
Enquiries: For an informal discussion about these studentships please contact Prof Damien Lacroix: d.lacroix@sheffield.ac.uk

Closing date: 6 February 2015

  1. Estimate of muscle forces under variable neuromotor control

Dr Claudia Mazzà, Mechanical Engineering & Insigneo Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK
Prof. Marco Viceconti, Mechanical Engineering & Insigneo Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK

Description: Gait variability refers to the stride-to-stride fluctuations typically observed in human gait, which are the reflection of the underlying neural control of gait. The analysis of gait variability parameters has allowed the identification of changes in the postural control system resulting from aging, intervention, or pathology. Nevertheless, this aspect is usually ignored when modelling the strategies used by the neuromotor control system to drive the muscle forces associated to the execution of a task. The aim of this PhD project is to develop an experimental and computational framework for the estimate of muscle forces during the execution of physiological motor tasks which accounts for neuromotor variability.

Enquiries: For an informal discussion about these studentships please contact Dr Claudia Mazzà: c.mazza@sheffield.ac.uk

Closing date: 15 February 2015

Entry Requirements: Applicants should possess a good honours degree or equivalent in bioengineering, mechanical engineering, applied mathematics or a related discipline.
Further Information: The studentship covers the cost of tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard UK research rate (£13,863 in 2014/15).

How to apply: Please send your cover letter, CV, references and transcripts to Amanda Burnett

Email: A.Burnett@sheffield.ac.uk