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Funded PhD Position Available in Shape and Growth Modeling in Cerebral Palsy

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  • Funded PhD Position Available in Shape and Growth Modeling in Cerebral Palsy

    PhD Position Available in Muscle Biomechanics – Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Auckland, New Zealand

    Shape and growth modelling in cerebral palsy: an MRI study

    Supervisors: Dr Geoffrey Handsfield and Associate Prof Thor Besier

    The Auckland Bioengineering Institute is a large-scale research institute at the University of Auckland in New Zealand that conducts research into biomechanics and computational physiology of the organ systems of the human body. The Musculoskeletal Modeling Group is a collaborative team working on computational modelling of musculoskeletal biomechanics across multiple scales.
    We are currently recruiting for a funded PhD position in the Musculosekeletal Group to work on statistical shape modelling of skeletal muscles in cerebral palsy.

    Cerebral palsy (CP) is a grouping of neuromusculoskeletal disorders arising from a lesion in the central nervous system. A puzzling aspect of cerebral palsy is that the neural lesion is definitively non-progressive but the musculoskeletal symptoms are progressive, becoming worse with age. One hypothesis explaining this is that the musculoskeletal system responds to both growth and mechanical stimulation from walking, causing pathological changes to the muscles which are currently not understood. The soleus muscle in particular is especially important for standing and walking and is dramatically affected by CP. To begin to illuminate the changes occurring in the soleus of children with cerebral palsy, careful longitudinal MRI of muscles is needed. Such an MRI study, coupled with image-processing and statistical shape modelling of muscle shape and size in CP children and typically developing (TD) controls will allow for careful and quantitative understanding of the effects of CP on the musculoskeletal system and will ideally suggest new treatments for this disease.

    Requirements: Applicants should have an honours degree in biomedical engineering or equivalent (Master’s), with exposure to and interest in MRI, image processing, 3D statistical shape modeling, and muscle mechanics. A strong work ethic, creativity, high quality communication skills, and implicit motivation are a must.

    To Apply for postgraduate study, please see

    For more information, please see

    or contact Dr Geoffrey Handsfield or Associate Prof Thor Besier or

    Geoffrey G. Handsfield, Ph.D.
    Researcher and Aotearoa Fellow
    Auckland Bioengineering House, Level 8
    70 Symonds St., Auckland 1010
    Phone: +64 9 923 5677