Multi-scale analysis of musculoskeletal and cartilage loading during locomotion.

Within the Human Movement Biomechanics Research Group @ KU Leuven, we are looking for a motivated Phd candidate to participate in ongoing research on musculoskeletal and cartilage loading during locomotion and is interested in exploring the role of mechanical loading in degenerative joint diseases.

Research group

In the human movement biomechanics research group (headed by Ilse Jonkers), we study the mechanical loading in different musculoskeletal tissues during normal and pathological movement and relate them to tissue adaptation. The role of mechanical loading in cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis (OA) development is currently one of the central themes in our research. We use multi-scale models of the musculoskeletal system informed by in vitro bioreactor experiments, together with motion data collected using 3D Mocap and inertial measurement (IMU-) systems. These model-based insights will ultimately be used to define surgical or therapeutic strategies to optimize musculoskeletal loading and prevent degeneration.
This research line runs in close collaboration with different groups in KU Leuven, more specific the research group on Tissue Homeostasis and Disease (Prof. Rik Lories), the Institute for Orthopedic Research and Training (Prof. Lennart Scheys) and the Biomechanics Research Unit of the mechanical engineering department (Prof. Jos Vander Sloten and Prof. Nele Famaey).


You will develop and test a multiscale modelling approach based on in vivo and in vitro experiments. You quantify the mechanical loading and relate this to the biological response of the cartilage in terms of homeostasis, degeneration or regeneration.
You will assist in further developing these research lines and writing of research proposals in this area.
You will supervise master student projects in these research areas.
You will contribute to teaching classes in the human movement sciences, physical therapy and biomedical engineering program depending on the candidate’s profile.
You will provide administrative and technical support of activities within the research group, department or faculty.


This position is open for interested PhD candidates with an interest in relating human movement to musculoskeletal and cartilage loading and eventually tissue adaptation. The candidate must hold a master degree in biomedical/mechanical engineering or human movement sciences in which multi-scale modelling, musculoskeletal modelling, rigid body simulations or finite element analysis were used. The candidates will be asked to demonstrate his expertise using dedicated software tools (e.g. Opensim, FEbios, Abaqus, Anybody) at the time of the interview. Previous experience with in vivo and in vitro measurements is of additional value.
The candidate should be highly interested in working in a multi-disciplinary environment consisting of engineers, physical therapists and medical doctors.
Candidates planning their master thesis defence in summer 2019 are encouraged to apply as well.

Key words: Biomechanics, multiscale modelling, rigid body simulations, medical imaging, osteoarthritis, 3D Mocap, IMU.


Financing: available for 1 year
Type of Position: Fellowship
Timing: Applications should be received by July 1, 2019. Interviews are planned during second half of July 2019. Starting date is negotiable, but preferentially September 2019.

Duration of the Project: The position will be assigned initially for 1 year. The candidate will be supported to apply for personal funding.

Official job posting