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PhD position: University of Melbourne and Royal Children's Hospital, Craniosynostosis

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  • PhD position: University of Melbourne and Royal Children's Hospital, Craniosynostosis

    A novel implantable distractor for the treatment of premature cranial fusion in children
    Craniosynostosis is a birth defect that occurs when one or more of the joints (sutures) between the bones of a baby’s skull fuse prematurely. As the brain continues to grow, the head can become misshapen since it cannot expand in the normal directions. The increased internal pressure can result in visual and hearing loss, disrupted sleep, eating difficulties, or an impairment of early development combined with a significant reduction in IQ. If left untreated, craniosynostosis can result in death, especially when several sutures are affected. Surgical management of craniosynostosis involves cutting around the posterior aspect of the skull (craniectomy) to increase the skull volume and inserting distractors (adjustable plates) to repel the bone segments and increase the intracranial volume. The objective of this proposal is to use computational modelling and experiments to develop an internal skull distractor implant that is capable of providing safe and controlled separation of the skull bones and facilitate normal brain growth and skull formation in infants affected by craniosynostosis. The project outcomes will help to minimise the very high mortality and complication rates of craniosynostosis surgery observed in Australia and worldwide.

    This project is part of an Australian Research Council Industry Transformation Training Centre in Medical Implant Technologies. The PhD candidate will have close collaboration with local cranomaxillofacial surgeons at the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), and a variety of health-related technology companies within this consortium. It will present strong opportunities to develop close relationships with local and international med-tech industry.

    The preferred candidate will have a first-class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, or a related discipline.
    Experience in finite element modelling is essential.
    Experience in programming and musculoskeletal modelling is preferred but not essential.

    A PhD stipend top-up will be available for suitable candidates, as well as opportunities for paid teaching, tutoring and demonstrating.

    For more information, please contact Dr David Ackland:
    Last edited by Dave Ackland; June 16, 2019, 11:56 PM. Reason: Addition of further details