PhD Studentship: Computational Analysis of Neuromuscular Control of Skeletal Loading

United Kingdom
Feb 24, 2016
Feb 23, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship: Computational Analysis of Neuromuscular Control of Skeletal Loading

Bioengineering Research Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Thursday 23 February 2017
Reference:  696416BX

Project Reference: EngSci-BIO-141

Project Theme:  Bioengineering and Human Factors

Understanding how muscles act together to provide joint stability and mobility is critical to better restore function after musculoskeletal disease and injury, and to prevent injuries and disease from occurring altogether. Joint force magnitudes reflect the collective action of the muscles spanning a joint and vary substantially between individuals with joint replacements performing the same activity even under well-controlled laboratory conditions. The underlying reasons for that variability are not well understood but variation in neuromuscular control is a likely key factor.

The aim of this PhD student position is to substantiate in how far variations in neuromuscular control can explain variability in the forces at the knee joint. To that end the project will combine data from in vivo measurements of tibio-femoral forces and muscle activations across a range of subjects and activities with detailed musculoskeletal models informed by both static and dynamic 3D imaging and leverage emerging concepts of neuromuscular control to understand how anatomy and neuromuscular control interact to influence the internal loading conditions. The analyses will reveal whether consistent patterns of neuromuscular control exist across activities in these patients with joint replacement and whether and, and if so, how, these patterns differ from the conditions in healthy subjects. The insight gained from such analyses will be critical for devising methods to calibrate models of neuromuscular control also in subjects in whom a direct measurement of joint forces is not possible. In that way, future computational models could help to effectively develop interventions aimed at changing the pattern of neuromuscular control to modify the internal forces and reduce the risk of injury or joint degeneration.

The studentship will be integrated within our wider national and international collaborative research activities more generally and the Arthritis Research UK funded Centre for Sports, Exercise and Osteoarthritis and the Arthritis Research UK-MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work in particular.

This PhD studentship provides a tax-free stipend (approximately £14,000 p.a. and subject to annual increase). Applicants should have a top-level degree in Biomedical Engineering or related subject, a keen interest in musculoskeletal biomechanics and be confident in the use of advanced statistical methods. Previous experience in assessing muscle function experimentally and computationally including the use of musculoskeletal analysis software (OpenSim) is a plus.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Dr. Markus O. Heller, Bioengineering research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4909.

To apply please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Further details:

  • Job Description and Person Specification