PhD Studentship: Synovial fluid lubrication of natural and artificial joints

PhD Studentship: Synovial fluid lubrication of natural and artificial joints

nCATS Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Friday 07 July 2017
Reference:  755716BX

Project Reference: EngSci-nCATS-120

Project Theme:  Materials & Surface Engineering, Bioengineering & Human Factors

Inadequate lubrication can be a major cause or consequence of joint diseases which leads to long-term pain, physical disability and significant impairment of the quality of life of patients. Degenerative and inflammatory joint diseases are major burdens on health and social care worldwide and they will increase as a result of changing demographics of populations, particularly due to ageing and obesity. The insertion of prosthetic hip implants is now a common surgical operation in the western world. While this procedure has led to major improvements in the quality of life of 10’s of thousands of individuals within the UK, it is not without problems. The natural synovial fluid SF is lost during arthroplasty and poor lubrication results in release of wear debris (especially abundant in the first six month after arthroplasty) and frictional heating of the articulating surfaces, two of the most serious problems linked to implant loosening and revision surgery.

A variety of treatments have been developed to alter biologically and chemically the synovial joint environment in disease and injury. These treatments do not specifically target the restoration of lubrication in joints and their effects on SF lubricant components have not been investigated. Further efforts are needed to meet the enormous and growing challenge that musculoskeletal conditions pose to public health, health and social care budgets as well as workers’ compensation and pensions.

The in vivo mechanism of lubrication has been investigated mostly in the synovial joints such as hips and knees. Numerous experiments have been performed with SF and its biochemical constituents and various mechanisms of lubrication have been proposed but these have failed to explain the complex behavior of SF.

This project aims to investigate the mechanism of SF lubrication of natural and artificial joints. Tribological investigations of the SF will be carried out using the Elastohydrodynamic Ultra Thin Film Measurement System and joint implant simulators while its physico-chemical properties will be investigated with Small Angle X-ray/Neutron Scattering.

Prospective candidates are preferred to have a first class degree in a chemistry, chemical engineering, bio-chemistry, bio-engineering or material science.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Monica Ratoi, nCATS research group, Email: Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 7160.

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