PhD Studentship: Modulating mechanobiology and blood supply to improve bone strength in Paget's dis

Location
United Kingdom
Posted
Dec 14, 2016
Closes
Dec 01, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Hours
Full Time
PhD Studentship: Modulating mechanobiology and blood supply to improve bone strength in Paget’s disease

Bioengineering Group

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Friday 01 December 2017

Reference: 817216BX

Project Code: EngSci-Bio-146

Project Theme: Bioengineering and Human Factors, computational engineering

This studentship represents a truly interdisciplinary research project targeting Paget’s disease in close collaboration between Engineering and Biological Sciences in Southampton.

Paget’s disease of bone is a metabolic bone disease characterised by very high rates of uncontrolled bone formation, which lead to bone thickening and a disorganised bone micro-structure.  Overall bone quality and strength are reduced, leading to an increased risk of fracture. It is thought that blood flow plays an important role in the development of the disease, however, it is currently not clear how this relates to bone structure and its mechanical properties.

Therefore, the main aim of this studentship will be to combine mechanical loading, 3D imaging and finite element analysis in the study of Pagetic bones to better predict fracture risk during the disease. We will also investigate if inhibition of pathological blood vessel growth can improve bone strength and reduce fracture risk in Paget’s.

The project will investigate bones from mice with Paget’s disease. We will use a custom bioreactor to apply mechanical loading to the bones while growing in the lab. We will then use 3D micro-CT imaging to study the changes in bone structure and thickness due to loading. These 3D images will then be converted to finite element (FEA) computer models to predict stresses throughout the bone related to fracture risk and this will be confirmed by mechanical testing of the bones.

Finally we will investigate if treatment of Pagetic mice with inhibitors of blood vessel growth helps to preserve bone strength, opening up exciting new perspectives for clinical treatment of the disease.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in (biomedical) engineering or related disciplines. Previous experience of relevant experimental, imaging and modelling techniques is desirable, but a strong interest and ability to acquire new skills and work independently across disciplines is absolutely essential.  

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Bram Sengers, Bioengineering Science Research Group, Email: b.g.sengers@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 3300

To apply please use the following link http://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/postgraduate/research_degrees/apply.page? and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment