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Cancer Engineering : Bone metastases in breast cancer patients


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 15 December 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Dr Michael Bryant and Professor Richard M Hall Hall
Additional supervisors
Dr Gregory de Boer, Dr Rob Beadling, Dr Tze Min Wah
School of Mechanical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Would you like to learn new skills in mechanical and medical engineering with a focus on multiscale bone biomechanics, 3D printing and advanced computational modelling ? Could you be a future research leader in providing solutions to some of Europe&rsquo;s most pressing healthcare problems? Do you want to further your career at one of the UK&rsquo;s leading research intensive universities?<br /> <br /> We have a&nbsp;highly competitive School of Mechanical Engineering PhD Studentship to offer that align with the recently awarded ~&pound;7m EPSRC programme grant 'OncoEng'. The Projects will be centred around tissue characterisation and development of novel technologies/techniques/devices to address an urgent unmet clinical need; Bone metastases in breast cancer patients

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Approximately 2 million people are living with cancer in the UK and this number is set to rise considerably over the next decade to 3.2M. A significant complication of late stage cancer is metastases or secondary tumours which are caused by tumour cells spreading to different locations in the body. Metastases are associated with breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in females and the leading cause of cancer deaths in this group. Figures vary but some studies put a figure of about 50-60 % of patients will have bone metastases in late stage cancer. The tumours weaken the bone and lead to a variety of problems for the patients at a time when quality of life is a paramount consideration, especially as the prognosis is usually terminal. Significant issues include severe pain and spinal fracture which made lead to spinal cord injury. These complications often require major surgery which encroaches, significantly, on the patients&#39; quality of life, when life expectancy is a matter of months and may, in certain cases, provide a mechanism of further spread of the cancer. Currently, there are no implants for supporting the bones before fracture as we cannot identify which vertebrae are likely to fail.</p> <p>OncoEng is a UKRI EPSRC funded flagship programme grant concerned with research into the identification and prophylactic intervention of metastatic bone disease in the spine. &nbsp;It comprises a collaboration between the University of Leeds, Imperial College London and University College London. OncoEng+ network brings together researchers and innovators from a wide set of disciplines within the UK and abroad to tackle the challenges that underpin cancer using engineering and the physical sciences. As such, we are delighted to be able to offer a number of PhD studentships at the University of Leeds to compliment this activity. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">As a result of the enhanced research and research led training activities at Leeds, these studentships will also provide opportunities for enhanced professional development through further collaboration and training opportunities. To complete this exciting project you will be based in the <a href="">Institute of Functional Surfaces</a> and have access to world leading equipment including advanced simulators and other apparatus. This project will be supervised by <strong><a href="">Dr Michael Bryant</a></strong>, <strong>Prof Tze Wah</strong>, <strong><a href="">Professor Richard Hall</a></strong> and is part of the <strong>EPSRC Programme Grant &#39;OncoEng&#39;.</strong></p> <p>Specifically, these studentships aim to develop and implement new techniques to assess long term fatigue and fracture mechanisms within metastatic infiltrated spinal vertebrae and how these fractures may be prevented using novel minimally invasive implants. As part of this role, you will take a lead in the development and utilisation of:</p> <ol> <li>Novel hardware/software/protocols for surgical instrumentation to enable successful implantation of the minimally invasive implant.</li> <li>Development of complex bone surrogates making used of enabling 3D-printing technology.</li> <li>New hardware to simulate long-term fatigue and fracture of multiple spinal unit test setups with and without the incorporation of a minimally invasive implants used to prevent fracture,</li> <li>In-situ measurements for the assessment of the effect of different loading scenarios within specific imaging modalities (namely microCT) to assess the deformation and fracture within the VB. Experience of combined imaging and mechanical assessment is welcomed.</li> <li>Nanoscale mechanical measurements to enable the multi-scale evaluation of tissue properties.</li> <li>Application of clinical ablation technologies and use of spinal instrumentation.</li> </ol>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PhD Mechanical Engineering</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <strong><em>Cancer<em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em>Engineering: A new concept in the treatment of bone metastases</em></strong> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Michael Bryant</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 31 July 2023:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information:&nbsp; School of Mechanical Engineering</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive School of Mechanical Engineering PhD Studentship offering the award of fees at the UK fee rate, together with a tax-free maintenance grant of &pound;18,622 for 3.5 years.</p> <p>This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the School of Mechanical Engineering Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.<br /> <br /> Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Michael Bryant<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 2161.</p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>