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Towards digital evaluation of patient-specific wrist repair


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 10 May 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Dr Marlène Mengoni and Professor Sophie Williams
Additional supervisors
Industry Partner: Attenborough Medical
School of Mechanical Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

A funded PhD is available to develop patient-specific evaluation of custom wrist repairs, in collaboration with industry partner Attenborough Medical.<br /> <br /> In this PhD project, you will access unique computational and experimental facilities and know-how from the institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at Leeds. You will also work in close collaboration with Attenborough Medical, a leading company for patient-specific implants in the UK, located in Nottingham. <br /> <br /> Surgical fixation after a distal radius fracture can result in both flexor and extensor tendons complications in over one in six patients treated surgically, with tendon rupture occurring in a quarter of them. Complications are mostly due to tissue-devices interaction (tissue irritation, adhesion or direct laceration); as such their occurrence may be reduced with patient-specific implant designs. <br /> <br /> You will aim to develop a combination of in silico and in vitro models of wrist repair that can assess the risk of tissue damage following surgery.<br /> <br /> The PhD project will first assess the type of movements likely to create tissue damage following wrist repair: you will create computational and experimental models to identify the type of movement generating tissue-device contact. The project will then explore one of two avenues: 1. Assess the tissue-level damage propagation for the tendons of the wrist. This will require the development of new lab-based and computational methods, to enable comparing the possible damage created by off-the-shelf devices and patient-specific devices from Attenborough Medical 2. Explore design optimisation with participant or patient data. This will require collecting motion data from participants and patients and use that data either in combination with their own medical imaging or with generic imaging to develop a computational model which can account for person-specific movement when assessing the risk of damage following wrist repair. <br /> <br /> You will have a background in Mechanical or Biomedical Engineering, with a keen interest in Mathematical Modelling or Finite Element Analysis, and in Experimental testing. You will learn practical aspects of project management, scientific writing for technical or non-technical dissemination, and gain presentation skills through international conferences and group meetings. You will gain specific technical skills and training in computational modelling, 3D image analysis, and experimental testing of tissues. During the project, you may be expected to prepare and test human cadaveric tissue specimens; previous experience in handling human or animal tissue would be beneficial, but not essential - full training will be provided.

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

<p style="margin-bottom:4px"><strong>Research description</strong></p> <p>Combining state of the art computational approaches with experimental methods or patient data, you will evaluate the risk of tissue damage due to a wrist repair, which cannot be measured in-vivo.</p> <p>This project will use a combination of computational and experimental approaches, either working with in-vitro models or with volunteers and patients. Together, these methods will answer whether wrist repair devices can be optimised to minimise soft tissue damage on a patient-specific basis.</p> <p>You will work alongside industry collaborator Attenborough Medical which will provide expertise on patient-specific implants and with the contribution of hand surgeons.</p> <p>Examples of specific approaches include:</p> <ol> <li>Assess the tissue-level damage propagation for the tendons of the wrist: develop lab models of tissue impingement in the wrist following repair, with tissue analysis at different scales.</li> <li>Generate relevant participant or patient data: work with volunteers and/or patients to collect subject-specific motion capture data, to be combined where possible with imaging.</li> <li>Explore device design optimisation: develop 3D models of repair designs which can be combined with anatomical models to assess subject-specific risk of damage and optimise device designs.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Skills</strong></p> <p>You will have specific experience or keen interest in</p> <ul> <li>Finite Element analysis or medical image analysis and processing</li> <li>Motion capture or experimental work with materials testing</li> <li>CAD.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Working Environment</strong></p> <p>With this PhD project, you will be able to access unique experimental and computational facilities developed through a large programme of research. The work is <a href="">aligned with a large EPSRC grant</a> and you will work alongside other researchers working on similar techniques.</p> <p>You will join the multi-disciplinary, dynamic <a href="">Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering</a> (IMBE) embedded within the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. The IMBE is a world-renowned medical engineering research centre which specialises in research and translation of medical technologies that promote &rsquo;50 active years after 50&rsquo;.</p> <p>Attenborough Medical are one of the UK&rsquo;s leading 3D medical imaging, scanning and custom implant designers, manufacturers and researchers in the medical industry. They provide bespoke solutions for surgeons who put their patients at the core of their care and by using the latest 3D medical technologies.</p> <p>As a PhD student within IMBE, there will be opportunities to contribute to wider activities related to medical technologies including public and patient engagement, group training and social events. Groups of researchers working on aligned projects or using similar methods meet regularly to share ideas and best practice, and we encourage collegiate working. We will support your long-term career ambitions through bespoke training and encourage external secondments, laboratory visits or participation at international conferences.</p>

<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 <em><strong>Towards digital evaluation of patient-specific wrist repair</strong></em> as well as <a href="">Dr Marl&egrave;ne Mengoni </a>as your proposed supervisor.&nbsp; Please state in the Finance section that your funding source is the <em><strong>School of Mechanical Engineering Studentship</strong></em>.</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 10 May 2024:</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> </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 Studentship offering the award of fees at the UK fee rate of &pound;4,786, together with a tax-free maintenance grant of &pound;19,237 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 Mengoni by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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