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Understanding degeneration in arthritic joints through engineering techniques


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 17 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Research council
Dr Claire Brockett and Dr Nicole Hondow
School of Chemical and Process Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Degeneration of the ankle joint affects over 70 million adults around the world, with patients often needing a joint replacement, ankle fusion or some other type of intervention. Simple injuries such as an ankle fracture or severe sprain earlier in life can start the pathway to degeneration. Other diseases, such as haemophilia, can also cause damage to the joint leading to degeneration.

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

<p>In either case, these patients are often quite young &ndash; bleeding into the joint, through haemophilia, can begin in infancy, with patients needing interventions from 20 years old. &nbsp;The injuries that lead to ankle arthritis are often high impact and sports related, with patients needing interventions in their early 50s.</p> <p>Although the end-stage treatments of fusion or replacement are reasonably successful, more than 10% of cases will fail before 10 years post-op, and will require further surgery. &nbsp;It is our goal to better understand the process of degeneration, so that ultimately we can develop new interventions to use at an earlier stage to prevent degeneration.</p> <p>Engineering analysis of the natural joint provides a platform for understanding the changing biomechanics in the joint resulting from degeneration &ndash; including changing mechanical properties and surface characteristics. This project will utilise the advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy, initially examining surface morphology, texture, structure and roughness to determine damage mechanisms. Crucially, a methodology encompassing appropriate sample preparation following full three-dimensional imaging will be developed, initially working on model samples before translating the application to human tissues obtained from donors.&nbsp;</p> <p>Analytical science and electron microscopy is a strength at the University of Leeds, and this studentship will develop and apply new 3D imaging and analysis techniques to materials not currently investigated in this way to understand the changes associated with arthritic degeneration. &nbsp;</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 research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is Understanding degeneration in arthritic joints through engineering techniques as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Claire Brockett</a> 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>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<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.

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

<p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences Research Council Studentship&nbsp;for 3.5 years. A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (&pound;4,600 in Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant (&pound;15, 285&nbsp;in Session 2020/21) paid at standard Research Council rates. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.&nbsp;&nbsp;Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

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

<p>For further information regarding the application procedure, please contact Doctoral College Admissions:<br /> e: <a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057</p> <p>For further information regarding the project please contact Dr Claire Brockett,<br /> e: <a href=""></a> , t: +44 (0)113 343 7472</p>

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