Bone is a dynamic tissue that optimises its shape to the mechanical loads that it carries. Bone mass is accrued where loads are high, and reduced where loads are low. This adaptation of bone tissue to mechanical loads is well-known and observed in many instances. However, what serves as a reference mechanical state in this shape optimisation remains largely unknown.
You will use mathematical and computational modelling to investigate mechanisms by which a network of cells living within bone tissue (osteocytes) sense and respond to mechanical loads.
This network is similar to the neural network in the brain. It is plastic, which enables learning new mechanical states; and it is long-lasting, which provides a mechanical memory. You will investigate how this new model of mechanical adaptation influences the evolution of bone shape when such a mechanical memory can be reset during bone tissue renewal. Results will be compared with previous theories and with experimental observations.
A new theory of bone mechanobiology with applications to biomechanical implant stability, orthodontics, and bone disorders.
Skills and experience
This project can be tailored to suit research students at Honours, Masters, and PhD level. Some proficiency in differential equations and computer modelling is expected.
You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.
Contact the supervisor for more information.