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Understanding and exploiting the phenomenal properties of collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and, as one of its principal building blocks, plays a dominant role in the function of many tissues. As such, the structure-property-function relationships in collagen are central to understanding health and disease, and developing materials-based strategies for regenerative medicine. A better understanding of these relationships further provides a biomimetic target for high-performance, multifunctional fibre-based materials in applications outside of biomedicine. The defining feature of collagen is an elegant structural motif …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Carpal forces and the role of ligaments as a tensile constraint

The hand is an important but complex anatomical structure. With the carpus being made from seven articulating bones stabilized by numerous ligaments. Damage to these structures can lead to impaired function and progression into severe arthritis.This projects aims to understand the role and loads that are undertaken by these important structures and in doing so realize the essential information for better ligament repair.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Optimising bone shape with memory networks

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.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Mathematical Sciences

Creation of fibrous tissue at moving interfaces

The extracellular matrix (ECM) secreted by cells is composed of a meshwork of fibres infiltrated with proteins and/or minerals. This fibre meshwork often matures after its creation by rearranging its structure. In this project, the fibre meshwork will be represented by a continuous anisotropic field. …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Mathematical Sciences

How is mechanical guidance steering bone regeneration?

A critical step in tissue regeneration is the guidance of cells to the areas needing repair. In bone tissues, regeneration is achieved by synchronised groups of bone-resorbing and bone-forming cells that need to reach damaged areas deep in bone tissue. These cells are also required to inflict minimal collateral damage to the mechanical integrity of bone tissue. To achieve this, the cells are steered by signals from a dynamic network of cells that incorporates signals from damaged areas and local …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Mathematical Sciences

Patient-specific modelling of atherosclerosis

Rupture of atherosclerotic plaques without warning is responsible for most acute cardiovascular syndromes such as heart attack and stroke, and many victims who are apparently healthy die suddenly without prior symptoms. Such deaths could be prevented by surgery or alternative medical therapy if vulnerable plaques were identified earlier in their natural history. New diagnostic screening methods are urgently needed to assess plaque vulnerability to avoid such acute events.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

A biofabricated surgical referral suite to predict intracranial aneurysm rupture

Intracranial aneurysms are bulging, weak areas of an artery that supply blood to the brain which are relatively common. While most aneurysms do not show symptoms, 1% spontaneously rupture which can be fatal or it can leave the survivor with permanent disabilities. This catastrophic outcome has motivated surgeons to operate on approximately 30% of aneurysms despite their rate of complications arising and cost of operation.The impact of aneurysm morphology on blood flow shear stress and rupture could educate surgical decision-making …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Finite element modelling of spinal surgery in paediatric spinal deformity patients

We have developed custom software to create patient-specific finite element (FE) models of an individual spine for paediatric patients. We use these models to improve our understanding of the biomechanics of the young deformed spine (particularly children with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis - S shaped spinal curve) and to simulate the surgery these patients will receive, in order to predict their potential surgical outcomes.This information can assist surgeons in pre-operative planning. Vertebral body tethering (VBT) is a type of surgery performed …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Hi-resolution imaging of microscale fracture in osteoporotic bone

Osteoporosis leads to weak bones and debilitating fractures in the elderly. Understanding the biomechanics of osteoporotic vertebral fractures is an essential step in avoiding the morbidity caused by this condition.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

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