PhD Studentship: Smart Elbow Prosthesis for Loosening Detection

Aston University - School of Engineering and Applied Science

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to be undertaken within the Biomedical Engineering Research Unit [] at Aston University.  The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on biomedical engineering and orthopaedics.

The position is available to start in January 2017 (subject to negotiation)

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £15,850 in 2016/17. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £11,729 in 2016/17.  As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background of the Project

Prostheses of the elbow are primarily used as a last treatment option for severe rheumatoid arthritic elbows as well as posttraumatic osteoarthritis and traumatic fractures. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1 in every 50 women and 1 in every 200 men (Arthritis Research UK). Complication rates due to septic loosening (infection), aseptic loosening and implant fracture means revision rates at 6-20 % (Grannicola et al. 2014) are relatively high compared to hip and knee replacements (~5%) (NJR Reports 2014).

Septic loosening is a particular concern due to the complexity of revision surgery leading to higher risk of morbidity. These patients currently require close observation through regular hospital visits, x rays and check-ups to inspect for mechanical and/or septic loosening. Early diagnosis is the key to prevent bone loss, reduced joint function and pain. The elbow joint is particularly problematic due to its proximity to the skin and therefore it is more susceptible to infection.

The use of smart implants is a growing area of research, and one that has not yet been applied to elbow prostheses. We propose that the development of a smart implant could help in the early diagnosis, and therefore treatment, of failing joints and will lead to reduced use of x-rays (radiographic exposure) and therefore improved clinical outcomes. This studentship will seek to design, develop and test a smart elbow implant in the laboratory.

References: Arthritis Research UK,; Grannicola et al. (2014) Injury, 45 (2): 428-436; NJR Reports (2014),  

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Electrical and Electronic engineering, Electromechanical engineering or Mechanical engineering.  Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of transducers, electronic hardware and software (preferably familiar with National Instruments and Labview), mechatronics, mechanical design and materials science.

For initial enquiries about this project prior to application and other opportunities within the Biomedical Engineering Research Unit, contact Dr Sarah Junaid or Dr Laura Leslie by email ( or

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available at  Applications should also be accompanied by an explanation of how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project and an electronic copy of a substantial report that you have written such as an individual final year project report.

Details of how to write your project proposal are also included in the How to Apply section,

Closing Date: 14 November 2016.

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Midlands of England