PhD Studentship: Effect of low calories diet on the musculoskeletal health in UM-HET3 mice

University of Sheffield - Oncology and Metabolism

Age-delaying interventions are currently tested on animal models such as UM-HET3 mice. Among them, calorie restriction (CR) was found to increase the life-span in mice models and has the potential of delay age-related pathologies. However, the effect of CR on the musculoskeletal health is still debated and becomes fundamental when studying its effect on musculoskeletal pathologies such as osteoarthritis (OA) and osteoporosis (OP).

The hypothesis of this study is that CR improves musculoskeletal health in old UM-HEY3 mice. In this project the student will characterise the properties of the knee joints and o whole tibiae of UM-HET3 mice in order to study the effect of CR on the properties of cartilage and bone and its relationship with gender and age. Tissues from female and male mice at three different ages (8, 12 and 22 months) have been already collected by our collaborators and will be analysed in Sheffield. The student will be taught how to perform state of the art assessments of OA and OP by combining micro-computed tomography (microCT) imaging, image processing and computational modelling. MicroCT allows us to acquire 3-dimensional high-resolution images of the whole bone and joint and to analyse in details their morphological and densitometric properties. Furthermore, microCT-based finite element (FE) models developed in Dall’Ara’s group are engineering methods that can provide a non-invasive assessment of bone mechanical properties from the acquired images. The assessment of degree of OA, bone morphometric parameters, distribution of bone mineral density within the tibia and bone strength will be provide a unique database for the characterisation of the effect of CR on bone and cartilage.

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Doctoral Academy Scholarships cover Home/EU fee and RCUK rate stipend for three years. Overseas students may apply but will need to fund the difference between the Home and Overseas fee from another source.

Proposed start date: October 2017

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England