PhD project: A model of muscle force loss in patients with MND

University of Sheffield - Department of Mechanical Engineering

In this project we will develop an experimentally validated patient specific muscle model to be used to detect and monitor the relationship between muscle damage and force loss in patients with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

We are looking for a brilliant candidate, with a background in mechanical engineering or bioengineering, who will contribute to:

  • 1- Design an experimental protocol suitable for reliably quantifying the changes in force, EMG and muscle composition over time.
  • 2- Implement a model of the muscle able to account for a number of neurophysiological aspects (e.g. motor-unit recruitment principles, muscle fiber type distributions) and functional information (e.g. force production and fatigue induced changes to mechanical output).
  • 3- Test the ability of the above model to quantify and predict changes in the muscle of patients with MND as associated with the disease progression.

The project will be conducted at the Department of Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr Claudia Mazzà and Dr Xinshan Li from the Insigneo Institute for in silico medicine and in collaboration with Dr Thomas Jenkins form the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

This project has been supported by the Shun Hing Education and Charity Fund (www.shunhinggroup.com) via a donation to the Insigneo Institute for in silico medicine (www.insigneo.org). Thanks to this donation, we will be able to cover either three years of stipend (£14,296 per year) and living costs (£5000 per year) or the international fees for an excellent graduate student.

If interested in applying, please contact Dr Claudia Mazzà: c.mazza@sheffield.ac.uk.

For international students priority will be given to students applying with proof of additional support funds (e.g. China Scholarship Council scholarship). An overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 7 in each component, or equivalent, will be required.

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Northern England