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PhD Studentship: Ligament repair strain sensors: improving monitoring after ligament reconstruction surgery

University of Bath - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th October 2018
Closes: 23rd November 2018

Funding amount: £14,777
Hours: Full-time
Supervisory team: Dr Elise Pegg (University of Bath), Professor Alastair Sloan (Cardiff), Professor Richie Gill (Bath)
Email contact: 


This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the ‘GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership’ which is offering up to 18 studentships for entry in September/October 2019

To really understand how a reconstructed ligament is performing after surgical treatment, you need to be able to view the ligament directly and examine its performance during real-time motion. Currently that is not possible because the ligaments have low X-ray attenuation and cannot be distinguished from the surrounding tissue. Consequently, surgeons are reliant on indirect methods, such as manual manipulation of the joint and patient reported pain, which can result in misdiagnosis and limit refinement of surgical technique. Quantitative, reliable, non-subjective outcome measures are required for informed decision making.

This project will create novel polyethylene sutures for suture augmented ligament repair, which have radiopaque (X-ray visible) marker lines along the length; these lines will enable quantification of strain and suture position during real-time fluoroscopic imaging. The method used to make polyethylene radiopaque is unique to Dr Pegg's research group. Research to date has achieved radiopacity with bulk polyethylene components; for the first time this project will create radiopaque patterns on polyethylene.

The project will be in collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons and medical device manufacturers. By the end of the project, the potential and clinical safety of the suture strain sensors will be known. Imaging of the sutures clinically using standard radiography will have been optimised, and the accuracy to which they can measure strain determined. Throughout the project, two medical companies will be kept updated on the progress: Arthrex and Zimmer-Biomet. Arthrex produce medical sutures, and Zimmer-Biomet produce synthetic ligament reconstruction products. The relationship with these industry partners will be crucial to the successful translation of the research. The final results from the project will be used to justify in vivo testing and to encourage financial industry support, with a view to gathering the case for clinical trials of the technology.

IMPORTANT: You should apply using the DTP’s online application form:

For more information on the application process visit:

You do NOT need to apply to the University of Bath at this stage – only those applicants who are successful in obtaining an offer of funding from the DTP will be required to submit an application to study at Bath.

Funding Studentships cover Home tuition fees, Training Support Fee and stipend (£14,777 p/a, 2018/9 rate) and are open to UK/EU applicants who have been resident in the UK since September 2016.

Start date 30 September 2019

Application link

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