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PhD Studentship/ Muscle physiology and its dependence on healthy microstructure

University of Surrey - Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Surrey
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Funding will include UK/EU tuition fees and a stipend at the standard UK Research Council doctoral stipend.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th April 2019
Closes: 31st July 2019

This fully funded project will simulate crucial muscle functions to improve understanding of debilitating and costly medical conditions. The simulations will capture anatomy at the macro-scale and link the muscles’ physiological behaviour to their underlying structure at much smaller scales. 

While most individuals enjoy healthy muscle function, the consequences of damage can be life-altering. Recent studies have shown that while muscles may appear to be healed following trauma, they may still perform poorly. This is because the architecture of the muscles has been permanently altered during repair. 

High resolution numerical analysis is effective for structural modelling as it is able to incorporate the geometry, loading and material properties of complex systems in a controlled manner. This type of analysis has therefore been used in a wide variety of biomedical applications. The project will consider novel ways to characterise muscles so that the physiological response is linked to their underlying structure. Fine-tuning material models to see the impact that changes have on a structural or physiological response will also form a critical part of the PhD research. This will enable short- and long-term effects of trauma to be simulated and better understood. 

Throughout the project, case studies will be used to better inform the biomedical community about debilitating conditions. The intricate muscles of the pelvis will be the basis for the real-world applications of the research as this fascinating muscle group performs many vital functions. 

The project links biomedical and mechanical engineering techniques with clinical considerations. It is anticipated that the majority of the project will focus on simulations and could suit engineers, physical scientists or applied mathematicians with an interest in this area. Work will be conducted in the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, at the University of Surrey. 

The project will commence on the 1st October 2019 and will end on the 30th September 2022. 

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper-second class degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower second plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required). IELTS: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category. 


Funding will include UK/EU tuition fees and a stipend at the standard UK Research Council doctoral stipend. Funding is not available to cover the difference between UK/EU tuition fees and international tuition fees.

How to apply

All applications must be made through the online system and include a CV with details of two referees and a covering letter detailing interest and suitability for the project. Apply here: 

Interested individuals and those with enquiries concerning the online system are encouraged to contact the project supervisor, Dr Matthew Oldfield, for further information.

Closing date for applications Wednesday 31st July 2019.

Application enquiries Dr Matthew Oldfield, +44 (0)1483 684402

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