Prevention, repair, biomechanics and pathology of ligament, tendon and disc injuries

Summary

Improving graft options for ligament replacement
This project aims to improve graft options for ligament replacement, including kangaroo tendon as a xenograft for human ACL reconstruction. It is an innovative manufacturing project involving collaboration between engineers, medical scientists, orthopaedic surgeons and industry.
Weakness, pain and osteoarthritis following knee injury
This project explores the links between injury loading severity, joint instability and strength, pain after injury, and the development of osteoarthritis - with the ultimate aim of preventing and/or treating osteoarthritis after knee injury
Tendon and ligament injury - biomechanics, structure, and composition
This project explores how loading environment affects the biomechanical properties, structure and composition of tendons and ligaments using in vivo models or novel bioreactor.
3D dynamic imaging of spine and disc biomechanics
This project develops non-invasive, dynamic imaging techniques to track vertebral and disc motion in 3D in vivo.

Supervisor(s)

Dr Elizabeth Clarke

Research Location

North Shore - Kolling Institute of Medical Research

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

Improving graft options for ligament replacement
In tendon and ligament reconstruction, surgeons are faced with the fundamental problem of graft choice. Synthetics and allografts historically have lower strength, so the majority are treated with autograft, which poses donor site morbidity and issues arise with multiple injuries in the same knee and revision ruptures. This project aims to produce a reliable graft, with no donor site issues and restoration of function and strength, including exploration of the use of kangaroo tendon as a xenograft. It involves collaboration between engineers, medical scientists, orthopaedic surgeons and industry.
Weakness, pain and osteoarthritis following knee injury
Knee injuries are on the increase and around half of individuals with a severe knee injury such as ACL rupture go on to develop osteoarthritis, often in their 30-40's. The reason why some people develop arthritis, and others don't, is not known. This project explores the links between injury loading severity, joint instability and strength, pain after injury, and the development of osteoarthritis using a controlled mouse model.
Tendon and ligament injury - biomechanics, structure, and composition
Tendons and ligaments are loadbearing tissues, and changes in their loading environment can drive changes in their properties, structure and composition. Different types of loading, and different tendons and ligaments, may have different effects. This project explores how loading environment affects the biomechanical properties, structure and composition of tendons and ligaments, with the ultimate aim of manipulating these in vivo to restore function after injury.
3D dynamic imaging of spine and disc biomechanics
Classical biomechanics studies of the spine have either been performed in vitro on cadaver or animal tissue, using 2D or static imaging methods, or have used skin-mounted markers to track bone position. This project uses dynamic MRI methods to track spinal and disc motion in 3D. This method will have a range of clinical and experimental applications including evaluation of spinal disorders and spinal implants, research in back pain and studies of human spinal biomechanics.

Additional Information

Interested students will be asked to apply for all available scholarships, with assistance from the potential supervisor. The Murray Maxwell Biomechanics Lab (MMBL) is part of the Bone and Joint Research Group at the Kolling Institute. Our research combines engineering and biomechanics and we regularly collaborate with surgeons, physiotherapists, medical imaging specialists, medical scientists, tissue engineers and engineering industry. Our general research areas are prevention, repair and pathology of ligament and tendon injuries. Other topics or smaller volunteer research projects may be considered (e.g. summer projects or Honours projects).

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Keywords

Engineering, spine, spinal cord, injury, MRI, mechanical testing, histology, back pain, Biomechanics, Orthopaedics, soft tissue, Medical Imaging, tendon, ligament, knee, graft, ACL, reconstruction, surgery, manufacturing, Musculoskeletal, implant, spinal disc

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1512