Mechanisms driving osteochondral remodeling in a postmenopausal animal model using longitudinal contrast enhanced micro-computed tomography

This PhD project will be based at the University of Melbourne with an initial stay of 18-24 months at University of Toronto.

Project Description:

This PhD project is focused on mechanisms driving osteochondral remodeling in a postmenopausal animal model using longitudinal contrast enhanced micro-computed tomography. It will be based in the Integrative Cartilage Research Group, Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Melbourne. The ICR Group is interested in developing, refining, and using biomedical engineering tools and concepts, to explore and understand the effects of mechanics on living musculoskeletal systems on the molecular, cellular, and organ level of organisation, while maintaining a philosophy of respect and compassion for all human and animal life.

In this project, the student will use and expend preclinical imaging techniques for live imaging of the osteochondral interface. These techniques will be used to explore the genetic and biochemical determinants that mediate subchondral bone and cartilage remodelling in the knee joint of a postmenopausal OA mouse model. The project will also involve image processing of 3D datasets for characterisation of arthritis.

The PhD student will learn to programme in Python to conduct automated image analysis, advanced statistical procedures to study unique patterns of change, lab-based imaging and cellular analysis techniques to evaluate micro-structure and damage. The combination of lab-based and computational analyses will provide high quality evidence to support hypotheses related to mechanisms involved in driving osteoarthritis and the combinatorial role of estrogen loss.

Prior to arriving at the University of Melbourne, the student will be enrolled in the Collaborative Program in Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Toronto, which provide courses on basic sciences of bone, muscle and joint biology, image processing, seminars on other PhD students’ work in similar fields, and opportunities to collaborate across departments. They will gain further insight and challenges to their PhD project through this educational component.

This PhD project forms part of a cluster collaboration between UofT and UofM where the complementary PhD project will study a similar research question using clinical imaging methods with postmenopausal women. This PhD student will share their learned skills, study findings, and future directions with both UofT and UofM teams, to inspire further collaborations that bridge benchside and bedside investigations. It is expected that the entire cluster team will meet on several occasions during this collaborative program, but also at annual international conferences beyond the term of this program.

Supervision team:

Dr Kathryn Stok, Dr Katie Davey (University of Melbourne)

A/Prof Andy Kin On Wong, Prof Mohit Kapoor (University of Toronto)


How to Apply

If you are interested in this opportunity, read the application guidelines before contacting the supervisors.