The southern Netherlands and the Belgian Flanders region are demographically comparable areas. Both are aging areas with a relatively large number of older people living longer, exercising less, and developing joint wear and tear. This active population is now more often confronted with joint problems. PRosPERoS-II (PRinting PERsonalized orthopaedic implantS) is pioneering research into smart implants and orthoses and aims to develop new patient-specific implants and orthoses with a long lifespan that accelerate and improve healing and the rehabilitation process. In this project, 5 million euros will be invested in the Flemish-Dutch border region of which half comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The PRosPERoS-II project uses cutting-edge research in 3D printing, surface functionality and new biomedical materials. In this way it can be better predicted how implants will eventually behave in the body. The project also aims to conduct research into slowing down the development of osteoarthritis and accelerating the healing of bone defects. The PRosPERoS-II project directly implements this ambition by bringing together companies and knowledge institutions from all provinces and working together on new regenerative technologies in the orthopedic field.
In this position you be a PhD candidate of the Interreg Prosperos-II project. The position is placed at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Orthopaedic Biomechanics group but will also entail frequent visits to Maastricht University and Maastricht University Medical Centre, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.PhD student:
As a PhD student, your primary responsibility is to develop a computational tool that can predict the progression of bone fusion for different designs of trussed spinal cages for spinal fusion surgery. The computational model should be able to capture phenomena like tissue differentiation and osteoconductive behavior depending on mechanical stimuli (e.g. local deformation of the cage), morphological stimuli (e.g. local curvature and porosity of the cage) and biological stimuli (e.g. materials and chemical compounds). Computational models used will involve finite element (FE), tissue differentiation and bone remodeling simulation models. The work will be performed in close collaboration with a PhD student that is responsible for optimizing the mechanical properties of the cage designs. In the second part of the project selected cage designs will be used in an animal experiment and the outcome of these experiments will be used to validate/tune the computational model. This should lead to the development of a first-generation implants that can be tested in a pilot clinical study. Although the main aim of this project is determined, we do anticipate and require own creativity and new insights being applied in the project. Together with all other PhD students in the project, you will help build a network on medical 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the Netherlands and Belgium. This also includes partner visits and consortium meetings.
Other tasks include:
- Ensuring correct execution of the research as detailed by your supervisory team of this EU funded project in accordance with legislation and regulations of the EU interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland program.
- Reporting and submitting project results to your supervisory team.
- Presenting your project at (inter)national conferences.
- Responsibility for own PhD project progression and on time reporting.
- Build a network on medical 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Teaching tasks