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Delft University of Technology, in collaboration with Leiden University Medical Center, has a 2-year position for a motivated (postdoctoral) researcher on the development of a novel orthosis to improve orthotic care within rehabilitation medicine.
As a researcher on the project you will oversee the design and development of a new revolutionary ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) and provide scientific foundations and constraints to this development. You will develop and evaluate the orthosis in collaboration with the Leiden University Medical Center and our industrial and health care partners. Your duties will be diverse, ranging from design and co-creation (with patients and stakeholders), experiments on motor control, to gait analysis in patients, writing scientific papers and presenting your work at international conferences.
Upper motor neuron diseases, like stroke and cerebral palsy, can gravely reduce ankle mobility. Current treatment involves AFOs that improve gait, however also incapacitate neuromuscular rest capacity by adding even more joint stiffness, neglecting neuromuscular control rest capacity and increasing energy cost of walking by the necessary compensations to overcome the ankle stiffness.
Proposed solution: In addition to positive stiffness (as conventional orthoses apply), our AFO “Hermes” can also apply negative stiffness, which restores the net joint stiffness, normalizes dorsiflexion, and regains muscular control over the ankle joint (Rodriguez et al. 2018). Active muscular control of the ‘enabled’ patient adds to the work output of the ankle.
The aim of the project is to further develop the Hermes to allow for home use. The project is part of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative (IMDI) call “Technology for Sustainable Healthcare: Demonstration projects” by ZonMw/NWO-TTW and the Stichting Life Sciences Health (LSH) – TKI, and consists of both the technical development of the AFO and clinical studies to validate the orthosis in patients with neuromuscular diseases. You will be involved in the design of the orthosis to improve safety and durability (together with InteSpring) as well as in the clinical studies consisting of 3D gait analysis and single-joint assessment using diagnostic robotics (together with Leiden University Medical Center). We offer a challenging learning environment in a multidisciplinary team with clinical, technical and biomedical experience.
The project’s ambition is to reduce health care needs for chronic patients by improving ankle mobility and reducing complications of spastic paresis (e.g., contractures, high energy expenditure). Improved active mobility will secondarily enhance daily activities, physical and cognitive condition, and quality of life.
The research activities within the Biomechanical Engineering Department (http://www.bmeche.tudelft.nl) are carried out on a world-class international level, focusing on a range of topics spanning medical instruments and safety, neuromuscular control, human-machine interaction, bio-inspired robotics, tissue biomechanics and biomaterials.
The Biomechatronics and Human-Machine Interaction Chair, led by Prof. Frans C.T. van der Helm, is internationally recognized as one of the world leaders in the field of neuromuscular control. The Chair develops fundamentally new concepts of neuromuscular control, involving large-scale musculoskeletal models like the shoulder, elbow and hand, and recordings of the reflexive feedback and reflex modulation. Applications are in neuro-rehabilitation, automotive engineering, tele-manipulation, upper extremity prosthetics and aerospace engineering.
The ideal applicant should be a driven researcher with a strong interest in neuromechanical mechanisms. You should have the following qualifications:
Fixed-term contract: 2 years.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (salary indication € 2.790 - € 4.402 per month). The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.
Note that the amount of external funding and the end date of the project are set, so the number of fte and the duration of your contract can vary, i.e. (depending on the starting date of your contract) the duration can be shorter than 2 years at higher fte.
Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.
Challenge. Change. Impact!
The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.
Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? This video will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft
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