The Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics headed by Prof. Ralph Müller at the Department of Health Sciences & Technology, Institute for Biomechanics at ETH Zurich is offering an
ERC-Funded PhD Position in Computational Modelling of Bone Adaptation and Regeneration
The aim of the research is to develop computational models of bone adaptation and regeneration incorporating data from the cellular to the organ scale. A range of computational models exist which propose a variety of mechanisms by which bone is adapting and regenerating at both tissue and the cell level. Simulations become especially useful when examining complex mechanically driven systems such as the bone remodeling process and therefore have been gaining momentum in the scientific community. Unfortunately, the insight, which can be provided by cell or tissue level models, is limited, while the two systems remain unlinked and validation with detailed cell-level data are still lacking. Within this position, therefore, novel computational tools will be developed to simulate the mechanoregulation in bone associated with adaptation and regeneration. A multiscale model will be developed combining three types of computer models: Boolean networks to model interaction between molecules and cells; cellular automaton to model bone microstructure; and micro-finite element analysis to calculate mechanical tissue loading; the mechanical signal for the bone cells. In the end, these simulations will be compared to in vivo data from an animal experimental study. This PhD project is embedded in a larger group effort funded by the European Research Council (ERC) through an ERC Advanced Grant called MechAGE, which aims to investigate in vivo single-cell mechanomics of bone adaptation and regeneration in the aging mouse.
The successful candidate holds or will soon receive a master’s degree in Computational Science and Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Applied Mathematics, preferably with some background in computational modelling with cellular automaton and Boolean networks. It is essential that the candidate is willing and motivated to work on the foundations of biological computer modelling and simulation. Additionally, excellent communication skills in English (oral and written) are required.