PhD on Computational Assessment of Spinal Instability in Scoliosis @TUEindhoven

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is a 3D deformity of the spine affecting previously healthy
children, substantially reducing their quality of life and creating a life-long burden of disease.
Till now, no curative treatment exists partly because its cause and disease mechanism are still
unknown. In this ERC funded project, we will uncover whether a complex perfect storm of
anatomical, biomechanical and mechanobiological causes in the intervertebral disc are
responsible AIS.

During the adolescent growth spurt, many changes are occurring in our spines. If tissue
maturation is not matched by increasing loads and changes in shape, this could lead to spinal
instability and excessive tissue strains. Until now this was not possible to study because AIS
only occurs in human children and there were no safe methods to image their spines
repeatedly during growth. In the ERC project, we are running a clinical study using newly
developed MRI-based synthetic CT imaging to collect such information in normal and AIS

In this PhD research, we will first develop methods to generate subject-specific FE spine
models. These will be based on a combination of landmark recognition, statistical
shape/appearance modeling and machine learning methods. Once validated against imaging
and biomechanical data from cadaveric spines, subject-specific multi-scale motion segment
and spine models will be generated from the imaging data to explore spinal instability and
intervertebral disc deformations during growth in the children of the clinical study.

The PhD candidate will contribute to a multi-disciplinary team of biomedical engineers, imaging
scientists and spine surgeons, from the student to senior level, working on engineering,
biological, imaging and clinical studies. An educational and professional development program
is offered to all PhD candidates. You will also be involved in teaching courses, as well as
contribute to the supervision of bachelor and master students. Based on your research, you
will be expected to present at conferences, publish in scientific journals and write a doctoral

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