PhD studentship @ Sheffield University – Effect of low calories diet on the musculoskeletal health in UM-HET3 mice

Effect of low calories diet on the musculoskeletal health in UM-HET3 mice

Doctoral Academy & University Prize Scholarships

Project Details: Age-delaying interventions are currently tested on animal models such as UM-HET3 mice. Among them, calorie restriction (CR) was found to increase the life-spam in mice models and has the potential of delay age-related pathologies. However, the effect of CR on the musculoskeletal health is still debated and becomes fundamental when studying its effect on musculoskeletal pathologies such as osteoarthritis (OA) and osteoporosis (OP).
The hypothesis of this study is that CR improves musculoskeletal health in old UM-HEY3 mice. In this project the student will characterise the properties of the knee joints and o whole tibiae of UM-HET3 mice in order to study the effect of CR on the properties of cartilage and bone and its relationship with gender and age. Tissues from female and male mice at three different ages (8, 12 and 22 months) have been already collected by our collaborators and will be analysed in Sheffield. The student will be taught how to perform state of the art assessments of OA and OP by combining micro-computed tomography (microCT) imaging, image processing and computational modelling. MicroCT allows us to acquire 3-dimensional high-resolution images of the whole bone and joint and to analyse in details their morphological and densitometric properties. Furthermore, microCT-based finite element (FE) models developed in Dall’Ara’s group are engineering methods that can provide a non-invasive assessment of bone mechanical properties from the acquired images. The assessment of degree of OA, bone morphometric parameters, distribution of bone mineral density within the tibia and bone strength will be provide a unique database for the characterisation of the effect of CR on bone and cartilage.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience. Strong imaging and/or computational background is required; experience with microCT image processing will be advantageous.

Funding

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Doctoral Academy Scholarships cover Home/EU fee and RCUK rate stipend for three years. Overseas students may apply but will need to fund the difference between the Home and Overseas fee from another source.

How to apply

Please apply through our online postgraduate application system including the Scholarship Application section where you need to tick the ‘University Scholarships’ box. The form will ask you to summarise your research proposal in less than 800 words. If you are unsure about what to put in this section, please contact your prospective supervisor. Please name your supervisor and select their department Oncology and Metabolism through the online form.

Deadline: 5pm 1st February 2017

Supervisors: Dr Enrico Dall’Ara, Department of Oncology and Metabolism and INSIGNEO institute for in silico medicine and Dr Ilaria Bellantuono, Department of Oncology and Metabolism.

Enquiries:
Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Dall’Ara  e.dallara@sheffield.ac.uk

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