School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

Bioactive Bioresorbable Composites for Load Bearing Guided Bone Regeneration

Supervisors: Karin HING

Application Deadline: 31-05-2020

To maintain quality of life in an aging population there is a need for development of bioresorbable intervertebral spacers with adequate mechanical properties to sustain a stable correction of deformity, and an osteogenic chemistry/structure to facilitate timely bone fusion through the body of the spacer. Controlled bioresorbability is required to result in vertebra fused predominantly by heathy bone, the long term health of which is not jeopardised by complications associated with stress shielding or extrusion of a stiff metallic or bio-inert polymeric vertebral body, as can occur with current technologies.

The aim of this studentship is to formulate a series of bioresorbable composites based around novel PLA technology incorporating silicate-substitute hydroxyapatite particles for osteogenicity. Aside from the production and materials characterisation of composite samples this studentship would include characterisation of biodegradation profiles and assessment of the biological response to the composite materials and their degradation products in vitro, and mechanical evaluation of prototype vertebral structures. The ultimate goal being the development of a new line of osteoinductive bioresorbable fusion cages.

This Industry linked EPSRC-DTP CASE studentship will continue and expand the collaborative partnership between QM and Baxter Inc. which includes development of the Actifuse™ and Inductigraft™ families of bone graft substitute materials, featured on a Royal Mail Stamp in the 2019 British Engineering Series. The successful candidate would be expected to have a first degree in Materials Science and engineering, biomedical materials science or a closely allied discipline such as biomedical engineering, with some knowledge of biomedical materials and cell biology.  They should be prepared to work as part of a team, under the guidance of Dr Karin Hing and Dr Emiliano Bilotti, they will also be expected to work with industrial sponsors Baxter and spend time at the industrial site.

EPSRC Research Studentship Details

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) applicants must have: 

  • settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay and
  • been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to October 2020. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences and
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (This does not apply to UK nationals).

(See: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/ for more details)

  • Full Time programme only.
  • Applicant required to start in September 2020.
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (set as £17,285 for 2020/21).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).

Supervisor Contact Details
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Karin Hing
Tel: 020 7882 7804
E-mail: k.a.hing@qmul.ac.uk

Application Method
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Biomedical Materials/ Materials Science programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Materials: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/subjects/materials.html

Further Guidance: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2020 SEMS EPSRC CASE KAH2’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity. 

Website: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/subjects/materials.html