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Characterization of fracture relevant bone sites for information on the structural/compositional requirements of the implant

Project title: Characterization of fracture relevant bone sites to gain information on the structural/compositional requirements of 3D-printed bone implants
Recruiting and hosting institution: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Osteology (LBI), Vienna
Country: Austria
PhD enrollment: Paris-Lodron-University Salzburg
Supervisors: LBI (A): B. Misof, M. Hartmann, PLUS (A): J. Dunlop
Objectives: (i) Characterize patient specific defect geometry for personalized implant design and (ii) refine bone scaffold design by implementing bone structural and compositional information.
Expected Results: Optimal patient specific implant design and micro-structural and compositional characteristics of healthy bone at fracture-relevant skeletal sites

Description: DC7 position is about investigating the following aspects

  1. Analysis of patient-specific data based on clinical computed tomography (CT) images to define structural requirements in the manufacture of customised implants. CT scans of different bone defects from patients will be provided for this purpose. From these patients, four typical examples will be selected which will be further used for analysis and definition of the structural requirements of the implants.
  2. Analysis of micro-structural parameters and composition of healthy bone samples from different skeletal sites for the refinement of implant design. For this purpose, several techniques/methods of analysis will be used, including micro-CT for the micro-structural information and quantitative backscattered electron imaging (qBEI at the scanning electron microscope) for information about the local calcium content (i.e., the required local density of the implant material). The data will be obtained from autopsy samples from a cohort of adult bone-healthy individuals. In particular, the results from different fracture-relevant sites (femur, radius, vertebra) are of specific interest and will be compared to those from the iliac crest (which is typically the site for bone biopsy samples obtained in the clinic).
  3. Development of a database of typical micro-structural and mineralization characteristics. This will contain data on bone volume per tissue volume, trabecular thickness, separation and number, indices of the trabecular network, cortical bone thickness and porosity. Furthermore, the database will also include mineralization parameters (including average as well as most frequent calcium concentration, heterogeneity of calcium concentrations, percentage of lowly mineralized or highly mineralized areas of trabecular and cortical bone) found at the considered skeletal sites.

The Doctoral Candidate will work in a multidisciplinary team of scientists (Physicists, Biologists, Medical Doctors) at the LBI (i.e., the workplace will be in Vienna), and will earn his/her Doctoral degree at the Paris-Lodron-University in Salzburg. The Doctoral Candidate will interact with other members of the project’s DCs in a multidisciplinary setting by taking part in training sessions and workshops. Each DC will also conduct secondments in order to broaden her/his scientific understanding of the project’s subject and develop soft skills.

Required profile/research interests:

  • Master’s degree in Biophysics, Physics, Materials Science or related fields.
  • The degree must be completed with good grades, latest by the start of the recruitment.
  • Proficiency in the English language (both written and spoken): CAMBRIDGE ≥ FCE grade B (or equivalent).
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work as a part of a team and independently.
  • For the PhD programme at PLUS, 30 ECTS in extra credits are required. These comprise 8 ECTS Seminars (can be done online), 8 ECTS in university courses (at the PLUS in Salzburg), and 14 ECTS covered by the student’s action in MSCA. It has to be noted, that for the participation in the university courses at PLUS, the doctoral researcher has to travel from Vienna to Salzburg (which is approximately 2.5 hrs by train).

Monthly salary:

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Doctoral Researchers for a 3-year contract (full time employment). The salary includes a living allowance (gross amount: €3614.2 per month), plus a mobility allowance (€600 per month), and a family allowance (€495 per month if applicable). The precise (net) salary will be confirmed upon appointment.

In addition, such a monthly salary, all REBONE fellows will benefit from a wide range of training and mentoring activities, which includes secondments to be organised at the premises of the REBONE Beneficiaries and Associated Partners, as well as of a wide variety of training modules (related to both scientific and transferable skills).

Where to request additional information for this position:

Dr. Barbara Misof,
Dr. Markus Hartmann,
Address: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Osteology, AUVA Trauma Centre Meidling, Kundratstr. 37, A-1120 Vienna, Austria

Dr. John Dunlop,
Address: FB Chemistry and Physics of Materials, Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Jakob-Haringer-Straße 2a, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria

In order to complete the application procedure please prepare in advance the following documents:

  • Application summary and Privacy consent (pdf file, please download the form HERE)
  • CV using the European template (pdf file)
  • List of publications (pdf file, free format)
  • Copy of up to three selected publications, if available (zip file with three selected publications)
  • Certificate of English language (pdf file)
  • Signed copy of Identity card/Passport (pdf file)
  • Motivation letters (pdf file)
  • Two recommendation letters (zip file with two pdf)
  • A research proposal: A document with no more than 8000 characters (excluding Bibliography) describing a potential research activity pertinent to the specific topic of the DC to be recruited. Figures and tables are allowed. Template provided. (pdf file, please download the template HERE)