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PhD Studentship in Biomedical Engineering: Investigating the Biomechanics and Physiology of the Muscles of the Pelvis

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Location:  Guildford
Post Type:  Full Time
Advert Placed:  Thursday 12 October 2017
Closing Date:  Friday 08 December 2017
Reference:  083317
A fully funded PhD opportunity has become available in the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, at the University of Surrey.

Coordinated muscle activity is necessary for activities ranging from walking and respiration to swallowing and pumping blood around the body. The muscles of the pelvis have not been investigated as comprehensively as other parts of the anatomy, despite being anatomically complex and performing several vital functions. One of these functions is maintaining continence. Failure of the muscles of the pelvis in this role results in a distressing condition for a significant proportion of the population. This studentship will directly contribute to the understanding of the condition and possible treatments.

Questions remain about the way that the muscles of the pelvis are structured and respond to activation. This project will address these open questions with the aim of a greater understanding of the physiology of the muscles and their contribution to continence.

This project will include constructing numerical simulations that capture the behaviour and interaction of the critical pelvic muscles. These simulations will further incorporate material models that capture the fascinating physiology of both smooth and skeletal muscle. Physical experiments to establish model parameters are also expected to be part of the project. Ultimately, validated numerical simulations will be linked with clinical conditions to provide insights into treatment pathways and, potentially, to optimise existing surgical approaches.


A first or upper-second class degree in engineering or physical sciences, or equivalent overseas qualification, or a lower second plus a good Masters degree. Experience of biomedical engineering and numerical modelling, particularly finite element analysis, would be beneficial but is not necessary.

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Start Date

1st January 2018 provisionally.

The position will remain open until a suitable applicant is found.


The project will be under the supervision of Dr Matthew Oldfield.



Interested parties are encouraged to contact the project supervisor, Dr Matthew Oldfield (m.oldfield@surrey.ac.uk and 01483 684402), for further information.

Applications should be made online via the link ‘PhD in Biomedical Engineering’, which can be found at:


Please state the project title and supervisor clearly on all applications – preferably as part of the project title. When following the online application procedure, please also make sure to include a CV and covering letter.

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend of £14,553 p.a., in line with standard RCUK stipend levels.

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