Development of human soft tissue substitute material
This research project is in competition for funding with one or more projects available across the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Usually the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding. Find out more information about the DTP and how to apply.
Start date: 1 October 2019
Cutting and puncturing of skin occurs regularly in healthcare, for example during surgery, however, there is limited understanding of the biomechanics involved. This is challenging due to the complex mechanical behaviour of skin and the natural variation of mechanical properties.
As such the aim of this project is to better understand the cutting biomechanics of skin and to use this understanding to develop substitute materials to mimic cutting behaviour. This project will be at the cutting edge of biomechanics and the developed substitute will have use in many applications including training clinicians and evaluating medical devices.
Project aims and methods
In year one you will review and characterise existing skin substitutes, developing data sets of their mechanical behaviour and understanding their limitations.
In year two you will conduct mechanical testing of skin to better understand cutting biomechanics. This will involve close collaboration with KU Leuven, where you will be expected to spend extended periods of time. In year three you will design and develop a skin substitute, mimicking cutting behaviour, bringing together the knowledge acquired in years one and two.
The project is suitable for a candidate with a mechanical or medical engineering degree with a keen interest in biomechanics and soft tissue mechanics. You would join world leading research groups at both Cardiff University and KU Leuven, with over 100 publications and £10M in research funding between them. This will provide you with access to the expertise and facilities at both universities including the optical strain measurement expertise of Cardiff and the excellent human tissue testing facilities of KU Leuven.
You will also help to build on successful REF 2014 results, where Cardiff came top 5 in the UK for research excellence. KU Leuven has an excellent reputation, ranked within the top 50 Universities in the world by the Times.