- for scientists with an interest in the extracellular matrix -

PhD Opportunity at RVC

Fully funded (EU/UK) PhD at the RVC
RVC website:


 Osteoarthritis (OA), common in humans and dogs, is the painful and debilitating end-destination of diseased joints. OA is typified by articular cartilage degradation, subchondral cyst and bone marrow lesion (BML) formation, osteophytogenesis and significant modifications to bone mass and geometry. Whilst the relationship of the surface cartilage to the underlying bone is now recognised as crucial, the development of their reciprocal changes, and disease progression are elusive.
This project will employ recent advances to accurately image bone changes using micro-computed tomography (uCT). Hip OA in dogs occurs frequently, is a welfare issue and provides an opportunity for novel insight into OA development. Currently, bone features in canine hip OA have not been fully examined and their relationship to OA pathology are not yet recognised. We will exploit high-resolution uCT imaging to characterise these bone structural features in healthy (normal) and OA canine femoral heads allowing us to test our hypothesis: that specific micro-architectural bone changes exhibit spatial links which are predictive of the progressive cartilage demise in OA, thus potentially allowing a non-invasive means to accurately determine early and progressive OA. The PhD will address the following aims:
1)    To quantitatively characterise subchondral/trabecular 3D bone changes (ex vivo) and correlate their spatial links with severity of articular cartilage degeneration;
2)    To identify whether BML/cysts are linked to subchondral/trabecular 3D bone changes and severity of articular cartilage degeneration;
3)    To determine whether the underlying pathology present in BMLs of clinically affected dogs corroborates that found in humans.
4)    To use clinical scale MRI and uCT for BML/cyst to identify representative and non-invasive surrogate measures of subchondral/trabecular bone changes in OA development, 

Jan. 21, 2020