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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T008059/1
Title: From Ultrastructure to Micromechanics: a New Perspective on Cartilage Function, Mechanotransduction and Ageing
Principal Investigator: Chen, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Queen Mary University of London Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Fdn Trust
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 April 2020 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 248,925
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Biophysics
Continuum Mechanics Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jan 2020 HT Investigator Led Panel January 2020 Announced
17 Oct 2019 HT Investigator-led Panel Meeting - October 2019 Deferred
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK is projected to become a hyper-aged society in 2030 with 36% of its population over 55. The early diagnosis and treatment for tissue degeneration are one of the most pressing challenges in healthcare. Osteoarthritis is a form of cartilage degeneration and the most common musculoskeletal disorder. It is affecting nearly one third of adults over 45 years old and causing more than £850 million direct cost in NHS, plus £3.2 billion indirect cost for downtime and community care. By targeting the cartilage, this project will establish a fundamental link between highly sensitive structural biomarkers in tissue degeneration and biomechanical functionality, therefore providing the possibility of identifying new targets for early diagnosis and novel therapies. This will be achieved by combining 1) advanced imaging technique for the subtle structural changes in the cartilage, 2) micromechanical loading to visualise the structural responses under different cartilage conditions, and 3) numerical simulation for analysing the integrity of tissues and the mechanobiological communication of cells at different ages. The outcomes of this project will provide experimental and simulational evidence to inform the clinical translation of the imaging technique for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis, allow quantitative evaluation of the treatment effectiveness of anti-osteoarthritis drugs, and facilitate the development of novel cellular and regenerative therapies. The approach established in this project will lead to a new toolkit of studying biomechanics-centred dysfunctions in a wide range of tissues.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk