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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X032183/1
Title: MSKDamage - Image-driven damage characterisation of musculoskeletal tissues for in silico medicine
Principal Investigator: Mengoni, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Attenborough Medical Catholic University of Louvain Dassault Systemes
National Inst. Health & Care Research
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 April 2024 Ends: 31 March 2029 Value (£): 1,866,647
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomechanics & Rehabilitation Medical Imaging
Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Jul 2023 ELEMENT Fellowship Interview Panel 12 and 13 July 2023 Announced
03 May 2023 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 and 4 May 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In the UK, musculoskeletal disorders (joint and back problems) affect one in five people long term. While joint replacements are successful, they are challenged by demands of an active and younger population presenting with disorders due to trauma, obesity, or other lifestyle choices. One of the causes for joint and back pain is the deterioration of the different soft tissues acting as cushions in the joints. New surgical interventions are being developed to repair or locally replace those soft tissues in order to delay or prevent a total joint replacement. There is no clear indication yet on which patients benefit the most from them. There is an urgent need to define the type of patients for which new and existing interventions are most beneficial. The local anatomy or level of tissue deterioration differs greatly between patients, and there is currently a lack of biomechanical evidence that takes into account these large variations to help matching patients to interventions.

To tackle these issues, this Fellowship, MSKDamage, will develop novel testing methods and tools combining laboratory simulation with computer modelling and imaging. MSKDamage methods will be used to predict the variation in the mechanical performance of a series of treatments at various levels of joint deterioration. This will enable the different interventions to be matched to different patient's characteristics.

I will focus on three musculoskeletal disorders and associated repairs:

1. Emerging treatments involving the injection of biomaterials in the intervertebral disc: I will produce realistic testing conditions that can be personalised to a specific patient, assessing each patient's chance of success and identifying areas for treatment optimisation.

2. Evaluation of meniscus repairs in the knee and their interaction with cartilage defects: I will provide new information on the type of cartilage defect that reduces the chances of success of a meniscus replacement in the knee. The research will develop guidance on the type of cartilage defects that need repair for a meniscus replacement to be successful.

3. Optimisation of custom wrist repair: I will help optimise patient-specific wrist repairs so that they reduce the damage in tendons and ligaments in the wrist.

MSKDamage builds on my strong track-record in the field and network of industry, clinical and academic collaborators, as well as my recent work that demonstrates the specific information which need to be included in models of degraded tissues in the spine and the knee. MSKDamage aims to (1) develop a methodology to test interventions for a specific patient and its specific tissue degradation, (2) carry out a series of case studies which demonstrate the capacity to test a range tissues disorders and repairs.

This work is a particularly suitable for a Fellowship, as it will allow me to develop fundamental engineering tools and methods while engaging with end users for significant economic and societal impact. I will also develop as a leader in the field, leading a growing research group and taking actions for the research community, directly related to the research, with advocacy on sharing more research outcomes openly for creation of more impact, and indirectly related to act as an ambassador for public and patient involvement for research related to computer simulations in healthcare.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk