DPhil Studentship: Imaging Engineer/Scientist Novel Imaging Sequences and Processing for Detecting early Musculoskeletal Disease

Supervisors: Mr Siôn Glyn-Jones and Dr Cameron Brown

Co-Supervisors: Nigel Arden and Julia Newton

Research background

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition, with a prevalence of between 16 and 18%. Most populations have a 25% lifetime risk of developing symptomatic OA, which represents a significant burden to society. Recent advances in the management of OA mean that it can now be treated at an early stage. Imaging is key to the identification of early disease, as conventional Radiography and MRI systems are inadequate for this purpose.

New, marker-based MRI spectroscopy techniques, such as T2-Mapping, T1 Rho and Diffusion MRI are required to accurately localise and characterise the OA lesion, which is critical, especially in focal, early OA.

The DPhil student will join an established Musculoskeletal Imaging team, comprising engineers, clinicians and MRI physicists. The research project will focus on the development of novel imaging processing algorithms for detecting early osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, and relating MR signals to tissue properties.

Research Aims

  1. The development of novel MRI processing algorithms for detecting and characterising early articular cartilage and bone changes seen in osteoarthritis.
  2. To develop in vitro models of disease mechanisms in early osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.
  3. Active Shape Modelling of the hip joint in relation to the risk of osteoarthritis.
  4. Developing post-processing tools for ultra-high field strength (7-Tesla) platforms.

Technical training

The student will receive instruction on programming/sequence development and the clinical relevance of their research activities. They will also be encouraged to present their work at a local level and at international conferences. 

The successful candidate will have access to well-established laboratories, equipped with the latest scientific technology and Oxford’s world-renowned library facilities. The student will also have access to additional specialist lectures and tutorials provided by both the Department and the Medical Sciences Division as a whole.


This three-year research-based DPhil studentship is aimed at scientists with an interest in engineering/imaging. Strong mathematical and programming skills are essential. Experience in image and/or signal processing, and ability use toolkits such as ITK and VTK are desirable. The studentship is open to UK or EU students who are eligible for home fees. Applicants must have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class (2:1), or equivalent, in their bachelor’s degree. You will also need to provide evidence of competence in English language if English is not your first language.

Funding details

Duration 3 years

Value of award: Tuition and College Fees (at home/ EU rate) and annual stipend of £15,000

How to apply

Candidates must apply for both the programme, DPhil in Musculoskeletal Sciences, and the studentship through the University of Oxford online Graduate Application system. The application form, all supporting materials, including references and payment, must be received by the deadline. To access the application guide and form, please visit the Apply link below. Under ‘Departmental Studentship Applications’ on the application form, you should indicate that you are applying for a studentship and enter the reference code for this studentship: 2013 MSK/NDORMS-02.

The successful candidate will be assigned a place at Worcester College and should therefore nominate Worcester as their preferred college choice on the application form.

Closing date for applications: 31 May 2013

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