Research Associate in Experimental Spine Biomechanics

Job Description

This highly interdisciplinary post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) position will advance our understanding of the biomechanics of metastatic spine and will create an experimental database for the validation of computational models for assessing metastatic vertebrae before and after treatment. The position is within Insigneo and is funded as part of Horizon Europe/Innovate UK research project METASTRA ( that aims to provide a combination of computational models biomechanically validated and demonstrated in relevant clinical environments that will be incorporated in a clinical decision support system. This part of the project is focused on model validation using state of the art mechanical testing combined with imaging and digital volume correlation.

You will have an excellent PhD in biomechanics (or a related discipline), possess a solid knowledge of bone imaging and experimental biomechanics. Ensuring the achievement of the project objectives will advance the vision of the Insigneo institute to validate computational models for the musculoskeletal system and produce a transformational impact on healthcare. The PDRA will also sustain and strengthen collaboration within relevant Insigneo research groups and beyond; and will commit to Insigneo’s mission to produce high quality and impactful cutting-edge research.

You will join the group of Dr. Enrico Dall’Ara and Prof Damien Lacroix. Our biomechanics group within the Department has an international and interdisciplinary profile and a strong commitment to clinical and industrial translation with impact in future healthcare. We are active in biomechanics and mechanobiology of the neuromusculoskeletal systems. We have access to a fully equipped human movement analysis laboratory, a tissue testing/mechanobiology laboratory, and to ex vivo and in vivo microCT imaging facilities.

On appointment, you will become a research staff member of the Division of Clinical Medicine and an associate member of the Insigneo institute at the University of Sheffield. You will also be part of the Integrative Musculoskeletal Biomechanics (IMSB) group within Insigneo, and actively engage with the activities organized by the group. The IMSB is formed by eleven Principal Investigators and their teams (in total ~40 members), with expertise in multiscale experimental and computational musculoskeletal biomechanics.

The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust. The Insigneo Institute is driving innovative research at the interface of healthcare, engineering and science to transform the future of healthcare technology. Established in 2012, the institute has built a strong multidisciplinary network of over 260 academics and clinicians who bring together expertise in biomedical imaging, healthcare data, computational modelling, and digital healthcare technologies. Academic members of the Insigneo institute are all members of individual departments, where the majority of teaching and administrative responsibilities are undertaken. For more information on Insigneo please see

You will develop full-field strain measurements approaches combining in situ mechanical testing, microCT imaging and Digital Volume Correlation. These approaches will be used to validate different computational models developed within the METASTRA project. The PDRA will work collaboratively with other colleagues within the IMSB group and the METASTRA consortium to validate finite element models of the bone-biomaterial-metastases interfaces and of the spine segments affected by metastatic lesions.

You will have the opportunity to learn from several principal investigators involved in the project, being embedded in a large musculoskeletal biomechanics group, lead on tasks related to the experimental bone mechanics, participate to project meetings with the consortium of 15 international partners, present their work in national and international congresses, and disseminate their work in leading international peer reviewed journals.

Interviews will take place on 14 December 2023 and the candidates will be notified on 11 or 12 December 2023.

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