Towards a Tissue Engineered Model of a Joint on a Chip PhD

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Entry requirements:
3 years
5 years
Reference number:
Start date:
01 April 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
28 February 2018



in the world for sport-related subjects

QS World University Rankings by subject 2017


in the UK for Sports Science

The Complete University Guide 2018


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

This research project aims to develop a multi-tissue platform that integrates many of the structural tissue components of a musculoskeletal joint; bone, tendon, muscle, cartilage and ligament. A tissue engineering approach will be used to fabricate a system to include these tissues in an anatomically representative manner. Each of the relevant tissues will be developed in situ using a suitable extra-cellular matrix environment, with specific reference to the mechanical properties that support tissue function. This will be achieved through the use of a range of suitable in-house manufacturing processes which will include rapid prototyping (three-dimensional, 3D printing), whereby a suitable design can be manufactured out of biocompatible material. Initially, commercially available cell lines will be used to generate a system that incorporates all the relevant cell types of the particular tissues. Once the model is established, progression towards primary cells will aim to make the model more suitable for translation. Once the tissue platform has been established, experiments will be conducted to investigate the interaction between the tissue types at the tissue level (mechanical properties) and also the biochemical, cellular and molecular levels


This in vitro pre-clinical approach would have many advantages over current methodologies, including reducing the reliance on animal models and also allowing a greater insight into tissue interactions. Furthermore, with the ability to use primary human cells it would also provide greater insight into the possibility of effective translation to human clinical trials.


Primary supervisor: Professor Mark P Lewis

Secondary supervisor: Dr. Andrew Capel

Find out mroe

For further project details email Professor Mark P Lewis or register your interest and ask us a question.

Further information about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences can be found on our website.

Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated candidates to undertake a PhD in the field of musculoskeletal biology in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, who have at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in a biological or engineering related subject.

Loughborough University is one of the country’s leading university’s (Rank 7th in the Time Higher Education) and is world renowned for its research in sports related subjects (1st overall for sports related subjects in the QS world university rankings 2017).

Applicants will be joining a well-established research team working within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, interested in the development of physiologically relevant models of skeletal muscle. Using Tissue Engineering applications, this research team has published extensively in the field of musculoskeletal biology.

Applications are invited from self-funded students who have an interest in research in the following areas:

  • Muscle – nerve interactions

  • Musculoskeletal disease

  • Models of exercise in tissue engineered muscle

  • Tissue engineered joints on a chip

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in sport and exercise science, human physiology, human biology, biochemistry or a related subject.

A relevant master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Human biology, exercise physiology, biochemistry.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote reference number: SSEHS/MPL/3