Development of an in silico model of osteoporosis drug treatments

Title: Development of an in silico model of osteoporosis drug treatments
Tutor: Prof Marco Viceconti
Funding source: project In Silico World (Grant N. 101016503)

Research Project

As part of the In Silico World project, the team of Prof Marco Viceconti at the University of Bologna plans to develop an In Silico Trials technology to test the efficacy of osteoporosis drugs. The group already has developed a fully validated subject-specific CT-based finite element modelling procedure to accurately predict bone strength, and more recently a virtual cohort of 1000 virtual patients, enough to run the in silico equivalent of a phase III clinical trial. The candidate is expected to develop a fully validated disease progression model, that can be modulated by the simulation of the treatment with different drugs. The idea is to start from results of drug efficacy obtained experimental on animal models (e.g. ovariectomised mice), and “scale” appropriately such results to humans, so to predict how our virtual cohort would see its risk of bone fracture reduced if treated with that drug. The candidate is expected to validate the intervention model by replicating in silico phase III clinical trials of well-known drugs, as reported in the literature.

The research contract (Assegno di Ricerca), has an annual salary before taxes of € 26,174.00. While the initial contract is for 12 months, if successful the post holder contract could be extended until the end of the project, in September 2023.

The ideal candidate for this position holds a degree in engineering, good spoken and written English, documented experience in computational biomechanics, and one or more of the following skills:

  • Familiarity with Finite Element Analysis
  • Previous experience in Bone biomechanics research
  • Some programming skills
  • Familiarity with Medical imaging methods
  • Some basic knowledge of bone biology, osteoporosis, and related farmacology

While a PhD is not formally required, we expect most candidates to have one, or being very close to graduation.

Place of work: all activities will take place at the institutional sites of the department DIN, or at the istituto ortopedico Rizzoli (Bologna).

To apply to this position, candidates must wait for a formal public call that will be open at the University of Bologna; meanwhile, expressions of interest may be sent to Prof. Marco Viceconti