Zach Welshman

  • Current PhD topic is aiming to characterise variations of abnormal foot and ankle biomechanics using statistical shape models and multi-body dynamics modeling software.
  • BSc Biomedical Engineering from University of Ulster.
  • Year in industry at Depuy Synthes, Leeds in Knee R&D.

What attracted you to the Centre for Doctoral Training in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – Innovation in Medical and Biological Engineering

  • I had a solid understanding of the medical technology industry from my undergraduate degree and from that I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the application of engineering in medicine.
  • Leeds has great clinical and industrial links which is important as all the research undertaken by PhD students on the CDT has a strong clinical focus. This is essential in understanding problems the clinician’s face.
  • Emphasis on innovation, intellectual property and regulatory issues of medical devices.

Briefly explain what your research is about and what you hope to find?

  • Characterising variations in abnormal foot and ankle biomechanics e.g. high arch and flatfoot types.
  • Using statistical shape models of the foot and ankle a data set of points is created that explains the spatial relationships of bones and also captures the variance of these bones as a mean distribution.
  • Integrating these statistical models of bone into a musculoskeletal multi-body dynamics model that can simulate the variations from normal and how the internal biomechanics are effected.
  • This will help in proactively determining how pain in the foot and ankle can be prevented and also the effect of different treatments options have on outcomes.

How did you hope the CDT integrated PhD would give you an advantage over a conventional PhD?

  • More collective industrial and clinical input in the form of external speakers and PhD projects than a conventional PhD offers.
  • More opportunities to learn business and innovation practices.
  • A collaborative and innovative approach to science and engineering.

What benefits do you feel you get from the interdisciplinary nature of the course?

  • As someone who is keen on the business side of medical devices, the interdisciplinary nature of the course allows the student to experience the “bench to bedside” process of research.