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David Heath


DPhil student

Mechanical engineer focused on patient centric development of unicompartmental knee prostheses


David’s main areas of study are investigation of polyethylene bearing wear and risk of tibial periprosthetic fracture of the Oxford Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (OUKR). Both research directions contribute directly to beneficial patient outcomes. Polyethylene wear is a crucial determining factor in the time between bearing replacement operations and tibial periprosthetic fracture requires surgery to correct.

In June 2020 David graduated with a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Oxford Brookes University, where he was involved in a diverse portfolio of activities.

During his placement year, David was a research assistant to a then PhD student focussing on material characterisation of discontinuous fibre reinforced plastic composites. During this year David founded Oxford Brookes Aerospace team (OBA), originally Oxford Brookes Rockets, which he lead until his graduation in 2020. OBA predominantly focused on designing efficient rockets to compete in the UKSEDS National Rocketry Championship.

He wrote his undergraduate thesis on the design of an additively manufactured rocket, the subsequent launch of which was one of the first of its kind in the UK. David’s masters thesis was focused on the development of a novel multi-axis load cell, the output of which was interpreted by a neural network. The load cell was designed to enable wear testing of the polyethylene bearing in the OUKR that would more closely represent in vivo loading conditions.

David is currently reading for his DPhil in musculoskeletal sciences under Professor David Murray and Doctor Stephen Mellon at the Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre (OOEC), which he started in October 2020. He hopes to leverage his diverse skill set to the contribution of a solution to the difficult problems of polyethylene bearing wear and tibial periprosthetic fracture.