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Dylan Yeo (Yuan Sheng)

BA (Oxon)

MB DPhil student in Inflammatory and Musculoskeletal Disease

  • Kennedy Trust funded MB DPhil Candidate (2023-present)

Developing a clinically relevant robotic bioreactor modelling the human shoulder

I studied pre-clinical medicine at Hertford College, University of Oxford, graduating with a BA in Medical Sciences in 2023. I then began the MB DPhil OxKen programme fully funded by the Kennedy Trust, moving to Green Templeton College for the duration of the DPhil.

My DPhil is an extension of the Mouthuy group's Humanoid Bioreactor project. The human shoulder structure is unique in nature, giving the joint an extremely high range of motion and allowing for accurate long-distance throwing. This structure, however, also makes the joint susceptible to injury, with approximately 1 in 5 people experiencing shoulder pain at any given time. Additionally, the unique mechanical forces experienced by the joint makes it difficult to accurately investigate diseases of the shoulder using traditional methods such as animal models. The larger project is based around using a robotic platform which mimicks the structure and motion of the human shoulder as a way to mechanically stimulate attached musculoskeletal tissues, exposing them to clinically relevant stresses. This could lead to  the production of enhanced tissue constructs to implant into patients with shoulder injuries and the development of improved experimental platforms for studying shoulder diseases.

My work aims to develop a robot-driven model of the articular surface of the shoulder joint, i.e. the articular cartilage and underlying bone. This involves the design of a novel articulated bioreactor chamber which mimicks the structure of the human shoulder joint, and assessing the clinical relevence of the resulting platform through comparative motion studies. In the course of my DPhil I will additionally be assessing the effects of clinically relevant robotic stimulation on attached articular cartilage and bone constructs, and investigating different tissue engineering stratergies for articular cartilage and bone.

I am supervised by Prof. Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy, Prof. Steve Gwilym, and Dr. Julie Stebbins at NDORMS, University of Oxford.