Postdoc in modeling of subject-specific muscle strength from fitness exercises (2021-224-03685)

Updated: 17 days ago
Deadline: · Deadline September 30. 2021;

At the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Materials and Production a position as postdoc in modeling of subject-specific muscle strength from fitness exercises is open for appointment from January 1. 2022 or soon thereafter. The position is available for a period of 3 years. Department of Materials and Production (MP) is a wide-ranging research and educational environment at Aalborg University. The Department's mission is to meet the future's demands for new materials and production systems by directing the whole value chain from basic material understanding, materials' applications in mechanical constructions, industrial production and management. The department has several strong, international and innovative research groups which comprise everything from basic science to strategic and applicable research. The activities encompass research as well as education within materials, mechanics, physics, production technique, and industrial management and innovation. Benefitting the industry and additional collaborators several innovative and unconventional collaborations have been and are developed through interdisciplinary co-operations. Thereby, as an employee at the Department you will become a part of an international research environment, where focus is on innovation, knowledge sharing/building and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Job description

Research will be part of the MathKOA (Predictive, multiscale, multifactorial Mathematical modeling of Knee OsteoArthritis) funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation under the Challenge Program on Mathematical Modeling of Health and Disease.

The MathKOA research project

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide1 with pain and reduced function as hallmark symptoms. OA can currently not be cured, and the available treatments are focused on improving symptoms. OA is a multi-scale and multi-factorial degenerative joint disease with knee OA (KOA) being the most frequent. Biomechanical factors play an important role in maintaining joint homeostasis and several early KOA interventions are aimed at altering the body-level biomechanics to reduce joint degeneration that occurs largely due to changes at the cell level. However, the relationship between levels, i.e. body, joint, tissue and cell, and its relationship to pain response, is currently poorly understood.

To tackle this challenge, we are bringing together mathematical modeling experts, whose combined expertise cover multi-scale modelling, including mechanobiology and experimental tissue characterization of bone, cartilage and tendons, with the world's leading scientist in pain mechanisms in KOA to establish the first comprehensive predictive model of KOA, capturing also the interaction between loading and pain. In addition to a fundamental understanding, the mathematical model also enables personalized treatments based on the prediction of expected outcome.

Initially, we will develop in vivo measurement techniques and perform in vitro and ex vivo experiments to obtain model inputs. Hereafter, mathematical models of the body, joint, tissue and cell levels are researched and coupled to a pain response model to enable investigations of the relationship between KOA interventions and the multi-scale response. Rigorous validation is performed to evaluate the accuracy of the sub-level models as well as the predictive capabilities of the multi-scale model in a cohort study initiated during the project. Finally, the predictive capabilities of the model are applied to design novel, personalized KOA interventions with the ultimate goal to improve patient care.

MathKOA is a multi-national research project comprising partners from Aalborg University, University of Eastern Finland and Lund University and additional collaborators from Aalborg University Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology that has received 50 mio DKK in funding from the Novo Nordisk foundation. The success applicant(s) will, therefore, have a unique opportunity to join a large and highly ambitious project within Mathematical modeling of KOA.

The PostDoc project

The purpose of the PostDoc project is to research experimental protocols and computational approaches to estimate subject-specific (for both healthy and KOA patients) muscle strength from fitness exercises and include this information into subject-specific musculoskeletal models developed by other researchers in the project. On the experimental side, this will include identifying fitness exercises that are feasible to implement clinically and on the modeling side it will include transforming the information from the number of repetitions, load mass etc. to estimates of the subject-specific muscle tendon units, i.e. maximum isometric strength, optimal fiber length, tendon slack length etc.

The research will be performed in collaboration with the project partners, especially Aalborg University Hospital from where the patients will be recruited.

Required qualifications

  • Appointment as Postdoc presupposes scientific qualifications at PhD–level or similar scientific qualifications. The research potential of each applicant will be emphasized in the overall assessment. Appointment as a Postdoc cannot exceed a period of four years in total at Aalborg University.
  • You are a highly motivated individual who is able to work in a small team and who is prepared to stay with the other partners for extended periods of time.
  • You have a scientific qualifications at PhD–level in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, robotics, or equivalent.
  • You have experiences with conducting research with patients.
  • You have experiences with musculoskeletal modeling
  • You have to be fluent in English both oral and written.

Desired qualifications

  • You have experiences with developing fitness tests, ideally relevant for patients and/or elderly
  • You have experiences with identifying muscle tendon parameters for musculoskeletal models

Limited teaching within the area can be expected, but also in other study programmes at the University. 

You may obtain further professional information from Associate Professor Michael Skipper Andersen, phone: +45 30354170, e-mail:

Qualification requirements:

Appointment as Postdoc presupposes scientific qualifications at PhD–level or similar scientific qualifications. The research potential of each applicant will be emphasized in the overall assessment. Appointment as a Postdoc cannot exceed a period of four years in total at Aalborg University.

The application must contain the following:

  • A motivated text wherein the reasons for applying, qualifications in relation to the position, and intentions and visions for the position are stated.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • Copies of relevant diplomas (Master of Science and PhD). On request you could be asked for an official English translation.
  • Scientific qualifications. A complete list of publications must be attached with an indication of the works the applicant wishes to be considered. You may attach up to 5 publications.
  • Dissemination qualifications, including participation on committees or boards, participation in organisations and the like.
  • Additional qualifications in relation to the position. References/recommendations.
  • Personal data.

The applications are only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.

Shortlisting will be applied. After the review of any objections regarding the assessment committee, the head of department, with assistance from the chair of the assessment committee, selects the candidates to be assessed. All applicants will be informed as to whether they will advance to assessment or not.

AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.

For further information concerning the application procedure please contact  Mathilde Vestergaard Nielsen by mail or phone (+45) 9940 9567. Information regarding guidelines, ministerial circular in force and procedures can be seen here  


Employment is in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities (the Appointment Order) and the Ministry of Finance's current Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities. Employment and salary are in accordance with the collective agreement for state-employed academics.   

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