MSE Research Project Database

Development of image processing tools for quantitative evaluation of arthritis in the metacarpophalangeal joint

Project Leader: Kathryn Stok
Primary Contact: Kathryn Stok (
Keywords: arthritis; biomechanics; biomedical engineering; medical image analysis; micro-computed tomography
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences

The Integrative Cartilage Research Group at the University of Melbourne researches links between microstructure, mechanics and biological signalling networks. In this project, we aim to use high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography to study arthritis in human finger joints.

A large data collection of 3D microstructural images of the human metacarpophalangeal joint is available for analysis using a custom morphometric imaging software suite. The data will be pre- and post-processed for analysis and then systematically evaluated for a range of metrics that define joint changes due to arthritis disease. Statistical analysis and reporting of the data will then follow.

We develop, refine, and use biomedical engineering tools and concepts, to explore and understand the mechanbiology of living musculoskeletal systems on the molecular, cellular, and organ level of organisation, while maintaining a philosophy of respect and compassion for all human and animal life.

The project involves development of software for characterisation of arthritis from 3D image datasets, as well as building computational models for incorporation of structural, mechanical and biological data coming from experiments. Students on this project have a Master degree in biomedical/mechanical engineering, computer science, or a related field with a strong interest in technology and medicine. A good understanding and previous experience in imaging, 3D image analysis or computational modelling is advantageous. 



3D image of the metacarpophalangeal joints in human hands