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Modeling of traumatic spinal cord injury with myelopathy

Myelopathy is a degenerative condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, i.e. the space inside the spine where is situated the spinal cord. This condition leads to a compression of the spinal cord and aggravates traumatic spinal cord injuries sustained by the elderly. Previous studies have focus on measuring the spinal canal morphometry at the cervical spine for healthy subjects and for patients suffering from myelopathy (Sudres et al., 2021,, on modeling the influence of the degenerated structures (disc herniation versus ligamentum flavus ossification) on the spinal cord strain during a dynamic hyperextension (Bailly et al., 2020, and during a quasi-static compression (Levy et al., 2021,

However, these studies have not modeled the influence of the spinal canal deformation due to myelopathy on the spinal cord damage. Furthermore, the numerical models developed did not include the spinal cord pre-trauma compression nor the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that has a potential protective role for the spinal cord and especially in cases of myelopathy.

The aim of this project is to characterized the influence of the spinal canal geometry on the risk of traumatic spinal cord injury. Magnetic resonance images of myelopathic patients were previously taken and their 3D geometries have been collected. These data will be used to model typical myelopathy cases in this project.

This project can be divided into three main tasks:
1) Develop a method to model myelopathy cases (from spinal canal geometry taken from patients’ images) using an existing finite element model of the cervical spine
2) Simulate traumatic cases (hyperextension for example)
3) Investigate the effect of various myelopathy parameters (eccentricity of the spinal cord in the canal, compression of the spinal cord, degenerated structures, etc.) on the spinal cord damage (strains and stresses, internal pressure, etc.) This project will take place in the Laboratoire d’imagerie et d’orthopédie (LIO) in Montreal and in co-direction with the Laboratoire de biomécanique appliquée (LBA) in Marseille.

Required knowledge

 The student must hold a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, health technologies, or equivalent. Knowledge of modeling, biology, and mechanical experimentation is an asset. Good autonomy and a strong interest in the subject are important. Offering a welcoming and inclusive environmentis essential for the research group. In this spirit, students of all origins, gender identities, sexual orientations or with a disability are encouraged to apply.

Desired program of studies

Masters with project, Masters with thesis

Research domains

Health Technologies


This project is funded and will provide the student with remuneration for the entire duration according to current standards. However , we encourage the student to apply for support or excellence scholarships and will support their initiatives.

Additional information

Starting: Fall 2023 or Winter 2024

Partner involved : Laboratoire de biomécanique appliquée

Other person contact : Morgane Evin,