PhD Student Biomechanics and Modeling

The AO is a medically-guided, not-for-profit organization, a global network of surgeons, and the world's leading education, innovation, and research organization specializing in the surgical treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. We have a global network of more than 460,000 health care professionals in 160 countries. Each year we offer 800 educational events around the world, supported by over 7,000 faculty members and attended by over 98,000 participants. We have over 18,000 surgeon members working in the fields of trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial, veterinary, and reconstructive surgery. For more information, visit:

The mission of the AO Research Institute (ARI) is excellence in applied Preclinical Research and Development within trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system and translation of this knowledge to achieve more effective patient care worldwide. The ARI contributes high quality applied Preclinical Research and Development (exploratory and translational) focused towards clinical applications/solutions as well as investigates and improves the performance of surgical procedures, devices and substances. It fosters a close relationship with the AO medical community, academic societies, and universities and provides a research environment and support for AO clinicians.

Employment Type:  Temporary
Part-time percentage:  100%
This position is located in: 

Davos Platz, CH

Experience level:  Students / Interns
Please send us your application documents in:  English

Short description

Balgrist University Hospital is one of the most renowned orthopedic clinics in Switzerland with international recognition and an affiliated center for paraplegia as well as for rehabilitation. Balgrist University Hospital offers one of the most modern and ttractive research centers in Switzerland, where researchers from the University and ETH Zurich, physicians, developers and industry work together to alleviate the problems of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. The Balgrist SPINE BIOMECHANICS group conducts research in the fields of biomechanics and computer-aided orthopedics and develops innovative solutions for improved surgical treatment.


PdD Student - AO Research Institute Davos and Balgrist University Hospital


Pseudoathrosis (non-healing) is a common complication of spondylodesis (spinal fusion) and occurs in 5-35% of all cases. Besides biological factors, mechanics play a key role in the success of treatment and must be ensured by appropriate fixations. The overall aim of this project is to develop validated patient-specific computer simulations to help avoiding mechanics-related issues in spondylodesis and thus reducing preudarthrosis rates.

Within this context, we are looking for an outstanding PhD student to join our teams for 4 years. The PhD candidates's activities will be focued on the development and validation of an analysis framework combining biomechanical testing, medical image processing and computer simulations. The successful candidate will be working at ARI and at Balgrist and enrolled at the PhD program of the ETH Zurich.

To master this challenge, you have

  • MSc degree in biomedical engineering, mechanical or civil engineering, technical physics, material sciences or related disciplines
  • Previous experience with biomechanical testing, medical image processing, musculoskeletal modeling and/or finite element simulations would be an advantage
  • Excellent communication (English) skills for an effective collaboration with all involved parties
  • High motivations, strong interest in research, durability to cope with challenges
  • Ability to solve complex tasks in a highly independent manner
  • Eligibility to apply and obtain a visa for a temporary residence in Switzerland
  • Familiarity with a cross-cultural/interdisciplinary environment is an advantage
  • Willingness to annually relocate between the two hosts ARI (Davos) and Balgrist (Zurich)

In this role, you are required to

  • Develop and validate the analysis framework combining biomechanical testing
  • Process medical images
  • Conduct computer simulations

We offer

  • An interesting and varied job in an exciting and innovative organization
  • The opportunity to be part of a highly committed international team
  • Modern infrastructure
  • Employment conditions which match the requirements and offer a high degree of flexibility regarding working hours and location

If you meet the requirements of this challenging opportunity, please submit your complete online application (motivation letter, CV, recent photograph, certificates, reference letters, etc) through our online application system.

Date of publication:  Nov 15, 2022