Professor Cobb studied medicine at Magdalen College Oxford, graduating in 1982. He trained in Oxford, London and Brighton. He wrote his master’s thesis on ‘Prognostic factors in operable osteosarcoma’. In 1991 he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Middlesex. He was awarded a Hunterian Professorship in 1992. After 15 years as a consultant at UCLH and Hon Sen Lect at UCL, he joined Imperial as chair of orthopaedics in 2005. In 1992 the special trustees of The Middlesex, awared his first grant, which led to the development, with Brian Davies, of Acrobot, the worlds first haptic based robotic assistant, which is now being sold in the USA by Stanmore Implants.
Close links exist between the MSk Lab on the Charing Cross Campus, and the Engineers in South Kensington, which resulted in the OsteoArthritis Centre, funded by an £11m grant from the Wellcome Trust and EPSRC. The patient base at Charing Cross make an ideal conduit for combined projects with investigators across college, including Andrew Amis in Mechanical Engineering, Anthony Bull in Biomedical Engineering, Molly Stevens in Material Science, Philippa Cann in Tribology, and Andrew Phillips in Civil Engineering. These collaborations have lead to the current MSk Lab team. Together with Alison McGregor, he leads a group of more than 25 surgeons, physios, scientists and engineers who work on the same floor as the orthopaedic inpatient ward, translating their benchtop findings straight to the bedside and operating theatre of patients with musculoskeletal problems.
Recently these projects merged in the salvage of injured soldiers. In a world first, the combination of 3D planning, 3D printing and robotics enabled precise minimally invasive joint salvage surgery (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9730086/Robotic-surgery-gives-soldier-a-new-spring-in-his-step.html). This world is in collaboration with the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court.
The MSk Lab is funded in part by research councils such as the EPSRC, and substantial charitable trusts such as the Wellcome Trust, ORUK, and the Michael Uren Foundation, but also by donations from patients who also come to the lab to allow us to measure their gait as part of a large study of gait and its relationship to joint health and disease.
His principal resarch interests are in the fields of :
- • 3D planning and 3D printing of patient matched instrumentation and robotics to ensure accuracy, precision and cost effectiveness in joint surgery
- • Modelling bone quality and joint shapes in early joint disease, predicting progression of OA and the design of less invasive and better functioning devices
- • PROMS and the functional assessment of the injured joint using highly personalised web based tools
- gait analysis in health and disease, using a range of tools to describe the ''perfect'' gait, and that seen as OA develops, and following different sorts of intervention.
- cost utility analysis of small precise interventions in comparison with the conventional total joint replacement.
Professor Cobb is a civilian advisor in orthopaedics to the Royal Air Force. He is on the staff of King Edward VII hospital for Officers, and is Orthopaedic Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen.
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