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Professor Cobb studied medicine at Magdalen College Oxford, graduating in 1982. He trained in Oxford, London and Brighton. He completed his master’s thesis in 1991 and was then appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Middlesex Hospital. 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, awarded his first grant, which led to the development, with Brian Davies, of Acrobot, the worlds first haptic based robotic assistant. This was bought by Stanmore Implants, who then sold it to Mako Surgical. The Mako robot is now sold by Stryker around the world.
The MSk Lab grew out of the work by Professors Cobb and McGregor. It is still on the Charing Cross Campus, but is moving in October 2019 to the Sir Michael Uren BME Hub on the White City Campus. Close links exist between the MSk lab 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 Jonathan Jeffers, Andrew Amis, Richard Van Arkel and Ferdinando Rodriguez 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 30 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 This world is in collaboration with the Blast Centre in Biomedical Engineering.
The MSk Lab is funded in part by research councils such as the EPSRC, and substantial charitable trusts such as the Wellcome Trust, ORUK, the Michael Uren Foundation, and the Sackler Foundation, and 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.
The major research themes in his group are these:
3D planning and 3D printing: the development of novel procedures and instruments to enable minimally invasive joint preservation surgery
Enhanced Reality and surgical skills: using head mounted technology to enhance skills of surgeons in training and in the operating theatre
Gait analysis and other outcome metrics such as JointPro, a patient centred web based tool
Bone health and disease: the impact of exercise, disability and medication on bone health and material properties
Professor Cobb is on the staff of King Edward VII hospital for Officers, and is Orthopaedic Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen.
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et al., 2019, Hip capsule biomechanics after arthroplasty - the effect of implant, approach and surgical repair, Bone and Joint Journal, Vol:101-B, ISSN:2049-4394, Pages:426-434
et al., Gender and Disease Severity Determine Proximal Femoral Morphology in Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, ISSN:0736-0266