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Clinical anatomy of peripheral nerve blockade

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Sunday, 18 June 2017
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Dr Ming Zhang


The peripheral nerve blockade is central to “Fast Track Surgery” which aims to facilitate an early discharge from the hospital and more rapid resumption of normal activities of daily living after surgery. The anatomical basis for the peripheral nerve blockade is one that conceives of the nerves to be enclosed by a tubular fascia sheath into which local anaesthetic solution is injected. The nerve fascial sheath has three layers called endoneurium, perineurium and epineurium. The precise nature and architecture of these fascial layers remain unclear. For instance, it is generally believed that perineurium extends from the meninges and serves as the blood-nerve barrier to protect the axons from mechanical and chemical attacks. However, our recent findings indicate that both arachnoid and dura maters do not extend beyond the skull base in the human1-3. The aim of this project is to identify and map the nature and configuration of the fascial coverings of the peripheral nerve using a combination of microdissection, histology, immunohistochemistry, epoxy sheet plastination, and confocal microscopy. The results may provide new perspective for a precise needle tip placement for successful peripheral nerve blockade and understanding of mechanisms for periphery nerve protection.

Liugan M., Xu Z. and Zhang M. Reduced free communication of the subarachnoid space within the optic canal in the human. American Journal of Ophthalmology 179:25-31 (2017). (The AJO is ranked as the 3rd out of 109 Ophthalmology journals and its 5yrs IF = 4.069.)
Liang L, Gao F., Xu Q and Zhang M. Configuration of fibrous and adipose tissues in the cavernous sinus. PLOS One 9(2): e89182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089182 (2014)
Liang L, Diao Y, Xu Q and Zhang M. Transcranial segment of the trigeminal nerve: macro-/microscopic anatomical study using sheet plastination. Acta Neurochir 156:605-612 (2014). (Fig. 1a selected as the cover page)

Closing date: Midnight, Sunday 18 June 2017 (NZST, GMT+12)

For suitably qualified students, PhD scholarships may be available.

For application and scholarship details: Application Details

Applications will only be accepted by email to:

Specific enquiries about the project can be directed to the contact below.


Dr Ming Zhang