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Awarding advances in biomedical engineering by Christchurch PhD candidate

News Item

posted by WM Admin on 2015-06-24 16:00:03.415

University of Otago media release, 24 June 2015

Advanced biomedical engineering that restores mobility for those with failed orthopaedic implants has earned a Christchurch man a national award.

Seamus Tredinnick, a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury and Assistant Research Fellow at the University of Otago, Christchurch, has been working on a project that allows 3D printed titanium implants to become integrated with bone.

Integration allows the bone to heal and remodel, providing new mobility for those at the end of traditional medicine methods with failed implants that would otherwise relegate them to a wheelchair or bed.

Seamus was the winner of the inaugural Healthtech Award for Best Translational Research Project at the recent Healthtech Week, hosted by the MedTech Centre of Research Excellence, MTANZ, NZHITC and Callaghan Innovation.

Seamus started work in this area of biomedical engineering while completing his Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury. His work for Ossis Ltd, as a Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Intern, was the basis of his PhD study.

“Ossis had been working for some time in the area of 3D printing of patient specific implants, but we wanted to get smarter about how the implants integrated with the patient. That led to the idea of using scaffolds to allow the bone to grow directly into the implants. That needed substantial research, so I embarked on my PhD.”

Seamus’ primary supervisor, Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase, of the University of Canterbury’s Mechanical Engineering Department, says: “Seamus has pursued an aggressive and, ultimately, very successful PhD going from a single idea or concept to a complete, clinically validated outcome with huge potential.

“This is very rare given normal research timeframes in this field, as well as the difficulty often encountered in translating across engineering and clinical science boundaries.”

Today, Seamus is working with the University of Otago to research and develop the next generation of the scaffold technology, alongside Dr Tim Woodfield and Ossis Ltd, with the assistance of an MBIE grant.

Dr Woodfield says: “This is a great example of leading New Zealand companies working alongside researchers and clinicians to translate cutting edge biomaterials and 3D printing technologies into new medical devices.”

“Seamus and his work are an exemplar of a new breed of bio engineers that need to work across disciplines to grow this exciting technology and New Zealand’s Med Tech industry. This award recognises his major contribution to improving the clinical use of additive manufacturing technology that is leading to better outcomes for patients.”

Seamus’ award will take him to Dusseldorf in Germany, to attend the MEDICA trade fair, the largest medical marketplace internationally, in November this year.