Hannah Little, Ireland

Hannah has a first class honours Master's degree in Product Design Engineering from Queen's University, Belfast. She is currently completing her PhD in Mechanical Engineering, working on the innovative design and manufacture of medical devices, to improve quality of life for patients with bone defects. A member of the Bioengineering Research Group, she is focused on the creation of bioresorbable bone tissue scaffolds. Hannah is striving to create new medical grade compositions for 3D-printing, whilst exploring material processing, structure and performance relationships.

Hannah has worked on a wide range of design projects and was awarded the opportunity to study at Chalmers University in Sweden in her Master's year where studies focused on environmentally adapted product design. Hannah received the NACCO prize for marketing in stage four of Mechanical Engineering and a Degree Plus certificate for development beyond academic study. She has won best overall research poster presentation across all university faculties, and has been awarded funding to facilitate presentation of her work on biomaterials, both nationally and internationally, at the World Biomaterials Congress. Outside of research, Hannah is an enthusiastic STEM ambassador and senior judge for Sentinus Young Innovators and most recently she was honoured to be nominated by Queen's for the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) 2016 Rising Star Award.

Bone Scaffolds for the Regeneration of Critical Sized Defects: A 3D-Printing Approach Using Tailored Materials

The requirement for restoring the function of lost bone is a major clinical and socio-economic need. Critical size defects require the insertion of a material to provide mechanical stability and promote hard tissue regeneration.

3D-printing has demonstrated many advantages in several industries but is yet to be fully exploited in healthcare. This talk presents optimization of 3D-printing as an improved method of addressing defects. Challenges such as limited compatible biomaterials and processing sensitivity of these degradable systems have been addressed. Materials have been tailored for processing and bone regeneration properties.

It is envisaged that this approach will develop an alternative to bone grafts, providing less invasive procedures, less risk and greater control for surgeons, thus contributing towards improving quality of life of patients. The structure and function of bone will be replaced with a scaffold, which mimics naturally occurring aspects, ensuring suitable functionality and enabling timely regeneration of structural bone.


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