Hip Hip Hooray
Research engineer Dr Cui’e Wen is providing hope of a vastly improved quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who will, at some stage in their lives, need bone transplants.
Dr Wen, who works at the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation on Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, is developing metals that will better replicate the natural characteristics of bone.
The quality and importance of her work was rewarded in October when she was awarded a $330,000 grant from the Australian Research Council.
"We are thrilled that Cui'e's project has been funded," said Professor Peter Hodgson, director of the CMFI.
“It builds on an exciting new partnership we have with Barwon Health which brings together materials scientists and biotechnologists at Deakin University with practising clinicians in the hospital sector.
“Professor Geoff Nicholson from Barwon Health is the senior partner investigator on this new project. He brings biomedical skills and expertise to complement Dr Wen's materials knowledge and Dr Wenji Yan's mechanical engineering approach to give a really multidisciplinary approach to this important problem.
"We recruited Dr Wen to Deakin because we felt the work she had been doing in Japan really fitted into our aims to do research that provides solutions for real world problems.
"In our ageing society, people are basically wearing out; and more of us will need bone transplants."
The materials that Cui'e is developing will be porous and have mechanical properties very close to those of natural bone.
"That means that tissues will be able to grow into the material, making the bond between the two much stronger than is presently the case," Professor Hodgson said.
Dr Wen said the grant would help her fulfil a dream.
"One of the things I like about working at the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation at Deakin is that they let you dream, and then they go out and get you the support to help fulfil that dream," she said.
"It is a marvellous place to do research and to be able to work on a project which can have benefits for so many people is also very satisfying."
More than 52,000 hip and knee replacements are carried out in Australia every year, costing about $500 million.
"The success rate of these will be increased enormously if their load-bearing capacity is increased, something these new porous implants will go a long way towards achieving," Professor Hodgson said.
The annual announcement of the ARC grants yet again allowed Deakin University to demonstrate the breadth of its research expertise.
The university, Australia’s fastest growing research institution, won 15 grants worth $3.6 million in areas as diverse as the arts, citizenship, education, science, engineering and new materials.
Deakin University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor David Stokes said: “I am delighted that these applications for research grants have been successful.
“They will make an enormous contribution to addressing internet crime, science, education and car safety, and understanding international political issues and scientific problems such as maintaining Australian biodiversity and climate change.”
The recipients of ARC Grants from Deakin were:
Dr C Wen, Dr W Yan, Professor GC Nicholson -Titanium Alloy Scaffolds for Osseointegration Implant Materials
Professor RW Tytler, Professor VR Prain, Associate Professor BG Waldrip, Dr PJ Hubber - The role of representation in learning science
Professor JA Blackmore, Associate Professor DN Hayes - Redesigning schools and school leadership: an Australian comparative case study
Associate Professor F Mansouri, Associate Professor SM Kenny, Prof DR Walker - Local Governance, Multiculturalism and Active Citizenship: The Case of Arab-Muslim Diaspora in the West
Professor PD Hodgson, Dr I Timokhina - A Microstructure Based Approach to Steel Design for Improved Crash Performance
Professor GR Shi, Dr AS Biakov, Professor S Shen, Professor J Tazawa, Professor CM Henderson, Associate Professor K Ueno - The bipolarity of Late Palaeozoic marine faunal distributions: origin, processes and implications for modern global marine biogeography
Dr GM Turchini, Professor SS De Silva, Associate Professor M Paolucci - Omega-3 fatty acids, appetite and growth in farmed fish
Associate Professor RN Bastin - Managing ethnic tensions and developing religious tolerance in South India and Sri Lanka
Professor W Zhou, Mr Y Xiang - Development of methods to address internet crime
Dr Y Xiang, Dr VK Nguyen - Blind Signal Separation from Unidentifiable Systems
Dr D Kingsbury, Dr MP Leach - Internal and External Sources of Political Instability in East Timor
Associate Professor CA Beavis, Professor CM Bradford, Dr JA O'Mara, Dr C Walsh - Literacy in the digital world of the twenty-first century: learning from computer games
Dr KE Cook, Professor PG Smyth, Associate Professor AM McClelland, Dr EC Davis - The implications of welfare reform for single parent families in their transition to paid work
Professor MB Powell, Associate Professor MR Kebbell, Dr CH Hughes-Scholes - The measurement and prediction of police interviewing performance and the dissemination of good practice through a distributive workplace learning system
Professor PD Hodgson, Professor BC Muddle, Professor JH Beynon, Associate Professor M Ferry, Associate Professor E Pereloma, Associate Professor CH Davies, Dr J Nie, Professor M Brandt, Dr MR Barnett, Dr I Timokhina, Dr C Wen, Dr I Sabirov, Dr Y Durandet, Dr H Beladi, Dr RT Deam - Near Net Shaped Casting and Alloy Development Facility