Leon Pope, mentee in the 2020-21 IMNIS program in VIC (RMIT University)

I am a PhD student at RMIT University’s School of Engineering, currently in my first year of candidature. My academic background is in biomedical engineering, however, I have recently participated in a two-year industry engagement project as a research assistant, focusing on the adoption and diffusion of additive manufacturing in Australia’s medical device industry. That project resulted in identifying trends, barriers, opportunity areas and solutions to the barriers stemming from interviews and collaborative workshops with members of Australia’s medical device industry (SME’s and Large manufacturers), hospitals, surgeons, health insurers, regulators and researchers.

Results from the project formed the seed for my current PhD project which I started in July 2020. One of the barriers discovered was implant-associated infections and as a result, implant rejection and costly revisional surgeries. My PhD project aims to develop an antibacterial hydrogel that can also aid in guided bone regeneration into RMIT’s 3D printed, patient-specific orthopaedic implants. The hydrogel will hopefully improve the interface between the implant and native tissue, reducing the risk of infection and providing increased osseointegration.

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