By: 28 December 2016
Ulster University to play key role in global research to transform bone fracture healing

Ulster University will collaborate with leading universities in the USA and Ireland on a £1.5 million research project to revolutionise bone fracture healing in patients across the globe.

The research will be conducted as part of the US-Ireland R&D Centre-to-Centre programme funded by the Department for the Economy, Science Foundation Ireland and the US National Science Foundation.

The research will develop pioneering magnesium-based orthopaedic implants that can be reabsorbed by the body after a fractured bone has healed.

The novel magnesium-based orthopaedic device being developed by the collaborating universities will encompass the lightweight and durable properties of titanium and stainless steel, along with the ability to be completely reabsorbed into the body. This innovative approach will reduce the need for their subsequent removal, lowering surgical risks to patients and decreasing associated healthcare costs.

“Ulster University is at the forefront of pioneering research into functional biomaterials for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine,” said Brian Meenan (pictured), lead researcher from Ulster University’s Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (NIBEC).

“As part of this research Ulster University has been awarded £300,000 to enhance key properties of magnesium-based implant devices. We will apply our extensive expertise in surface engineering technologies to better control magnesium alloy resorption in a way that offers improved medical outcomes in previously difficult to manage factures.

“This research has a specific focus on delivering new orthopaedic implant devices for paediatric use, as the need for a second implant removal surgery is almost always required in children as their bones are still growing. This international partnership will see university experts in engineering and healthcare technologies collaborate with industry and clinicians to transform solutions for bone fracture healing.”

The partnership will also foster a culture of innovation in bioengineering research and education, providing opportunities for international research participation for undergraduate and post-doctoral students.