Short Project Description
During the last two decades, rigid internal fixation with micro-plates and screws has gained widespread acceptance in the correction of craniomaxillofacial deformities. However, studies have proposed that in many cases these metallic plates and screws require removal. A biodegradable plating system would eliminate problems associated with permanent devices, as stability is necessary only for a reasonably short period until the fracture segments have become fused. Biodegradable metals such as magnesium alloys have made available new designs of implantable orthopaedic devices, which gradually degrade in the human body. Nevertheless, an optimal design of biodegradable device does not exist yet, despite advances in designing and manufacturing with the use of traditional orthopaedic materials.

The aim of this PhD project is to investigate some novel mechanical designs of biodegradable metallic bone screws along with their different manufacturing techniques. The research will focus on improving treatment outcomes of bone fracture immobilisation in craniofacial orthopaedic applications by developing a resorbable metallic implant system. This work represents a paradigm shift in bone fixation, providing innovations that will lead to reducing patient recovery time, removing the need for secondary implant removal surgeries and enhanced osseosynthesis.
This PhD position requires strong mechanical engineering design and computational skills. The candidate should have a demonstrable interest in the development of medical devices.

Funding Notes
Candidates must hold a 1st class bachelor degree in materials or mechanical engineering to be considered. Top candidates will also be encouraged to apply for a UC Doctoral Scholarship at: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/Scholars...hipID=6935.127. As a guide, a GPA of at least 8 is required to have a chance in obtaining a UC Doctoral Scholarship.

Supervisory Team
A/Prof. Mark P. Staiger - Materials Engineering Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
A/Prof. George Dias - Centre for Bioengineering and Nanomedicine, Department of Anatomy, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand
Dr. Bartosz Nowak - ORTHOMAG Research Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Our multi-disciplinary team includes two universities (University of Canterbury and University of Otago), an industrial partner, and a number of postgraduate students. Members of our team have international reputations in the field of magnesium biomaterials, regular contributions to the “Biometal” series of conferences, and extensive experience in all aspects of biodegradable metals.

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