Associate Professor Mia Woodruff – Leading the way in biofabrication and additive manufacture

By Bionics Queensland General Published 18 Aug 2019

 

A superstar of science, Dr Mia Woodruff is attracting global attention with her world-first 3D body parts and ability to inspire the next generation of researchers and innovators. She has an exciting vision of a future where the fabrication of patient-specific replacement tissue and organs is safe, cost-effective and routine.

Mia is currently leading the development of the Herston Biofabrication Institute adjacent to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. In the hospital of the future, she says MRI machines will be routinely employed in advance of future surgery for trauma injuries so that a 3D customised bone or tissue scaffold with the patient’s own stem cells and growth factors can be implanted. This dream fuels her passion to advance the high-tech sciences of tissue engineering and biofabrication. To learn more about Dr Woodruff’s vision:

 

 

A stand-out project led by Mia will give young children a new ear created from living 3D tissue. Every year, 1 in 6,000 children worldwide are born with microtia – a congenital disorder that prevents the proper formation of the external ear. These children and their families face a range of lifelong challenges, including hearing problems and impacts to their psychological wellbeing.

A chance meeting with Bionics Queensland and Hear and Say Founder, Dr Dimity Dornan opened Mia’s eyes to the opportunity to vastly improve the lives of children with microtia using 3D printing technology. QUT’s world-first project to create biofabricated ears from living 3D tissue was made possible by the generosity of donors to the Institute and a Future Hear crowdfunding campaign.

 

Microtia

QUT’s Maureen Ross (left) discusses microtia biofabrication treatments with Chloe and her daughter Maia

Work is progressing well through three project phases that include:

  • The creation of child-specific ear prosthetics – which will cost families less than a pair of glasses.
  • The development of tissue-engineered ears with full biological function which can be permanently implanted into the child.
  • The creation of ear functionality with 3D printed electronics housed in the ear prosthetic.

 

To see a brief time lapse video of the 3D printing of a prosthetic ear:

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