Students are working on ground breaking research

By Echo Reporter

ENGINEERS are improving lives every day, by working closely with the medical profession to help design more efficient surgical tools and to model spinal damage” according to Fiona Cranley, Head of Engineering IT Tallaght.

Engineering students here in IT Tallaght are working on ground breaking research in the areas of spinal injuries and scoliosis research.

IT Tallaght June 2016

The Bioengineering Technology Centre (BTC) in IT Tallaght was formed in 2008 and works with consultant orthopaedic surgeons in four hospitals. Currently the centre is focusing on spinal research.

Two of the major reasons for spinal surgery are trauma such as fractured or crushed vertebra, and spinal deformities such as scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

Bioengineering is the coming together of medicine and engineering.

Researchers at IT Tallaght School of Engineering apply all of the subjects studied as part oftheir Engineering degree to medical problems with the aim of improving the type of devices used and the surgical treatments. 

Researchers spend time reading and attending conferences to learn about what others in the field are doing, speaking to surgeons to understand the needs of the patients and designing experiments to test new devices and treatments.

With the growth in computing power researchers are now able to design “patient-specific” devices for a range of treatments, researchers use real MRI and CT scans with advanced computer modelling to design “made to measure” implants for patients.

“The challenging part of bioengineering is developing an understanding of the materials, from muscle and bone to steel and plastics, and developing a prediction of how they will react when they are used together in the body” – Colin Bright.

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