First memorial scholarship recipient researches new 3D jaw implants

Erin Brodie Matierial PhD

The first recipient of the Dr Marie-Faith Fiawoo Memorial Scholarship is progressing well in her research into a new 3D printable jaw implant, a technology she hopes will make a significant difference to people needing facial reconstruction surgery. Erin Brodie, a Materials Science and Engineering PhD student, was awarded the scholarship established in memory of research fellow Dr Marie-Faith Fiawoo, who was tragically killed in a brick wall collapse in March 2013.

Dr Fiawoo, a 33-year-old French national, had spent two and half years working with Professor Jianfeng Nie in a position co-funded by Rio Tinto Alcan. Her research was focused on characteristics in aluminium alloys. “She was here working like any other post-doc student yet was taken in such tragic circumstances”, said Ms Brodie. “I hope to make a real difference with my research, and I’ll be providing updates to Marie-Faith’s family as I progress.”

Ms Brodie is researching new materials for use in jaw reconstruction surgery. “I’m exploring new and improved materials, and whether or not we can 3D print the material,” she explained. “I’m also looking into the possibility of 3D printing directly from a patient’s CT scan, so we can match the existing facial structure exactly. This will help a patient’s emotional and psychology recovery if we can maintain their jaw structure as best as possible.”

Ms Brodie recently joined two leading researchers Dr Elizabeth Sigston, ENT surgeon, and Dr Andrey Molotnikov, Engineer, at the annual Matheson Society lunch to present on their ground breaking research.

The scholarship is a full-time funded living allowance for a maximum of 4 years, and is a perpetual scholarship established by Monash University with the support of alumni, staff and corporation donations. “I’m very grateful for the support, it allows me plenty of time to complete the research,” said Ms Brodie. “I look forward to sharing the results with Marie-Faith’s family.”