Making lives more comfortable
After getting hooked on her undergraduate microbiology and biochemistry labs, it was only natural that Trina Majumdar (BBiomedSc 2014, BE(Mat)(Hons) 2014) would go into research. Now a PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, she endeavors to improve body implants (hip replacements, in particular) for millions of people worldwide.
“Hip replacements were developed back in the day when older people didn’t have very active lifestyles,” explains Trina. “But these days you see your grandmothers and grandfathers playing tennis and so on. Because of the way implants interact with the body, this level of exercise means they may need to be replaced after a certain number of years.”
By optimising the additive manufacturing (3D printing) of titanium-based alloys for hip replacements, Trina hopes to improve how the bone interlocks with the surface of the implant. “If you have a bit of texture on your implant, bone cells more readily adhere to it because they love to crawl around and hide in the nooks and crannies,” she says. Also, with 3D printing, implants can be customised to the patient’s body. Trina’s work will ultimately help people with hip problems live more comfortably.
Last year Trina set up Femgineers, a society that addresses the gap in advocacy for postgraduate women in STEM. “My peers and I are in the 'danger zone' – we’re at the cusp of the drop-off, looking down the gauntlet of everything telling us to leave STEM,” shares Trina. “Femgineers gives the 200+ female Engineering postgraduates at Monash a place to get to know each other, share stories and strategies, as well as continue upward through the many layers of glass ceiling.”
After Trina completes her PhD (and shatters some glass!), she’d like to go into the medical device industry to “get a taste of commercial applications”. Later in her career, she hopes to return to university as a senior researcher and lecturer. Whatever she pursues, she’s sure to embrace it. As she so perfectly puts it, “It’s never uncool to be enthusiastic!”