A Queen’s University student who is working on an injectable cement for the treatment of bone fractures has won a prestigious award. Rochelle O’Hara from west Belfast won the 2009 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Young Persons’ Lecture Competition for her work.
The second year PhD student has spent the past few years researching the use of bone cement in treating ‘burst fractures’.
Currently bone cements are already being used to strengthen damaged vertebrae of patients with diseases such as osteoporosis in a procedure known as ‘vertebroplasty’. But ‘burst fractures’ to the spine and injuries sustained in major impact accidents and falls are much more difficult to treat. They often require highly complex, invasive surgery and a long stay in hospital.
Rochelle’s work explores how the properties of calcium phosphate bone cement (CPC) can be improved to make it less brittle.
Rochelle received £750 as part of her prize and will represent Northern Ireland in the competition’s world final in October.