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Sarah Woodford

 

Project title

Joint function of the healthy, osteoarthritic and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) replacement jaw

Supervisors

A/Professor David Ackland, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The University of Melbourne

 

Professor Peter Lee, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The University of Melbourne

 

Dr Dale Robinson, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The University of Melbourne

 

Sarah Woodford completed a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and was exposed to applications in the medical device industry, which inspired her to pursue a career working as a design engineer for a large hearing aid manufacturer in Denmark. Upon returning to Australia she decided to undertake a PhD, working with Dr David Ackland and his team in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Sarah was particularly interested in their work involving customized 3D printed temporomandibular joint (TMJ) implants and their significant impact on the quality of life of implant recipients.

Currently the design and post-operative evaluation of TMJ implants is limited by the capacity to accurately assess jaw motion and jaw loading. The research that Sarah is undertaking involves investigating the structure and function of the jaw, and the differences in its kinematics between healthy, osteoarthritic, and joint replacement patients. Ideally this project will lead to improved implant design and a deeper understanding of dynamic jaw joint function.

This project also has a personal aspect for Sarah. With a sibling with TMJ deformities, Sarah is acutely aware of the life changing impact of these devices and their developments in terms of increasing functionality, reducing pain levels and providing excellent cosmetic outcomes for the patient.

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