Herston Biofabrication Institute
Translating 3D printing innovation in clinical practice

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Mathilde is the General Manager and Principal Biomedical Engineer of the Herston Biofabrication Institute at Metro North Health. Based at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Mathilde leads the operations of the institute that aims at translating 3D printing in clinical practice. She is a PhD student at QUT in the Faculty of Engineering, and an adjunct research fellow at the University of Queensland School of Medicine. Her research investigates how open innovation can facilitate the integration of 3D design and manufacturing at point-of-care.

Should Mathilde be successful with this award, she intends to invest in research training in qualitative methods, and to attend the Australia New Zealand Burns Association conference in Sydney in September 2022 to present research results. 

BENEFIT – A description of the benefit of your work to Queensland (max 500 words)

Mathilde aims at making 3D printing a routine part of the patient care pathway within 10 years. Opportunities for advanced manufacturing of medical devices exist on our public healthcare precincts, with the promise of new efficiencies for health systems, improved patient experiences, and new partnership models. Mathilde wants to place Queensland on the innovation world map through meaningful partnerships with consumers, industry, academia, regulators and other government bodies. 

Mathilde's work advances the research and translation of custom-made and patient-matched medical devices for Queenslanders within the public health system. Examples include anatomical models for optimising surgical planning, virtual reality for burns pain and rehabilitation, and the redesign of face positioners for limiting pressure injuries in intensive care.

ROLE MODEL – Why do you think you are a good role model for women and girls aspiring to work in STEM? (max 500 words)
Mathilde is passionate about promoting the role of biomedical engineers in health systems. Point-of-care manufacturing is on the rise in hospitals, resulting in new models of patient care bringing together clinicians and biomedical engineers. Professional biomedical engineers form a bridge between hospital wards, research laboratories and production facilities using their blended technology and clinical skills, and are enabling healthcare innovation in multidisciplinary collaborations. If the role of nurses, doctors and other allied health professionals is clear for most, it is not always the case for hospital-employed biomedical engineers. 

However, biomedical engineers are increasingly present in various settings of care, from 3D scanning patients in acute care units, to computer modelling and 3D printing anatomical biomodels for surgical planning, and manufacturing and fitting patients with prosthesis and rehabilitation equipment. 

Mathilde wants to inspire the next generation of biomedical engineers by collaborating with both UQ and QUT to provide real world teaching experience to engineering, design and medical students. Examples include a uniform fashion collection and an exhibition of 3D printed models for neurosurgical training. 

In addition, Mathilde was a board director (chair of the life sciences chapter) with Women in Technology from 2014 to 2017, and a founding board director of the Tech Girls Movement Foundation from 2016 to 2018. She currently sits on the Metro North Project Reference Group for Equity in STEMM research, that aims at achieving gender equity in hospital and health service research. 

ENGAGEMENT – Describe any STEM promotion or engagement activities that you have undertaken, including both scientific and non-scientific audiences, particularly with women and girls (maximum 500 words)

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to supply chain challenges, Mathilde spruced the idea of a large community engagement campaign that collected 18,000 3D printed face shields in 4 weeks. The campaign mobilised an outstanding team of engineers, educators, community members, clinicians, administrators and innovators, and the devices were donated by community members, schools, local businesses and libraries, and distributed to areas of need in Queensland and Papua New Guinea with the Save of Supplies charity. 

Along with surgeon Michael Wagels, Mathilde is the co-founder of the Herston Biofabrication Institute Summer School in clinically-applied 3D printing, that aims at training clinicians to the use of 3D printing for health. The summer schools boasts 50% of women in both teaching faculty and attendees. 

In addition to her former board director roles with Women in Technology and the Tech Girls Movement Foundation led by Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, Mathilde was the co-founder of the Catch of Queensland Rising Star program with Maggie Hardy in  2016 & 2017. The program was funded by National Science Week and trained 30+ women in STEM to science communication and flew them all across rural and remote Queensland to speak in schools, pubs and libraries. The program reached around 5,000 Queenslanders. 

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