New biomedical device laboratory heads nearly $2 million in funding at Western


By Communications Staff
Friday, January 21, 2011
Researchers at The University of Western Ontario have established a new facility for producing biomedical devices that pairs existing research strengths in biomedical imaging with state-of-the-art prototyping technology.

Within the laboratory, scientists will be able to rapidly design, develop, fabricate and test new devices that have applications ranging from musculoskeletal health and image-guided cancer diagnosis and therapy, to cardiovascular imaging platforms.

The initiative, led by Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor David Holdsworth, received $605,623 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) this afternoon and also helps bolster strengths within Robarts Research Institute.

New equipment will include a high-powered laser capable of fusing metal into any desired shape – layer by layer – which will dramatically reduce the time required to develop functional prototypes of new machines and devices, and allow for limited-run manufacturing of complete devices.

Holdsworth, who holds the Dr. Sandy Kirkley Chair in Musculoskeletal Research, says the facility will be used to develop metal implants and biocompatible ceramic scaffolds, which have direct applications in joint replacement, dental implants and craniofacial reconstruction.

He and his colleagues, who include Aaron Fenster and Maria Drangova, will also use the laboratory to validate new therapeutic devices and to develop image-guided mechanical assistive devices for biopsy and cancer therapy, advanced tools and components for preclinical research, and novel systems for real-time analysis of living cells.

“One of this program’s strengths is that it couples quantitative, 3-D medical imaging technology as a core component of the design and fabrication facility,” says Holdsworth. “This approach will create a pipeline for development – in many cases, moving from an acquired 3-D image of an object to a computer-generated representation of a component, which can then be fabricated directly by rapid-prototype manufacturing processes.”

The project is one of six at Western sharing nearly $2 million in funding from the CFI today.

Other projects include:

•    Lars Rehmann: $299,474 – Applied Biotechnology Laboratory
•    Robert Shcherbakov: $139,946 – Computational Geophysics Laboratory
•    Stefan Everling: $318,272 – Laboratory for Neural Circuits and Cognitive Control
•    Walter Siqueira: $212,059 – Salivary Proteomics Research Laboratory
•    David Hess: $272,955 – Somatic Stem Cell Selection Laboratory for the Regeneration of Beta Cell and Vascular Function


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