Chemical and process engineering PhD student awarded £80,000 Industrial Fellowship

PhD student, Dina Abdulaziz, has been awarded an £80,000 Industrial Fellowship from The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 for her research in synthetic materials.

Using her knowledge of mechanical engineering and experience in materials science, Dina will make physiologically engineered synthetic bone that is biocompatible with human bone tissue, providing a porous solid structure that can facilitate blood flow and cell growth without causing autoimmune responses. This will involve researching different alloys, as well as digitally designing implants and new surgical techniques. The materials she will research include titanium alloys with calcium phosphates to promote the growth of the hard-soft tissue interface and increase blood circulation in bones.

Dina is a Syrian national who left her country in 2016 to come to the UK for the first time to pursue her dream of completing her research and help victims of the Syrian Civil War. Dina aims to create new biosynthetic materials that surgeons could use to fill large missing spaces in bones following serious injury or trauma. Current bone transplants use material from their own, animal or cadaver bones, which often trigger autoimmune responses and infections and the need for subsequent costly treatment. Dina’s new materials will eliminate this issue.

Each Fellow receives up to £80,000 worth of funding over three years for their work, which they will carry out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner. The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought after funding for research and development for new intellectual property. It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research whilst gaining valuable industry experience.

Her research will be supervised by the Materials Engineering team led by Professor Animesh Jha and Orthopaedic Trauma and Surgery Consultant Professor Peter Giannoudis, at the University of Leeds. Her industrial support is from Glass Technology Services, led by Mr Dave Dalton.

The Royal Commision for the Exhibition of 1851

Originally set up by Prince Albert following the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Industrial Fellowships recognise the best research that could advance British industry and award them funds to bring them to market. The Commission has supported them to help bring their technologies to commercialisation and make an impact on businesses and society

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “Ensuring Britain’s young scientists and engineers are supported is crucial to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of innovation in the years to come. Our Industrial Fellowships are designed to fund and commercialise the most promising technologies that could shape our society in the future. This year, we have awarded more Fellowships than ever before, and the breadth of technologies we are supporting, from artificial intelligence, to clean power and potential cures for most deadly diseases demonstrates that the talent in the UK is only growing.”