Clinical implementation of 3D printed therapies

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Sean Powell
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (AQF)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Mia Woodruff
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The future of healthcare involves the application of 3D and computational technologies throughout the entire patient journey. One early and important application of these technologies involves 3D printing transparent rigid face masks for children and adults with severe facial burns. These masks, called TFO's, provide constant pressure for up to two years to the burn injury. This reduces both scarring and the need for reconstructive surgery.

Current fabrication of these highly personalised masks is traumatic, inaccurate and labour intensive; requiring physical plaster casts of the patient’s face to be taken followed by vacuum forming. The 3D healthcare approach involves non-invasively scanning the patient’s face, modelling the mask using 3D computer software, and 3D printing the final mask out of a biocompatible plastic.

Researchers at Herston Biofabrication Institute are developing the technologies and methodologies to produce 3D printed TFO's. Given the positive impact of this technology on clinical practice, we need to also develop its routine clinical implementation. Given the high capital cost of the 3D printers required for this process, it is not feasible for every burn unit to implement this technology themselves. A commercial clinical implementation strategy needs to be developed in order to roll out this technology into general regular clinical practice.

Research activities

As part of this research project you will be responsible for:

  • researching the economics and practicalities of producing 3D-printed TFO’s based on 3D patient scans
  • investigating the processes and legalities of transferring patient information from multiple health services to our production facility
  • developing business models and optimisations to ensure viability of the project
  • optimising management and technical processes to ensure efficiency and quality assurance.


The expected outcomes of this project involves documentation and plans for the commercial production of 3D printed TFO’s available to burns units in Australia.

Further development of strategies for global clinical service delivery both in developing and developed economies is also desired.



Contact the supervisor for more information.