The Herston Biofabrication Institute is supporting research and translation to clinical innovation within Metro North Health through a range of clinical specialities.

Anaesthesia and Intensive Care (AIC) is co-led by anaesthetist Dr Christopher Futter and intensivist Dr George Pang.


  • Advanced anatomical modelling and manufacturing for simulation and education
    • Anatomy phantoms: regional anaesthesia and airways
    • High fidelity simulation models
    • Virtual reality patient specific anatomy
  • Advanced patient positioning and protective equipment
    • Custom patient supports through 3D scanning


Project – EPIIC: Engineering for Pressure Injuries in Intensive Care

Watch the EPIIC video.

Clinical Lead: Dr Marianne Kirrane, Staff Specialist, Intensive Care, RBWH

RBWH collaborators: Dr George Pang, Dr Chris Futter, Prof Fiona Coyer (RBWH/QUT).

Redcliffe Hospital collaborator: Dr Hamish Pollock.

STARS collaborator: Oliver Mason.

HBI collaborators: Mathilde Desselle, Dr David Forrestal, Dr Michael Wagels, Dr Deniz Erbulut, Nick Green, Isabel Byram, Ryan Daley.

CSDS collaborators: Luke Wainwright, Daniel Host, Joshua Drew, Clinton Henderson.

Proudly funded by: Metro North Health SEED Grant

Many critically ill patients sustain pressure injuries, a skin injury caused by sustained forces of pressure and shear. Patients with severe acute lung disease, including COVID-19, are turned prone, or face down, as part of their treatment in ICU. This causes pressure injuries, particularly to the mouth, nose and ears. Long-term harm includes blindness from ocular pressure.

Through the EPIIC project we will develop locally designed and manufactured face cushions that conform to each patient’s characteristic features better, using modern skin compatible materials.

Breast Surgery and Reconstruction is led by Professor Owen Ung.


  • Collaboration with the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Institute (CBCI), Metro North Health.
  • Breast reconstruction.
  • Scaffold guided breast tissue engineering.
  • Innovative clinical trials into the clinical care pathway.
  • Consumer and community engagement.

For Consumers: Breast reconstruction patient education series (Clinical Excellence Queensland, Queensland Health).


Burns Surgery, Skin & Wounds is led by burns and general surgeon Dr Jason Brown.


  • 3D patient assessment of burn depth and size to guide surgical planning and treatment using advanced 3D imaging technologies.
  • Post-operative burn scar management using 3D scanning, 3D modelling and 3D printing for custom pressure devices and prosthetics.
  • Virtual reality for procedural and peri-procedural pain and anxiety management.
  • Queensland Skin Culture Centre (QSCC) Biobank – RBWH HREC approved.
  • Chronic wounds and effective solutions for full restoration of skin barrier and function.
  • UQ collaborators: Prof Kiarash Khosrotehrani (Frazer Institute, Dermatology, Skin Organoids), Prof Alan Rowan (AIBN), Dr Amanda Kijas (AIBN).

Project: PARM-VR: Pain Augmented Relief Method – Virtual Reality (VR).

Supported by the Jamieson Trauma Institute and QUT, this project investigates the co-design of an innovative VR environment in health. It engages adult burns survivors and adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer in the management of pain, anxiety and boredom through distraction and mindfulness. The app is currently in development and will be trialled in pilot studies in 2021.

  • Metro North Health team members: Mathilde Desselle, Lucy Holland, Dr Jason Brown, A/Prof Paul Gray, Andrea McKittrick, Christine Cotter, A/Prof Glen Kennedy, Stephen Poyser.
  • Metro North Health partners: Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burns Centre (RBWH), Prof Tess Crammond Multidisciplinary Pain Centre (STARS), Cancer Care Services (RBWH), Clinical Skills Development Service.
  • QUT collaborators: Lucy Holland, A/Prof Leila Cuttle, D/Prof Patsy Yates.

REHAB-VR is investigating patient engagement through gaming, hand tracking and immersive technologies as adjuncts to upper-limb rehabilitation.

  • Metro North Health team members: Andrea McKittrick, Giovanna Tornatore, Sue Laracy, Mathilde Desselle.
  • Metro North Health partners: Geriatric and Rehabilitation Unit, Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burns Centre.
  • UQ collaborators: Dr Antonio Padilha Lanari Bó.

Cancer Care Services is led by medical physicist Prof Scott Crowe and Prof Tanya Kairn.


  • 3D printing of patient specific bolus, shielding, positioning devices and brachytherapy applicators, using optical, CT and/or MRI based models.
  • Development of bespoke quality assurance phantoms for imaging and radiation dose measurements.

CranioFacial Surgery is focussed on the integration of two clinical specialities:

 Maxillofacial and oro-dental reconstruction

  • Clinical Lead: A/Prof Martin Batstone
  • Large-volume craniofacial bone defects, acquired through trauma, malignancy, or loss of dentition
  • Congenital or acquired orofacial soft/hard tissue defects such as temporomandibular joint defects or orofacial clefts
  • Highly prevalent, chronic oro-dental inflammatory diseases, such as periodontitis and peri-implantitis
  • Congenital or acquired ocular, aural, or nasal defects.
  • UQ collaborators: Prof Saso Ivanovski (Dentistry), Prof Matt Dargusch (M&MEng), Dr Cedryck Vaquette (Dentistry).
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital collaborators: Dr Ghassan Idris, Dr Benjamin Roberston.

Neurosurgery and craniofacial reconstruction

  • Interim Clinical Lead: Dr Hamish Alexander
  • Virtual surgical planning (adults and paediatric)
  • Novel cranioplasty constructs (adults and paediatric)
  • High-fidelity simulation models
  • Medical education and training using surgical simulations.
  • Metro North Health collaborators: Dr Charles Yates, Dr Joseph Yoon, Dr Patrick Pearce, Dr Abigail Walker, Rooz Fakhr.
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital collaborators: Dr Yun Phua, Dr Robert Campbell, Dr Michael Wagels.
  • UQ collaborators: Prof Mark Midwinter, Dr Luigi Vandi, Dr Mark Allenby.

Orthopaedic Surgery is led by Dr Kevin Tetsworth.


  • Modelling continuously curved lattices to enhance bone in-growth (biomimetic designs).
  • Osteochondral injuries of the talar dome associated with pilon fractures.
  • Proteoglycan loss and collagen degeneration – a finite element study.
  • Hybrid implant development: 3D printed implant to repair osteochondral defects.
  • Internal deformations in human knee and hip joint under axial compression.
  • Additive manufacturing of novel titanium scaffolds
  • Discrete element method for knee biomechanics
  • Biomechanics of the shoulder joint.

Urology Surgery is led by Dr Nicholas Rukin.


  • 3D printing of patient-specific prostate anatomical models for surgical planning and patient communication.
  • Novel medical devices for urological equipment.
  • Laparoscopic pyeloplasty anatomic model for paediatric surgery training.
  • Stiffness testing of testicular prostheses compared to normal testicles.
  • Enhancing tumour identification in prostate cancer.

Vascular Surgery is led by Dr Jason Jenkins.


  • Advanced manufacturing of bioresorbable stents.
  • Soft robotic catheters for minimally invasive surgery.
  • Patient derived anatomical models for surgical training.
  • Vascular grafts.

Operations, Medical Devices

Medical Devices & Quality Assurance

Metro North Health is the sponsor and manufacturer of Class I medical devices in accordance with the Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices) Regulations 2002.

The HBI Class I medical devices include: patient-matched anatomical models, radiation therapy bolus and positioning devices, brachytherapy models, and surgical guides.

Prevention and management of pressure injuries using advanced manufacturing of personalised cushions

Collaborators: Dr David Forrestal (HBI), A/Prof Peter Slattery (STARS; RPEQ), Oliver Mason (STARS; RPEQ)

Proudly funded by: National Injury Insurance Agency, Queensland (NIISQ)

This project developed an advanced manufacturing process consisting of 3D scanning, 3D printing and 3D modelling to create custom wheelchair cushions optimised to the needs of an individual in terms of pressure management and posture support.

RPEQ: Registered Professional Engineer Queensland.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19

Watch the PPE video.

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical to protect hospital staff and enable effective treatment of infectious patients, such as those with COVID- 19. PPE includes fluid resistant gowns, surgical masks, protective eyewear and gloves.
  • Due to the pandemic, MNHHS facilities are experiencing increased use of PPE. To respond to this risk, the Herston Biofabrication Institute is using advanced manufacturing to develop novel face shields, respirator masks and other devices.
  • 18,000 3D printed face shields were crowdsourced in 4 weeks and the team is progressing the development of an N95/P2 respirator masks, as well as disposable gowns. The Institute is also collaboratively developing new simulation and evaluation methods to test the efficacy of novel PPE with a dedicated clinical advisory group.
  • Key partners: Digital Metro North, the Clinical Skills Development Service, COVID-SOS, The University of Queensland, QUT, Woodford Correctional Services and the Arc Hardware Incubator.
  • MNHHS Collaborators: Mathilde Desselle, Dr Marianne Kirrane, Dr David Forrestal, Nerys Brackman, Dr Clair Sullivan, Dr Michael Wagels.

Read our publication: Evaluating the safety and effectiveness of novel personal protective equipment during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Metro North Health, Herston Biofabrication Institute (HBI)

Level 12, Block 7 Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital HERSTON QLD 4029

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