Clinical Programs

The Herston Biofabrication Institute is supporting research within Metro North Hospital and Health Service through a range of biofabrication-focussed clinical programs.

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

Program summary:

  • 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



Luke Wainwright

Assistant Director, Nursing, Simulation & Education; Clinical Skills Development Service (CSDS)

  • UQ collaborator: Prof Mark Midwinter.

Metro North Health Collaborators


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.

Our Breast Surgery and Reconstruction program is led by Professor Owen Ung.

Program summary:

  • 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.


Metro North Health Collaborators


Our Burns, Skin & Wounds program is led by burns and general surgeon Dr Jason Brown. It is focussed on the following collaborative research projects:

  • 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.
  • Skin regeneration using 3D bioprinting as an alternative to use of donor skin for burns patients.

Sub-Program: Skin & Wounds

  • Chronic wounds and effective solutions for full restoration of skin barrier and function.
  • Skin organoids.
  • UQ collaborators: Prof Kiarash Khosrotehrani (Diamantina, Dermatology), Prof Alan Rowan (AIBN), Dr Amanda Kijas (AIBN).

Dr Abbas Shafiee

HBI Senior Research Fellow, Skin Biofabrication & UQ Diamantina Research Fellow, Dermatology Group

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.

Our Cancer Care program is led by medical physicist A/Prof Scott Crowe. It is focussed on the following collaborative projects:

  • 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.
  • Development of improved cell culture vessels for accurate and repeatable radiation biology experiments.

Our CranioFacial program is co-led by neurosurgeon A/Prof Michael Redmond and maxillofacial surgeon A/Prof Martin Batstone. This integrated program is focussed on two clinical streams.

 Cranial Stream – Neurosurgery and craniofacial reconstruction

  • Clinical Lead: A/Prof Michael Redmond
  • 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.
  • UQ collaborators: Prof Mark Midwinter, Dr Mark Allenby, Dr Luigi Vandi.
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital collaborators: Dr Yun Phua, Dr Robert Campbell, Dr Michael Wagels.

 Facial Stream – 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), Dr Amanda Kijas (AIBN).
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital collaborators: Dr Ghassan Idris, Dr Benjamin Roberston.

Dr James Novak

Senior Research Fellow, CranioFacial Biofabrication & Biomedical Design

Cranial Stream – Metro North Health Collaborators

Facial Stream – Metro North Health Collaborators

Our Orthopaedics program is led by orthopaedic surgeon A/Prof Kevin Tetsworth. It is focussed on the following collaborative research projects:

  • Multi-faceted approach to modelling continuously curved lattices to enhance bone in-growth (biomimetic designs).
  • Prospective assessment of the relationship between osteochondral injuries of the talar dome associated with pilon fractures.
  • Developing a new algorithm for 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 – 9.4T MRI study.
  • Additive manufacturing of novel titanium scaffolds
  • Discrete element method for knee biomechanics
  • Biomechanics of the shoulder joint

Nick Green

Biomedical Engineer, Orthopaedic Biofabrication & Medical Devices

Project – Patient matched anatomical models, surgical guides and jigs.

Lead: Dr Deniz Erbulut, Orthopaedics RBWH

HBI collaborators: A/Prof Kevin Tetsworth, Nick Green.

Our Urology program is led by urology surgeon Dr Nicholas Rukin. It is focussed on the following collaborative research projects:

  • 3D printing of patient-specific prostate anatomical models for surgical planning and patient communication.
  • Development of novel medical devices for urological equipment, including stents, prosthetic testicles, teaching apparatus and endourological equipment
  • 3D printing of meshes for tissue repair
  • Exploration of a novel combination of bioactive glass fibre matrix and biomimetic hydrogel for wound healing
  • Development of a laparoscopic pyeloplasty anatomic model for paediatric surgery training
  • Stiffness testing of testicular prostheses compared to normal testicles
  • Enhancing tumour identification in prostate cancer

Dr Becca Murray

Senior Research Fellow, Urology Biofabrication & Medical Devices

Our Vascular program is led by vascular surgeons Dr Jason Jenkins and Dr Nigel Pinto. It is focussed on the following collaborative projects:

  • Advanced manufacturing of bioresorbable stents: process and materials, deployment mechanisms, and antimicrobial effects of graphene.
  • Soft robotic catheters for minimally invasive surgery: design and manufacturing process development.
  • Patient derived anatomical models for surgical training
  • Off-the-shelf vasculature: biofabrication of non-immunogenic decellularised human vascular grafts
  • Metro North Health Collaborators:  Dr Murray Ogg, Dr Samantha Peden, Dr Peter Donovan, Dr Stacie Hodge, Dr Thomas Cavaye, Dr Joshua Tesar, Dr Allan Kruger, Michelle McGrath (RN), Matthew Versteeg, Teal Derboghossian.

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.

In 2021, the HBI Class I medical devices include: custom-made anatomy models, patient-matched anatomical models, radiation therapy bolus, and brachytherapy models.

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

Co-Leads: Dr David Forrestal (HBI), A/Prof Peter Slattery (STARS)

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

The goal of this project is to develop 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.


Oliver Mason

RPEQ; Advanced Biomedical Engineer, Rehabilitation Engineering Centre STARS

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.
  • Key MNHHS team members: Mathilde Desselle, Dr Marianne Kirrane, Dr David Forrestal, Nerys Brackman, Dr Clair Sullivan, Dr Michael Wagels.

Read our publication:

Herston Biofabrication Institute (HBI)

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