February 6, 2024
Dr Xiao Liu awarded fellowship for ground-breaking research into facial reconstruction methods for cancer patients
Research to help transform rehabilitation for head and neck cancer patients
University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Dr Xiao Liu has been awarded $700,000 by Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) healthcare funders the Passe and Williams Foundation for vital research into jaw reconstruction methods.
Dr Liu, researcher at UOW and the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), will use the funding to elevate and focus her work on developing dental implants and 3D-printed resorbable scaffolds. The research will look towards helping patients who have undergone radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, with dental implants crucial for their quality-of-life post-treatment.
“Oral cancer ranks among the most prevalent cancers globally, often needing surgical intervention involving the partial removal of the jaw. Unfortunately, this procedure can have a huge impact on the patient’s quality of life post-treatment, and many often struggle to reintegrate into their work and personal lives,” said Dr Liu.
“Our aim is to significantly improve the quality of life for post-cancer patients. We want to develop a hybrid 3D-printed scaffold that not only facilitates rapid osteogenesis, or bone growth, but is also partially resorbable - meaning it will naturally integrate with the surrounding tissue.”
“Receiving this Mid-Career Fellowship from the Passe and Williams Foundation is a testament to the importance of advancing research in the field of oral rehabilitation.”
The news was announced yesterday on World Cancer Day, marking it as the latest mid-career fellowship granted by the Passe and Williams Foundation. As per the Cancer Council, an estimated 5,300 Australians were newly diagnosed with head and neck cancer in Australia in 2023.
"We are always thrilled to support the highest calibre projects and people. Dr. Liu’s research has the potential to make a lasting impact on the field of oral rehabilitation and most importantly, survivors of head and neck cancer," said Dr Jeanette Pritchard, CEO of the Passe and Williams Foundation.
“The University of Wollongong has a track record of supporting innovative research that has a tangible impact on society, and Dr. Liu's work exemplifies this commitment. The funding from the Passe and Williams Foundation underscores the collaborative effort to advance scientific breakthroughs that can transform lives.”
The fellowship from the Passe and Williams Foundation will be used over the course of the next four years to, helping to further develop and advance technologies for the creation of the 3D printed implant.
“This fellowship is recognition of Xiao’s commitment to cutting edge research over more than a decade,” added IPRI Director Prof Gordon Wallace.
“The award verifies the confidence that the scientific and clinical community has that Xiao will continue to deliver.”
More information about the project can be found at here.