Herston Biofabrication Institute to Research Graphene’s Medical Applications

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[Image: Graphene Manufacturing Group]

People in the 3D printing industry tend to get really, really excited about graphene. It’s easy to see why – graphene is both the thinnest and highest tensile strength material known to man, it conducts heat and electricity, and it has antibacterial properties. It has often been called a “super-material.” Until quite recently, however, graphene was very difficult to produce in large quantities, let alone to 3D print. But intensive research has led to 3D printable graphene, including from companies like Graphene 3D Lab which are dedicated to producing the material in 3D.

Like any 3D printing material, graphene isn’t perfect; it can be carcinogenic if the particles are inhaled, for example, and more research is needed into how to optimally 3D print it. The material is about to be the subject of a new research study conducted by the Herston Biofabrication Institute at the Queensland University of Technology. The researchers plan to investigate the use of graphene for biomedical treatments.

The graphene used in the study will be provided by Graphene Manufacturing Group, a Brisbane, Australia-based company that is currently one of the world’s leading manufacturers of graphene in bulk.

Craig Nicol

“We will be providing the Institute with a range of different graphene platelet sizes and shapes to assist with essential research into personalised vascular surgery prognosis, training, and treatment,” said Craig Nicol, Founder and Managing Director of Graphene Manufacturing Group. “GMG has expertise in dispersing graphene effectively into polymer and other materials and we will be advising and mentoring the process of adapting graphene dispersions for 3D printing.”

Graphene Manufacturing Groups’ goals include making graphene accessible for everyday products for applications that were previously not possible due to the high costs of manufacturing the material. The company’s proprietary process creates a continuous, bulk supply of graphene at a much lower cost that existing production methods.

“Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, 1,000 times more conductive than copper, heat resistant to 3,500 degrees Celsius and has implications for virtually every industry that comes to mind,” Nicol said. “Our technology allows us to produce high-quality graphene nano-platelets more affordably than any competitor globally, making it perfect for medical trials and health-based research such as the Herston Biofabrication Institute work. We expect to see our graphene lead to true health-based innovation delivering significant and long-lasting health benefits through the creation of stronger and more effective stents with potential antibacterial properties, cell culture biocompatibility and enhanced mechanics.”

[Image: Graphene Manufacturing Group]

The $54 million Herston Biofabrication Institute was recently established at Herston Health Precinct, which is adjacent to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. The Institute will be collaborating with Graphene Manufacturing Group as well as surgeons, academics and other industry partners to develop 3D platform technologies such as scanning, modeling and printing in three major areas of healthcare: personalized orthopedics, burn injury treatment and vascular surgery. The project is being co-led by Dr. Jenkins, head of surgical services at Metro North Health.

The State Government is supporting the work of 30 researchers through $7.2 million worth of Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships.

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