Doctor of Philosophy candidate
How can biomedical 3D printing revolutionise nasal surgery? AUT science student Lari Dkhar is attempting to find out. She’s involved in a multidisciplinary research project that brings together AUT experts in bioengineering and drug delivery, as well as an ear, nose and throat surgeon.
“My research looks at developing a 3D printed intranasal scaffold for recovery from chronic rhinosinusitis, a common medical condition where the sinus cavities are congested, inflamed or blocked.
“The objective is to create a 3D printed scaffold that would be placed in the patient’s nasal cavity after surgery, acting as a support that dissolves slowly while releasing the drugs embedded in the polymer matrix. It would eventually dissolve within the body, and should provide improved post-surgical recovery while reducing complications for patients.”
Lari’s important research could pave the way for collaboration with other universities in the field of biomedical 3D printing. It could also have a beneficial effect on overseas investment in New Zealand in the field of medical device innovation.
A thirst for knowledge
She’s always been fascinated with the human body and its ability to function in such an intricate way, says Lari who came to AUT from the University of Glasgow.
“Because of my curiosity to learn more about how the body works and why it does what it does, I pursued a bachelor’s degree majoring in genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry and a master’s degree in biomedical science.
“The more I learn about new things, the more curious I get about the things I don’t know. That’s why I decided to pursue a PhD. It gives me the flexibility to learn further, be curious about things I don’t yet understand, and the ability to apply the ideas I formulate in real life.”
A creative environment
She says the environment at AUT encourages innovation and connection.
“AUT is well known for being a creative university. The professors, research supervisors and advisors give students the opportunity to think outside the box. In research, it’s important to have a team that supports your imaginative idea and help you turn it into reality.”
She also appreciates all the support available to students, says Lari.
“AUT is very supportive towards its international students in processing of students’ visa applications. Being an international student, having this support makes a lot of difference.
“I’ve also had opportunities to participate in symposiums and interactive events like the postgraduate ‘mix and mingle’, which is a great way to socialise and learn from others.”