As a Kawader Fellow, Noura Al Hashimi is concentrating her research on the development of innovative tissue replacements, and improving sustainability in bioengineering research procedures, through two separate research projects.
Her first project involves designing a custom, hollow, double screw model that can be attached to the bones of the knee to replace tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which are a common sports injury that can deeply affect athletes' performance and life quality.
The screws would be connected by a hydrogel based on collagen, and seeded with cells which act as the ligament. Once hurdles with fabricating the model are overcome, Noura will test this innovative ACL model under different loads, in order to determine its viability as a tissue replacement.
In her second project, Noura focuses on devising techniques to recycle hydrogels, which are commonly used in bioengineering laboratories, but are thrown away after single use. If successful in developing these techniques, her findings could save a lot of resources to bioengineering laboratories across the world, and allow more investment in related research activities.
During her time as a Kawader Fellow, Noura published two papers, one on printing complex structures that support bone regeneration, and another on bioprinting hydrogels using a novel ink for cartilage regeneration. She is currently working on a book chapter on the ethics and issues concerning bioprinting.
"The learning curve I have experienced through Kawader has been exponential. Coming into this experience I had limited knowledge and so much passion. Half way through, I find myself learning so much, but knowing even less, which has compounded my passion and curiosity even more. Pursuing science is a lifelong journey, and I am glad Kawader has given me the kickstart,” said Noura.
Through her research, Noura is making important contributions to the development of new and innovative solutions for a range of health challenges, and her future work is certain to have a lasting impact on the field of biomedicine.