DIT engineering lecturer earns national research prize


1 Dec 2011

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Colm O'Kane (centre) receives the award from Paul Dillon, secretary of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Division, Engineers Ireland, and Declan Lyons, manager of Enterprise Ireland's Research, Design and Development department

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Colm O’Kane, a lecturer in the School of Manufacturing and Design Engineering and a member of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)’s Biomedical Devices and Assistive Technology Research Group, has been awarded the Young Engineers’ Research Paper of the Year for 2011.

The mechanical and manufacturing division of Engineers Ireland and the Dublin branch of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers jointly offer the annual competition. 

O’Kane’s research in the field of orthopaedic implant design resulted in a paper titled Characterising 3D Soft Tissue Features on Joint Surfaces. The work is centred on the development and implementation of novel techniques for medical image analysis, enabling a greater understanding of shape variation in both hard and soft tissues and consequent implications for disease formation and joint replacement.

O’Kane, in particular, has developed software that expands the measurement and diagnostic capabilities of magnetic resonance (MR) scans in orthopaedic applications. 

Although 3D imaging methods are widely available, surgeons still tend to assess the degree of dysplasia (shape abnormality) in joints using 2D parameters which were developed when X-rays were the most common imaging modality. 

This work aims to take full advantage of the 3D imaging techniques which are now available, to give a fuller picture of joint geometry for surgeons. 

The software analyses 3D models of bone and soft tissue and generates parameters describing their shape variations, enabling a comprehensive assessment of the joint shape relative to the rest of the population.

For more details, search for O’Kane’s publications list on DIT’s Arrow repository.