Summer Vacation Scholarship | Daniel runs new tests on ClearDrum®

UWA Biomedical Engineering student Daniel Faulkner has just finished an exciting Summer Vacation Scholarship with our Basic Research team.

The scholarship supported this up-and-coming undergraduate student to spend 6 weeks in the lab, learning about research techniques and living the life of a researcher.

Daniel was trained in research methods, including how to use specialised equipment, and performed work that contributed to our long term project on eardrum regeneration.

Ear Science Institute Australia is hard at work developing an implantable silk membrane, ClearDrum®, to repair damaged eardrums. Every year, millions of people suffer from burst eardrums and tens of thousands of people die from Chronic Middle Ear Disease*. In a world-first trial, Australian researchers from Ear Science and Deakin University will be closer to helping these people by combining science and silkworms to create a small silk implant known as ClearDrum®, which is similar in appearance and size to a contact lens.

Made out of biocompatible silk, the ClearDrum® implant is placed within the ear so that the patient’s own cells grow on it and regenerate their own eardrum.

Daniel’s work focused on silk degradation – that is, how we can make silk devices that break down at different rates, and how sterilisation processes can affect degradation.

*Source: Rural Health West, WA Primary Health Alliance, WA Country Health Service. (2017). WA Child Ear Health Strategy 2017-2021. Perth, WA: WA Country Health Service.