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Current Winner - 2016

NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The University of British Columbia

The jaw is the most mobile bone in the human face and is vital to basic actions like talking, eating and breathing. Any damage to the jaw has a drastic impact on one’s quality of life, and each year 700,000 people worldwide who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer face this danger. Reconstructive implants achieve much of the original jaw function, but the intricacy and complexity of the bone and tooth structure in jaws make it difficult to fully restore comfort and usability for patients.

Amir Abdi is developing new ways to model and predict the outcomes of reconstructive jaw surgery. The University of British Columbia graduate student is using three-dimensional scanning, motion tracking, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) images to examine the anatomy and movements involved in chewing and swallowing to create a personalized jaw model for patients. Abdi and his team use their model to assess treatment options and predict how well the reconstruction will function after surgery. They re-evaluate the patient after surgery and compare their predictions against the actual outcomes, refining the workflow until they achieve a model that produces reliable predictions.

Abdi’s research will be a major step forward for personalized medicine and will help implant engineers and surgeons plan treatments more efficiently, increasing the quality of life for post-operative patients in Canada and around the world.

Yasser Gidi
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