Who are we? Meet PhD Student Mayda Arshad
In this regular feature, we interview one of our PhD students from the Doctoral Training Programme in Medical Device Innovation. Today we speak with Mayda Arshad.
What are you studying?
Modified Dental Composite for Bone Repair, supervised by Professor Anne Young and Professor Gordon Blunn
Can you describe your research?
Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are the most common complication of osteoporosis, comprising approximately one out of a total five million osteoporotic fractures annually in EU and the USA.
Currently, minimally invasive percutaneous vertebral augmentation (vertebroplasty) using polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) bone cement is used. Major issues, however, are the risk of cement leakage and the incidence of adjacent vertebral fracture. PMMA’s toxicity concerns have been overcome by the recent development of bone composites. Neither PMMA nor composites, however, promote osteoconductive (encouraging bone growth on the surface) or any other therapeutic effects. Furthermore, antibacterial addition is required to prevent the postoperative infection, which is a life-threatening complication.
Therefore, my research is on the development of fast-setting, bone reinforcing, biocompatible, bone-adhesive, and antibacterial, osteoconductive composite for vertebroplasty.
Our end goal is to produce a better competing bone composite than what is already available, thus improving the treatment of patients.
What inspired you to join the DTP in Medical Device Innovation?
I believed the DTP would have been an excellent opportunity for me to obtain a unique chance in combining research in medical devices and develop my skills further.
As well as having a passion for science, I believe I have always had entrepreneurial aspirations and this is the perfect platform for me to have an impact with my research in the future.
What is a typical day in the lab for you?
My lab work is based at the Eastman Dental Institute as well as the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. Each day varies, some days are extremely busy while others are a little relaxed. It all depends on the schedule of the day and week. A typical day will start off with me checking my emails, followed by setting up for an experiment.
For my lab work, I’m at Eastman where I prepare the materials for an experiment, preparing different formulations. Once the materials are prepared I carry out various mechanical tests, such as a strength test, where the material is exposed to an increasing load of pressure until it breaks. In the afternoon, I collect my data and analyse it and try to find related papers and results to compare with.
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital is where I do all my tissue culture work. Here, I culture cells and expose them to my formulated materials in different ways. I am able to then measure these responses of cells via different assays that help me to identify if my material is killing or helping the cells grow.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never be afraid to fail and give your 110%. If you do fail it does not matter because you have only grown and learnt from the experience. Don’t see failure in a negative way, see it as an experience you which will only make you better.