Queen Mary University researcher’s work features in new Royal Mail stamp

Dr Karin Hing with a large image of the stamps. Pic: Royal Mail

Dr Karin Hing with a large image of the stamps. Pic: Royal Mail - Credit: Archant

Pioneering work by a Queen Mary University researcher which has improved the lives of thousands of people globally has been celebrated with a stamp by the Royal Mail.

There are six stamps in the set. Pic: Royal Mail

There are six stamps in the set. Pic: Royal Mail - Credit: Archant

Dr Karin Hing innovative work has created a synthetic material that can be used to carry out bone grafts during complex orthopaedic operations.

The materials encourage bone growth and have improved the outcomes for hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide.

The stamp, which is part of a six piece collection, shows a close-up of a synthetic bone graft with an example of where they are used to support bone regeneration.

Dr Hing and her team are based at the Mile End university’s school of engineering and materials science.

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She said: “It was a delightful surprise and a huge honour for my work on synthetic bone grafts to be recognised with a stamp and in particular to be part of a set which celebrates some incredible innovations in British engineering.

“I feel very fortunate that my research has gone on to have such a positive impact on people’s lives, but this would not have been possible without multidisciplinary collaboration.

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“Having our engineering of synthetic bone grafts celebrated on a stamp like the Marvel Comics and the Harry Potter books might even impress my kids.”

Dr Hing started investigating how the structure of bone grafts can affect their performance while she was working as a PhD student at Queen Mary.

When bones fracture, they are often able to heal themselves.

But sometimes the fracture is too large or complex for the body to repair on its own, so bone grafts are used in surgery to promote bone healing.

The grafts can be either taken from the patient’s own body or engineered which is a synthetic bone graft.

Dr Hing was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2011 for her work.

Other innovations marked in the six stamp collection include the Raspberry Pi, the Falkirk Wheel, the three-way catalytic converter, superconducting magnets for use in MRI scanners and the tunnel boring project that will be used for Crossrail.

A separate four stamp set is in honour of the Harrier Jump Jet, the first jet fighter in the world to use vertical short take-off and landing technology.

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