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Queen Mary bone graft pioneer hopes Royal Mail's stamp of approval will finally impress her children

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 May 2019

Dr Karin Hing of the school of engineering and materials at Queen Mary University of London with the stamp dedicated to her work on bone grafts. Picture: ROYAL MAIL/ PAUL DAVEY/ SWNS

Dr Karin Hing of the school of engineering and materials at Queen Mary University of London with the stamp dedicated to her work on bone grafts. Picture: ROYAL MAIL/ PAUL DAVEY/ SWNS

© SWNS

A prize-winning researcher whose pioneering bone graft work has been celebrated on a stamp hopes being recognised in the same way as Harry Potter and Marvel Comics will finally impress her children.

The stamp based on Dr Hing's work in bone grafts. Picture: ROYAL MAILThe stamp based on Dr Hing's work in bone grafts. Picture: ROYAL MAIL

The six stamp set launched today by Royal Mail marks 50 years of innovation in British engineering including the development of a synthetic bone graft by Dr Karin Hing from Queen Mary University's school of engineering and materials science.

Dr Hing said: “It was a delightful surprise and huge honour for my work to be recognised and in particular to be part of a set which celebrates incredible innovations in British engineering.

“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.”

Her team at Queen Mary engineered materials that encourage bone growth in complex orthopaedic surgeries and have improved outcomes for hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide.

The whole series of stamps celebrating 50 years of British engineering. Picture: ROYAL MAILThe whole series of stamps celebrating 50 years of British engineering. Picture: ROYAL MAIL

Dr Hing's stamp depicts a close-up of the synthetic bone graft with an example of where bone grafts are commonly used to support bone regeneration.

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Other innovations marked in the collection include the Falkirk wheel, the three-way catalytic converter and the Crossrail tunnel boring project.

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

When bones fracture they often heal themselves, but sometimes the fracture is too large or complex for the body to repair on its own so grafts are used in surgery to promote healing.

Dr Hing and the team at Queen Mary developed bone-graft substitutes able to enhance the body's natural ability to rebuild bone tissue by looking at their structure and chemistry.

Having studied the sponge-like structure of cancellous bone – spongy bone found at the ends of long bones – Dr Hing developed a method to mimic it in a synthetic material with a similar chemistry to natural bone mineral.

She was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering's Silver Medal for her work in 2011.

Royal Mail worked with the Royal Academy of Engineering on the stamp set.

Philip Parker from Royal Mail, said: “British innovation in engineering is world renowned. This stamp issue proudly celebrates the projects and inventions which showcase this, as well as demonstrating the extraordinary range of disciplines that British engineers excel in.”

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