Dr Alessandra Carriero, a Research Associate in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, has received the Royal Academy of Engineering Sir George Macfarlane award for her groundbreaking biomedical research into bone fractures and abnormal bone growth.

Dr Carriero, a biomedical engineer, graduated from Politecnico di Milano, Italy’s top technical university, in 2005 and went on to study for her PhD in biomechanics at Imperial College London. She has conducted cutting-edge research in six of the world’s top laboratories, submitting papers to peer reviewed journals and earning many prestigious awards.

Dr Carriero’s PhD research investigated how the gait of children with cerebral palsy contributed to bone deformities, combining musculoskeletal and mathematical modelling to simulate bone growth. Her research helps inform clinicians on ways to correct or prevent abnormalities before they become debilitating.

While doing post-doctoral research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA, Dr Carriero developed a novel methodology for investigating fractures and crack propagation in the bones of mice. Using a multidisciplinary approach involving classical fracture mechanics, molecular analysis and scattering techniques at the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley (one of the world’s most powerful synchrotrons), she discovered how small scale molecular abnormalities can cause whole bone failure. Her research generated valuable insight into the relationship between bones and disease.

Commenting on the award, Dr Patrick Prendergast from Trinity College Dublin, supervisor on Dr Carriero’s master’s thesis said: “I believe that the award of the Sir George Macfarlane Award will promote Alessandra’s career and provide prestigious recognition of her outstanding productivity and creativity as a young researcher in biomechanics”.

Dr Carriero said: “I am thrilled and extremely honoured to receive the Sir George Macfarlane Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. This award is the highest recognition for a young engineer in the UK and is confirmation of the relevance of my research in bone biomechanics. In the future, my research will continue to investigate how and why bone fractures and deforms in diseases. This knowledge is essential for planning successful treatment strategies aimed at curing and preventing bone diseases. I would really like to thank the Royal Academy of Engineering for supporting my career with this prestigious award.”

Notes for editors

The Sir George Macfarlane Award
The Award is in memory of Sir George Macfarlane (1916-2007), one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering. It recognises the potential of younger UK engineers, who have demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career (fewer than eight years since graduation from a first degree in engineering). This excellence is marked by a quality of leadership and/or technical and scientific attainment that is clearly seen to be outstanding by their employers and organisation.

The Royal Academy of Engineering
Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.

Imperial College London
Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Website:  www.imperial.ac.uk
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