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Emir Benca wins ViCEM Best PhD Thesis Award

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from left: Winfried Mayr, Emir Benca, Dieter Pahr

(Vienna, 26 November 2019) Emir Benca, PhD student at MedUni Vienna, was presented with the ViCEM Award for Best PhD Thesis in Engineering in Medicine at the ViCEM Meeting.

ViCEM – Vienna Center for Engineering in Medicine – awards a prize for the best thesis on the theme of "Engineering in medicine" at its biennial meeting.

Emir Benca presented his PhD project (supervisor: Winfried Mayr from MedUni Vienna's Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Dieter Pahr from the Institute of Lightweight Design and Structural Biomechanics at Vienna University of Technology and Reinhard Windhager from MedUni Vienna's Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery) on the theme "Fracture load prediction in patients with metastatic lesions in the femur using finite element analysis" and was awarded the prize for the best thesis. The prize-winning work is part of the METFEM project.

In his paper, Emir Benca looked at the prediction of pathological bone fractures in patients with bone metastases. Bone metastases destroy the bone tissue, resulting in diminished structural integrity of the bone. In turn this leads to pathological bone fractures, which often occur during trivial everyday activities. The clinical methods currently available for predicting such bone fractures are non-specific and this leads to overtreatment and/or unnecessary surgical stabilisation. As Emir Benca demonstrated in his thesis, Finite Element Analysis – a computer simulation method from the field of engineering – is able to accurately determine patient-specific fracture loads based on standard QCT data. The aim is to use this method to identify impending fractures quickly and cost-effectively and to use this as a basis for selecting the optimum treatment strategy. Apart from the Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy (all at MedUni Vienna) and the Institute of Lightweight Design and Structural Biomechanics of Vienna University of Technology, where Emir Benca completed a one-year research placement as part of his PhD course, were involved in the highly interdisciplinary project.

ViCEM - Vienna Center for Engineering in Medicine – which is a Co-operation Center belonging to Vienna University of Technology and MedUni Vienna, awards the ViCEM Prize at its biennial Meeting in recognition of the best dissertations and PhD theses. Dissertations and theses that have been supervised by staff from Vienna University of Technology or MedUni Vienna are eligible for the prize. The prize is intended to fund activities at the interface between technology and medicine and to give them the attention they deserve. The assessment criteria for the award are scientific excellence with potential for widespread international impact and high impact , as well as the relevance of the work for medical/engineering practice. Prize-winners receive a certificate and prize money.

About Emir Benca
Emir Benca studied mechanical engineering at Vienna University of Technology and graduated from the Medical University of Vienna in 2017. He currently heads up the Adolf Lorenz Lab for Biomechanics and is also the coordinator for Rapid Prototyping at the Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, in the context of the M3dRES project. Apart from the prediction of pathological fractures, his main research interests are the evaluation of orthopaedic and trauma surgery implants and operating techniques and the use of Rapid Prototyping (3D printing) for preoperative planning.

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