Nicole Wake, a PhD candidate in biomedical imaging at the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU School of Medicine, is investigating the intersection of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 3D printing, and medical practice. She has coupled MRI data with a range of 3D printing technologies to create individualized anatomically precise cancer models for pre-operative planning. She is using these models to guide clinical care and is investigating the impact that these models can make in pre-surgical planning and patient outcomes.

Nicole, what was your very first experience with 3D Printing?

In my biomedical imaging lab at the NYU School of Medicine, we have a Fortus 360mc printer that was bought to print housing for custom made radiofrequency MRI coils. I was curious to see if we could also use this printer to print anatomically accurate medical models and successfully printed aorta and pelvis models.

As a PhD candidate in biomedical imaging at the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU School of Medicine, I understand you are investigating the intersection of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 3D printing, and medical practice.
Could you let us know a bit more about this field you are studying?

Many medical institutions are starting to use 3D printing for surgical planning; however, there is limited quantitative data on the impact that pre-operative 3D printing can make in medicine. In addition, although there are many imaging modalities which can be used to create patient-specific 3D printed anatomical models, most models are currently made using CT data. The goal of my study is to create patient-specific 3D models from MRI data and to determine whether adding new methods of data visualization, including 3D printed or augmented reality models, will impact surgical planning decisions and impact patient outcomes in patients with kidney and prostate cancer.

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

The Mayo Clinic has a course dedicated to medical 3D printing, “Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice” which is happening this month: February 23-25. In conjunction with this course, the RSNA 3D Printing SIG will also be meeting to discuss innovative 3D printing technology and implications for the radiology specialty. The RSNA 3D SIG is an engaged community crossing all subspecialties of medicine, with radiology at the intersection:

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

I think bioprinting is very impressive and think that it could have huge implications for organ transplants in the future.

What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?

Women are underrepresented in science and engineering fields. I’m excited to be working in this exciting field and to hope to demonstrate the added value that 3D printing can make in patient care.

What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?

The field of 3D printing is expanding rapidly. 3D printing is being used in many fields to accelerate product development, create customized products, and to increase production flexibility. Although 3D printing is being utilized at many hospitals, I’d like to see it become fully incorporated into the medical infrastructure.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?

3D printing is an incredible opportunity. We need to encourage women that anyone can learn 3D printing and provide women with mentorship and resources.

Thank you for reading and for sharing! 

We invite you to join Women in 3D Printing on LinkedIn and to like our Facebook page for further discussion.


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Nora is a 3D Printing expert since 2010, particularly skilled at building strategic alliances and strong business relationships.
Named among the 20 most influential women in Additive Manufacturing every year since 2015, Nora also received the Certificate of Honor in Manufacturing by the City of San Francisco in 2017 for her work with Women in 3D Printing, and was awarded Community Advocate of the year 2018 by her peers.

She started her career in Additive Manufacturing in 2010 by joining 3D Printing service leader, Sculpteo.

Nora joined Ivaldi Group in 2018. Ivaldi Group leverages cutting-edge additive manufacturing solutions to provide on-site parts on demand services for various industries. Drawing on a breadth of additive manufacturing industry experience, Ivaldi Group works across a range of stakeholders to digitize product portfolios and improve cost, risk and delivery for all parties, providing a Part Replacement as a Service solution.
As the VP of Strategy, Nora works closely with the CEO to build and implement the company's strategies in various segments: from core business value to customer relationship and parts production and delivery.

Nora founded Women in 3D Printing in 2014 to promote women leaders in the Additive Manufacturing industry. She also co-initiated and co-organizes #3DTalk, an industry-specific and educational event series featuring women in the 3D Printing and related industries. #3DTalks are global events hosted in various cities across the USA and Europe.

Pursuing her vision for more social inclusion, she joined 3D Africa as Board Advisor. 3D Africa is a youth and women economic empowerment program developed by the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), a nonprofit organization with years of experience combining education, technology, and economic development to transform economically challenged populations into self-sustainable communities. 3D Africa is part of the YTF’s Clinton Global Initiative 2016 Commitment to Action.

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