Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

FUNDED PhD: Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan - tissue-engineered models of the respiratory tract

Project Title: The development of tissue-engineered models of the respiratory tract as an innovative tool for respiratory drug development & delivery and the basis for regenerative therapies. This position is funded by the SFI CÚRAM Centre.

Project description

The translation of new inhalable therapies for the treatment of respiratory disease and systemic drug delivery is being hampered by a lack of appropriate, validated and regulatory-approved in vitro drug development and disease models. The aim of this PhD project is to develop innovative models of the respiratory tract using tissue engineering strategies that provide improved in vitro testing platforms for applications in respiratory drug discovery, disease modelling and toxicological assessment of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems. These models will be developed with a biomaterial scaffold previously customised by our group for respiratory tissue engineering, coupled with the generation of advanced human airway cell co-culture systems, and validated as an efficacious in vitro research tool. This project will also investigate the potential of the scaffolds to function as implantable medical devices for respiratory regeneration applications.

The researcher will be primarily based in the School of Pharmacy and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI and will work closely with other members of a multidisciplinary project team including principal investigators (PIs), pharmacists, clinicians, engineers, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate researchers within this research cluster. The project supervisors are Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan, Dr. Cian O'Leary and Prof. Fergal O'Brien. 


The ideal applicant will have a 1st Class Honours Bachelor’s degree or MSc degree (with minimum 2.1 honours from primary degree) in pharmacy, biomedical engineering or related disciplines. Specific skills which would enhance a candidate’s application include experience in some of the following areas: materials science, scaffolds in tissue engineering, cell culture, RT-PCR, protein isolation and quantification, advanced microscopy, histological techniques and nanoparticle syntheses. Excellent written and oral communication skills are also desired. 

  • Research area: Tissue-Engineering and Pharmacy
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Tissue-Engineering Research Group


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate the following: 


  • An Honours Bachelor degree (grade 2.1 or above) or masters in pharmacy, biomedical engineering or related discipline
  • Highly motivated with good problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills with ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a multidisciplinary, team environment
  • Willingness to undertake training and career development
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness in work practices is essential
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: an IELTS score of 6.5 or above


  • Prior experience in a research laboratory with skills including materials science, scaffolds in tissue engineering, cell culture, RT-PCR, protein isolation and quantification, advanced microscopy, histological techniques and nanoparticle syntheses. would be advantageous.


Application process

This position will commence in Feb 2018. Applications are also welcome for those interested in applying for related PhD project studentships to commence in 2018/2019. Please flag this in your application if this is of interest. Informal enquiries can be made to Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan ( or to Dr. Cian O’Leary (, School of Pharmacy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. For information on moving to Ireland please see

Please apply to Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan (SCryan@rcsi.iewith the following:

  • An up-to-date CV
  • A 500-word cover letter outlining your interest in and suitability for the position
  • Contact details of three referees
  • Application deadline: Wednesday, 3 January 2018 at 5pm.

Mentors Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan