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


31 December 2011

December: Award Success

Congratulations to Dr David Hoey who was recently awarded 2nd prize for his talk at the 4th International Conference on the Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues held in Hawaii. Dr Hoey won for his talk entitled 'Fluid flow stimulation of osteocytes via the primary cilium can enhance osteogenic gene expression in MSCs by a paracrine signaling mechanism'.

Dr Hoey receiving his award

Dr Hoey (centre) is pictured above receiving his cheque from Louise Curtis of Elsevier and Prof. Markus Buehler of MIT and Chair of this year's conference.

December: Health Research Board: A Picture of Health

Prof O'Brien was one of a selelct number of HRB funded researchers invited to speak at the launch of the Health Research Board's 'A Picture of Health' publication. A Picture of Health is a non-technical description of the most recent and exciting developments in Irish health research.

Prof O'Brien at the launch of A Picture of Health 2011

Picture above is Prof O'Brien speaking on 'How bones weaken early in osteoporosis'.

Prof O'Brien is pictured below (far right) at the launch of A Picture of Health 2011. Also pictured are Dr Sally-Ann Cryan (4th from left) from the the Dept of Pharmacy and Prof David Henshall  (2nd from right) of the Dept of Physiology and Medical Physics.

Prof. O'Brien pictured with other speakers at the launch of A Picture of Health

A copy of the publication is available here.

November: InterTradeIreland Seedcorn all-island business competition Finalists


 SurgaColl Logo


Surgacoll Technologies Ltd was named the Best Emerging Company in the regional final of the 2011 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn all-island business competition. SurgaColl is a spin out company from the technologies developed in the Tissue Engineering group here in RCSI. By winning the regional finals, SurgaColl secured a prize of €20,000 to help finance the early stages of its ventures. The company will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition, which will take place in Dublin on 30th November.    

Read more here.

November: Interview

In advance of Dublin City of Science 2012, is hosting a dedicated science month this November, with news, reports, interviews and videos covering a wide range of Irish science, research and innovation. As part of this initiative a number of scientists were interviewed, amongst them Dr David Hoey. Dr Hoey is an IRCSET/Marie Curie Inspire program fellow. This program allows postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to work abroad and develop new skills which they reintegrate to Irish laboratories on returning to Ireland.


Dr Dave Hoey Siliconrepublic interview


September: Innovation and Enlightenment

Congratulations to Stephen Sheridan, a PhD student of Dr Garry Duffy and Dr Bruce Murphy (TCD) who was recently selected to educate and entertain at the Workman's Club in Dublin. Stephen is enrolled in the UCD-TCD Innovation Academy which provides an exciting intellectual space where students and academics interact in multi-disciplinary groups with mentors from the public and private sector to develop and nurture creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork. As part of this, Stephen created a 3 minute video describing his research in a way that was comprehensible to a general audience. The video is available online on the Innovation academy's Youtube channel (click here to view the video). Comedian, Maeve Higgins came across these videos and asked Stephen to talk at her Enlightenment Night in the workman's club. Once a month Maeve presents two hours of intense fun and learning. She selects a person, a place, a time, a situation, a something she wants you to know about, then makes you know about it in great ways.

 Stephen Sheridan: Grow your own Arteries


September: Prof.O'Brien represents the Irish scientific community at the World Economic Forum in China

Prof. Fergal O'Brien, at the invitation of Science Foundation Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy, represented the Irish scientific community at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions (‘Summer Davos') held in Dalian, China. This is the foremost global business gathering in Asia and provides an unparalleled platform for global leaders to address the major drivers of growth in the 21st century. 40 young scientists (under 40 years) from around the world were invited to attend and interact with international business and political leaders. 

 Prof Fergal O'Brien at the World Economic Forum

Prof. Fergal O'Brien is pictured above (8th from left) at the opening of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions held in Dalian, China.   

September: Plenary Keynote Speaker

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was an Invited Plenary Keynote Speaker at the European Symposium on Biopolymers Conference (ESBP2011) which was held in Dublin in September, 2011. His talk was entitled ‘Advanced collagen-based scaffolds for tissue engineering applications'.   

August: Irish Medicines Board and Irish Heart Foundation Features

Two articles appeared recently in national newsletters featuring research from the Anatomy department.

The first is a review of Tissue Engineering which featured in the August Edition of Irish Medicines Board, Medical Devices Newsletter. This article details the current state of the art of tissue engineering and identifies RCSI's central role in the area of bone, cartilage and cardiovascular regenerative medicine. The article was written by Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Dr Tanya Levingstone, Dr Ciara Murphy and Dr Orlaith Brennan.

A pdf of the article can be found here.

The second article details the research being carried out by Dr Garry Duffy. In the most recent edition of Heart News, the newsletter of the Irish Hearth Foundation, there is a feature on Dr Duffy and the Microbubble technique being employed by his group. This treatment involves targeting cardiac tissue at the onset of heart failure with Microbubbles which are loaded with therapeutic molecules. These molecules can then begin to repair the damage and reduce cardiomyocyte hypertrophy.

A pdf of the article can be found here.

July: Travel Grant Award

Congratulations to Tara McFadden, PhD student, who was recently awarded a travel bursary worth €10,000. In August Tara will travel to Prof. Robert Guldberg's lab in the Georgia Institute of Technology for a three month placement. There Tara will investigate the in vivo potential of pre-vascularised collagen-based scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration.

June: Conferring

Congratulations to Dr Frank Lyons who graduated with a PhD from RCSI. Frank's thesis was entitled ‘The use of collagen-based bone graft substitutes for orthopaedic regenerative medicine'. On graduation, Dr Lyons became the only practicing orthopaedic surgeon in Ireland to hold a PhD.

June: Award Success

Congratulations to Amro Widaa, PhD student in the group, who won the prestigious Donegan Medal at the Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland which was held in TCD on June 22nd with a talk entitled 'The identification of a novel drug target in the treatment of bone infection'.

Mr Amro Widaa, Final year PhD student in School of Pharmacy, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics & Dept of Anatomy receiving the Donegan Bronze Medal from Professor Aidan Bradford, President of the Biomedical Sciences Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI). The Donegan Bronze Medal is a prestigious annual award presented at the RAMI meeting to the best talk by a postgraduate researcher.

Pictured above is Amro receiving the Donegan Bronze Medal from Professor Aidan Bradford, President of the Biomedical Sciences Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI).  

June: Invited international Speaker 

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was an invited speaker at the Integra LifeSciences Research Summit held in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. His talk was entitled 'Advanced Collagen-based Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration'.

Prof. O'Brien was also an invited keynote speaker at the Tissue Engineering International and Regenerative Medicine Society Meeting held in Granada, Spain with a talk entitled 'Collagen-based scaffolds in tissue engineering: applied biomaterials and cellular response to biophysical stimuli'.

June: Grant Success 

Health Research Board Project Grant - General. O'Brien FJ (Principal Investigator), Gleeson J. Bone regeneration using stem cell-directed endochondral ossification Bone tissue mineralization during osteoporosis. €298,525. 2011-2014.

Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme. Campbell VA (Principal Investigator), O'Brien FJ (Co-applicant). Development of a cannabinoid-eluting scaffold for orthopaedic tissue engineering strategies. ~ €150,600: 2011-2015.

Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme. O'Brien FJ (Principal Investigator), Cryan SA, Kelly H, Duffy G. Development of a gene-activated smart scaffold for bone repair. €191,300. 2011-2015.

Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Commercialisation Plus Phase. O'Brien FJ (Principal Investigator), Gleeson J. Collagen-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds as bone graft substitutes. €82,010: 2011.

May: Book chapter publication

Dr Gleeson and Prof. O'Brien recently had a book chapter published in Advances in Composite Materials for Medicine and Nanotechnology, edited by Brahim Attaf. This is an open access publication which is published by Intech. Their chapter entitled 'Composite Scaffolds for Orthopaedic Regenerative Medicine' can be viewed and downloaded as a pdf here.

May: Prof. O'Brien featured in ERC article

Prof. Fergal O'Brien featured in a recent European Research Council article 'The Dream Factory'. The article focuses on a number of successful ERC grant recipients. In 2008 Prof. O'Brien was one of 19 European researchers to receive ERC funding. The funding aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by supporting and encouraging the best creative scientists, scholars and engineers and to enable the very best up-and-coming researchers to launch their independent careers.

To read the article click here.

April: Award Success

Congratulations to Dr David Hoey who won the award for Outstanding Trainee (Junior Investigator) Presentation at the 4th New York Skeletal Biology and Medicine Meeting with a talk entitled 'A role for the primary cilium in fluid flow- mediated osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells'. Dave has been carrying out research in the lab of our collaborator Prof. Chris Jacobs in Columbia University in NYC.   

April: Graduation

Congratulations to Dr Gráinne Cunniffe who graduated with a PhD from Queen's University in Belfast. Gráinne was a cross-border research student funded by Science Foundation Ireland and supervised jointly by Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr Glenn Dickson from Queen's University. Gráinne's PhD thesis was on "Development of a Nanohydroxyapatite-Collagen Composite Scaffold for Bone Tissue Engineering".


 Dr Grainne Cunniffe pictured with Dr Glenn Dickson following her graduation in Queen's University Belfast.

Dr Gráinne Cunniffe is pictured above with Dr Glenn Dickson following her graduation from Queen's University, Belfast. 


April: Awards Success at Annual RCSI Research Day

Congratulations to Amos Matsiko who won the award for Best Poster by a PhD student at the RCSI Research Day held on the 6th of April. Amos' poster was entitled 'Characterisation of a novel collagen-hyaluronic acid scaffold for cartilage defect repair: Influence of mean pore size'.

This annual forum provides RCSI scientists with the opportunity to showcase their most recent research findings and emphasises the importance of research within the College. Research Day also recognises the varied areas of research across the different disciplines in RCSI.


 Pictured (l-r) are Dr Terry McWade, Deputy CEO, RCSI and Amos Matsiko, recipient of the award for Best PhD Scholars Poster Presentation.

Pictured above is Amos Matsiko receiving his award from Dr Terry McWade, Deputy CEO of RCSI.

Congratulations also to Ting Chu (Ken) Liu who won the award for best Undergraduate Oral Presentation with a talk entitled 'Encapsulation of Cardiac Stem Cells in Superoxide Dismutase Loaded Alginate Prevents Doxorubicin Mediated Toxicity'.

Pictured above is Dr Garry Duffy and Mr Ting Chu (Ken) Liu who recieved the Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation which is generously supported by Dr. Yacoob Kadwa, RCSI graduate (Class of 1965).

Pictured above is Dr Garry Duffy and Mr Ting Chu (Ken) Liu who recieved the Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for his presentation. This award is generously supported by Dr. Yacoob Kadwa, RCSI graduate (Class of 1965).

April: Invited Review Article

Prof. O'Brien recently had an invited review artice published in Materials Today (IF 11.452) entitled Biomaterials and scaffolds for tissue engineering. This article describes the functional requirements, and types of materials used in developing state of the art scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Furthermore, it describes the challenges and where future research and direction is required in this rapidly advancing field.

Read the full article here.


April: Journal Cover Image

An article by Dr Grainne Cunniffe and Prof. Fergal O'Brien was recently published in a special issue of Journal of Materials focused on Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine. Their article was a review on collagen-based scaffolds in orthopaedic regenerative medicine. The front cover image selected for this special edition of the journal was taken from their article. The image from work by Tara McFadden demonstrates in vitro microvessel formation on a collagen-GAG scaffold observed using a multi photon imaging system.


Front cover of the JOM featuring an image by Tara McFadden

March: Grant Success

Prof. Fergal O'Brien (PI) and Dr John Gleeson were awarded an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund, Commercialisation Plus Phase Grant. This funding, totalling €82,010, will examine Collagen-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds as bone graft substitutes.

January: Awards Success at Conference

The 17th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) took place in Galway on the 28th-30th. Congratulations to Tara McFadden who won the prize for best overall student presentation with a talk entitled ‘In vitro vasculogenesis in a collagen-GAG scaffold using endothelial cells alone and in a coculture with human MSCs'. In addition, Sarah-Louise Gill won a prize in the best first year research student category with a talk entitled ‘Ultrasound responsive microbubbles as a targeted delivery system to the heart'.

Pictured below are Sarah-Louise Gill (left) and Tara McFadden (right) along with Dr Garry Duffy and Prof. Fergal O'Brien.

 Prize winners Sarah-Louise Gill and Tara McFadden following their presentations at the annual Bioengineering in Ireland conference held in Galway, January 2011.

January: Grant Success

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was recently awarded a SFI Technology Innovation Development Award. This funding will facilitate work on the development of a cell and growth factor free naturally derived osteoinductive bone graft substitute.