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


31 December 2015

December: TERG PhD student wins award for best oral presentation

Congratulations to Ms Rukmain Sridharan, who was last week awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation at the Matrix Biology Ireland Conference held in UCD. Ms. Sridharan's award winning talk was entitled "The interplay of biomaterial stiffness and ligand presentation in directing macrophage polarization".

December: TERG research featured in Anatomical Society newsletter

Work led by Mr Alan Ryan that was published in The Journal of Anatomy, entitled "Effect of different hydroxyapatite incorporation methods on the structural and biological properties of porous collagen scaffolds for bone repair", was recently highlighted in the November issue of Anastomosis, the monthly newsletter publication by The Anatomical Society.

November: SurgaColl Technologies products featured in science exhibition

Two SurgaColl Technologies products, HydroxyColl and ChondroColl, are currently featuring in the Science Gallery's latest exhibition, Trauma. The exhibition will be running from the 20th of November to 21st of February.

November: TERG spinout company receives CE marking and distribution agreements

SurgaColl Technologies, a spinout company based around technology initially developed within the TERG, has recently reached an important milestone by securing exclusive distribution agreements for their HydroxyColl product in French and UK markets. This comes on the back of the bone defect scaffold receiving CE marking, making it market ready. Almost a decade of research and development has come to fruition for CEO Dr John Gleeson (formally a TERG postdoc working on the technology) and the rest of the SurgaColl team. In recognition of these fantastic achievements, SurgaColl Technologies were shortlisted as one of three finalists in the Medtech Excellence Awards 2015, under the Emerging Medtech Company category. The Medtech Excellence Awards ceremony was held on the 10th of December and was run by the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

November: PhD student collaborating with TERG wins prize

Congratulations to Mr Ronaldo José Farias Corrêa do Amaral, a Brazilian PhD student who previously visited the TERG for a collaborative project. Stemming from this project, Mr José Farias Corrêa was awarded the best oral presentation in the XIV Brazilian Materials Research Society (B-MRS) meeting for his talk entitled "Biomaterials to control Biological cells: characterization of the materials and understanding of the mechanisms of cell response".

November: TERG PhD student competes at national Thesis in 3 competition

Congratulations to TERG PhD student Ms Rukmani Sridharan, who this week represented RCSI and the TERG in the National Thesis in 3 final, held in the Sugar Club, Dublin. The competition calls on PhD students to present their doctoral work in a series of concise, rapidly paced talks consisting of 3 slides of precisely one minute each. These talks are targeted at a general audience and Ms Sridharan's talk was entitled ‘Biomaterial bribery of the immune police'.

November: Prof. O'Brien meets the Taoiseach

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was this week attending a number of events as part of Science Week Ireland (8th-15th of November), which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. While attending these events, Prof. O'Brien met with a number of high profile politicians, including An Taoiseach Enda Kenny (please see attached picture) and Damien English T.D.

Prof. O'Brien and Taoiseach Enda Kenny 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and Prof. Fergal O'Brien 

October: TERG PhD students graduate

Congratulations to TERG members Dr Hugh O'Neill, Dr Rosanne Raftery and Dr Irene Mencia Castano, who received their PhDs in a graduation ceremony held in RCSI.

TERG PhD graduates 

TERG PhD graduates, Dr Hugh O'Neill, Dr Rosanne Raftery and Dr Irene Mencia Castano with supervisors Dr Caroline Curtin, Dr Garry Duffy and Prof. Fergal O'Brien. 

October: Dr Quinlan's paper featured in ECM News

Dr Elaine Quinlan's Advanced Healthcare Materials paper entitled "Functionalization of a Collagen-Hydroxyapatite Scaffold with Osteostatin to Facilitate Enhanced Bone Regeneration", was this week featured in Extracellular Matrix News. Congratulations to Dr Quinlan and the rest of the TERG members involved in the study for this recognition.  

October: Prof. O'Brien is an invited speaker at two conferences

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was an invited keynote speaker at Bone-tec 2015, the biennial International Bone Tissue Engineering Congress, held in Stuttgart. More recently, he was an invited speaker at the Nanoweek 2015 Conference, held in the University of Limerick on the 21st and 22nd of October. The Nanoweek Conference brings together Ireland's best nanotechnology and advanced materials researchers & engineers, with Prof. O'Brien's keynote presentation entitled "Collagen-based scaffolds as platform systems for the delivery of nanomedicines to promote enhanced tissue repair".

October: Prof. O'Brien among a number of ERC awardees to talk at Trinity College Dublin

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was one of 8 Principal Investigators who spoke at Trinity Biomedical Science Institute on the 25th of September as part of a group of alumni of Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering who secured prestigious ERC awards to develop new devices and therapeutics. The work within each of these ERC projects will lead to real impacts on healthcare and the medical device industry in coming years.

October: TERG members participate in Discover Research Dublin events

A number of people from the TERG were involved in the Discover Research Dublin Event, which was held at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on Friday 25th of September. This involved members of the TERG, including those especially involved with the AMCARE and DRIVE projects, manning stalls at TCD where they engaged with the public and explained the research being undertaken within the TERG affiliated groups at RCSI. As part of the event, there was a Thesis in Three competition, in which PhD students from institutions across Dublin presented a 3 minute overview of their research and targeted the presentation at the general public (i.e. a non-scientific audience). Of the 28 applicants, 12 were selected to present on the night, including TERG members Ms Rukmani Sridharan, who presented her talk entitled "Biomaterial bribery of the immune police", and Ms Laura Gallagher, who presented her talk entitled "The War on Heart Disease". Both students presented excellent talks and Ms Sridharan was awarded 2nd place, meaning she will now move forward to the National Finals, which are to be held on the 4th of November in the Sugar Club, Dublin (all support would be welcome). Congratulations to the speakers and all those who participated in a great night of public engagement.  

September: Prof. O'Brien is an invited speaker at two European meetings

Prof. Fergal O'Brien recently gave an invited presentation at the Frontiers in Material and Life Sciences: Creating Life in 3D conference, held in Brno, Czech Republic, entitled "Advanced biomaterials & scaffold-based systems for the delivery of therapeutics: new frontiers in regenerating organs & tissues". On the same day Prof. O'Brien also gave a seminar at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology in Vienna, Austria.

September: TERG MD student awarded prize at clinical meeting

Mr Conor Moran, an orthopaedic surgeon completing his MD within the TERG, was awarded the Cappagh Prize at the Annual Cappagh Residents Prize Meeting for 2015. Mr Moran presented his winning talk entitled "The Use of Different Cell Types in Tissue Engineering for Hyaline Cartilage Regeneration" at the Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Finglas.

August: Prof. O'Brien is an invited at Controlled Release Society meeting

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was an invited speaker at the 42nd Annual Meeting & Exposition of the Controlled Release Society, held in Edinburgh on the 26-29th of July. The meeting covered topics as diverse as Nanomedicine, Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutical, Pharmacology, Medical, Drug Development and Drug Formulation and was attended by approximately 1250 people.

August: TERG enjoy their annual Summer Day Out 

The TERG enjoyed their annual Summer Day Out at the Leinster Sports Complex in Rathmines where they enjoyed an afternoon of fierce competition in lawn bowls. There was an abundance of talent on display and congratulations should go to the apparent winners of the day, Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Mr. John O'Brien and Mr. Will Lackington.

TERG Summer Day Out Bowls Winners 

Winners of the TERG Summer Day Out bowls tournament, Mr. Will Lackington (left), Mr. John O'Brien (centre) and Prof. Fergal O'Brien (right). 


TERG at bowls 

Mr. John O'Brien (centre) showing his form on the bowls green at the TERG Summer Day Out.  


August: Visiting academic presents Research Seminar hosted by TERG

On the 10th of August the TERG hosted a Research Seminar presented by Asst. Prof. Brendan Harley from the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering in the Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The title of Asst. Prof. Harley's talk is "Harnessing Niche Concepts for Regenerative Medicine".


August: TERG PhD student awarded travel grant from Anatomical Society

Mr. Alan Ryan, a senior PhD student within the TERG, was recently awarded the Symington Bequest Travel Award from the Anatomical Society. This travel award was presented to Alan to help fund his trip to the upcoming Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) World Congress held in Boston on the 8th-11th of September.


August: TERG summer students pick up top prizes at RCSI Reseach Summer School Wrap Up

Two summer research students working within the TERG were awarded 2 out of the 3 available prizes at the RCSI Research Summer School Wrap Up Session, held on the 24th of July, which showcased the work of 14 students from across the RCSI Research Summer School Programme. Mr. James Cowman, who was working under the supervision of Ms. Rukmani Sridharan and Prof. Fergal O'Brien, was presented with the award for best scientific content for his 3 minute presentation entitled "Understanding Macrophage Immune Response to Substrate Stiffness". Ms. Shaunagh Galgey, who was working under the supervision of Ms. Tatiane Eufrasio Da Silva and Dr. Garry Duffy, was presented with the award for best overall presentation for her talk entitled "Magnetic Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Systems, My Research Experience".

RCSI Research Summer School winners

Mr. James Cowman and Ms. Shaunagh Galgey, RCSI Research Summer School Wrap Up winners. 


July: Primary school teachers visit TERG labs

Primary school teachers came to visit the TERG labs on the 7th of July as part of RCSI's Primary Science for Teachers Initiative (PSTI), which supports the teaching of science in the classroom. The RCSI hosts the 5-day ‘Come to Your Senses' science course for 25 primary school teachers, from all around Ireland, that aims to ignite a passion for science in primary school teachers so they in turn, can pass to their students. Another group of primary school teachers then visited the TERG labs on the 8th of July as part of the ‘AMBER - Magical Materials: Nano and Materials Science in the Classroom' programme.


July: New job vacancies in collaboration between RCSI Dublin and RCSI Bahrain

Two new positions are now available between RCSI Dublin and RCSI Bahrain, in the field of diabetes research. Details of the PhD Position and the Research Assistant Position can be found on the RCSI website.


June: TERG plays host to CRANN and AMBER quarterly meeting

RCSI and the TERG recently played hosts to the CRANN and AMBER Quarterly event, which took place on Thursday 25th June in the Houston Theatre. The event included an overview of milestones achieved in the previous quarter as well as a number of talks highlighting research outputs from CRANN and AMBER, in addition to awards being presented for commercial outcomes and an image competition. The event finished with a tour of RCSI, to showcase some of the college's history to the visiting guests.


June: University of Missouri students visit TERG labs

A group of undergraduate engineering students from the University of Missouri visited the TERG labs last week to get a feel for the type of research being conducted by the group and to gain insights into the field of Biomedical Engineering. The students were taken on a tour of the labs, which was organised by Dr. Greg Miller, where they were able to ask questions to a number of researchers in the group.

Visiting University of Missouri students

 Dr. Greg Miller (front far left) and visiting University of Missouri students. 


June: TERG PhD student awarded prize for best oral presentation

Ms. Nicola Kavanagh, a PhD student who is jointly supervised by Dr. Steve Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy and Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics) and Prof. Fergal O'Brien (Department of Anatomy and TERG), was recently awarded the Robert Mathys prize for best student oral presentation at the eCells and Materials (eCM) XVI Conference: Implant Infection (Orthopaedic & Musculoskeletal Trauma related), held in Davos, Switzerland, on the 24th-26th of June. The title of Ms. Kavanagh's award winning talk was "Staphylococcus aureus infection causes hyper mineralisation by osteoblasts in a 3D extra-cellular matrix environment".


June: Senior PhD student receives accolade for collaborative work

Mr. Hugh O'Neill, a senior final year BioAT PhD student in the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI, was awarded the Donegan Medal for the best oral presentation at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Section of Biomedical Sciences annual meeting held in RCSI on the 18th of June 2015. Hugh received the award for his presentation entitled "TheraCardium: On-demand therapeutic delivery device for failing hearts". Hugh carried out this research while on placement in the US at the Harvard Biodesign Lab headed by Prof. Conor Walsh. This placement was supported by an EMBO short term fellowship.


June: TERG researchers present in Utah

Mr. Robert Brady and Dr. Sara Barreto both gave oral presentations at the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) in Snowbird, Utah on the 17th-20th of June. Both presentations were very well received by conference attendees and Dr. Barreto was granted a Diversity Travel Award by the conference organisers.


June: Prof. O'Brien gives keynote speech at Institute of Animal Technology meeting

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was keynote speaker at the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) Annual Ireland Branch Spring Symposium, held at Trinity Biomedical Science Institute on the 27th of May. The IAT is the UK's leading professional body for animal technologists.


June: Orthopaedic surgeons graduate from TERG

Mr. Emmet Thompson and Mr. Ashwanth Ramesh, both orthopaedic surgeons studying within the TERG, recently graduated at a RCSI Conferring Ceremony. Mr. Thompson graduated with a PhD while Mr. Ramesh graduated with a MD.

Mr. Thompson, Prof. O'Brien, Mr. Ramesh

 Mr. Emmet Thompson, Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Mr. Ashwanth Ramesh at the graduation ceremony.


May: Outstanding EU funding success for consortium led by senior TERG PI, Dr. Garry Duffy

Major new EU funding has been announced for a consortium led by senior TERG PI, Dr. Garry Duffy, which is focused on the development of treatments for diabetes. The DRIVE (Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy) consortium involves fourteen partners, both academic and industrial, from seven European countries and has received €8.9 million funding as part of the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme. In addition to Irish partners, including Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Boston Scientific, the team also includes internationally acclaimed academics, large medical device companies and renowned clinical experts in islet transplantation, such as Prof. Paul Johnson, Director of the Oxford Islet Transplant Programme and Professor of Paediatric Surgery at the University of Oxford. The achievement by Dr. Duffy and his team was made truly remarkable by the fact that their proposal was the highest ranked application across all the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) proposals throughout Europe, ranking 1st out of 18 funded projects from 62 submissions at Stage 2, and 326 submissions at Stage 1. Furthermore, this announcement comes on the back of the announcement in December 2014 that another consortium led by Dr. Duffy, AMCARE (Advanced Materials for CArdiac REgeneration), which involves ten partners from five European countries, would receive €8.7 million funding (€6.8 million EU contribution) as part of the European Union's Framework Programme 7 (nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies).

DRIVE group

RCSI members of DRIVE team including (left-right) Dr Eduardo Ruiz-Hernandez, Senior Research Fellow, RCSI School of Pharmacy; Dr Garry Duffy (Co-ordinator for DRIVE), Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI and AMBER Investigator; Dr Helena Kelly, (Deputy Co-ordinator for DRIVE), Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at RCSI; and Dr Liam Burke, Project Manager, RCSI School of Pharmacy.


May: TERG papers highlighted in ECM News and Cord Blood News

Two papers containing PhD research from within the group were highlighted in Extracellular Matrix News and Cord Blood News. Firstly, Ms. Rosanne Raftery's paper in the Journal of Controlled Release describing the development of a gene-activated scaffold using chitosan-pDNA nanoparticles on collagen-based scaffolds was highlighted in ECM News, while Dr. Cai Lloyd-Griffith's paper in the Journal of Anatomy on the effect of hypoxic culture on the endothelial differentiation of human amniotic fluid-derived stem cells was highlighted in Cord Blood News.


May: Successful viva results in MD for TERG member

Mr. Ashwanth Ramesh, an orthopaedic surgeon within the TERG, was awarded his MD after successfully completing his viva. Mr. Ramesh's thesis was entitled "Assessment of collagen-based tissue engineering strategies for articular cartilage repair", and his examiners included Prof. Clive Lee from the Department of Anatomy at RCSI and Dr. Nicolas Dunne from Queens University Belfast.


April: Final year PhD student receives award for presentation

Dr. Caroline Herron, a final year PhD student from the TERG and Trinity Centre for Bioengineering was awarded the Oral Presentation Prize at the 2015 United Kingdom and Ireland Controlled Release Society (UKICRS) for a talk entitled "A triggerable drug delivery system for the application of pro-angiogenic agents in critical limb ischaemia". The UKICRS Workshop and Symposium was held on the 16th and 17th of April at the University of Nottinghman. Dr. Herron is returning to clinical practice in St. Vincent's Hospital in July, where she will join a vascular surgical team as Registrar.


April: TERG involved in Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with Soochow University

RCSI signed a Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration (MARC) with Soochow University (SU) that will see both institutions promote academic collaboration for teaching, innovative scientific research, student training, and technology development over the next five years. As part of this, RCSI will hold its first International Research Summer School (IRSS), where six undergraduate students from each institution will participate in eight-week research projects in the host Principal Investigator (PI) laboratories. TERG PI, Dr Garry Duffy, will act as PI representative for the programme while TERG PIs, Professor Fergal O'Brien and Dr Cathal Kearney, will host visiting students, along with Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), Dr Steve Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy and MCT), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT) and Dr Helena Kelly. The IRSS is being organised by the School of Pharmacy in co-operation with Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT and Director of the RCSI Research Summer School).


March: AMBER Transition Year students visit TERG labs

A group of 16 Transition Year (TY) students from the AMBER TY Programme visited RCSI the Tissue Engineering Research Group labs. During their visit they learnt about the design, development and testing of tissue engineered constructs. Organisation was led by Dr. Tanya Levingstone and assisted by Ms. Laura Gallagher, Dr. Tijna Alekseeva, Ms. Tatiane Eufrasio Da Silva and Dr. Andrew Cameron.

AMBER Transition Year Students

AMBER Transitiion Year students with Dr. Tanya Levingstone (far right).


March: TERG members win prizes at RCSI research day

Ms. Amenah Dhannoon, a first year undergraduate student at RCSI who completed her Summer research project in the TERG, was awarded best oral presentation in the Undergraduate Student Research category at the RCSI Research Day. Other prize winners from the TERG included Mr. William Lackington (a PhD student) and Dr. Tijna Alekseeva (a postdoc) who were awarded the Front Cover Illustration prize for the RCSI Research Day Abstract Book.

  Amenah, Fergal and Will at RCSI Research Day 2015

Mr. Will Lackington, Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Ms. Amenah Dhannoon at RCSI Research Day 2015.


February: TERG participates in Brazilian partnership events

As part of the 1st Brazil-Ireland Science Week (see here), the TERG, in collaboration with RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, the 3U-Centre of Excellence in the Neuroscience (COEN) and the Department of Physiology, held a Research Brazil Ireland (RBI) Symposium on the 26th of February. As part of the symposium, there were a series of organised working group sessions to allow direct researcher-to-researcher contact for development of collaborative projects.


February: Prof. O'Brien speaks at Business Tourism Industry Day 

Prof. Fergal O'Brien represented Fáilte Ireland as a conference ambassador when he spoke at the 2015 Business Tourism Industry Day, which was held at the Dublin Convention Centre on the 18th of February. During his presentation, Prof. O'Brien spoke about the support of Fáilte Ireland in the winning bid for the World Congress of Biomechanics 2018.


February: TERG PI receives Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

Dr. Cathal Kearney was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship for a period of 24 months. The project, entitled "Temporally controlled delivery of vascular therapeutics from a regenerative template for diabetic wound healing", aims to integrate tools developed during his postdoc for temporally-controlled drug delivery with existing collagen-based scaffold technology developed in TERG. The target pathology is diabetic wound healing through enhanced stimulation of vascularisation.


February: Funding awarded as part of ERC Proof of Concept grant

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was recently awarded €150,000 in a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council for a project entitled "miRNA-activated Scaffold Technologies for Cartilage Regeneration", which is focused on developing an advanced therapeutic for cartilage repair. This funding is allocated to allow for bridging the gap between existing frontier research and its commercial applications.


January: Translational work saves horse's life

Collaborative work led by Dr. Tanya Levingstone in the TERG has utilised SurgaColl Technologies HydroxyColl material, which stems from research within the TERG, in order to rebuild a thoroughbred's jaw, effectively saving its life. The procedure was carried out by Dr. Florent David at University College Dublin's Veterinary Hospital who removed the cyst and implanted sheets of the HydroxyColl scaffold. The success of the treatment led to the work featuring in a number of media outlets including RTE 1, Irish Times and the Irish Independent. It was also announced at the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Materials Research (AMBER) Centre Industry Day, held at Trinity College Dublin to mark the centre's first anniversary.


January: TERG PI including in Tissue Engineering Young Investigator Council

Dr Cathal Kearney, a PI within the TERG, was selected as one of 10 new members to the 2015 Tissue Engineering (Parts A, B and C) Young Investigator Council out of over 450 international applicants. The announcement of all members can be viewed here.


January: TERG members receive multiple awards and Prof. O'Brien announced RAMI Bioengineering president

The TERG had another stellar start to the year at the 21st Bioengineers in Ireland Conference held in Carton House, Kildare on the 16th and 17th of January. Dr. Cathal Kearney was this year's winner of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Division Bronze Medal, awarded for the best overall presentation at the conference. Mr David Walsh, a PhD student within the TERG and co-supervised by Dr. Sally-Anne Cryan in the Department of Pharmacy, was awarded 2nd prize in the Early Researcher category. Ms Darina Gilroy, a MSc research student working with Dr. Kearney the TERG, was awarded 1st prize in the Research Student category. Dr. Gráinne Cunniffe, a previous member of the TERG who is now a postdoc in Prof. Danny Kelly's group at Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, was awarded 2nd prize in the Mature Researcher category for work that was done in collaboration with TERG. Finally, Prof. Fergal O'Brien was announced as the incoming President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Bioengineering Division.


Dr. Cathal Kearney

Dr. Kearney (left) receiving his award for his presentation entitled "Switchable Release of Entrapped Nanoparticles from Alginate Hydrogels".


Mr. David Walsh

Mr. David Walsh (left) receiving his award for his presentation entitled "Synthesis and Formulation of Star Shaped Polypeptides as Non-Viral Vectors to Produce Gene Activated Matrices for Bone Tissue Engineering".


Ms. Darina Gilroy

Ms. Darina Gilroy with her poster presentation entitled "Magnetically Responsive Biomaterials for Stem Cell Activation".