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


31 December 2009

November 2009: PhD Conferring

Dr Claire Tierney graduated with her PhD which was carried out under the supervision of Fergal O'Brien. Her project was entitled: In-Vitro Osteogenesis is affected by Composition and Stiffness of a Collagen-GAG Scaffold.

Claire Tierney Graduation

October 2009: Major European Funding Award for Professor Fergal O'Brien

Prof. O'Brien was amongst a select few European researchers to be awarded a highly prestigious European Research Council Starting Grant announced recently. The competition made available €325 million to researchers in 19 European countries. The ERC 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.

More details of the award can be found here.

October 2009: Roche Researcher of the Year Award Nominee

Following on from the awarding of the RCSI Idea Prize to Dr John Gleeson in April of this year, Dr Gleeson has been nominated for the Roche Researcher of the Year Award by Prof. Brian Harvey, Director of Research in RCSI. Roche Pharmaceuticals plc., established this research award for young investigators working on the island of Ireland to recognise excellence in life science research. Roche will hold an Award Ceremony on Thursday 26th November in The Westbury Hotel where each nominee will present an overview of their current research. An external adjudication panel will oversee the proceedings for the selection. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of €2500 and the Roche Researcher of the Year 2009 trophy.

October 2009: New group members

Amos Matsiko, Orla Hayden and Erica Tierney all recently joined the group. Amos is working with Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr John Gleeson on developing a polyphasic collagen based scaffold for osteochondral defect repair. Orla will be working with Dr Garry Duffy in the Anatomy department in collaboration with Drs Helena Kelly and Fiona Brennan from the School of Pharmacy and her research will focus on the targeting of microRNA mimics to reduce cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and the onset of heart failure. Meanwhile Erica will be working on the ERC funded award examining osteoinductive and angiogenic gene and growth factor delivery mechanisms in a collagen GAG scaffold for bone tissue regeneration.

October 2009: Best Conference Paper Award

Dr Frank Lyons was awarded first prize for the best orthopaedic paper presentation at the Joint Surgical Symposium of the XIX Waterford Surgical Meeting in conjunction with the Surgical Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. His paper was entitled 'Comparative healing response of bioengineered bone graft substitutes using novel scaffolds alone vs. stem cell seeded scaffolds vs. biologic coated scaffolds, assessed using in vivo models'.

July 2009: HRB Clinical Research Training (CRT) Fellowship Award

Dr Frank Lyons, a PhD student in the group supervised by Fergal O'Brien, was awarded the highly prestigious Health Research Board CRT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Regenerative Medicine. Dr Lyons is an orthopaedic registrar in the second year of his PhD. His research uses in vivo models to evaluate the healing response of novel scaffolds used as bone graft substitutes.

June 2009: Editorial Board Appointment

Prof. Fergal O'Brien was appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Biomechanics.

June 2009: Ph.D. Conferring

Dr. Matthew Haugh graduated with his PhD which was carried out under the supervision of Fergal O'Brien. His project was entitled: The Development of Novel Scaffolds with Tailored Structural and Mechanical Properties for Bone Tissue Engineering.

June 2009: New group member

Tara McFadden joined the group as part of the HRB Scholars Programme. She is jointly supervised by Dr Garry Duffy and Prof Fergal O'Brien. Her research will focus on inducing vascularisation within a Collagen-GAG scaffold with human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs). The functionality of these vascularised scaffolds with MSC-derived osteogenic cells, both in vitro and in vivo, along with its ability to promote healing for the purpose of orthopaedic regenerative medicine will be assessed.

April 2009: Innovation Award

Dr. John Gleeson won the RCSI Invention DisclosurE Award (IDEA) and a €5,000 bursary for the most innovative and commercial invention submitted to the RCSI Tech Transfer Office over the past 12 months at the RCSI Annual Research Day. This disclosure has now been filed with the European Patent Office. Patent entitled ‘Layered scaffold suitable for osteochondral defect repair' with John, Tanya Levingstone and Fergal O'Brien as co-inventors.

Pictured below is John receiving the award from Prof. Brian Harvey, Director of Research, RCSI.


John Gleeson and Brian Harvey

April 2009: Best Conference Paper Award

Grainne Cunniffe, a PhD student in the Group supervised by Fergal O'Brien won the prize for most innovative biomaterial at the Northern Ireland Biomedical Engineering Spring meeting, which was held in Belfast on April 8th. Grainne's paper was entitled 'Development of a nanoHA-Collagen composite Scaffold for bone regeneration'.

March 2009: Best Conference Paper Award

Dr. Frank Lyons, a PhD student in the Group supervised by Fergal O'Brien, was awarded first prize (and a cheque for €1000) in the orthopaedic category at the Sylvester O'Halloran Surgical Scientific Meeting which took place in Limerick recently. Frank's talk was entitled ‘In vivo healing response of novel scaffolds for orthopaedic regenerative medicine'.

Jan. 2009: Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal

Niamh Plunkett, a PhD student in the Group supervised by Fergal O'Brien, was awarded the Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal 2009. Niamh was presented with the prestigious award and a cheque for €1000 sponsored by Georgia Tech Ireland.

Pictured below (top) is Niamh receiving the cheque from Dr Finbarr Dolan from Georgia Tech Ireland and (below) Niamh receiving the Biomedical Research Medal from from Mr. Brendan Mulligan, Chairman of the Biomedical Division of Engineers Ireland.

 Niamh PlunkettNiamh Plunkett

The Biomedical Research Medal is an award that is made annually by Engineers Ireland, the professional body of engineering in Ireland, to a final year PhD student who has been judged by a select committee to be making an outstanding contribution to the field of biomedical engineering research. This year, 22 applicants from around the country were shortlisted for the award.
Niamh was chosen as the winner of the medal for her research entitled ‘Development and Bioreactor Culture of Collagen-Hydroxyapatite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering.' The research is in area of regenerative medicine and centres on optimising the process of bone tissue engineering, which aids in replacing bone tissue and aims to treat bone-related diseases.


Research Paper

Jan. 2009: Best Conference Paper Award

Amir Al Munajjed, a PhD student in the Group supervised by Fergal O'Brien was awarded 2nd prize for best overall paper in the mature research category at the 15th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland which was held in Limerick. His paper was entitled: ‘In vivo evaluation of novel mineralized collagen scaffolds'.