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


01 January 2016

July: BT Young Scientists visit TERG

A group of students from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, who were all the recipients of main awards at this year's BT Young Scientist competition, visited the RCSI from 25-29 July.

The five students - Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura (Overall Young Scientist winners), Renuka Chintapalli (runner-up, Individual), Khadija Gull (1st place, Biological and Ecological, Senior Group) and Maria Wyzykowska (3rd place, Social and Behavioural, Senior Individual) - attended talks and demonstrations provided by a number of different groups in RCSI including Surgical Affairs, Medical Simulation, the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Anatomy.

This included an overview of the AMCARE and DRIVE programmes and a tour of the TERG labs.

July: TERG PI speaks at Eurosciences OpenForum

Associate Professor Garry Duffy attended the EuroScience Open Forum Convention in Manchester on 27 July. Garry presented on the AMCARE consortium in a session entitled 'Biomaterials for Healthy Hearts'.

July: Annual TERG Summer Outing 

Members of the TERG enjoyed their annual Summer Day Out at the Railway Union Sports Club in Sandymount on Tuesday, 26 July, with an afternoon of lawn bowls, rounders, tennis and table quizzing! 

TERG Day Out

July: TERG Research Highlighted

A speical edition of Advanced Materials - 'Materials Science in Ireland: Current Developments and Future Aspirations', published on 20 July, features a number of publications from TERG researchers including work led by Drs Cathal KearneyHugh O'Neill and Rosanne Raftery.

A second paper led by Dr Raftery entitled 'Multifunctional Biomaterials from the Sea' was also featured as the top story in a recent volume of Extracellular Matrix News. Research led by Dr Tanya Levingstone was also recently highlighted in an article in the Engineer's Journal entitled 'Cartilage-repair technology helps injured thoroughbred retuen to showjumping'.

July: Primary school teachers visit the TERG

A group of primary school teachers visited the Tissue Engineering Research Group labs at RCSI recently as part of the AMBER Centre's 'Magical Materials: nano and materials science' summer CPD course for primary school teachers.

The course introduces teachers to nano and materials science through the 'NanoWOW' resource pack, approved by the Department of Education. The group were given a demonstration of the research that is being carried out in the TERG, and were given a tour of the labs.

More information on the programme can be found here


June: TERG members attend TERMIS-EU

Several members of the TERG presented their research at the 2016 European Chapter of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Conference in Uppsala, Sweden, June 28th - July 1st. The theme of this year's conference was "Towards Future Regenerative Therapies". TERG post-docs Dr Irene Mencía Castano and Dr Rosanne Raftery presented their research on 'Non-viral collagen-nanohydroxyapatite microRNA-activated scaffolds rapidly enhance human mesenchymal stem cells bone forming capacity' and 'Development of non-viral gene-activated scaffolds for orthopedic tissue engineering' respectively. Dr Cian O'Leary, also presented his research on "The development of a 3D tracheobronchial co-culture model with a bilayered collagen-hyaluronate scaffold: An innovative platform for respiratory tissue". PhD students from the group Will Lackington, David Walsh and Tomas Gonzalez Fernandez also presented. Will's talk was entitled "A hyaluronic acid-based nerve guidance conduit for peripheral nerve repair", David presented his work on "Gene activated scaffolds for orthopaedic tissue engineering" and Tomas spoke on his research on how "MSC fate following non-viral transfection with therapeutic genes strongly depends on the choice of gene delivery vector". Claire Brougham, another PhD student within the TERG had her research on "A tissue engineered pulmonary heart valve using natural materials" presented by Prof Fergal O'Brien on her behalf. Prof O'Brien was also an invited speaker at the conference, giving a talk entitled "Mechanical stimulation of stem cell seeded scaffolds to enhance angiogenesis and identify new therapeutics targets for bone repair". 

June: Inspirefest Fringe Festival 

Members of the Tissue Engineering Research Group put on a display at the recent Inspirefest Fringe Festival, held in Merrion Square, Dublin, on Thursday evening, June 30th. The fringe fest was attended by members of the general public and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) community, who were attending the two-day Inspirefest conference - the international festival of technology, science, design and the arts - in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (June 30th- July 1st). Several representatives from the group, including some members specifically associated with the Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy (DRIVE) and Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration (AMCARE) consortiums, were present on the evening, demonstrating the types of research being conducted with the TERG and Advanced Materials for Bioengineering Research (AMBER) affiliated groups at RCSI.

TERG at Inspirefest

TERG at Inspirefest's Fringe Festival 

June: TERG PhD Student wins Donegan Medal

Congratulations to TERG PhD student, Ms Emily Ryan, who was awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Donegan Medal for her oral presentation at the Biomedical Sciences Section of RAMI's annual meeting on June 23rd, held in University College Cork. Emily's talk was entitled 'Novel antibiotic-free scaffold for the treatment of infection and regeneration of bone'. Emily's research is funded by the Irish Research Council and supervised by Head of TERG, Prof Fergal O'Brien, and TERG PI, Dr Cathal Kearney.

Emily Ryan, Donegan Medal

Ms Emily Ryan being presented with the RAMI Donegan Medal

June: TERG Members present at Ireland-Japan Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Meeting

TERG post-doc Dr Matthew Haugh and TERG PhD student Mr Tomas Gonzalez-Fernandez both presented their research at the recent Ireland-Japan Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering meeting, held in Galway's Meyrick Hotel, June 22nd-23rd. Dr Haugh's talk was entitled 'A recombinant biomaterials approach to study cell-matrix interactions', while Tomas, whose PhD is jointly supervised by Prof Fergal O'Brien and Prof Danny Kelly from the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering at TCD, presented his work on 'Gene activated hydrogels for the bio-fabrication of 3D printed constructs for osteochondral regeneration'. The event was hosted by the SFI International Strategic Cooperation Award Programme with Japan, the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL), the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), and NUI Galway.

June: New PhD Studentship 

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the TERG and AMBER Centre at RCSI. The project, entitled 'Functionalisation of 3D collagen-based scaffolds for nucleic acid delivery through the incorporation of novel nanoparticles' is funded by the SFI CÚRAM Centre. For more information and details of how to apply, click here

June: TERG member wins prize for best oral presentation

Congratulations to Mr Christopher Hobbs who won 'Best Oral Presentation in Materials Science' at the Microscopy Society of Ireland Annual Symposium which was held in Dublin Institute of Technology from June 8th - 10th. Chris's talk was entitled 'Structural characterisation of Layered Double Hydroxide nanomaterials incorporated into Bioengineered samples: An electron Microscopy Approach'. Chris is a PhD student in the Nicolosi Group, School of Physics and CRANN, TCD, and his current research on SEM, TEM and HIM to characterise the physical and chemical patterning of nanomaterials incorporated into bioengineering samples, is being carried out as part of a collaboration with the TERG at RCSI and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, TCD.

June: Prof Duffy invited to speak at 2nd Matrix Biology Europe Conference

TERG PI, Prof Garry Duffy, has travelled to Athens, Greece, as an invited speaker at the 2nd Matrix Biology Europe (MBE) Conference, June 11th - 14th. Prof Duffy's lecture entitled 'Living implants to reverse disease: Diabetes Reversing Implants for long term Viability and Efficacy (DRIVE)', was part of the lectures on 'Tissue Engineering from a matrix perspective', a session highlighting the use of ECM-like biomaterials in tissue engineering as well as difficulties associated with it due to the complexity of the ECM in connective tissues.

June: StAR Research Lecturer Recruitment Campaign

StAR Lecture Programme

  • €50 million invested in RCSI's Research Strategy. Now recruiting ambitious, visionary researchers for the position of Research Lecturers
  • Competitive salary of €63,125 with opportunity for tenure within 3 - 5 years. Attractive start-up package of up to €150,000, including PhD studentship.

See here for full job description. For further information on the programme see the StAR Brochure or click here.

June: TERG PhD Student wins Travel Awards

Congratulations to TERG PhD student, Rukmani Sridharan, who has been awarded a travel grant by the European Society of Biomechanics (ESB), to present her work on biomaterial mediated macrophage polarisation at the 40th annual ESB Congress at the Cité des Congrès of Lyon, France, July 10th - 13th. Rukmani was also awarded the BioLegend Grant Award from the Medical Supply Compnay to attend the same conference.

June: SurgaColl shortlisted for KTI Impact Award

TERG spin-out company, SurgaColl Technologies, have been shortlisted as finalists in the 2016 Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Impact Awards. The KTI Awards recognise and showcase success in knowledge transfer accomplished by Irish Higher Education Institutes and publically funded research organisations for the wider benefit of both society and the economy. SurgaColl have been listed as one of three finalists in the 'Spin-out Company' Award Category. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin's Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Thursday June 23rd. 



May: ChondroColl Media Coverage

ChondroColl, a novel biomaterial developed by TERG researchers in RCSI and the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre, has recently received some excellent media coverage following the publication of the research paper 'Repair of large osteochondritis dissecans using a novel multi-layered tissue engineered construct in an equine athlete', in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. The biomaterial, which can repair damaged cartilage, led to Beyonce, a 16 month old thoroughbred filly, returning to competitive show-jumping after the implantation of ChondroColl into her damaged knee. It is anticipated that thorough the TERG spin-out company, SurgaColl Technologies, this technology will soon be available to human patients, with the first human cases expected in the forthcoming months.


Dr. Tanya Levingstone with Beyonce, the thoroughbred filly treated with the novel scaffold

RTE were in the TERG labs, RCSI, on Thursday May 19th, interviewing Prof. O'Brien, Head of TERG, and Dr. Tanya Levingstone, TERG Research Fellow and Honorary Lecturer who was lead author on the study.The story 'Irish scientists have developed a novel biomaterial that can repair damaged cartilage' was featured on the RTE One and Six o'clock news, and on the RTE website, and was subsequently covered on and the The story was also reported by the Irish Daily Mail. 

As well as this, the research has also now been featured in Silicon Republic's list of '10 major Irish breakthroughs of the year so far worth celebrating'. The study was also included in the most recent volume of Extracellular Matrix News.

May: TCD/RCSI Biomedical and Life Sciences Innovation Showcase

Members of the TERG were present at the Biomedical and Life Sciences Innovation Showcase, co-hosted by TCD and RCSI, at the Science Gallery Dublin on May 17th. The showcase featured talks from a range of speakers promoting examples of the next wave of biomedical and life sciences research being undertaken in both institutions. There was also a focus on opportunities for knowledge transfer and industry collaboration. Among the invited speakers was Dr. John Gleeson, CEO of SurgaColl Technologies, TERG’s spin-out company, with a talk entitled “From lab bench to a CE Marked Medical Deivce”. There was also a TERG stand on display, where members demonstrated the type of research being conducted within the group

May: TERG at RCSI Bahrain Regenerative Medicine Symposium

TERG members Prof. Fergal O’Brien, Dr. Garry Duffy and Ms. Paula Fox were invited speakers at the International Regenerative Medicine Symposium entitled “Regenerative medicine for tissue healing: Applications in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer, skin and wound healing” in RCSI Bahrain on the 5th of May. The symposium was organised by Dr. Michael Keogh, TERG PI based in RCSI Bahrain.

TERG at RCSI Bahrain

Ms. Paula Fox and Prof. Fergal O’Brien at the Regenerative Medicine Symposium in RCSI Bahrain, organised by Dr. Michael Keogh (centre)

                          TERG at RCSI Bahrain

Members of the Tissue Engineering Research Group at the recent symposium in Bahrain 

April: Prof. O’Brien invited to speak at the Applied Bio-Based Materials Conference

Prof. Fergal O’Brien, head of the tissue engineering research group, travelled to the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials as an invited speaker at the 2016 Applied Bio-Based Materials Conference in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on the 29th of April. Prof. O’Brien’s session was discussing Biobased Materials in Medical Applications.

April: TERG at RCSI’s MyHealth Lecture Series

Head of TERG, Prof. O’Brien was Chairperson at the latest RCSI MyHealth Lecture Series, held in RCSI on the 27th of April. The topic for this lecture series was "Active Lifestyles - Helpful or Harmful?" and included a range of talks from medical and health research experts who discussed the benefits of staying active and achieving the right level of balance to stay healthy and injury free. Members from the TERG, led by Dr. Tanya Levingstone, also put on a display for the public before and after the talks to demonstrate the type of research being conducted within the group.

March: Success for TERG at Research Day 2016

TERG members had an extremely successful day at this year's RCSI Research Day event, which showcased work from RCSI researchers across all disciplines. In total there were 10 TERG award winners on the day: Dr. Andrew Cameron, Dr. Alan Ryan and Dr. Amro Widaa, TERG postdocs, and Ms. Paula Fox, TERG research assistant, winning RCSI Innovation Awards; Mr. William Arthur Lackington, TERG PhD student, winning Best Poster in the 2nd year and later PhD category; Dr. Matt Haugh, TERG postdoc, Dr. Ciara Murphy, previous TERG postdoc and current UCD lecturer, and Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Head of TERG, winning Authors of the most cited RCSI paper in 2010; Ms. Claire Brougham, TERG PhD student, winning Best Oral Presentation in 2nd year and later PhD category; and Ms. Emily Ryan, TERG PhD student, winning Best Poster in the 1st year PhD category. Congratulations to all.

TERG winners at Research Day 2016

TERG Research Day Winners L-R: Dr. Andrew Cameron, Mr. William Arthur Lackington, Dr. Matt Haugh, Dr. Ciara Murphy, Ms.Claire Brougham, Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Dr. Alan Ryan, Ms. Emily Ryan, Dr. Amro Widaa and Ms. Paula Fox.  

February: TERG members present research at Conference of Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland

Members of the TERG presented their research at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Bioengineering in Ireland), which was held in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on the 22nd and 23rd of January. TERG had great success, winning a significant number of awards at what was the largest ever Bioengineering in Ireland Conference with over 250 interdisciplinary attendees presenting over 180 papers.

BinI 2016 Winners

BinI 2016 Winners L-R: Mr. William Whyte, Mr. Alan Ryan, Ms. Fionnuala O'Gorman and Ms. Claire Brougham with head of TERG, Prof. Fergal O'Brien. 

Ms. Claire Brougham, a PhD student in Prof. Fergal O'Brien's team, won the highly prestigious Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal, awarded annually to a PhD student deemed to be making the greatest contribution to the field of biomedical engineering research as evidenced by the submission of a research paper and delivery of a presentation summarising their work. Ms. Brougham's paper entitled "Dynamic stimulation allows development of a functional tissue engineered heart valve", was selected as the winning presentation from 24 initial submissions and 4 finalists, by a panel of eight interdisciplinary judges. This research involved a placement in Prof. Dr. Med. Stefan Jockenhoevel's laboratory in RWTH Aachen. Another TERG PhD student, Mr. Thomas Gonzalez-Fernandez, was also selected as one of the four finalists. Ms. Fionnuala O'Gorman, a student with Dr. Cathal Kearney's TERG team, was awarded the prize for best oral presentation in the Gene/Drug Delivery category. Ms. O'Gorman's talk was entitled "On-demand delivery of pDNA-nanoparticles from polymer based delivery systems". Mr. Alan Ryan, from Prof. O'Brien's team, was awarded the prize for best oral presentation in the Tissue Engineering of Vascular Networks and Nerves Category. Mr. Ryan's talk was entitled "Biofabrication of physiologically relevant vascular grafts using natural polymers and a custom vascular bioreactor". Finally, Mr. William Whyte, a PhD student within Dr. Gary Duffy's team, was awarded the prize for best poster/oral presentation in the Early Stage Research category. Mr. Whyte's work, which was entitled "Sustained release of targeted cardiac therapy with a replenishable, implantable reservoir", is co-supervised by Bruce Murphy, TCD, and was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Ellen Roche while at the Harvard Biodesign Lab, headed by Prof. Conor Walsh. Congratulations to all the prize winners and the entire TERG team for continually setting the highest standards of research in the field of bioengineering.

TERG team at BinI 2016

Members of TERG at the Bioengineering in Ireland Conference 2016 

January: SurgaColl Technologies featured in the media

SurgaColl Technologies, the TERG spinout company which has recently received CE marking for their HydroxyColl product, has received some excellent media coverage lately, being featured in Silicon Republic's story on 12 Irish medtech companies making an impact. The Sunday Business Post also ran a story recently, discussing SurgaColl's efforts to raise funding for the continued commercial development of their technologies. 

January: TERG PhD Student elected as TERMIS SYIS Treasurer

Mr. Alan Ryan, a senior PhD student with TERG has been elected as Treasurer of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS) Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS) European chapter. Mr. Ryan was required to campaign for this position and will hold it for three years which is an excellent achievement.