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Visiting Research Fellows
Dr John Gleeson
Dr. Gleeson is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Trinity College Dublin (2001) and received his PhD in 2006, investigating the effect of early stage primary osteoarthritis on bone composition and mechanical properties. He is a Principal Investigator and Project and Business Development Manager in the Tissue Engineering Research Group, headed by Prof. Fergal O’Brien, in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His current role involves the development and commercialisation of novel tissue engineering medical devices for the repair and regeneration of bone and osteochondral tissue. Dr. Gleeson’s research interests include bone and cartilage mechanobiology, biomaterials, osteoarthritis and orthopaedic tissue engineering.
Current Project (Funding Source): Collagen-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds as bone graft substitutes (Enterprise Ireland)
Dr Caroline Curtin
Caroline is a graduate in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI, Galway). She subsequently carried out research for her PhD in the area of adult stem cell therapeutics for osteoarthritic disease under the supervision of Prof. Frank Barry in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI, Galway. From February 2008 to December 2009, she worked as a research assistant within the Cellular Arthroplasty for Regeneration in Arthritis (CARA) group in NUI, Galway. She joined the Anatomy Department in RCSI as a postdoctoral researcher in January 2010 and her area of research focuses on gene therapy and bone tissue engineering.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Osteoinductive and angiogenic smart scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration (Fergal O'Brien and European Research Council)
Dr Tanya Levingstone
Tanya is a graduate in Medical Mechanical Engineering from Dublin City University. She carried out research for her PhD in the area of plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite coatings in the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST) in Dublin City University and was awarded her PhD in 2008. Tanya currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Bone and Tissue Engineering Research Group in the RCSI where her main research focus is in the area of cartilage tissue engineering.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Polyphasic collagen-based composite scaffolds for osteochondral defect repair (Fergal O'Brien and Enterprise Ireland)
Dr Andrew Cameron
Andrew completed his Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Queensland, with a double major in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Here, he then went on to complete a PhD in the Tissue Engineering and Microfluidics group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. His thesis analysed the influence of viscoelastic biomaterial properties on mesenchymal stem cell behaviour and phenotype. While finishing his PhD, Andrew also completed a Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation. His primary area of research at the RCSI is the development of films from natural materials for use in corneal tissue regeneration. He also works on other projects elucidating the change in cell response to mechanical stimulation when affected by age and disease conditions.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Fabrication of carriers for limbal stem cell transplantation (Fergal O'Brien and SFI TIDA, Enterprise Ireland, Irish Research Council), Mechanobiology project (Fergal O'Brien and HRB, Children's Fund For Health, Children's University Hospital Temple Street)
Dr Amro Widaa
Amro Widaa received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Molecular & Cellular Biology from the National University of Ireland (NUI), Maynooth. He then went on to the Regenerative Medicine Institute in NUI Galway, in which he obtained his M.Sc. in Regenerative Medicine. Amro was awarded a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. researching the pathology of host infections at RCSI under the co-supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr. Steven Kerrigan. His completed Ph.D. is entitled "Staphylococcal Induced bone loss & destruction in Osteomyelitis".
Current Project (Supervisors and Funding Source): Scaffold based systems for the delivery of antimicrobials for the treatment of microbial infections and enhancement of tissue regeneration (Prof. Fergal O'Brien, this research is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013).
Amos is a graduate in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Sheffield where he attained an MEng. His thesis was on the mechanical stimulation of bone cells using bioreactor systems. During his course, he took up an undergraduate research placement in the Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield investigating the potential of polymers in peripheral nerve repair applications. His current research interest at RCSI is on cartilage defect repair using poly-phasic collagen scaffolds under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr. John Gleeson.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Polyphasic collagen-based composite scaffolds for osteochondral defect repair (Fergal O'Brien/John Gleeson and Enterprise Ireland)
Dr Mike Sawkins
Mike completed his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at St. Catharine's College, University of Cambridge, specialising in Astrophysics. He then joined the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine and completed a PhD in the Tissue Engineering Group at the University of Nottingham. His thesis was entitled ‘Development of Three-Dimensional Patterning Strategies for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering'. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the AMBER Centre working on a number of projects combining expertise in nanotechnology and bioengineering.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): A range of projects concerning tendon and ligament repair, protein and non-viral gene delivery and nanomaterial-mediated reinforcement of biomaterials (Fergal O'Brien/Danny Kelly and SFI).
Conn is a graduate of Biomedical Science in NUI Galway. Conn completed his PhD entitled ‘Thermoresponsive Chitosan/β-Glycerophosphate Hydrogels as Injectable Therapeutics in Ischemic Disease and Malignant Growth' under the supervision of Dr. Garry Duffy and Prof. Fergal O'Brien within the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI in September 2013. Conn is a postdoctoral researcher on the Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration (AMCARE) project, primarily responsible for conducting bioactivity and viability studies on cell/growth factor combinations in biomaterial environments and growth factor release studies from microparticles and biomaterials, with a view to developing a translatable therapeutic for cardiac regeneration post-myocardial infarction.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): AMCARE (Garry Duffy and the European Union's Framework Programme 7)
Greg completed his B.S.E in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and joined the Tissue Engineering Research Laboratory led by Prof Steven B. Nicoll. He then completed a Ph.D. in the Orthopaedic and Developmental Biomechanics Laboratory at Boston University under the supervision of Prof Elise F. Morgan. His thesis was titled ‘Mechanoregulation and Mechanotransduction in Skeletal Tissue Differentiation‘ and involved the identification and quantification of mechano-regulatory mechanisms (strains) directing skeletal tissue differentiation in vivo and mechanotransduction proteins involved in the cell molecular response to mechanical stimulation, as well as the development and validation of the use of nanoindentation to characterize the mechanical properties of bone fracture callus soft-tissues. Greg joined the research group in the RCSI in 2013, with his main research focus in the areas of mechanobiology and bone tissue engineering.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): The Development of Placental Growth Factor-Functionalised, Collagen-Based Scaffolds for Promoting Vascularisation and Bone Repair (Fergal O'Brien and the Irish Research Council)
Dr. Cathal Kearney is a Senior Research Fellow in the Tissue Engineering Research Group in RCSI. In 2004, he received a B.A., B.A.I., in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering from Trinity College Dublin. As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kearney joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA. He completed a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, studying the multiscale structure and mechanics of natural biocomposites in the laboratories of Prof. Mary Boyce and Prof. Christine Ortiz. He received a Ph.D. in 2011 from the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, having undertaken research in Dr. Myron Spector's Laboratory on a non-invasive acoustic shock wave device for bone tissue engineering applications. Dr. Kearney worked as a Postdoc in Prof. David Mooney's Laboratory in Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he focused on the development of stimuli responsive materials for spatiotemporal control of drug delivery, as well as the interplay between immune cells (specifically macrophages) and regenerative medicine strategies.
Current Project: Since joining RCSI in the Spring of 2014, Dr. Kearney's research interests have centered on the development of novel systems for on-demand delivery of bioactive factors, drugs, nanoparticles, and cells. These systems are being integrated into tissue engineering scaffolds (e.g., collagen-based scaffolds developed in TERG), as well as being tested as surface coatings on conventional implants. Adapting these systems to elicit a favorable immune response is a second key theme. Initial focus areas for application include diabetic wound healing, revascularization and bone tissue engineering.
Cai is a graduate in Biomedical Sciences from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM). He was part of the final intake of scholars for the HRB-funded Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease programme. He later began a PhD project under the supervision of Professor Fergal O'Brien and Dr. Garry Duffy. His current area of research concerns the effect of external stimuli on the capabilities of amniotic fluid-derived stems cell to differentiate down angiogenic and osteogenic lineages.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Investigation into the effect of external stimuli on the induction of osteogenic and angiogenic differentiation in human amniotic fluid derived stem cells (Garry Duffy/Fergal O'Brien and Health Research Board).
Elaine is a graduate in Genetics from University College Dublin. She then went on to receive an M.Sc. in Regenerative Medicine from NUI Galway. Her current PhD research at RCSI is on the development and structural, in vitro and in vivo characterisation of smart scaffolds as bioactive, controlled release growth factor delivery systems for tissue repair in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy in RCSI.
Rosie received her B.Sc. (Hons) in Anatomy from NUI Galway. She then went on to obtain an MSc in Regenerative Medicine from the Regenerative Medicine Institute, also at NUI Galway. Currently Rosie is undertaking a Ph.D. under the co-supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Dr. Sally Ann Cryan and Dr. Garry Duffy. Her PhD research focuses on the development of a gene activated collagen scaffold for bone regeneration.
Current Project (Supervisors and Funding Source): Development of an Osteogenic and Angiogenic Gene Activated Smart Scaffold for tissue regeneration (Fergal O'Brien, Sally Ann Cryan and Garry Duffy and Science Foundation Ireland)
Alan is a graduate in Biomedical Engineering from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He then went on to receive an M.Sc in Bioengineering from Trinity College Dublin. Currently he is undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien where his research focuses on utilising collagen as a basis for tissue engineered vascular grafts.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Design and evaluation of a novel collagen-based tissue engineered vascular graft (Fergal O'Brien and European Research Council).
Erica is a graduate in Genetics & Cell Biology from Dublin City University. She is currently undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr. Garry Duffy. Her PhD research focuses on the combination of gene therapy and collagen based scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Osteoinductive and angiogenic gene and growth factor delivery mechanisms in a Collagen GAG scaffold for bone tissue regeneration (Fergal O'Brien/Garry Duffy and European Research Council)
Cian is a graduate of Pharmacy from University College Cork and subsequently went on to receive a Masters in Pharmacy from the RCSI. He is a postgraduate student in the BioAT PhD Scholars Programme and, having completed his laboratory rotations, has begun a project under the supervision of Professor Fergal O'Brien and Doctor Sally-Ann Cryan. His current area of research concerns the development of collagen-based scaffolds for use in 3D airway modelling and regeneration.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source):
Irene Mencia Castano
Irene is a graduate in Pharmacy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, where she subsequently attained an M.Sc. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine. Her thesis was on the Development of Drug-Delivery Systems based on Magnetic Nanoparticles, which she carried out at the National Centre for Biotechnology (C.N.B.) Spain. She then enrolled in the BioAT PhD Scholars Programme at RCSI and after completing the laboratory rotations has begun her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Dr. Garry Duffy and Dr. Caroline Curtin. Her area of research is in the use of scaffolds as delivery systems for microRNA in tissue regeneration.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): The Development and Characterisation of microRNA delivery scaffold systems for tissue engineering applications (Fergal O'Brien, Garry Duffy and Caroline Curtin); funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) Cycle5. The PRTLI is co-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Union Structural Funds Programme 2007-2013).
Clive Curley graduated from Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College Dublin. He then went on to work briefly at the aerodynamics lab of Helsinki University of Technology and in the microfluidics and medical device design groups at the HSG Institute for Microsystems Technology in Germany. He is currently a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Garry Duffy and Dr Bruce Murphy (TCD) where his research focuses on the development of a medical device capable of injecting heat responsive gels loaded with therapeutics to the heart.
Current research (Supervisor and Funding Source):
Hugh received his B.Sc (Hons) in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM). He was awarded a postgraduate position in the BioAT PhD Scholars programme and went on to pursue a PhD in cardiac tissue engineering under the supervision of Dr. Garry Duffy, Dr. Helena Kelly and Prof. Fergal O'Brien.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source):
Development of controlled release drug delivery systems for the treatment of Myocardial Infarction. (Dr Garry Duffy, Dr Helena Kelly and Prof. Fergal O'Brien; funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) Cycle 5. The PRTLI is co-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Union Structural Funds Programme 2007-2013).
William Arthur Lackington
Will received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Genetics and Cell Biology with Honours (Hons.) from Dublin City University in 2013. As an undergraduate (2009-13), Will completed positions as a research assistant in the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology, Ireland and in the University of Palermo, Italy. He joined the Tissue Engineering Research Group in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien in 2013. The overall objective of his project is to develop a natural polymer based composite scaffold which incorporates biological, physical and chemical cues for peripheral nerve regeneration.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source):
Clinical Postgraduate Students
Dr Robert Thomas Brady
Robert completed a dual undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and Molecular Genetics at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research, University College Dublin. He then obtained his Batchelors of Medicine at RCSI. He returned to the college to pursue a PhD under the guidance of Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr. David Hoey with research focussed on bone mechanobiology and osteoporosis.
Current Project (Supervisor and Funding Source): Factors influencing mechanical loading induced bone formation (Fergal O'Brien, David Hoey and European Research Council)
Dr Emmet Thompson
Emmet is a medical graduate of the RCSI (Mb BCh BAO LRCPI [Hons]) and has obtained his membership exams of the RCSI (MRCSI). He undertook his Internship in Medicine and Surgery in Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown followed by his Basic Surgical Training in Beaumont Hospital and St. Vincent's University Hospital. Since 2010 he has been pursuing a PhD with the Tissue Engineering Research Group coupled with anatomy demonstration to the Undergraduate Medical and Pharmacy students. His research focuses on Tissue Engineering applications of a number of novel collagen-based scaffolds for bone and cartilage regeneration in Orthopaedic repair.
A graduate of University College Dublin, School of Medicine, Phoebe is currently in training as a Specialist Registrar in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Mater Hospital. In 2012, having completed an MCh in Surgery, Phoebe joined the research group. Her area of research is olfactory neuroepithelial neurospheres and collagen scaffolds.
Current Project (Supervisor): Regeneration of Ablated Motor Nerves Using Olfactory Neuroepithelial Stem Cells In The Adult Rat Model (Professor Michael Walsh, Professor Fergal O Brien, Dr Garry Duffy)firstname.lastname@example.org
Masters of Surgery