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

Tissue Engineering Research Group Research Team

Principal Investigators  

Fergal O'Brien 

Prof. Fergal O'Brien 

- Head of Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG)

Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine, Department of Anatomy, RCSI

Professor and PI, Trinity Centre for Bioengineering (TCBE), TCD

Deputy Director of Research (Applied Research), RCSI

Deputy Director and PI, Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre

Clive Lee 

Prof. Clive Lee

Head of Department of Anatomy, RCSI

Professor of Anatomy at RCSI and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA)

Visiting Professor of Biomechanics in Trinity College Dublin (TCD). 

Sally Ann Cryan

Prof. Sally Ann Cryan

Professor in Pharmaceutics, RCSI School of Pharmacy

Founding member and PI of the SFI-funded Irish Drug Delivery Network(IDDN)

PI in AMBER and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering

Helena Kelly

Dr. Helena Kelly

PI and Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, RCSI School of Pharmacy

PI and Deputy Co-ordinator of two European consortia AMCARE 

Orlaith Brennan

Dr. Orlaith Brennan

Lecturer in Physics, RCSI. 

Steve Kerrigan 

Dr. Steve Kerrigan

Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, RCSI School of Pharmacy



 Caroline Curtin

Dr. Caroline Curtin

Lecturer in Anatomy, Dept. Anatomy, RCSI 

 Cathal Kearney

Dr. Cathal Kearney

Senior Research Fellow, TERG, Dept. Anatomy RCSI 

 Cian O'Leary

Dr. Cian O'Leary

Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, RCSI School of Pharmacy 


Dr. Oran Kennedy

StAR Lecturer, Department of Anatomy, RCSI

 John O'Byrne

Prof. John O'Byrne

Abraham Colles Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, RCSI Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital 

 Garry Duffy

Prof. Garry Duffy

Professor of Anatomy, NUI Galway

PI in AMBER and the TCBE

Lead Co-ordinator of DRIVE and AMCARE

 Tanya Levingstone

Dr. Tanya Levingstone

Lecturer in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, DCU 


Postdoctoral Researchers

Aidan Fagan Murphy 

Dr. Aidan Fagan-Murphy

Aidan graduated from ITT Dublin in 2006, where he completed a degree in Applied Chemistry. His PhD, entitled 'Investigations into Polyoxometalate-based solid state materials', was awarded in 2010. Aidan was then funded by EMBARC to work as a postdoctoral researcher specialising in Electrochemistry, under the supervision of Dr Timothy McCormac (DkIT), before working as a Research Fellow in the University of Brighton under the supervision of Dr Bhavik Anil Patel (funding from BBRSC and EPSRC), researching biocompatible electroactive materials for medical devices and electrochemical sensors.

Current Project: Aidan is currently employed as a postdoc in RCSI's School of Pharmacy, under the direction of Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan, investigateing pulmonary drug delivery for the treatment of tuberculosis, and biomaterials for trachea regeneration.


Dr. Alan Ryan 

Alan is a graduate of Biomedical Engineering from NUI, Galway. He then went on to receive a MSc in Bioengineering from TCD. In 2016, he was awarded his PhD which focused on utilising collagen as a basis for tissue engineered vascular grafts and was carried out under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien.

Current Project: Alan is currently designing and evaluating a novel collagen-based tissue engineered vascular graft under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien 


Dr. Alice McCloskey

Alice completed both an MPharm and PhD at the School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast. Her PhD focused on ultrashort self-assembling peptide nanomaterials for biomedical applications.

Current project: Alice is currently working in the RCSI School of Pharmacy on an industry-based project investigating integrated vibrating-mesh drug delivery for respiratory diseases using nebulisers under the direction of Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan. 


Dr. Arlyng Gyveth Gonzalez Vazquez 


Dr. Carmen Coll 


Dr. Eamon Sheehy 


Dr. Eimear Dolan 


Dr. Eoghan Cunnane 

 Hugh O'Neill

Dr. Hugh O'Neill

Hugh received his BSc in Biomedical Science from NUI Maynooth. He was then awarded a postgraduate position in the BioAT PhD Scholars Programme and after completing his rotations 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. Hugh was awarded his PhD in 2015.

Current Project: Hugh is currently developing on-demand/controlled release drug delivery systems using injectable hydrogels for cardiac tissue regeneration and the treatment of Myocardial Infarction, under the supervision of Prof. Garry Duffy. 

 Irene Mencía Castano

Dr. Irene Mencía Castano

Irene is a graduate in Pharmacy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she subsequently attained a MSc 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, Spain. She then enrolled in the BioAT PhD Scholars Programme at RCSI and after completing her rotations, began a PhD focused on the use of scaffolds as delivery systems for microRNA in tissue regeneration. Her PhD was awarded in 2015 under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien, Dr. Garry Duffy and Dr. Caroline Curtin.

Current Project: Irene is currently developing and characterising microRNA delivery scaffold systems for tissue engineering applications under the supervision of Prof. O'Brien and Dr. Curtin 


Dr. Leping Yan 

Rosanne Raftery 

Dr. Rosanne Raftery

Rosie obtained a BSc in Anatomy from NUIG in 2008, followed by a MSc in Regenerative Medicine from REMEDI, also NUIG. Her PhD, entitled 'Investigating the potential of chitosan and its derivatives for gene delivery in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine', was awarded in 2015 and was carried out in the TERG at RCSI where she is currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher.

Current Project: Rosie is currently working on the development of nucleic acid delivery vectors and gene-activated scaffold systems for tissue engineering applications under the direction of Prof. Fergal O'Brien 


Dr. Soujanya Edupungati 


Postgraduate Students (PhD)


Catherine Sirafim 

Christina Payne 

Christina Payne

Christina is a graduate of Pharmacy from the RCSI, where she received both a B.Sc. and Masters in Pharmacy, and subsequently registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. She is now in the third year of her PhD in the areas of Pharmaceutics and Tissue Engineering under the co-supervision of Dr. Helena Kelly and Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan. Christina also acts as a Senior Demonstrator in the School of Pharmacy. Her PhD research is focused on the development of a novel polymer-based hydrogel for drug and cell delivery to the distal airways for regenerative purposes. To date, this has involved the development of a thermoresponsive hydrogel, which is biocompatible, biodegradable and supports cell viability and proliferation. Christina has also developed solid lipid nanoparticles, which can encapsulate a signalling molecule of interest, to be suspended in the gel for delivery. 

 David Walsh

David Walsh

David graduated with a BPharm from UCC before subsequently receiving an MPharm from the RCSI. Prior to commencing his PhD David worked in a number of varied environments including roles as a research aide in the School of Pharmacy UCC, an industrial regulatory environment and most recently as a community pharmacist. David is currently in the second year of his PhD in the areas of advanced drug delivery and tissue engineering under the co-supervision of Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, Professor Fergal O'Brien and Professor Andreas Heise (Dept. of Chemistry). His research is focused on the use of novel polymeric materials to delivery therapeutic nucleic acid molecules from biomaterial scaffolds for orthopaedic tissue engineering applications. 


Emily Ryan 

 Gemma O'Connor

Gemma O'Connor

Following graduation with a Master of Pharmacy from the University of Sunderland, Gemma completed her pre-registration training within a clinical pharmacy setting at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Upon returning to Ireland she was appointed as group pharmacist providing nationwide ‘Direct to Patient' services at TCP Group, part of UDG Healthcare PLC. Gemma resumed full-time education and research in December 2012 undertaking a PhD at the RCSI in collaboration with TCD and Imperial College London under the co-supervision of Prof Sally-Ann Cryan, Prof Joseph Keane and Dr Mary O'SullivanCurrently in her final year, Gemma's research is based on the development of inhaled anti-tubercular therapies using bioactive carriers. 

 Joanne O'Dwyer

Joanne O'Dwyer

Joanne graduated from the RCSI with a B.Sc. (Pharm), before subsequently receiving her Masters in Pharmacy from same. She worked briefly in community pharmacy before returning to RCSI to begin a PhD under the co-supervision of Profs Sally Ann Cryan, Garry Duffy and Andres Heise. She is currently in the first year of her PhD in the areas of Pharmaceutics and Tissue Engineering. Her research is based on the use of novel polymers to develop gels and nanoparticles for cell and drug delivery to the ischaemic myocardium. 

Laura Gallagher 


Liam McDonough 


Luwang Laiva    


Mark Lemoine 


Nicola Kavanagh 

 Rachel Gaul

Rachel Gaul

Rachel graduated from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, TCD, with a first class honours degree in pharmacy. She then obtained the MPharm from the RCSI. During the Master's programme she spent 6 months working as a researcher with Professor Sally-Ann Cryan's group in the School of Pharmacy and a further 6 months working in a community pharmacy. Rachel subsequently registered as a pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. In 2015 she was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (Irish Research Council) to undertake a PhD in Pharmaceutics. Her project is being carried out under the supervision of Prof Sally-Ann Cryan, Prof Catherine Greene and Dr Joanne Ramsey and aims to develop an inhalable gene based treatment for cystic fibrosis 

 Rukmani Sridharan

Rukmani Sridharan

Rukmani graduated from SASTRA University in Thanjavur, India, in 2010, with a B.Sc. in bioinformatics, after which she proceeded to work in the Harvard-MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology, Boston, as a research assistant for 18 months under the supervision of Prof Jeffrey M Karp. Here, she worked on understanding the basic biology of mesenchymal stem cells and enhancing their therapeutic efficacy through various engineering approaches. She then moved to Prague, Czech Republic for the first year of her 2 year MSc in Bioengineering (CEMACUBE programme) which she completed in the TCBE, developing novel tissue engineered conduits for peripheral nerve regeneration.

Current Project: Rukmani is currently a PhD student in the TERG at RCSI, investigating the immune response to implanted biomaterials and cross talk with MSCs, under the joint supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien and Prof Danny Kelly, TCD 

 Seona Rossi

Seona Rossi

Seona completed her BSc (Pharm) in TCD in 2012. She obtained her MPharm from the RCSI in 2013 and subsequently registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. Following a year working as a community pharmacist in Dublin she returned to RCSI to begin a PhD in Pharmaceutics. She is also acting as a Senior Demonstrator in the School of Pharmacy in RCSI.

Current Project: Seona's PhD is supervised by Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Ben Ryan. Her area of research focuses on the development of a novel drug delivery platform for chemotherapeutics. 


Tatiane Eufrasio da Silva 

 Tomas Gonzalez Fernandez

Tomas Gonzalez Fernandez

Tomas received his BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain and Athlone Institute of Technology before starting his PhD in the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering in 2013. Tomas worked on various projects in the Hematopoises and Gene Therapy Group of the CIEMAT in Madrid, developing viral gene therapy strategies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. His research is focused on the combination of non-viral gene therapy, stem cells and 3D biomaterials for cartilage regeneration. The overall objective of Tomas's PhD is to develop a next generation of gene-activated hydrogels that can simultaneously provide cell support, gene delivery and subsequent autologous cell-mediated protein production to promote cartilage regeneration. 

William Arthur Lackington

William Arthur Lackington

Will received his BSc (Hons) in Genetics and Cell Biology from DCU in 2013. As an undergraduate (2009-13), he completed positions as a research assistant in the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology Ireland and in the University of Palmero, Italy. He joined the TERG as a PhD student under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien in 2013.The overall objective of Will's project is to develop a natural polymer based composite therapeutic scaffold which incorporates biological, physical and chemical cues for peripheral nerve regeneration. This project is funded by a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship. 


Clinical Postgraduate Students


Robert Thomas Brady 

Robert completed a dual undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and Molecular Genetics at the Conway Institutes of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, UCD. He then obtained his Bachelors of Medicine at RCSI. He returned to the college to peruse a PhD under the guidance of Prof Fergal O'Brien and Dr David Hoey (TCD). Rob's PhD is focused on bone mechanobiology and osteoporosis where he is investigating factors influencing mechanical loading induced bone formation.


Postgraduate Students (MSc) 2016-2017

Katelyn Genoud 
Suzan Gunbay


Research Assistants

Peter O'Donnell 

Dr. Ronaldo Jose Farias Correa Do Amaral 


Lab Manager

Vincent McDonagh 


Research Coordinator

Sarah Casey