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

Research Staff

Principal Investigators 

Clive Lee

Prof Clive Lee 

 Fergal O'Brien

Prof Fergal O'Brien 

 John O'Byrne

Prof John O'Byrne  

 Sally Ann Cryan

Prof Sally Ann Cryan

 Cathal Kearney

Dr Cathal Kearney  

 Cian O'Leary

Dr Cian O'Leary

 Garry Duffy

Dr Garry Duffy  

 Helena Kelly

Dr Helena Kelly

 Orlaith Brennan

Dr Orlaith Brennan

 Steve Kerrigan

Dr Steve Kerrigan 

Visiting Research Fellows 


John Gleeson 

Dr John Gleeson

Dr Gleeson is a graduate in mechanical engineering from TCD (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 TERG. His current role involves the development and commercialisation of novel tissue engineering medical devices for the repair and regeneration of bone and osteochondral tissue. John's research interests include bone and cartilage mechanobiology, biomaterials, osteoarthritis and orthopaedic tissue engineering.

Current Project: Dr Gleeson is currently developing collagen-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds as bone graft substitutes

Contactjohngleeson@rcsi.ie 

Postdoctoral Researchers 

 Caroline Curtin

Dr Caroline Curtin      

Caroline is a graduate in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). 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), NUIG. From February 2008 until December 2009, she worked as a research assistant within the Cellular Arthoplasty for Regeneration in Arthritis (CARA) group in NUIG. 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: Caroline is currently developing osteoinductive and angiogenic smart scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien

Contactcarolinecurtin@rcsi.ie 

Tanya Levingstone

Dr Tanya Levingstone 

Tanya is a graduate of Medical Mechanical Engineering from Dublin City University (DCU). 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 DCU and was awarded her PhD in 2008. Tanya currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the TERG at RCSI where her main research focus is in the area of cartilage tissue engineering

Current Project: Tanya is developing polyphasic collagen-based composite scaffolds for osteochondral defect repair, supervised by Prof Fergal O'Brien

Contact: tanyalevingstone@rcsi.ie 

 Andrew Cameron

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: Andrew is currently fabricating carriers for limbal stem cell transplantation under the supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien

Contact: andrewcameron@rcsi.ie

Amro Widaa 

Dr Amro Widaa

Amro received his BSc (Hons) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from NUI Maynooth. He then went on to the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUIG in which he obtained his MSc in Regenerative Medicine. Amro was awarded a multi-disciplinary PhD researching the pathology of host infections at RCSI under the co-supervision of Prof Fergal O'Brien and Dr Steve Kerrigan. His completed PhD thesis is entitled 'Staphylococcal induced bone loss and destruction in Osteomyelitis'. Currently Amro is employed as a postdoctoral research fellow within the TERG with a research focus on biomaterials for tissue regeneration and antimicrobial treatment, specifically Osteomyelitis and bone infections.

Current Project: Amro is working on the development of scaffold based systems for the delivery of antimicrobials for the treatment of microbial infections and enhancement of tissue regeneration; supervised by Prof Fergal O'Brien

Contact: amrowidaa@rcsi.ie 

Irene Mencia Castano

Dr Irene Mencía Castano

Irene is a graduate in Pharmacy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, 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 the laboratory rotations she began a PhD focused on the use of scaffolds as delivery systems for microRNA in tissue regeneration. Her PhD was awarded in 2015.

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

Contact: imenciacastano@rcsi.ie

Rosie Raftery

Dr Rosanne Raftery

Rosie obtained a BSc in Anatomy from NUIG in 2008, followed by a MSc in Regenerative Medicine from REMEDI, also at 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. 

Contactrosanneraftery@rcsi.ie

Hugh O'Neill

Dr Hugh O'Neill

Hugh received his BSc (Hons) 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 and his current area of research looks at on demand drug delivery systems using injectable hydrogels for cardiac tissue regeneration.

Current Project: Hugh is currently developing controlled release drug delivery systems for the treatment of Myocardial Infarction under the supervision of Dr Garry Duffy, Dr Helena Kelly and Prof Fergal O'Brien. 

Contact: hughoneill@rcsi.ie 

Alan Ryan

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

Contact: alanryan@rcsi.ie

 

Dr Matthew Haugh

Contactmhaugh@rcsi.ie 

 

Dr Sara Barreto

Contact: sarabarreto@rcsi.ie 

Gerard Higgins

Dr Gerard Higgins

Gerard received a Bachelor of Science from the Dublin Institute of Technology in the field of Biomedical Science. He then moved on to Molecular Medicine in RCSI and completed his PhD in the area of respiratory physiology, titled 'The role of lipoxin A4 in Cystic Fibrosis lung disease'. His PhD was carried out in conjunction with the National Children's Research Centre (NCRC) in Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin. Upon completion of his PhD, Gerard took up a postdoctoral position within the NCRC to continue the work of his PhD. His primary area of research is the field of respiratory physiology within diseased and inflammatory states.

Current Project: Gerard's current area of research is investigating integrated vibrating-mesh drug-delivery for respiratory disease using nebulisers developed by industry partner Aerogen, under the supervision of Prof Sally Ann Cryan in the School of Pharmacy.  

Contact: gerardhiggins@rcsi.ie

 

Dr Arlyng Gyveth Gonzalez Vazquez 

Contact: agonzalez@rcsi.ie 

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. Following this, Aidan was funded by EMBARC to work as a postdoctoral researcher specialising in Electrochemistry, under the supervision of Dr Timothy McCormac (Head of Research and Graduate Studies, DkIT). Aidan has also worked as a Research Fellow in the University of Brighton under the Dr Bhavik Anil Patel (Leader in Clinical and Bioanalytical Chemistry at Brighton) through funding from the BBRSC and the EPSRC. His postdoctoral work in the University of Brighton centred on biocompatible electroactive materials for medical devices and electrochemical sensors.

Current Project: Aidan is currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher in RCSI's School of Pharmacy wherein he investigates pulmonary drug delivery for the treatment of tuberculosis, and biomaterials for trachea regeneration. 

Contact: aidanfmurphy@rcsi.ie 

 

Dr Tijna Alekseeva

Contact: tijnaalekseeva@rcsi.ie 

 

Dr Eimear Dolan

Contacteimeardolan@rcsi.ie 

 

Dr Eamon Sheehy

Eamon completed his Bachelor of Engineering in UCD before completing his MSc in Bioengineering in TCD. He began his PhD in the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering in 2009 which focused on the use of hypertrophic cartilaginous templates for the repair of large bone defects. He is now employed as a postdoctoral researcher in the TERG and is supervised by Prof Fergal O'Brien.

Contact: eamonsheehy@rcsi.ie

 

Dr Carmen Coll

Contact: carmencoll@rcsi.ie     

 

Dr Leping Yan

Leping completed his PhD in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine in the University of Minho, Portugal. He worked in Minho as a  researcher briefly before carrying out postdoctoral research in the University of Sydney.     

Contactlepingyan@rcsi.ie     

 
Postgraduate Students

Will 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.

Current Project: 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 the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship.

Contactwilliamalackington@rcsi.ie 

 

Claire Brougham

Contact: clairebrougham@rcsi.ie 

 

Rukmani Sridharan

Rukmani graduated from SASTRA University in Thanjavur, India, in 2010, with a Bachelor's degree in bioinformatics, after which she proceeded to work in the Harvard-MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology, Boston, MA, 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 (MSC) 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.

Contact: rukmanisridharan@rcsi.ie 

 

Tatiane Eufrasio Da Silva

Contacttatianeeufrasio@rcsi.ie 

 

Nicola Kavanagh

Contactnicolakavanagh@rcsi.ie

 

Laura Gallagher

Contactlauragallagher@rcsi.ie 

David Walsh

David Walsh

David graduated with a BPharm from UCC before subsequently receiving a MPharm frorm 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, in an industrial regulatory environment and most recently as a community pharmacist. He is currently in the second year of his PhD in the areas of advanced drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Current Project: David's PhD research is focused on the use of novel polymeric materials to deliver therapeutic nucleic acid molecules from biomaterial scaffolds for orthopaedic tissue engineering applications. His project is supervised by Prof Sally-Ann Cryan (School of Pharmacy), Prof Fergal O'Brien (Dept. Anatomy) and Prof Andreas Heise (Dept. of Chemistry).

Contact: davidpwalsh@rcsi.ie

 

Emily Ryan

Contactemilyryan@rcsi.ie 

Gemma O'Connor

Gemma O'Connor

Following graduation with a Master of Pharmacy from the University of Sunderland, UK, Gemma completed her pre-registration training within a clinical pharmacy setting at the Oxford University Hospital's 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. 

Current Project: Gemma resumed full-time education and research in December 2012, undertaking a PhD in the RCSI in collaboration with TCD and Imperial College London, under the supervision of Prof Sally Ann Cryan, Prof Joseph Keane (TCD) and Dr Mary O'Sullivan (TCD). Currently in her final year, Gemma's research is based on the development of inhaled anti-tubercular therapies using bioactive carriers. 

Contact: gemmaoconnor@rcsi.ie

Joanne O'Dwyer

Joanne O'Dwyer

Joanne graduated from the RCSI with a BSc in Pharmacy before subsequently receiving her Masters in Pharmacy from same. She then worked briefly in community pharmacy before returing to RCSI to begin a PhD.

Current Project: Joanne's PhD research is based on the use of novel polymers to develop gels and nanoparticles for cell and drug delivery to the ischaemic myocardium. Her project is supervised by Prof Sally-Ann Cryan, Associate Prof Garry Duffy and Prof Andreas Heise

Contact: joanneodwyer@rcsi.ie

 

Liam McDonough

Contactliammcdonough@rcsi.ie

 

Mark Lemoine

Contact: marklemoine@rcsi.ie

Rachel Gaul

Rachel Gaul

Rachel graduated from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD with a first class honours degree in pharmacy. She then obtained the Master of Pharmacy qualification from the RCSI. During the MPharm, Rachel spent six months working as a researcher with Prof Sally-Ann Cryan's group in the School of Pharmacy and a further six months as a community pharmacist in Dublin. She subsequently registered as a pharmacist with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. In 2015, Rachel was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship by the Irish Research Council to undertake a PhD in Pharmaceutics.

Current Project: Rachel's PhD 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. 

Contact: rachelgaul@rcsi.ie

 

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 (TCBE) 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. 

Current Project: 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.

Contact: tomasgfernand@rcsi.ie 

 

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 wirking 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.

Contact: seonarossi@rcsi.ie

 

Ashang Luwang Laiva

Contact: luwanglaiva@rcsi.ie

 

Christina Payne

Christina is a graduate of Pharmacy from the RCSI where she received both a BSc (Pharm) and a 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. She also works as a Senior Demonstrator in the School of Pharmacy.

Current Project: Christina's PhD research involves 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 biocompatible, biodegradable hydrogel that supports cell viability and proliferation. She has also developed solid lipid nanoparticles which can encapsulate a signalling molecule of interest which can then be suspended in the gel for delivery. Christina's research is co-supervised by Dr Helena Kelly and Prof Sally Ann Cryan.

Contact: christinapayne@rcsi.ie 

 

 

Clinical Postgraduate Students

 

Dr 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).

Current Project: Rob's PhD is focused on bone mechanobiology and osteoporosis where he is investigating factors influencing mechanical loading induced bone formation.  

Contact: robertthomasbrady@rcsi.ie

MSc Students 2015-16

 Belén Rodriguez, TCD Taught Masters in Bioengineering

 Catalin Cristian, TCD Taught Masters in Bioengineering

 Ian Whelan, TCD Taught Masters in Bioengineering

 Rachel Power, TCD Taught Masters in Bioengineering

 Simona Herbaj, TCD Taught Masters in Bioengineering

 Niamh Byrne, NUIG (REMEDI) Taught Masters in Regenerative Medicine