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

FUNDED PhD: Dr Cian O'Leary - Bioengineering, Regenerative Medicine

The project seeks to find a highly-motivated student to carry out a study focused on: Development of an Implantable Bioengineered Tracheal Scaffold for Respiratory Tissue Regeneration

Project description

The central research question of this project is whether it is possible to manufacture a tracheal medical device containing a composite of natural and synthetic biomaterials that can both enhance healing and restoration of the native biological tissue, in addition to exhibiting the mechanical strength necessary to maintain a patent airway.

Today, there is still an unmet clinical need for treatment of long-segment tracheal damage. The trachea is essential to facilitate the transit of air to the distal regions of the lungs for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Tracheal damage due to cancer, stenosis, infection, or congenital abnormalities can have devastating consequences.

Accordingly, the major objective of this project is to design a novel composite scaffold with suitable biocompatible and mechanical properties for tracheal tissue regeneration. Our central hypothesis is that the incorporation of a synthetic polymer fabricated with 3D printing technology can be used to create an engineered implant that combines the advantages of a collagen-based scaffold with the robust strength of a biocompatible, synthetic polymer, providing an implantable device that will maximize tracheal tissue regeneration by the promotion of epithelialisation, airway patency, and vascularisation.


  • Departments: Pharmacy and Tissue Engineering Research Group
  • Theme: Bioengineering; Regenerative Medicine
  • Funding agency:  This studentship is part of an Science Foundation Ireland-funded AMBER PhD programme; for more details, please visit 


Studentship details: 

  • Stipend of €18,000/year (up to a maximum of 4 years )
  • Student fees (for 4 years).
  • Project consumables budget.
  • Travel budget
  • Dedicated thesis write up space in our new state-of-the-art library
  • Structured professional development and transferable skills training programme


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate the following: 


  • An Honours Bachelor degree (grade 2.1 or above) in a relevant subject such as bioengineering, biomedical engineering, or pharmacy. 
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a multidisciplinary, team environment
  • Willingness to undertake training and career development
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: an IELTS score of 6.5 or above


  • Strong interest in 3-D printing and regenerative medicine

Application process

This studentship is part of an SFI-funded AMBER PhD programme ( For this programme, submit your CV, a cover letter explaining your interest in the programme and a maximum of 3 project selections that are of interest to you to


  • Application deadline: Friday 29th June 2018 at 5pm.
  • Start date: 1 October 2018


Informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Cian O’Leary at

Mentors Dr Cian O'Leary and Prof Fergal O'Brien