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

FUNDED PhD: Dr. Annie Curtis and Dr Cathal Kearney - Timed to Perfection: Development of a novel circadian drug delivery platform

PhD Studentship - Development of a novel circadian drug delivery platform and its application in osteoarthritis. Funded by the SFI AMBER centre.

Project description

There is a growing body of evidence that multiple biological processes demonstrate 24-hour rhythms, also known as circadian rhythms; however, to our knowledge, no local drug delivery system has been developed to align to these biological oscillations. To this end, this PhD project brings together expertise in Immunology and Clock Biology (Curtis Lab) and in timed and on-demand drug delivery (Kearney Lab) to develop a novel platform for circadian-mimicking drug delivery.

56 of the top 100 selling drugs target the product of a circadian gene but most do not consider time-of-day dosing. Therefore, demonstration of a circadian drug delivery device - as is the objective of this project – will provide a platform that can be applicable across a wide range of marketed drugs.

As an initial test, we will apply this circadian drug delivery device to osteoarthritis by examining delivery of a molecule, adenosine, which is known to play key roles in cartilage cell (chondrocyte) health and displays a strong circadian profile. To ensure that the outputs of this work are ready for translation, we will perform proof-of-concept trials in animals.

  • Research area: Immunology, circadian rhythms, on-demand drug delivery
  • Departments: Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics and Anatomy


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate the following: 


  • An Honours Bachelor degree (grade 2.1 or above) or masters in biomedical engineering/ medicine, immunology or related discipline
  • Candidate should also have a strong interest in regenerative medicine/ drug delivery
  • Highly motivated with good problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills with ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a multidisciplinary, team environment
  • Willingness to undertake training and career development
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness in work practices is essential
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: an IELTS score of 6.5 or above

Application process

This position will commence in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in October 2018.  For information on moving to Ireland please see

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 Not all applications will be funded.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Annie Curtis ( or Dr. Cathal Kearney (  

  • Application deadline: Friday, 29 June 2018 at 5pm.

* other projects on offer:  

Mentors Dr. Annie Curtis and Dr. Cathal Kearney