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

Funded MSc: Investigating Antibiotic Elution from Bioceramic Composites for Orthopaedic Applications

The aim of this research programme is to investigate the ability of a number of developed bone graft materials as antibiotic delivery platforms.


This is an exciting and unique opportunity for an ambitious student researcher to join the laboratory of Dr Ciara Murphy, on a one-year MSc studentship, in the emerging area of antibiotic eluting bone grafts for orthopaedic applications.

Dr Murphy was recently recruited back to RCSI, under the Strategic Academic Recruitment (StAR) Programme, from her position as director of the Orthopaedic and Regenerative Medicine Research group at University College Dublin (UCD). She is widely published and highly cited in the area of tissue engineering and orthoapedics in leading journals such as Biomaterials and Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Her state-of-the-art laboratory is located alongside the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) cluster at the RCSI 123 St Stephen’s Green campus. Dr Murphy develops advanced biomaterials as innovative platforms for disease model systems and targeted therapeutic delivery systems for tissue repair.

In collaboration with Prof. Robert Flavin, School of Mechanical & Material Engineering, UCD and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, St Vincent’s Hospital Group, the focus of this research is developing innovative antibiotic eluting bone grafts for the treatment of infected bone defects.

Dr Murphy is building a research team of postgraduate students and is looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic and conscientious MSc student to join this team and drive forward innovated research.

Project description

There have been huge advances in the development of biomaterial-based bone grafts for orthopaedic applications. However, healing bone infections remain a major challenge in orthopaedics and there is a major gap in the market for antibiotic eluting biomaterials to treat these defects.

This project is clinically focused and aims to investigate the ability of a number of developed bone graft materials as antibiotic delivery platforms. Specifically, the objectives of this project will be two-fold:


  1. Investigate the optimal loading method and retention of the antibiotics within the biomaterials
  2. Determine the release profile of the antibiotics from the biomaterials


The student will be primarily based at RCSI and will work closely with members of a multidisciplinary project team including PIs, postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers within this research cluster. Opportunities will also arise for working with collaborators and continuing on the training into a PhD programme.

The outcome of this project will be a catalogue of antibiotic eluting biomaterials to be used as bone grafts in the treatment of infected bone defects.


  • Research theme: Biomaterials, Antibiotics, Orthopaedics
  • Department: Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • Details: One-year MSc – fees fully-funded
  • Start date: September 2019





  • An Honours Bachelor degree (grade 2.1 or above) in Analytical Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science, or related discipline
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: an IELTS score of 6.5 or above


Knowledge and experience (Essential)


  • The ideal candidate would be self-motivated, creative and highly competent with a passion for fundamental scientific discovery
  • A strong interest in analytical chemistry and/or bioengineering
  • Excellent analytical, computational and communications 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


Application process

Please apply with an up-to-date CV, a 500-word statement outlining your interest in and suitability for the position, and contact details of two referees to

Closing date for applications is 10 August 2019.

Mentors Dr Ciara Murphy