Prof. Fergal O’Brien
Deputy Director

Institution RCSI
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Prof. Fergal O’Brien is Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine, Deputy Director for Research and head of the Tissue Engineering Research Group (the 2017 Irish Research Laboratory of the Year) based in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is a graduate of mechanical engineering and his PhD research was in the area of bone mechanobiology (both from TCD). He was subsequently a Fulbright Fellow in orthopaedic tissue engineering in Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School before his faculty appointment in 2003. Since then, he has published over 200 journal articles, book chapters and editorials in peer-reviewed international journals and books, filed 13 patents/disclosures and supervised 30 doctoral students to completion. He has a current h-index of 53 (July 2017). He is currently a member of the World Council of Biomechanics and a Fellow of Engineers Ireland, the Anatomical Society and the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering & Science. He is co-founder of SurgaColl Technologies, which has translated 2 technologies for bone and cartilage repair from his lab to the clinic. In addition he is an editorial board member of 5 journals and Subject Editor (Tissue Engineering) for the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. He is Co-chair (with Prof. Daniel Kelly, TCD) of the World Congress of Biomechanics which is being held in Ireland in 2018.

His research focuses on the development of natural polymer (such as collagen)- scaffold-based therapeutics for tissue engineering with target applications in bone, cartilage, cardiovascular, corneal, respiratory and neural tissues. A major focus of ongoing research has been to functionalise these scaffolds for use as delivery systems for biomolecules with a particular interest in the delivery of nucleic acids (pDNA, siRNA and microRNA) to enhance their therapeutic potential. His group also focuses on the use of these scaffolds as advanced 3D pathophysiology in vitro systems for drug development, studying cellular crosstalk in co-cultures and to understand disease states in cancer, angiogenesis, immunology and infection. In addition, he has a major interest in studying the response of living cells to mechanical stimuli (mechanobiology) and using biophysical stimuli to regulate stem cell differentiation and identify novel targets for tissue repair.

More info:


  • Keith Alden
  • Dr Lorraine Byrne
  • Deirdre Caden
  • Brian Callagy
  • Mary Colclough
  • James Doyle
  • Dr Colm Faulkner
  • Dr Rachel Kavanagh
  • Colm McAtamney
  • Cathal McAuley

Keith Alden
Business Development Manager
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Dr Lorraine Byrne
Executive Director
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Deirdre Caden
AMBER Funding Manager
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Brian Callagy
IP Contracts & Commercialisation Manager
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Mary Colclough
Communications & Public Affairs Manager
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James Doyle
Project Manager
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Dr Colm Faulkner
Business Development Executive
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Dr Rachel Kavanagh
Education and Public Engagement Officer
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Colm McAtamney
AMBER General Manager
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Cathal McAuley
AML Operations Manager
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  • PhD Studentships
  • SFI Industry Fellowship
  • PhD, PostDocs in Biomaterial Scaffold Development
  • Open Call for EDGE Scholarship Applications

PhD Studentships

Application Process:

We have vacancies for a number of fully funded PhD positions across AMBER for enrolment in 2018. Studentships must have started by Sept/Oct 2018. To apply please review the projects listed below. 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.

Closing Date:

Friday 29th June 2018

PhD Studentship - A Smart Biosensing Cell Reservoir For Treatment of Diabetes

PhD Studentship – Corrosion and Surface Properties of Medical Implant Devices

PhD Studentship - Design and exploration of Immobilised Transition Metal Catalysts in Continuous Flow Processing for API synthesis

PhD Studentship - Design and synthesis of new biomimetic materials with tunable biodistribution profiles, as conjugates to RNAs in gene therapy

PhD Studentship - Design and Synthesis of Surface Immobilised Additives to Improve Engine Efficiency and Cleanliness

PhD Studentship – Develop Novel Translational Imaging Methods to Transition AMBER-Developed Joint Repair Materials into Clinical Practice

PhD Studentship - Developing Innovative Injectable Collagen-Bioceramic Composites for Medical Devices

PhD Studentship - Developing next generation lithium ion battery electrodes using nanoscience

PhD Studentship - Development of a 3D scaffold-based cell culture platform for oncology drug design and screening

PhD Studentship – Development of next generation transcutaneous heart valves with long-term durability and reduced risk of calcification

PhD Studentship - Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction at Single Au and Cu Nanoparticles

PhD Studentship - Engineering the Bone-Cartilage Interface for Joint Repair

PhD Studentship - Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing as a Novel Fabrication Route for High-performance Electron Microscopy

PhD Studentship – Finish machining of orthopaedic implants

PhD Studentship – Immune modulating biological scaffolds for functional tissue regeneration

PhD Studentship - Industrial Mineral Ore Sorting by Selective Microwave Heating

PhD Studentship - Infrared Plasmonic Behavior of 2D and 3D Patterned Conducting Polymer Metamaterials

PhD Studentship - Additive manufacturing approach to particle engineering for drug delivery

PhD Studentship – Mechanotransducing Magnetic Biomaterials

PhD Studentship - Novel polypeptide bioinks for 3D printing of bioactive scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

PhD Studentship - Novel Porphyrin Functionalised Nanoribbon Devices: Towards Integrated Functional Nanoribbon Electronics

PhD Studentship – Printable soft matter with self-healable and tuneable properties through supramolecular engineering

PhD Studentship - Simulation of switching mechanism of 2-D materials for flexible electronics

PhD Studentship - Simultaneous Exfoliation and Functionalization of Graphene in Water: Towards Bio-Useful Graphene

PhD Studentship - Smart Inverse Piezoelectric Biomaterials for Cardiac Organoid Engineering

PhD Studentship in SoDHA (solution deposit of Hydroxyapatite)

PhD Studentship - Soft Bio-inspired Micro-robotics

PhD Studentship – Optically active artificial chiral structures for chirality sensing

PhD Studentship - Targeted Nanotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

PhD Studentship - Development of an Implantable Bioengineered Tracheal Scaffold for Respiratory Tissue Regeneration

PhD Studentship - The development of smart 4-D materials utilising melt processed stimuli sensitive polymers

PhD Studentship - Timed to Perfection: Development of a novel circadian drug delivery platform and its application in osteoarthritis

PhD Studentship – 3D Printing – Understanding microstructural effects due to changes in process parameters

Download PDF of vacancy details.

SFI Industry Fellowship

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme aims to enhance industry-academia collaborations, and to stimulate excellence through the funding of collaborative industry-academia research projects. This is realised via secondment of academic researchers in industry, or of industry researchers in academia.

If funded, the AMBER centre places researchers, on-site with collaborating companies for 1 year full time or 2 years part time. Alternately it hosts industry researchers on-site. Some applicants transition to full time roles in industry partners, subsequent to completion of the project. Other fellows have leveraged the secondment for: [1] preparation of large scale successfully funded H2020 funding applications; [2] publication of high impact academic publications; [3] pathfinding/seeding new collaborative research projects; [4] the development of new intellectual property.

To date AMBER has placed candidates across Ireland, Europe and the US addressing challenges in materials research for applications ranging across Bioengineering, Energy, ICT, and Medical Devices.

The next call deadline is Nov 26th - Typically there are 2 calls per annum. Companies or researchers interested in prospective applications can contact for further information/informal discussions.

Download PDF of vacancy details.

PhD, PostDocs in Biomaterial Scaffold Development

2 Postdoc and 2 PhD positions are available with Dr Cathal Kearney in RCSI arising from his ERC Horizon 2020 Starter Grant funded in the area of biomaterial scaffold development for diabetic foot ulcers. There are several parallel arms to the project that will look at aspects of scaffold design, on-demand drug delivery, nucleic acid delivery and induced pluripotent stem cells.

Postdoc – iPSCs and Scaffold -

Postdoc – biomaterials -

PhD – iPSCs and Scaffold -

PhD – On Demand Delivery -

Download PDF of vacancy details.

Open Call for EDGE Scholarship Applications

EDGE is led by Trinity College Dublin on behalf of 10 Irish academic institutions of excellence. In our 2nd call we expect to award up to 45 Fellowships, each 24-months duration, who will relocate to Ireland to join expert supervisors in the ICT (networks, date and materials) field. Career progression is a primary aim of MSCA schemes, and we will provide comprehensive training and development to our Fellows to support their growth as independent research professionals. Researchers currently residing outside of Ireland, with a PhD or equivalent status, can apply by submitting a research proposal before the Call deadline on 1st November 2017.

Before beginning the application process, applicants should:
1. review the eligibility criteria and other information on our website -
2. contact a prospective supervisor from those listed on the programme website to gain their support

Research Themes
- Future Networks & Communications
- Advanced Materials & Bioengineering
- Digital Content & Media Technologies

Full topic list:

Contact: Richard Twohig, EDGE Programme Manager:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713567.

Download PDF of vacancy details.