Prof. Fergal O’Brien
Deputy Director

Institution RCSI
T +353 (0)1 402 2149

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.

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  • Keith Alden
  • Dr Lorraine Byrne
  • Deirdre Caden
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  • Mary Colclough
  • James Doyle
  • Dr Colm Faulkner
  • Dr Rachel Kavanagh
  • Colm McAtamney
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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 Studentship - ERC Project Chemlife
  • PhD Studentships - Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced characterisation for Materials (CDT ACM)
  • AMBER PhD studentships which are open for enrolment in September 2019
  • Irish Research Council – Open Call
  • SFI Industry Fellowship
  • PhD, PostDocs in Biomaterial Scaffold Development
  • Open Call for EDGE Scholarship Applications

PhD Studentship - ERC Project Chemlife

ERC Project

The European Research Council (ERC) project ChemLife, hosted at AMBER, Trinity College Dublin, invites applications for one doctoral fellowship. The PhD fellow will be supervised by Dr. Larisa Florea (principal investigator) and will be registered for the doctoral programme within TCD’s School of Chemistry.

ChemLife will develop highly innovative, motile smart micro-vehicles with ground breaking capabilities such as chemotaxis, cargo-transport, sensing, reporting, diagnosis and repair via multidisciplinary research combining materials science, chemistry, nanotechnology and 3D fabrication technologies. The role of ChemLife is to stimulate a radical re-think and a move towards biomimetic principles as the route to delivering fundamental breakthroughs in clinical devices and environmental chem/bio-sensors, microfluidic devices and micro-robotics.

Role Description

This position will focus on the development of smart droplets and vesicle-type units. Special focus will be placed on the synthesis and incorporation of responsive units into the structure of the droplet vehicle, for the demonstration of advanced functionalities such as uptake, transport and release of relevant units (e.g. selected biomolecules, pharmaceuticals). Experimental work will include the synthesis of stimuli-responsive surfactants, responsive ionic liquids, realisation of droplet systems that resemble biological vesicles, and microfluidic fabrication.

The successful candidates will play a substantial role in the design and fabrication of the motile smart micro- vehicles at the core of ChemLife. They will join an interdisciplinary, multinational team engaging in an in- depth research program in the realm of soft materials. The successful candidates will report directly to the PI, Dr. Florea, and will liaise with the other team members, AMBER researchers, and external collaborators, as necessary. Additionally, all members of the group will have the opportunity to define and shape their own research within the overall remit of the project.

Host Institution

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Trinity is Ireland’s premier university, with a proud tradition of excellence stretching back to its foundation in 1592. The oldest university in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe, today Trinity sits at the intersectionof the past and the future, and is ideally positioned as a major university in the European Union. Our 47-acre campus is located in the heart of Dublin city centre and is home to historic buildings dating from the University’s establishment, as well as some of the most cutting-edge teaching and research facilities in Ireland. Students at Trinity benefit from a unique educational experience across a range of disciplines in our three faculties – Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Health Sciences. The pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education, and our researchers have an outstanding publication record and strong record of grant success.

AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) is an internationally-leading research centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland that provides a partnership between leading researchers in materials science and industry. AMBER brings together Ireland’s leading material science researchers working across the disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, Bioengineering and Medicine; with an international network of collaborators and companies. The clustering of material science research expertise, state of the art infrastructure and a team of professional support staff has enhanced Ireland’s international reputation in materials science research and driven increased investment from industry. Ireland’s International ranking in the areas of nanoscience and materials science has increased from 6th and 8th respectively in 2013 when the Centre was established to 1st and 3rd in 2017. This ranking is based on publications and citations.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should hold a minimum of an honours bachelor’s degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a discipline relevant to the project, such as Chemistry/Materials Science. Excellent first-hand knowledge of chemical techniques and characterisation methods. Preference is given to candidates with a knowledge of organic chemistry and physicochemical processes at the liquid-liquid interface. Applicants must provide evidence of competence in English language by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English language test, as outlined at the following link:


The PhD student will be paid a stipend of €18,000 per annum and receive full fees remission for a maximum duration of four years.

Application Process

Required documents: a CV; a cover letter briefly describing how your interests and expertise align with this project; an example of your written academic work such as an article, master thesis chapter, final year project or term paper.

Please send the application compiled into a single PDF file to FLOREAL@TCD.IE by 16/08/2019. (with “PhD ChemLife” in the subject line). Shortlisted candidates will be asked to nominate two academic referees. Interviews will be held in late August. The successful candidate will go through the Trinity College registration process in September 2019 and will start on 1st of October 2019.
Download PDF of vacancy details.

Download PDF of vacancy details.

PhD Studentships - Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced characterisation for Materials (CDT ACM)

The Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Centre (AMBER) is inviting applications for five (5) PhD studentships to start in September 2019. These studentships are part of the joint SFI-EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced characterisation for Materials (CDT ACM) programme. The CDT ACM programme is a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin, Imperial College London and University College London (UCL). Successful applicants will be registered at Trinity College Dublin but will be required to spend their first semester in London attending lectures, receiving expert training and completing coursework with their UK colleagues at Imperial and UCL. Further short visits are scheduled during years 2-4 of the program. Applicants must have been resident in an EU member state for 3 out of the last 5 years to be eligible for funding through this programme.

The ideal applicants will have a 1st Class or strong 2-1 Honours Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Nanoscience, Materials Science or related disciplines. The researcher will work closely with other members of a multidisciplinary project team. Excellent time-management, written- and oral-communication skills are essential. To make informal enquires please contact Jesus Barco Montero The deadline for applications is 5pm on March 29th. Further details can be found in the attached document. The AMBER research centre, as a community of researchers, welcomes its responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all. We are actively seeking diversity in our research teams and particularly encourage applications from under-rrepresented groups.

Download PDF of vacancy details.

AMBER PhD studentships which are open for enrolment in September 2019

AMBER is inviting applications for the following PhD studentships which are open for enrolment in September 2019. The AMBER research centre, as a community of researchers, welcomes its responsibility to provide equal opportunities for all. We are actively seeking diversity in our research teams and particularly encourage applications from underrepresented groups. Applicants must have been resident in an EU member state for 3 out of the last 5 years to be eligible for funding through this programme.

PhD title Lead Supervisor Co Supervisor Location
Exploration of neuromorphic functions based on ion gel gated devices Prof. John Boland Prof. Paul Hurley Trinity College Dublin
Oxide semiconductors for above IC logic applications Prof. Igor Shvets Trinity College Dublin
Resistive switching in single/few layer 2 D materials. Dr. Niall McEvoy Prof. Paul Hurley Trinity College Dublin
Modelling for emerging devices Prof. Stefano Sanvito Trinity College Dublin
Magnetic Logic Devices Prof. Mike Coey Prof. Plamen Stamenov Trinity College Dublin
Computational screening and design of resilient plasmonic alloys for ICT and sensing Dr. David O’Regan Trinity College Dublin
Aberration-corrected electron microscopy and electron-beam lithography for plasmonic devices with dimensions approaching the atomic scale Dr. Richard Hobbs Trinity College Dublin
Porous Metal-Organic Materials for Photo- and Electrocatalytic Water Splitting Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt Trinity College Dublin
Nitride Nanowires for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Prof. Justin Holmes Prof. Peter Parbrook University College Cork
2D materials for battery and supercaps Prof. Valeria Nicolosi Trinity College Dublin
3D-Printed Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries for Future Wearable, Medical and IoT Technologies Prof. Colm O’Dwyer Tyndall National Institute/University College Cork
Novel Dy-free Permanent Magnets with Properties Intermediate between Ferrites and Nd-Fe-B Prof. Plamen Stamenov Prof. Mike Coey Trinity College Dublin
Machine-learning design of novel permanent magnets Prof. Stefano Sanvito Trinity College Dublin
Transverse Thermoelectrics Dr. David McCloskey Trinity College Dublin
Theory, modelling and simulations of electrical properties of nanosheet networks for device applications (MF) Prof. Mauro Ferreira Trinity College Dublin
Viscoelastic properties of nanosheet networks (MM) Prof. Mathias Moebius Trinity College Dublin
Electromechanical properties of nanosheet networks/Nanomembrane formation by continuous nanoimprint processes (GC) Prof. Graham Cross Trinity College Dublin
Directed Self-Assembly of Synthetic Nanoparticles and Loading of Natural Cell Derived Nanoparticles Prof. Donal O’Shea The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
Synthesis and Catalysis by 2D nanomaterials Prof. Aidan McDonald Trinity College Dublin
Engineered self-assemblies from synthetic tripodal ligands for formation of soft-materials and printable 2D materials Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson Trinity College Dublin
Nano and micropatterning of polymer and biopolymer structures through phase separation and fabrication Prof. Mick Morris Trinity College Dublin
Functional patterned surfaces using biopolymers Prof. Justin Holmes Prof. Paul Young University College Cork
The role of endogenous skeletal stem cells in regulating biomaterial mediated bone regeneration Prof. David Hoey Trinity College Dublin
Electro-conductive biomaterials for spinal cord and peripheral nerve repair Prof. Fergal O’Brien The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
Novel nanomaterials for controlled gene delivery Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan Prof. Andreas Heise The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
Machine learning methods for ultra-high quality microscopy Prof. Stefano Sanvito Dr. Lewys Jones Trinity College Dublin
Development of immunomodulatory materials for biomedical applications Prof. Ed Lavelle Prof. Danny Kelly & Prof. Fergal O’Brien Trinity College Dublin
Modelling electromechanical properties of two-dimensional materials and heterostructures Cosupervisors - Prof. Stefano Sanvito (Computational spintronics), Dr. Nuala Caffrey (Computational Materials research) and Dr. Stephen Power (Nanoelectronics theory). Trinity College Dublin

To apply – please e-mail a CV with the names and addresses of three referees to the lead supervisor listed above, contact details can be found within project PDF.

Positions will remain opened until filled but preferred start date is September 2 2019. Only short-listed applications will be acknowledged.

Download PDF of vacancy details.

Irish Research Council – Open Call

We are seeking interested students, post-doctoral researchers, investigators, and industry partners for the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme. Contact with enquiries. Call deadline is Sept 5th.

Enterprise Partnership Scheme (Postdoctoral) - Enterprise Partnership Scheme (Postdoctoral) Co-funding research partnerships for enterprises and not-for-profit employers. The Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme is a unique national initiative linking excellent researchers to enterprise. The scheme brings great research ideas into an Irish enterprise partner with the support of a higher education institution. The Irish Research Council partners with enterprises and jointly funds two-year fellowships to highly promising researchers in Ireland. Fellows will hold an Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme Postdoctoral Fellowship. Link

Enterprise Partnership Scheme (Postgraduate) Co-funding research partnerships for enterprises and not-for-profit employers. The Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme is a unique national initiative linking excellent researchers to enterprise. The scheme co-funds awardees to bring great research ideas into an enterprise with the support of a higher education institution. Link

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 3rd call we expect to award up to 28 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 2018.

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: Kevin J Fraser, 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.