Prof. Fergal O’Brien
Deputy Director



Institution RCSI
T +353 (0)1 402 2149
E fjobrien@rcsi.ie

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: http://pi.rcsi.ie/pi/fjobrien/pi.asp

Staff

  • Claire McKenna
  • Denise Carthy
  • Keith Alden
  • Dr Lorraine Byrne
  • Deirdre Caden
  • Brian Callagy
  • James Doyle
  • Dr Colm Faulkner
  • Dr Rachel Kavanagh
  • Colm McAtamney
  • Cathal McAuley
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Claire McKenna
AMBER Funding Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 4642
E claire.mckenna@tcd.ie

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Denise Carthy
Business Development Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 4642
E denise.carthy@tcd.ie

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Keith Alden
Business Development Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 3485
E keith.alden@tcd.ie

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Dr Lorraine Byrne
Executive Director
T +353 (0)1 896 4130
E lorraine.byrne@tcd.ie

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Deirdre Caden
AMBER Funding Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 3403
E deirdre.caden@tcd.ie

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Brian Callagy
IP Contracts & Commercialisation Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 3032
E brian.callagy@tcd.ie

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James Doyle
Project Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 4838
E james.doyle@tcd.ie

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Dr Colm Faulkner
Business Development Executive
T +353 (0)1 896 4170
E cfaulkne@tcd.ie

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Dr Rachel Kavanagh
Education and Public Engagement Officer
T +353 (0)1 896 4621
E kavanara@tcd.ie

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Colm McAtamney
AMBER General Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 3092
E colm.mcatamney@tcd.ie

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Cathal McAuley
AML Operations Manager
T +353 (0)1 896 4933
E cathal.mcauley@tcd.ie

Vacancies

  • 3D printing of fibrous electroconductive biomaterials with controlled architectures for peripheral n
  • Tissue-derived Bioinks for 3D Printing Applications- Material Characterisation, Biocompatibility and
  • Postdoctoral Researcher in 3D Bioprinting and Tissue Engineering
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3D printing of fibrous electroconductive biomaterials with controlled architectures for peripheral n

3D printing of fibrous electroconductive biomaterials with controlled architectures for peripheral nerve repair

The position will be based with the Buckley Lab (www.buckleylab.eu) within the Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research (AMBER) centre. Prof. Buckley leads a multidisciplinary research group in the Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. The goal of the Buckley lab is to develop novel biomaterial and cell-based strategies to regenerate or repair damaged tissues to restore function using minimally invasive strategies (MIS).

Summary of project

Peripheral nerve injury remains a major clinical problem. Autografts are the current ‘gold standard’ but are hampered by limited availability of donor tissue with poor prognosis for functional recovery at both the donor and recipient sites. As a result, new approaches are currently being investigated to develop artificial nerve grafts which mimic the properties of autologous grafts. Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques such as 3D bioprinting (3DBP) offers exciting new opportunities and horizons to engineer nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) that more closely match the composition and structure of native nerve tissue. These approaches facilitate precise control over the external and internal microarchitecture geometry. In the context of developing engineered nerve tissue AM offers the added ability to incorporate drug delivery systems with tailorable spatial and temporal release profiles of individual drugs. Similarly, following peripheral nerve injury, the transfer of electrical signals across a damaged nerve is inhibited, resulting in degeneration of the distal nerve segment. Printing offers the potential to create specific geometries with defined micropatterns as well as incorporating electroconductive biomaterials to provide direct electrical activation to enhance tissue repair, enhance cell function and alignment. Applying electrical stimuli may enhance the regeneration as it is known that inhibition of electrical signalling can impede normal tissue function. Using bioinks derived from native nerve as a biomaterial platform developed in the Buckley lab for peripheral nerve tissue regeneration, this project proposes to enhance regenerative capacity of NGCs through the incorporation of electroconductive materials from partner labs in AMBER (e.g. graphene, silver nanowires, polypyrrole). Such a conductive biomaterial could thus provide direct electrical activation of isolated regions while also providing a scaffolding template to enhance the tissue repair process. Following optimisation of the fabrication/printing process, in vitro biocompatibility of the biofabricated NGCs and the response of cells to electrical stimuli will be assessed using in vitro methods prior to pre-clinical assessment. For more information please contact Prof. Conor Buckley conor.buckley@tcd.ie


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Tissue-derived Bioinks for 3D Printing Applications- Material Characterisation, Biocompatibility and

Tissue-derived Bioinks for 3D Printing Applications- Material Characterisation, Biocompatibility and Immunomodulatory Behaviour

Project Description: This project is part of multidisciplinary team that is exploring the use of emerging 3D Printing and 3D Bioprinting strategies for Tissue Engineering and the development of next generation medical devices. The project is part of the AMBER centre (http://ambercentre.ie) and located primarily at dedicated bioprinting and additive manufacturing laboratories based in Trinity College Dublin. With the advent of 3D printing in tissue engineering, the advantages of precise deposition and highly defined geometric patterning 3D biomaterial structures that it offers, efforts have been made to combine the benefits of ECM hydrogels with this technology. However, many of the existing ECM bioinks lack the necessary physiologically relevant mechanical properties, e.g. compressive strength, especially for application to high load environments in musculoskeletal, or high wear environments such as the cardiovascular system. Other drawbacks include slow thermogelation times, hindering printing speeds, and rapid degradation times, limiting their potential active therapeutic window for in vivo applications. Further chemical functionalisation of the ECM through the incorporation of photoactive moieties to the collagen fibre backbone allows for light polymerised photogelation, increased polymer network crosslinking, and improved tuning of material properties. To this end, we are developing a range of photoactive ECM shear thinning hydrogels, which can be used as injectable therapeutics or as bioinks for 3D bioprinting applications. This approach aims to combine the intrinsic regenerative potential of ECM and engineering precision of 3D printing, with distinct improvements in material and mechanical properties. In addition, understanding how these bioinks influence macrophage phenotype is important for in vivo applications. Engineering an appropriate immune response is integral to successful tissue regeneration given its importance to clearing damaged cells and tissue, recruiting host stem cells and inducing vascularization. For more information please contact Prof. Conor Buckley conor.buckley@tcd.ie

Applicant criteria: The ideal applicant will have a PhD in biomedical engineering, biomaterials, tissue engineering, biochemistry and immunology or a related discipline. Previous experience in 3D printing, hydrogels, tissue engineering, cell culture, gene expression, biochemical analysis, mechanical testing, histology techniques, immunomodulatory behaviour would be highly advantageous. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential. An excellent publication record and/or development of intellectual property would be advantageous.
How to apply: CVs with the names and addresses of three referees should be submitted via email to Prof. Conor Buckley conor.buckley@tcd.ie with the subject heading “AMBER-Bioink Postdoc”. Positions will remain opened until filled but preferred start date is January 2021. Only short-listed applications will be acknowledged.


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Postdoctoral Researcher in 3D Bioprinting and Tissue Engineering

The development of novel additive biomanufacturing strategies to tissue engineer hybrid implants for synovial joint regeneration

Project Description: The successful applicant will join a multidisciplinary team that is exploring the use of emerging 3D bioprinting strategies for Tissue Engineering and the development of next generation medical devices. The overall goal of the project is to develop a new class of 3D bioprinted biological implant that will regenerate, rather than replace, diseased joints. This will be realised by integrating developments in the 3D printing of metals, biodegradable polymers and cell-laden bioinks to develop hybrid biological devices, using dedicated bioprinting and additive manufacturing laboratories based in Trinity College Dublin. The successful applicant will specifically focus on integrating 3D printed metal implants with tissue engineered articular cartilage to develop hybrid implants for resurfacing the hip joint. The overall project is a collaboration between the Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research (AMBER) centre, DePuy Ireland Unlimited Company and Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.

For more information please contact Prof. Daniel Kelly (kellyd9@tcd.ie).

Applicant criteria: The ideal applicant will have a PhD in biomaterials, tissue engineering, 3D printing or a related subject. Previous experience in 3D (bio)printing, hydrogels, tissue engineering, cell culture, biochemical analysis, mechanical testing, histology techniques would be highly advantageous. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential.

Start Date: From January 2021 onwards; position will remain open until it is filled.

How to apply: CVs with the names and contact details of three referees should be submitted via email to Prof. Daniel Kelly (kellyd9@tcd.ie).


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