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Collaboration between AMBER and Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. will transform healthcare delivery for patients and consumers through 3D bioprinting

21 February 2018

AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science institute hosted by  Trinity College Dublin, today announced a new strategic collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. to establish a collaborative laboratory focused on 3D bioprinting. Through the collaboration, AMBER and the Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing Center of Excellence will establish a 3D bioprinting research laboratory at Trinity College Dublin affiliated with AMBER. The company will also engage in research projects focused initially in orthopaedics and in the long-term, offer its internal scientific experts as adjunct professors and engage in staff exchanges. The new Global Centre of Excellence for 3D bioprinting will transform healthcare delivery for patients and consumers and is due to be operational by the end of 2018.

The announcement was welcomed by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD who stated, “Because of the fantastic success of the SFI Research Centre, AMBER, Ireland has a worldwide reputation for excellence in 3D bioprinting and is a global leader in materials science. I am delighted to welcome this new collaboration and look forward to its success moving forward.”

“Transforming healthcare delivery for patients and consumers through 3D printing technology requires collaboration with experts from around the world,” said Wim Appelo, Vice President Supply Chain, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies. “Our work with AMBER will advance opportunities to design and deliver a broad range of personalised, bioprinted healthcare solutions for the patients and consumers we serve every day.”

The focus for the new research laboratory will be 3D bioprinting, co-led by AMBER’s Professor Daniel Kelly and Joseph Ault, Senior Fellow, Lead API and Bioprinting at Johnson & Johnson. The collaborative laboratory will establish a work space for Johnson & Johnson scientists and Trinity academicians to engage in collaborative research. 3D bioprinting has emerged as a promising technology for engineering 3D ‘living’ biological tissues for promoting bone and tissue regeneration.

Professor Michael Morris, AMBER Director said, “This lab is the result of a shared vision to create a global centre of excellence for 3D bioprinting within the Centre. This has been made possible because of the calibre of our world leading academics, state of the art equipment and supporting facilities and infrastructure. Building on our long-standing collaboration with DePuy Synthes in Ireland, I am confident that this engagement will become the prototypical strategic partnership for AMBER as the Centre moves into the next funding cycle. Our intent is to identify and grow similar engagements of equivalent scale and type across the ICT and manufacturing sectors.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “Science Foundation Ireland invests in world-class scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. I very much welcome this promising collaboration between AMBER and Johnson & Johnson Services, which builds on Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence and presents us with an important opportunity to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise between industry and academia – in material sciences and beyond.”

The laboratory will be made available to other Principal Investigators, postgraduate and undergraduate students to carry out project work outside of the direct collaborative activity with Professor Kelly. This will benefit students by providing exposure to industry and the potential to source industry-defined projects. In addition, Johnson & Johnson scientists will be available to provide training and education to students and staff.

The AMBER team has identified a 100m2 space within the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) building, comprising lab area suitable for working with bioprinting and cell and tissue culture and meeting and office space for 12 people. In addition to the new lab, the investment will enable a number of individual research projects and long-term scale-up to include adjunct professorships and staff exchange.

Work on the new laboratory will begin in Q1 2018, with Trinity graduate and AMBER postdoctoral researcher Dr Gráinne Cunniffe employed by Johnson & Johnson as project manager for the lab. AMBER will provide full support to the project in terms of project management, funding diversification support, recruitment and contract support as is standard with the Centre’s operating model.

This collaboration is strongly aligned with AMBER’S vision to be a world leader in bioengineering and Trinity’s vision to establish a new Engineering, Energy and Environment (E3) Institute and a technology campus at Dublin’s Grand Canal to be an incubation site for companies to embed significant research and innovation activities at the University and engage in multi-faculty collaborations.

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AMBER has a strong emphasis on collaboration. Central to AMBER’s research remit are collaborative projects performed with industry partners, and working with academic, industry and wider stakeholder on international and national research programmes.

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