• Fiona Freeman

Fiona Freeman Assistant Professor

Dr. Fiona Freeman is an Assistant Professor and Ad Astra Fellow in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD) and an AMBER Funded Investigator. She graduated in Biomedical Engineering in 2011 and earned her PhD from the University of Galway in 2016, focusing on developing new strategies for bone tissue regeneration. Afterward, Dr. Freeman was awarded two prestigious postdoctoral fellowships: the Government of Ireland IRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship. These fellowships provided her with opportunities to work as a postdoctoral researcher in renowned labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and Trinity College Dublin. She is the recipient of the prestigious New Investigator Recognition Award (NIRA) from the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) (2020) and was named a Top Innovator under 35 from MIT Technology Review in 2023.

Dr. Freeman leads a multidisciplinary research group investigating the use of innovative biomedical engineering techniques to better understand and develop novel therapeutics to treat paediatric bone cancer, Osteosarcoma. Her group is pursuing two different approaches to osteosarcoma. The first involves developing patient-specific models of osteosarcoma for drug development. Accelerating cures for those patients with poor outcomes remains a challenge, and this is in part due to the fact that osteosarcoma is a relatively rare disease. Therefore, recruiting enough eligible participants to conduct clinical trials is a difficult endeavour. These patient-specific models can act as a potential screening method for new cancer treatments, as they provide the flexibility to understand how organs might respond to potential new treatments before conducting full clinical trials.

The second avenue Dr. Freeman’s lab is exploring is the development of novel therapeutics that can be used as an add-on to traditional chemotherapy to enhance the therapeutic potential of the treatment. Dr. Freeman’s research has identified a novel microRNA, miR-29b, as a potential therapeutic target for osteosarcoma. In particular, she is focused on designing smart delivery vehicles that can transport the treatment directly to cancer cells or the patient’s own immune cells to enhance the patient’s ability to attack the tumour itself.

Fiona is a current a Conway Fellow, a European Research Council Starter Grant awardee, a funded investigator in the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, and a PI within UCD Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Trinity Centre for Bioengineering.

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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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