Professor O’Brien is the Director of REMEDI, the regenerative medicine institute in NUI Galway. He is a Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Mellitus at Galway University Hospital and Saolta University Healthcare Group. He is the Established Professor of Medicine and Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. He is a founder and Director of Orbsen Therapeutics, a company spun out from REMEDI. Prof. O Brien is the medical director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, a HPRA licensed GMP cell therapy production facility based in NUI Galway and is a PI at the HRB Galway Clinical Research Facility. Prof O’Brien was a co-applicant on the CÚRAM proposal and is currently a funded investigator in that programme.
Professor O'Brien's research interests include the translation of basic research findings in stem cell biology and gene therapy to regenerative approaches to peripheral vascular disease and diabetic complications in partnership with industry and the health service. Prof O’Brien has extensive experience in basic gene therapy research since 1994, with a particular focus on vascular applications and has established a research group at NUI, Galway with substantial extramural financial support (€73 million in extramural grants). In addition, he was the local Principal Investigator of a phase 2/3 human gene therapy trial of myocardial therapeutic angiogenesis. His research focuses on the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells and the development of next generation MSC therapeutics in combination with gene therapy, biomaterials and medical device technology. He is interested in development of novel therapeutic approaches to the macro- and microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is approaching pandemic proportions and complications involving small and large blood vessels are responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality. He is PI on an SFI/HRB funded Phase 1b human clinical trial being carried out in University Hospital Galway and sponsored by NUI Galway, assessing primarily the safety (efficacy is a secondary endpoint) of mesenchymal stem cells to treat patients suffering from no-option critical limb ischemia. Professor O’Brien is the PI on a H2020 funded EU programme (NEPHSTROM) to test the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stromal cells in a human clinical trial on diabetic complications, namely diabetic kidney disease. Prof O’Brien also co-ordinated the recently completed FP7 REDDSTAR project, which has progressed to a Phase 1 clinical trial investigating the impact of MSCs on diabetic foot ulcer disease in Copenhagen.
Professor O’Brien has published 308 manuscripts including 207 research articles and 77 reviews, with a H-index of 64 (Google Scholar), 48 (Scopus). He is global co-editor in chief of Stem Cell Research and Therapy and is the author of six patents.
Publications on PubMed
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