Professor Fergal O’Brien is a Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine, Deputy Director for Research & Innovation 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.
Professor O'Brien's 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.
He has published over 200 journal articles, presented over 100 invited talks and supervised over 35 doctoral students to completion. He has a current h-index of 62 (June, 2018) and has served as a reviewer for over 100 scientific journals and a grant reviewer for agencies worldwide. He is currently a member of the World Council of Biomechanics and has previously served as Biomaterials Topic Chair for the Orthopaedic Research Society, as an EU Council Member of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and a member of Irish Medicines Board Advisory Committee on Medical Devices. He is a Fellow of Engineers Ireland, the Anatomical Society and the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering & Science. He is a Past- President of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.
He is a 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 6 journals and a Founding Subject Editor (Tissue Engineering) for the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. He was also Co-Chair of the World Congress of Biomechanics which brought over 4000 delegates to Ireland in 2018. He is a recipient of three prestigious European Research Council Awards including most recently a €3million Advanced Grant (2018). Other accolades include a Fulbright Scholarship (2001), New Investigator Recognition Award by the Orthopaedic Research Society (2002), Science Foundation Ireland, President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (€1.1. million, 2004), Engineers Ireland Chartered Engineer of the Year (2005), Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year (2014), Silver Medal from the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland He was elected as a Member of The Royal Irish Academy in 2018.
Full bio: http://pi.rcsi.ie/pi/fjobrien/pi.asp
Links to published papers on PubMed
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