Welcome to the Duffy Kelly Labs

The Duffy Kelly Labs at NUI Galway and RCSI Dublin are convergent health science research laboratories, bringing together the fields of tissue engineering, cell science, biomaterials, pharmaceutics and nanoscience. Our goal is to design smart therapies for complex health problems.


Translating research into advanced therapies

The Duffy Lab is located within the Anatomy Deaprtment of the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG) and the Kelly Lab between the Anatomy and Pharmacy Departments of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in Dublin. Our labs have a strong translational focus and are linked to two Science Foundation Ireland-funded national industry-academia centres, the Advanced Centre for BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre at Trinity College Dublin, and the CURAM Centre for Medical devices at NUI Galway. The Labs have further links with international collaborators in the biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical sectors of industry. Our academic collaborators include leaders in convergent health science research throughout Europe and the USA.

Our Principal Investigators Prof Garry Duffy and Dr Helena Kelly have been working together since 2008. They are Coordinators of 2 large EU-funded projects, the €8.7 million EU FP7-funded AMCARE project and the €8.9 million Horizon 2020-funded DRIVE project.


Reaching out to potential patients

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We have a strong focus on outreach and dissemination and we are always looking for opportunities to showcase our research to the general public and to patients who may ultimately benfit from our technologies. Our lab has been featured on RTE's "10 things to know about..." (pictured) and we have recently taken part in European Researcher's Night, The National Ploughing Championships, and Inspirefest Dublin 2016.


 

Latest news

05th September 2018 - Dr Helena Kelly talks about ChemoGel at Big Ideas

Congratulations to Dr Helena Kelly who gave a great talk at the Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas event. Big Ideas is an Enterprise Ireland event which empowers leading Irish researchers to pitch their business propositions to the research & Investment communities. Helena spoke about Chemogel and its potential to rebalance pancreatic cancer treatment in the patients favour.

8th July 2018 - World Congress of Biomechanics 2018

The World Congress of Biomechanics took place in Dublin from 8th-12th July 2018. The World Congress of Biomechanics is held once every 4 years and is the premier meeting worldwide in its field. The field of biomechanics sits at the interface of engineering and medicine, research in the field has revolutionised medicine, particularly in the area of medical devices. Ireland’s medical technology sector has evolved into one of the leading clusters globally. Dr Eimear Dolan can be seen above giving one of her two talks. Eimear's talks were entitled "A Resorbable Carrier and Passive Stabilisation Device to Improve Heart Function Post Myocardial Infarction" and "In Vivo Comparison of a Silicone and Mesh-Based Device-Tissue Interface for Extracardiac Devices". Image below shows Garry Duffy, Eimear Dolan and Bjorn Hofmann of Adjucor

World Congress of Biomechanics

Duffy Kelly lab members Have a Paper Published in Nature Biomedical Engineering

 

Congratulations to Prof. Garry Duffy, William Whyte and Hugh O'Neill who had a paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering. Nature Biomedical Engineering is a monthly journal publishing original research, reviews and commentary of high significance to the biomedical engineering community. The journal aims to bring together the most important advances from the broad discipline of biomedical engineering. The journal's scope includes materials, therapies and devices that facilitate the understanding of human disease, or lead to improvements in human health or healthcare. Garry Duffy's paper describes a new device that allows targeted therapy delivery to the heart. The device is a refillable, implantable device, which sits directly on the heart, can deliver drugs and other therapies to treat the after effects of a heart attack. Collaborators with RCSI and NUIG included Harvard SEAS, Wyss Institute and Mooney Lab Harvard University, and MIT.

30th May 2018 - Dr Laura Gallagher graduates with her PhD

Congratulations to DKL's Dr Laura Gallagher who graduated from RCSI with her PhD funded by the Anatomical Society under the supervision of Prof Garry Duffy, Prof Fergal O'Brien and Prof Tom Farrell. Laura was responsible for assaying the bioactivity and release of growth factors from nanoparticles, with a view to creating a novel drug/cell delivery system for the treatment of myocardial infarction. Congrats Dr Laura!

30th May 2018 - Dr Tatiane Eufrasio Da Silva graduates with her PhD

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Dr Tatiane Eufrasio Da Silva graduated with a PhD on 30th May 2018 with a thesis entitled "Tissue-engineered vascular grafts: recellularisation and surface functionalisation with hybrid magnetic-nanomedicine developed with theranostic potential"She completed her multidisciplinary PhD in the areas of nanomedicine and tissue engineering under the co-supervision of Prof. Garry Duffy and Dr Bruce Murphy. Congratulations Dr Tatiane!

13-14th May 2018 - DRIVE General Assembly Meeting in Palermo, Sicily

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The DRIVE project had its Month 36 General Assembly Meeting, this was hosted by DRIVE partners ABIEL in Palermo, Sicily in Italy. This is a critical point of the project, presentations were given outlining the fantastic work that has been carried out since the last GA meeting and discussions were had enabling progression of the project. DRIVE's Project Technical Officer from the EU Commission was present and was very pleased with the project's advancement.

6th February 2018 - Dr Christina Payne passes her PhD viva

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Dr Christina Payne successfully defended her thesis today at her viva voce. She completed her multidisciplinary PhD in the areas of pharmaceutics and tissue engineering under the co-supervision of Dr. Helena Kelly and Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan. Her research involved the development of a temperature responsive hydrogel for drug and cell delivery to the distal airways for regenerative purposes. Her thesis examiners were Prof Helen McCarthy of Queens University Belfast's School of Pharmacy and Dr Fiona O'Brien, RCSI School of Pharmacy. Christina will be awarded her PhD at a graduation ceremony in RCSI later this year. Congratulations Dr Christina!

February 2018 - Liam leaves Duffy Kelly Labs to become Lecturer in Bacteriology at NUIG

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After more than 4 years in Duffy Kelly Labs as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Manager, Dr Liam Burke is returning to his alma mater as a Lecturer in the Discipline of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, NUIG. Liam will retain strong collaborative links with Duffy Kelly Labs through his continued involvement in the NUIG coordinated EU project DRIVE, which he has manged since 2015. He will also continue to collaborate with DKL on the development of tissue engineering, biomaterial and drug delivery technologies for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of antimicrobial resistant infections.

Liam completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology at NUIG in 2009 and went on to pursue a multidisciplinary PhD in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease at RCSI's Clinical Microbiology Department, focusing on antimicrobial resistant infections and novel therapeutics for their treatment. He will now join the Discipline of Bacteriology, NUIG, where his research will focus once again on antimicrobial resistant bacteria, their epideiology and impact in humans, animals and the environment as part of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Ecology (ARME) research group established in 2010 by Prof Martin Cormican and Dr Dearbhaile Morris.

January 2018 - Andrew becomes a Principal Investigator in the Duffy Kelly Labs

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Dr Andrew Cameron is now a funded Investigator! He has been awarded funding to carry out an innovation project that follows on from work he completed while pursuing his Bioinnovate Fellowship in 2016-2017. The Bioinnovate programme is a national med-tech innovation training programme which is affiliated with the Stanford Biodesign Programme. Andrew's new technology is called "Tight Alright". The technology is an adjustable compression bandage for venous leg ulcers that monitors and measures sub-bandage pressure. The project is funded by Enterprise Ireland's Commercialisation Fund. Andrew is currently recruiting for the project, which will be carried out in the Duffy Lab, in collaboration with Bioinnovate and the School of Medicine, NUIG.

December 2017 - Will returns from Harvard and is shortlisted for BinI 2018 Biomedical Engineering Medal Competition

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Duffy Lab PhD student Will Whyte is back in Galway and has been nominated for the Engineers Ireland Biomedical Engineering Medal at the 24th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (BinI 2018). BinI will take place at the The Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa, Enfield, Co. Meath Ireland from Friday 26th – Saturday 27th January 2018. Will is one of 4 finalists to present for the award out of 32 applicants. He will give his talk "Targeted Cardiac Therapy with a Replenishable, Implantable Reservoir", which describes the ongoing work he has been doing at the Duffy Lab NUIG, in collaboration with Harvard's Biodesign Lab.

 

December 2017 - Eimear begins Visiting Research Fellowship at MIT

Eimear Dolan presents at CRS Boston 2017

DKL Research Fellow Dr. Eimear Dolan started a Postdoctoral Researcher position in the laboratory of Prof. Ellen Roche at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ellen Roche is the founder of the Medical Device Design lab at MIT having recently taken up a position as Assistant Professor, between the departments of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Medical Engineering Science. Her research focuses on applying novel manufacturing technologies (soft robotics, thermal forming, encapsulation and actuation of bioactive agents) to translational medical devices, and developing devices along the translational path from concept to clinic. Her work includes devices for treating cardiovascular disease and other clinical applications, with a strong focus on characterization of these devices through laboratory and pre-clinical testing and computational analysis. Eimear's Fellowship will build on the already strong collaboration between the Roche and Duffy Kelly Labs.

 

November 8th 2017 - AMBER centre impact report highlights huge economic and social impact over 10 years

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The Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research (AMBER) Centre is 10 years old and to celebrate they have commissioned a report on the economic and social impact that the Centre has made since its' inception. The AMBER Centre is co-hosted in Trinity College Dublin by CRANN and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering and is a SFI and industry co-funded centre for research and innovation in materials science, including nanomaterials, ICT and biomedical science. AMBER also has strong links with the TERG, RCSI and UCC.

Prof Garry Duffy is proud to be an Investigator in AMBER, which has provided fantastic collaboration and training opportunities as well as access to cutting edge research equipment and facilities to members of Duffy Kelly Labs. Some of the headline impacts that AMBER has had in Ireland over the past 10 years: over 14,000 jobs generated, a gross output of €505 million and helping to improve Ireland's global ranking in materials science and nanoscience to #3 and #1, respectively!



October 23rd 2017 - DRIVE Expert Advisory Board and General Assembly meeting held in RCSI Dublin

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The DRIVE project is over half way through, and approaching a critical stage of development for the diabetes reversing implant technologies. As such, it was a good time to get expert advice from leaders in the fields of cell therapy, devices, trials, regulation and finance to maximise the outputs from future project work. DRIVE's Expert Advisory Board were invited to RCSI Dublin, where after hearing a review of the project achievements and future work plans, they provided feedback and recommendations to the DRIVE General Assembly. The External Advisory Board was composed of Prof Paul de Vos (Professor of Immunoendocrinology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Groningen), Dr Jeffrey Millman (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis), Dr Albert Hwa (Operations Director at Joslin Diabetes Center and Lecturer, Harvard Medical School), Dr Georgina Murphy (Investment Associate, Atlantic Bridge Capital) and Dr Niamh Curran (Pharmaceutical Assessor, Health Products Regulatory Authority).

October 7th 2017 - DRIVE Patient Panel 2 held in Milan

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The DRIVE project's second Patient Panel event was hosted by partner Niguarda Ca 'Granda Hospital in Milan. The panel discussion, which was attended by around 200 diabetes patients and stakeholders was organised by DRIVE partner INNOVA in collaboration with Nigurda and included research talks by the leading Italian experts in Type 1 diabetes and islet transplantation research. Speakers included Prof Camillo Ricordi (Director of the Miami Diabetes Research Institute), Prof Federico Bertuzzi (Islet Transplantation Programme Coordinator, Niguarda Hospital, Milan), Prof Lorenzo Piemonti (Director of Diabetes Institute, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan) and Prof Paul Johnson (Director of the Oxford Islet Trasplant Programme, UK). The DRIVE project, which aims to develop smart living biomaterial implants to reverse diabetes, was presented by Dr Fabio Ugolini, who is responsible for DRIVE technology transfer at partner INNOVA. San Raffaele Diabetes Institute researcher Dr Valeria Sordi gave a talk on her work on future stem cell sources of insulin producing cells, which may overcome problems associated with donor pancreas supply. DKL and DRIVE's Liam Burke was also on the panel and answered questions from the audience on the DRIVE project. The event was facilitated by Francesca Ulivi, a journalist and television producer from Milan who also has Type 1 diabetes. The attendees filled out questionnaires on the DRIVE project which may influence project technolgy design.

October 5th 2017 - Final AMCARE General Assembly meeting takes place in Stuttgart

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The Advanced Materials for CArdiac REgeneration (AMCARE) project is now finished. The project brought together 10 partners from industry and academia with the goal to develop smart biomaterials and medical devices to deliver cell therapy for cardiac repair following Myocardial Infarction (MI). The project was funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and training (FP7) under grant agreement no 604531. The final General Assembly meeting took place at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (Fraunhofer IGB) in Stuttgart, Germany. The final report on the AMCARE project is currently in preparation and scientific publications on the AMCARE work are also currently in review. Stay tuned to the DKL website for links to the public report and research publications in the coming months. Thanks to all the AMCARE partners for a successful collaboration!

October 5th 2017 - Kelly Lab's Seona Rossi awarded Flaherty Research Scholarship

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Seona Rossi has been awarded funding from the Ireland Canada University Foundation to carry out a six week research exchange project in the laboratory of Prof Christine Allen of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. Seona was one of six Irish early stage researchers to receive a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship, which is named in honour of Canada's former Minister for Finance. The Scholarshps, which were also awarded to six Canadian early stage researchers visiting Ireland, are intended to support a short research visit to a potential transatlantic collaborator, with a view to widening and deepening the scholar’s research horizons and fostering future research collaboration between Ireland and Canada. Seona's project will focus on advanced drug delivery for cancer treatment. Seona is currently pursuing her PhD as part of the Enterprise Ireland funded ChemoGel project in the Kelly Lab at RCSI under the supervision of Dr Helena Kelly.

October 2nd 2017 - Duffy Lab's David Monahan awarded IRC Government of Ireland PhD Scholarship

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David Monahan has been awarded funding from the Irish Research Council to complete his PhD project "Development of a Prophylactic Biomaterial Based Drug Delivery System for Chemotherapy Induced Cardiomyopathy". David will complete his project under the supervision of Prof Garry Duffy at NUIG. David was one of 284 researchers to receive funding, which totalled €22 million under the Government of Ireland programmes this year. Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarships are intended to support students embarking on a full-time postgraduate degree (Masters or PhD) by research in any discipline in any of Ireland's higher education institutes. David's project will focus on developing a novel drug delivery platform to protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy with anthracyclines has proven to be an effective treatment for many types of cancers, but is associated with the development of heart failure. David will seek to prevent this through the delivery of a prophylactic biomaterial drug reservoir to the heart.

October 1st 2017 - Scott represents DRIVE project in 50km Diabetes Care West charity cycle

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Duffy Lab's EDGE Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow Scott Robinson braved the elements to participate in the 50km Cycle for Diabetes. The charity cycle was organised by the Diabetes Centre, University Hospital Galway to support Diabetes Care West. The cycle route was a 50km loop beginning at Galway city's Claddagh Quay, heading west to Spiddal and then north to Moycullen, before returning to Galway. The events' main sponsor was Novo Nordisk and they were represented by professional Team Novo Nordisk cyclist and Type 1 diabetic Sam Brand, who spent time cycling with just about everyone that took part at some stage of the race. Scott, pictured above in his race gear, was representing the DRIVE project, a DKL-led Horizon 2020 research project that aims to develop smart living implants to reverse diabetes.

September 28th 2017 - Duffy Lab takes part in National North/South Regenrative Medicine Conference

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Duffy Lab's Scott Robinson and Andrew Cameron were in attendance at the National Conference in Regenerative Medicine: Exploring North / South Collaborations towards Joint Funding Opportunities. As the name suggests, the conference which was held in Croke Park, Dublin, aimed to encourage cross-border research collaborations.The event featured presentations from SFI and Intertrade Ireland on funding opportunities in three themed research areas, cardiovascular/diabetes, musculoskeletal and regenerative medicine. There were also thematic research talks in these areas from PIs of the 3 Institutes who took part; Ulster University, NUIG's Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Queen's University Belfast, as well as 5 minute "elevator pitches" from senior researchers. Scott represented Duffy Lab in the elevator pitch session, with a talk entitled "Improving Cell Delivery Methods", which was focused on his work for his EDGE Fellowship and other cell delivery projects in the Duffy Lab.

August 19th 2017 - DKL collaborator Dr Svenja Hinderer named on MIT Technology Review's "35 under 35" list

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Congratulations Svenja! DKL's longtime collaborator Dr Svenja Hinderer was recently named on MIT Technology Review's prestigious "35 under 35" list for 2017. The list recognises the world's most promising young tech innovators with the potential to "upend the way we live".

Svenja's paradigm shifting invention is a biomaterial heart valve that that's biodegradable. Her biodegradable scaffold is composed of elastic polymeric fibers that recapitulate the function of the replaced tissue. Importantly, the valve is being designed to encourage the body's own stem cells to colonise and remodel the biomaterial scaffold within a 2-3 year window. This would abrogate the need for repeated invasive heart valve replacement surgery as the heart valve could grow with the body.

Svenja manages the Cardiovascular Systems, Biomaterials and Bioimaging Group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart Germany. She has been a DKL collaborator since 2013 and has worked primarily on the AMCARE project, which aims to develop biomaterial based scaffolds for cardiac regeneration.

August 18th 2017 - Ruth's team wins MIDAS medtech innovation prize

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The Medtech Innovation Design and Startup (MIDAS) competition is a one-day event where multidisciplinary student teams come together and tackle a major challenge in the medtech space. Teams are comprised of students from various disciplines, ranging from business to engineering to medicine to the life sciences. After attending interactive sessions and workshops delivered by domain experts, teams were tasked to come up with innovative solutions to real world medtech problems using the Stanford Biodesign process. 

The team which consisted of DKL's Ruth Levey along with colleagues Edel Browne, Eoin McEvoy and Sally McHugh, developed a saliva test called BilliStix. This would assist in providing an earlier diagnosis of Barrett's oesophageal cancer and reduce unnecessary referrals for endoscopy by 80%. The team won a cash prize and a potential incubation in the Medtech Accelerator at NUI Galway. 

Laura wins GRADS award at Controlled Release Society meeting in Boston

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DKL had a very successful meeting at CRS Boston 2017. PhD student Laura Gallagher won the prestigious Graduate Research Advances in Delivery Science (GRADS) Award for her poster "Development of fuctionalized hydrogels to enhance stem cell therapy for cardiac regeneration". The work was carried out as part of the AMCARE project in the Tissue Engineering Reseearch Group (TERG), RCSI. The award, which was sponsored by Merck also came with prize money of $1,500 and was presented to Laura by Dr Ronald Smith, Scientific AVP at Merck Research Laboratories (pictured). Laura's PhD research is funded by the Anatomical Society and she is supervised by Prof Garry Duffy, Prof Fergal O'Brien and Dr Tom Farrell at RCSI. The presentations of DKL team members Prof Garry Duffy, Dr Eimear Dolan and Ms Christina Payne were also very well received. After the event the presenters got to enjoy the sunshine in Boston with colleagues from TERG.


July 16th-19th 2017 - DKL to attend Controlled Release Society meeting in Boston

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Duffy Kelly Labs will travel to Boston for the Controled Release Society Annual Meeting and Expedition 2017 which is to be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. DKL members Prof Garry Duffy, Dr Eimear Dolan, Laura Gallagher and Christina Payne will attend the four day event which focusses on cutting edge research in the drug delivery field. Sessions include Biologically Active Excipients and Carriers, the Delivery of Drug Combinations, Cell Therapy, and Medical Devices. The conference will feature plenary talks from research leaders including the world's foremost inventor of drug delivery technologies Prof Robert Langer (MIT) and Prof Henry Brem (Johns Hopkins University), inventor of Gliadel® wafers for intra-operative delivery of chemotherapy to brain tumors.

The DKL AMCARE team will use CRS as a platform to showcase research coming out of the project. Garry is an invited speaker in the Cell Therapy session and will deliver a talk entitled "Development of Hydrogel Carriers and Delivery Systems to Improve Cellular Retention for Cardiovascular Regeneration". Eimear has a poster presentation entitled "Design and development of a minimally invasive endocardial delivery device for fast-gelling hyaluronic acid hydrogels for the treatment of myocardial infarction". Laura will also present a poster, hers is entitled "Development of fuctionalized hydrogels to enhance stem cell therapy for cardiac regeneration".

Aside from the AMCARE project, Christina will present a poster of her work "A site specific delivery platform for all trans Retinoic Acid in pulmonary regeneration applications”. Christina was awarded the UK and Ireland Controlled Release Society (UKICRS) Travel Prize to fund her attendance of the conference.

June 26th-30th 2017 - DKL attend TERMIS meeting in Davos, Switzerland

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Duffy Kelly Labs members Joanne O'Dwyer and Christina Payne were in beautiful Davos, Switzerland for the Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS) European Chapter Meeting 2017. The theme of this years conference was "Personalised Therapies for Regenerative Medicine".

Christina gave a talk in the “Advanced Materials for Cell and Biologics Delivery” session entitled: “A site specific delivery platform for all trans Retinoic Acid in pulmonary regeneration applications”. Joanne had a poster presentation entitled "Investigation of the use of Bioinspired, Star-shaped Polypeptides to Enhance Delivery of Stem Cells and Regenerative Proteins to the Ischaemic Myocardium".

Christina and Joanne were joined by colleagues from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at RCSI (pictured). Huge congratulations to TERG Post-Doc Dr Irene Mencía Castaño, who won the Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS) Oral Presentation Competition for her talk "MicroRNA therapeutics for improved bone repair: Effective collagen-nanohydroxyapatite scaffold mediated delivery to mesenchymal stem cells and rat calvarial defects". Irene presented work from her PhD which was co-supervised by TERG leader Prof Fergal O'Brien and DKL's Prof Garry Duffy.

June 27th-29th 2017 - DKL attend "Anatomists on the Edge" Conference at NUIG, Laura scoops oral presentation prize

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Duffy Kelly Labs were well represented at the Anatomical Society and American Association of Anatomists "Anatomists on the Edge" conference, which was held at NUI Galway. DKL members (l-r) Dr Andrew Cameron, Dr Eimear Dolan, David Monahan, Prof Garry Duffy, Laura Gallagher and Ruth Levey were in attendance for the three day conference which attracted a varied audience of clinicians, healthcare professionals, medical device professionals and bioengineers. The conference featured talks from research leaders in the broad field of anatomical science from all over the world. Laura Gallagher picked up a prize for her oral presentation "An injectable hyaluronic hydrogel modified with RGD to enhance stem cell delivery to the infarcted heart" in the Biomaterials and Biomimetics session, which was chaired by Prof Duffy. The work was carried out as part of the AMCARE project in the Tissue Engineering Reseearch Group (TERG), RCSI.


June 20th-23rd 2017 - Garry and Liam attend IPITA 2017 hosted by DRIVE colleagues in Oxford

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DKL's Liam McDonough (pictured far left) and Prof Garry Duffy participated in the 16th International Congress of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association (IPITA), the most important conference for research in the field of islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes. IPITA 2017 was hosted by DRIVE project Principal Investigator Prof Paul Johnson and his team from the Oxford Consortium for Islet Transplantation. Also in attendance at the meeting were DRIVE colleagues Prof Giulio Ghersi, CEO of biotech company Abiel (3rd from left), Drs Heide and Daniel Brandhorst (Senior Researchers, Oxford Consortium for Islet Transplantation ) and Prof Federico Bertuzzi (Clinical Islet Transplantation Group Leader at Niguarda Hospital, Milan). Liam was presenting a poster on DRIVE's ß-Gel, a biomaterial hydrogel for islet encapsulation. Prof Duffy chaired an oral session on islet encapsulation and biomaterial scaffolds.


June 8th 2017 - Dr Aamir Hameed graduates with MD at RCSI Conferring

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Dr Aamir Hameed was one of 42 graduates to recieve a higher degree at the June 2017 Conferring Ceremony held at Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin. Aamir completed his MD at RCSI while researching ‘Enhancement of Stem Cell Delivery to the Heart following a Myocardial Infarction’ under supervision of Prof Garry Duffy and Dr Helena Kelly (both pictured) and Dr Eduardo Ruiz Hernandez. For his work on the AMCARE project, Aamir won 2nd Prize in the 2015 Cleveland Clinic and Enterprise Ireland Clinical Innovation Awards. Aamir is now pursuing a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Cardiovascular Research Center, School of Medicine, NUIG in affiliation with CURAM - the National SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices. His project is on novel device-based solutions for the treatment of acute heart failure and is supervised by Dr Faisal Sharif.


Opportunity to train as ICAT funded Clinician Scientist at the Duffy Lab NUIG

The Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme is a a unique all-Ireland cross-institutional, comprehensive national programme for Clinician Scientists based at Ireland's major Universities and affiliated hospitals. The ICAT Programme is funded by The Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board (HRB). Candidates with a medical qualification (MB BS, MB BCh or equivalent) and who have successfully completed the relevant College/Faculty Membership exam or part thereof (e.g. MRCP (UK) or MRCPI (RoI)) or equivalent relevant postgraduate certifications necessary for participation in the relevant specialist training programme are eligible.

The ICAT Fellowship is an integrated programme spanning 6-7 years of seamless, supported and mentored academic and clinical training targeting future academic leaders. Upon completion of the Programme, Fellows will obtain both PhD and CCST. Moreover, training emphasis will shift as the programme proceeds from how to begin a research career as a PhD candidate, followed by successful completion of the PhD, to establishing independence, through novel thought and independent research funding. Peer-interaction, collaboration and knowledge transfer from ICAT's affiliated panel of international advisors lie at the centre of the programme and how it achieves these complete training goals. Successful applicants will receive PhD registrsaiton fees, a salary, an academic appointment as Clinical Lecturer (or equivalent) and a contribution towards research consumables. More information is available here.

Prof Garry Duffy is one of the ICAT Supervisors, and his project on offer provides a chance for the Fellow to perform academic research at NUIG on anti-fibrotic diabetes reversing implants as part of the DRIVE project. A candidate with a background in transplant immunology and /or type 1 diabetes would be ideal. Applications to the ICAT Programme are opening in September 2017 for a start date in summer 2018.

May 25th 2017 - Tissue Engineering Research Group wins Irish Research Lab of the Year 2017

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RCSI's Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) was named the Research Laboratory of the Year 2017 at the annual Irish Laboratory Awards. The TERG team were presented with the award at the gala awards luncheon which was held at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin. Since 2013 the Irish Laboratory Awards have recognised excellence in the Irish laboratory sector. The awards celebrate the ongoing work of top Irish scientists in growing and developing Ireland's scientific research and innovation capacity on a sustainable, globally competetive scale.

This is the first time that TERG has received the award. The Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) is a large, multidisciplinary reserch group composed of around 60 tissue engineers, cell biologists, pharmacists, surgeons and materials scientists based in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The focus of the group is the development and translation of cell and advanced biomaterial based therapies to "help the body heal itself". The group also has strong links to the biomed/biotech industry in Ireland through the nationl SFI and industry co-funded research Centres AMBER and CURAM. Duffy Kelly Labs Principal Investigators Prof Garry Duffy and Dr Helena Kelly are both long standing PI members of the TERG, as are all RCSI-based members of Duffy Kelly Labs.

Pictured above at the awards are TERG members (left to right) Prof Fergal J O'Brien (TERG leader and Prof of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine), Mr Vincent McDonagh (TERG Lab Manager), Dr Tanya Levingstone (TERG Honorary Lecturer), Mr John O' Brien (Lab Manager & RCSI Institute of Research), Ms Sarah Casey (TERG Research Coordinator), Prof Garry Duffy (TERG Honorary Professor of Regenerative Medicine), Dr Cian O'Leary (TERG Lecturer & PI) and Dr Cathal Kearney (TERG Lecturer & PI).

Duffy Lab to welcome new EDGE Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Scott Robinson

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Dr Scott T. Robinson, currently a vascular surgery resident at the University of Michigan, has been awarded an EDGE fellowship to pursue an interdisciplinary and intersectoral research project in the field of bioengineering and therapeutics.  Scott will begin his 2 year fellowship in the Duffy Lab at NUIG in July 2017, under the supervision of Prof Garry Duffy.

EDGE Fellowships are for experienced researchers of any nationality, seeking to come to an Irish 3rd level institute for a prestigious career development fellowship. EDGE aims to form the next generation of thought leaders and develop their skill set to actively interact, collaborate and engage with industry. EDGE research fellows will have the opportunity to work closely with their choice of academic and industry partners relevant to their research, training and professional career development objectives. The EDGE fellowships are co-funded by the AMBER Centre and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713567.

Scott’s project will focus on the design of a pro-angiogenic drug delivery platform that will 1) enhance strategies for transplantation of pancreatic islet cells for treatment of diabetes mellitus and 2) will augment diabetic wound healing. The project will combine his research experience in biomedical engineering with his skills in vascular surgery. Scott will also complete a secondment to Cook Medical, which will facilitate training on the R&D process for vascular devices in a relevant industrial setting. The EDGE fellowship will further facilitate his transition to a career as an independent surgeon-scientist through intersectoral training and networking opportunities available in the AMBER national research centre at TCD.

April 23rd-24th 2017 - Joanne and Rita present at All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Conference in Cork , Joanne wins best oral presentation... again!

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Erasmus student Rita Ibañez and PhD student Joanne O'Dwyer both gave oral presentations at the 39th All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Conference in University College Cork (UCC). The annual conference is a showcase for the best young researchers from across the 5 Schools of Pharmacy on the island of Ireland. Rita's presentation was entitled "Development of a functionalized biomaterial to support pancreatic islet viability in transplantation" and focused on her work on the DRIVE project. Rita (pictured above) is a visiting undergraduate biology student from the University of Aveiro, Portugal. She is completing her final year traineeship in biomaterials for cell delivery at RCSI under the supervision of Dr Helena Kelly. Rita is funded by the EU under the Erasmus Programme and the DRIVE project. Joanne again won the Best Oral Presentation prize for her talk entitled "The Formulation of a Nanoparticle Loaded Hydrogel System for Sustained Delivery of an Angiogenic Growth Factor to the Ischaemic Myocardium", completing a trifecta of wins for her this year! Joanne's research is funded under the SFI TREND (TRanslational REsearch in Nanomedical Devices) Project and she is supervised by Profs Sally Ann Cryan, Garry Duffy and Andreas Heise at RCSI.

April 3rd-4th 2017 - Joanne wins best oral presentation award at 2nd European Nanomedicine Meeting in London

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PhD student Joanne O'Dwyer won the Best Oral Presentation prize for her talk entitled "The Development of Bioinspired Star-Shaped Polypeptide Based Nanoparticles for Sustained Delivery of an Angiogenic Growth Factor to the Ischaemic Myocardium". The 2nd European Nanomedicine Meeting and was hosted by the British Society for Nanomedicine in King’s College London on April 3rd and 4th. Joanne's research is funded under the SFI TREND (TRanslational REsearch in Nanomedical Devices) Project and she is supervised by Profs Sally Ann Cryan, Garry Duffy and Andreas Heise at RCSI. This is the second prestigous prize Joanne has won this year, after taking home the BINI Bronze Medal in January.

March 23rd – 24th 2017 - DRIVE General Assembly takes place in Utrecht, Netherlands

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Duffy Kelly Lab led EU Consortium DRIVE held it's month 22 General Assembly meeting at one of the oldest Universities in Europe, Utrecht University, Netherlands. The main focus of the meeting was planning the preclinical studies to test DRIVE's "ß-System" diabetes reversing implants. Representatives of all 14 DRIVE partner organisations were in attendance at the meeting, which was organised by Karina Scheiner, a DRIVE PhD student from host partner Utrecht University, with assistance from DKL's DRIVE Programme Manager Dr Liam Burke.

January 20th 2017 - Joanne wins RAMI Bronze Medal at BinI

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PhD student Joanne O'Dwyer took home the RAMI Bronze Medal for "Best Overall Presentation" at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Section of Bioengineering (aka Bioengineering in Ireland - BinI). Joanne's presentation was entitled "The use of bioinspired, star-shaped polypeptides to create nanomaterials and hydrogels for drug and stem cell delivery to the ischaemic myocardium". Joanne's research is funded under the SFI TREND (TRanslational REsearch in Nanomedical Devices) Project and she is supervised by Profs Sally Ann Cryan, Garry Duffy and Andreas Heise at RCSI.