Duffy Kelly Labs News 2016

November 28th – December 1st 2016 AMCARE/DRIVE Winter School takes place in Galway



Duffy Kelly Labs EU projects AMCARE and DRIVE organised a Winter School training event: "Translational Reality of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs)" in the Galway Bay Hotel. Both projects are focused on the development of combined advanced therapy products (cell therapy products combined with a medical device). The training at the Winter School covered all the steps involved in the translation of ATMPs from the lab to the marketplace including: strategic engagement with industry, IP protection, GMP-compliant stem cell manufacture, preclinical validation of medical devices and clinical validation of cell therapy products, attracting venture capital and business planning and navigating the regulatory environment for ATMPs. Invited speakers included experts from the AMCARE and DRIVE Consortium partners, collaborators from NUIG and regulators from the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). Attendees also visited the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland at NUIG, Ireland's only GMP-compliant stem cell manufacturing facility, and Boston Scientific Ltd.'s ISO 14001-certified medical device research and manufacturing site in Ballybrit, Galway, the largest manufacturing facility in Boston Scientific's global network.

November 2016 - AMCARE research featured in The Translational Scientist

TTS_Garry_DuffyProf Garry Duffy was interviewed for an article in November 2016 edition of The Translational Scientist magazine entitled Biomaterials at the Heart of Regeneration. The article details research being carried out in the AMCARE project to deliver cardiac stem cells to the heart to regenerate damaged tissue after a Myocardial Infaction (MI).

November 18th 2016 – Laura wins award at Matrix Biology Ireland Conference

Anatomical Society funded RCSI PhD student Laura Gallagher’s talk was awarded joint runner-up for best oral presentation at the Matrix Biology Ireland 2016 Meeting which was held in Galway’s Meyrick Hotel on 16-18th November. Laura’s presentation was entitled “Development of functionalised hydrogels to enhance stem cell delivery and integration into the ischaemic myocardium”. Laura is pictured above receiving her award from President of the MBI Executive Committee Prof Fabio Quondamatteo and with her supervisor Prof Garry Duffy.


November 2016 – Aamir gets his MD

Dr Aamir Hameed, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon working in Garry Duffy’s lab recently received approval of his thesis by the examiners for the award of MD (Doctor of Medicine) by research in cardiovascular regenerative medicine. His work was focussed on advanced drug delivery strategies to promote stem cell survival following delivery to the infarcted heart. He was supervised by Prof Garry Duffy, Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Eduardo Ruiz Hernandez at RCSI.


November 2016 – Aamir’s paper is published in Annals of Surgery

Dr Aamir Hameed and Prof Garry Duffy along with cardiothoracic colleagues published their viewpoint on a promising novel catheter for intracardiac septal defect closure developed by Ellen Roche et al. The article entitled “Tissue Engineered solutions for Intracardiac septal defects: A large step forward in an unmet clinical need” was published as a Letter-Preliminary Report/Technique ahead-of-print in Annals of Surgery in November 2016.


October 2016 – AMCARE Patient Panel takes place at CROI Galway

AMCARE held a Patient Panel for people suffering with cardiovascular disease in the Croi headquarters in Galway on the 19th October 2016. One of AMCARE’s goals is to integrate patients in the early development of a new CVD treatment. Dr Helena Kelly facilitated on the evening, conversation was encouraged and diverse science presentations were given to participants by Prof Garry Duffy and AMCARE’s cardio thoracic surgeon Prof Stephen Wildhirt (pictured). Patients were then able to question the experts with whatever questions or concerns that they had. The main goals were to get patient’s opinions on AMCARE’s technology and integrate their hopes, fears and expectations into the research, to enhance patient understanding of the research, to encourage acceptance of the new scientific methods and to get participant’s recommendations to the scientific world, to industry, regulators and the public. It was a very successful evening with a group of insightful and knowledgeable participants who gave great insight into the needs and desires of those who have experienced a heart attack. 


13th October 2016 - Garry bids farewell to RCSI after 9 years


Tributes were paid to Prof Garry Duffy by colleagues and friends from RCSI to recognise his 9 years of service. Garry was appointed Honorary Professor of Regenerative Medicine, which will facilitate his continued collaboration with the RCSI faculty. He is pictured here receiving a commemorative staff photo from Head of RCSI Anatomy Department Prof Clive Lee with RCSI Director of Research Prof Raymond Stallings.

3-4th October 2016 - DRIVE General Assembly Vitoria-Gasteiz

The DRIVE project held its 18 month General Assembly meeting in Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of the Basque Country, Spain. The meeting was hosted by DRIVE partner CIBER-BBN at the University of the Basque Country. The General Assembly meeting was preceded by a research symposium on the morning of October 3rd. RCSI’s DRIVE Programme Manager Dr Liam Burke presented an overview of the DRIVE project to an audience of University staff and students and invited guests from the diabetes community and the local press. Invited speaker and CIBER-BBN collaborator Dr Belen Alvarez Palomo from the University of Barcelona then presented her work on "Production of clinical grade Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and application for cell therapy for diabetes".

The General Assembly meeting, which followed over the next day and a half, focused on progressing plans for development of DRIVE's β-Gel and β-Shell diabetes reversing implant technologies. In the evening, DRIVE Consortium members were treated to a guided tour of the historic city centre and a traditional Basque dining experience.


3rd October 2016 - Garry takes up his new role at NUI Galway

Garry Duffy began his new role as Personal Professor of Anatomy at NUIG. It represents a homecoming of sorts, as this is where Garry's academic journey started during his undergradudate degree in Anatomy and his PhD studies at the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUIG.


2nd October 2016 – Hugh’s Lipogel paper is published in Acta Biomaterialia

Research led by AMBER Post Doc Dr Hugh O’Neill was published by Acta Biomaterialia. The "Lipogel" paper, entitled ‘A stimuli responsive liposome loaded hydrogel provides flexible on-demand release of therapeutic agents’ describes a novel approach combining lysolipid-based thermosensitive liposomes and an injectable chitosan hydrogel matrix, for the spatiotemporal release of multiple therapeutic agents.


1st October 2016 – Chemogel Project kicks off

The Chemogel project was officially launched with a kick-off meeting. The project is led by Dr Helena Kelly and is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union under Enterprise Ireland's Commercialisation Fund no. CF-2016-0431-P. It will seek to develop a novel hydrogel-based system for intratumoural delivery of chemotherapeutics. Two new Post-Doctoral researchers Dr Soujanya Ratna Edupuganti  and Dr Frederick McMahon were hired to work on the Chemogel project. They will join PhD student Seona Rossi.


12th September 2016 – Medical Science Course 2016 at RCSI

AMCARE and DRIVE featured workshops of their technologies during a two week industry focused workshop. During the course, attendees took part in a series of demonstrations of materials and medical devices and their applications in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In addition, attendees received a series of lectures on the translation of these technologies to the clinic.


28th July 2016 – DRIVE Patient Panel takes place at RCSI, Dublin

Patient_Panel_logoAt the DRIVE Patient Panel in Dublin diabetes patients or parents/spouses of diabetes patients discussed the potential risks, benefits, challenges and opportunities for DRIVE’s β-System diabetes reversing implant technology with scientific and medical experts from the DRIVE Consortium. The panel was facilitated by RCSI Lecturer Michelle Flood. Patient comments, opinion and suggestions for improvement to the technology are summarised in the Patient Panel report, which can be downloaded here.

27th July 2016 - Garry presents AMCARE project at ESOF, Manchester

ESOF_logoProf Garry Duffy attended the EuroScience Open Forum Convention in Manchester. Garry presented on the AMCARE project in a session entitled 'Biomaterials for Healthy Hearts'. 


25th July 2016 – BT Young Scientist Winners visit RCSI

A group of students from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, who were all the recipients of main awards at this year's BT Young Scientist competition, visited the RCSI from July 25th - 29th. The five students attended talks and demonstrations provided by a number of different groups in RCSI including Surgical Affairs, Medical Simulation, the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Anatomy. This included an overview of the AMCARE and DRIVE programmes and a tour of the respective research labs.


11th June 2016 - Garry invited to speak at MBE, Athens

MBE_logoProf Garry Duffy travelled to Athens, Greece, as an invited speaker at the 2nd Matrix Biology Europe (MBE) Conference, June 11th - 14th. Garry's lecture entitled "Living implants to reverse disease: Diabetes Reversing Implants for long term Viability and Efficacy (DRIVE)", was part of the "Tissue Engineering from a matrix perspective" session, which highlighted the use of extracellular matrix (ECM)-like biomaterials in tissue engineering and discussed challenges.


June 2016- Public Outreach Talk in Croi Heart and Stroke Charity Headquarters

Dr Janice O’Sullivan gave a talk to an audience of patients suffering from cardiovascular disease and their family members in the Croi Heart and Stroke Charity Headquarters in Galway. The talk was simply entitled “Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration”. It outlined what happens when someone has a heart attack, what stem cells are and their regenerative capacity, biomaterials, delivery methods and what AMCARE’s proposal is. It ended in explaining AMCARE’s goals, one of which is to integrate patients in the early development of a new CVD treatment. From this patients were recruited to take part in a CVD patient panel which was organised for 19th October 2016.


1st June 2016 – Eduardo departs to become Independent Investigator

Dr Eduardo Ruiz-Hernandez left his role as Senior Research Fellow to take up a new independent role as a Principal Investigator in RCSI School of Pharmacy. Eduardo was awarded a grant from the Pirbright Institute to carry out the research project “Development of a novel mesoporous silica nanoparticle sensing spray for rapid detection of viral diseases” funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). A new addition to Eduardo’s team is Dr Carmen Coll, who was awarded a Marie Sklowdowska Curie Actions Individual Fellowship to carry out a 2 year project “Theragel” with Eduardo as supervisor. Carmen will collaborate with the Duffy Kelly Lab over her 2 year Theragel MSCA fellowship which looks at using HA gels from the AMCARE/DRIVE programmes coupled with on demand drug release technologies to treat Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).


18th May 2016 - Helena wins EI Commercialisation Fund for Chemogel

Dr Helena Kelly was awarded an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund grant of €191k to carry out work on Chemogel, a hydrogel-based platform technology for the local delivery of chemotherapeutics to tumours. Helena will be Principal Investigator on the project with collaboration from Prof Garry Duffy and RCSI School of Pharmacy’s Dr Ben Ryan.


16th-17th May 2016 – DRIVE General Assembly, Venice


The 12 month DRIVE General Assembly meeting was held in Venice, Italy hosted by partner Explora Biotech. Progress on the development of DRIVE’s β-System diabetes reversing implant was discussed by the partners in attendance.

PJ_Venice SS_Venice

The meeting also included clinical insight into pancreatic islet transplantation from Prof Paul Johnson (University of Oxford) and diabetes from Prof Seamus Sreenan (RCSI) (above) and a training workshop on Science Communication delivered by Donato Ramani (below)



12th-13th May 2016 - AMCARE General Assembly takes place in Venice


The AMCARE Month 30 General Assembly meeting took place in Venice, Italy on the 12th and 13th of May 2016. Several people from each partner institution partook in the meeting which resulted in a very successful meeting with open communication and good discussion. The next General Assembly meeting (Month 38) will take place in Galway, Ireland on the 1st and 2nd of December 2016.


5th May 2016 - Garry invited to speak at Regenerative Medicine Conference, RCSI Bahrain


Prof Garry Duffy joined TERG colleagues Prof Fergal O’Brien and Ms Paula Fox as invited speakers at the International Regenerative Medicine Symposium entitled “Regenerative medicine for tissue healing: Applications in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer, skin and wound healing” in RCSI Bahrain. The symposium was organised by Dr Michael Keogh, TERG PI based in RCSI Bahrain.


April 2016 – AMCARE and DRIVE presented at Inspirefest Fringe Dublin


Duffy Kelly Lab's researchers demonstrated the DRIVE and AMCARE projects to the tech-savvy attendees of Inspirefest Fringe 2016 in Dublin.


3rd March 2016 – RCSI MyHealth Lecture “The Rise and Rise of Diabetes in Ireland”

MyHealth_GDThe first in the 2016 series of RCSI MyHealth public lectures was chaired by Prof Garry Duffy and featured expert speakers from the DRIVE Consortium. The topic was the rise of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in Ireland and what the public can do to reduce their risk of developing the disease. DRIVE Programme Manager Dr Liam Burke helped the RCSI Communications team to organise the event, as part of the RCSI MyHealth committee. The overall RCSI MyHealth campaign was recognised with a nomination at the Awards for PR Excellence and for “Best Public Health Initiative” at the Irish Healthcare Awards. Videos of the lectures are available on RCSI’s YouTube channel


5th of February 2016 – Will starts research placement at Harvard


William Whyte, an AMBER funded PhD student supervised by Prof Gary Duffy, started a 6 month research placement in the Wyss institute, Harvard University. This placement was part of a collaboration with the Harvard BioDesign Lab led by Prof. Conor Walsh and the Mooney Lab led by Prof. David Mooney, and focused on the development of a medical device for the delivery of stem cells to the heart. Will is pictured above (far left) at the BioDesign Lab trip to the New Hampshire White Mountains and below at the Boston Triathlon 2016.



22nd January 2016 - Will scoops Early Stage Researcher award at BinI

will_wins_BinIMr William Whyte, a Duffy Kelly Labs PhD student supervised by Prof Gary Duffy, was awarded the prize for best poster/oral presentation in the Early Stage Research category at at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (commonly known as Bioengineering in Ireland, or simply BinI), which was held in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on the 22nd-23rd of January. Will's work, which was entitled "Sustained release of targeted cardiac therapy with a replenishable, implantable reservoir", is co-supervised by Dr Bruce Murphy, Trinity College Dublin, and was carried out in collaboration with Dr Ellen Roche while at the Harvard Biodesign Lab, headed by Prof Conor Walsh. Will is pictured (far left) with TERG colleagues and fellow BinI prize winners Alan Ryan, Fionnula O'Gorman, Claire Brougham and Prof Fergal O'Brien.


15 January 2016 – DRIVE project presented by Garry at the 3U Diabetes Conference


Prof Garry Duffy presented the DRIVE project to the attendees of the 3U Diabetes Research conference at RCSI. The 3U is a collaboration between DCU, RCSI and Maynooth Universities all of whom are active in the diabetes research field. Garry presented alongside international experts from Europe and the USA at the conference which was chaired by 3U Diabetes Consortium Investigator Prof Seamus Sreenan.


December 2015 - Garry wins SFI Industry Fellowship Award

SFI_logoProf Garry Duffy was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Industry Fellowship Award worth €63k to pursue a project with leading medical device company Boston Scientific Ireland Ltd. Garry will work in the corporate research team alongside DRIVE colleagues in Boston Scientific's manufacturing plant in Galway from January to September 2016 on his project "Specialised Medical Devices for Biomaterials Based Therapeutic Delivery to the Abdomen". The fellowship is funded by SFI under grant number 15/IFA/3053.