Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Welcome to the Tissue Engineering Research Group


Tissue Engineering Research Group Logo 

  Twitter Logo                               Facebook Logo        

                           

Tissue Engineering Research Group 2014
                                        TERG, May 2014

 

The RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) is a large multidisciplinary research group focused on the development of cell and advanced biomaterial-based strategies for the repair and regeneration of bone, cartilage, cardiovascular, ocular, respiratory and neural tissues. In addition to the Department of Anatomy, it works closely with the School of Pharmacy and Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) Department in RCSI and the Centre for Bioengineering in Trinity College Dublin (TCBE).  It is also part of the €58million Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre which is focused on developing advanced next generation materials and medical devices in partnership with industry. 

Prinicpal Investigators

Prof. Clive Lee

(Head of Department) 

tclee@rcsi.ie

Prof. Fergal O'Brien

(Head of Group)

fjobrien@rcsi.ie 
Prof. Garry Duffy garryduffy@rcsi.ie
Dr. Orlaith Brennan obrennan1@rcsi.ie
Prof. Sally Ann Cryan scryan@rcsi.ie
Dr. Helena Kelly helenakelly@rcsi.ie
Dr. Cathal Kearney cathalkearney@rcsi.ie
Dr. Steve Kerrigan  skerrigan@rcsi.ie
Prof. John O'Byrne johnmobyrne@rcsi.ie
Dr. Cian O'Leary cianoleary@rcsi.ie
Dr. Caroline Curtin carolinecurtin@rcsi.ie


TERG Research 

The TERG carries out a diverse range of research in collaboration with numerous academic partners including the Regenerative Medicine Institute, REMEDI, based at NUI Galway, the Trinity Cente for Bioengineering, TCBE, based at Trinity College Dublin, as well as internally with Prof. Sally Ann Cryan and Dr. Helena Kelly of the School of Pharmacy and the department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics. In addition to our academic collaborators we are proud to have numerous clinical collaborators in specialties including orthopaedics, otolaryngology, cardiovascular medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.

 
Fluorescent Cells
 
MicroCT Scaffold Reconstruction
 
Fluorescent Cells 2

The Tissue Engineering Research Group at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland utilises biomaterials expertise to develop construct and living system technologies that can restore the structural and functional properties of damaged or degenerated tissue types, whilst also trying to expand fundamental understanding in the fields of mechanobiology and osteoporosis.

 

 

Microvessels in a collagen GAG scaffold

 

 

 

Microdamage in compact bone

 

 

 

In-vivo fluorochrome labelled compact bone

 

Clinical Applications

Osteochondral Repair -Individual collagen-glycoaminoglycan scaffolds developed specifically for bone and cartilage repair, have been combined into multi-layered scaffolds through novel fabrication procedures and are currently being assessed with respect to their capacity to heal osteochondral defects.

Bone Repair - Using collagen-glycoaminoglycan or collagen-hydroxyapatite scaffolds as mimics of native extracellular matrix, ongoing research seeks to generate a vascular network within the porous structures of these scaffolds and encase this vascular network with calcified matrix to create an in-vitro fabricated bone graft substitute.

Corneal Repair - In collaboration with our partners at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology, Dublin City University, we are developing collagen- based carriers for corneal limbal stem cell transplantation.

Vascular Repair - Utilising our collagen-based scaffolds that exhibit high tensile properties, elastin has been incorporated into the composition to develop small diameter vascular grafts having compliance similar to native vessels, which are currently being optimised to promote tissue formation in vitro and facilitate healing in vivo.

Heart Valve Repair - In collaboration with Dublin Institute of Technology, novel engineering methods are being utilised to create fibrin- infused collagen based scaffolds to create 3D heart valve shaped scaffolds.

Lung and Airway Repair - In collaboration with our partners in the School of Pharmacy in RCSI and Dept of Biology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, growth factor-enhanced collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffolds are being designed for applications in respiratory drug development, disease modelling and airway regeneration.

 
MSCs acting as pericytes
 
Heart Valve Scaffold
 
Gel Embedded MLOY4 cells

This research has culminated in multiple patents and the creation of a spin out company, SurgaColl Technologies, which is currently driving forward the clinical and commercial translation of a number of these technologies.

SurgaColl

The collagen-based scaffolds derived from the aforementioned research now form the foundation from which numerous second generation tissue engineering and regenerative medicine products or model systems are being developed:

Targeted Bio-therapeutic Delivery Platforms - In collaboration with a number of partners including the School of Pharmacy, RCSI, these scaffolds are being developed into targeted drug delivery platforms via the incorporation of bio-therapeutics such as drugs, proteins, peptides, genes and microRNA, thereby accelerating the healing capacity of these constructs. Furthermore, the group is pursuing the development of novel non-viral delivery vectors such as nano-hydroxyapatite, chitosan and PEI that can be used independently or in conjunction with the collagen-based scaffolds to enhance gene or microRNA delivery to cells.

In-vitro Model Systems of Disease - In conjunction with the Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics Dept., RCSI, the dynamic interaction between bacteria and bone cells during infection is being elucidated by utilising these collagen-based scaffolds to create a simplified in-vitro model system of bone. Additionally, incorporation of calcium phosphates into these collagen-based scaffolds is being utilised to gain insight into the behaviour of breast carcinoma cells in pseudo un-mineralised and mineralised environments.

 
Particle Loaded Scaffold
 
Cell bridging scaffold pore
 
Fibrin Loaded Scaffold

Mechanobiology Research

Research in the group, carried out in collaboration with David Hoey, is focused on the role of both cytoskeletal deformation and primary cilia as sensory mechanisms of mechanotransduction employed by mesenchymal stem cells, osteoblasts and osteocytes. Our lab is specifically interested in identifying genes that are mechanically augmented in response to shear stress and how these genes subsequently regulate the recruitment and differentiation of cell subsets that are crucial to bone formation and resorption processes. Furthermore, we are interested in elucidating how the mechanosensitivity of these cells is altered in disease states such as osteoporosis.

 
Flow Perfusion bioreactor
 
Bioreactor Schematic
 
Bioreactor chamber

Osteoporosis and Bone Mechanics

This aspect of our research focuses on bone biomechanics and osteoporosis. We are particularly focused on bone quality and the disparity between bone mineral density (BMD) and bone fragility. Hierarchical studies of healthy and diseased bone, from whole bone mechanical testing down to gene expression analysis, identify early changes in the disease pathway. In conjunction with basic research, we are working with industry partners to validate new diagnostic tools and early stage management of osteoporosis. The information gained in these studies is also being used to improve our ability to replace damaged or diseased bone in patients.

 
Normal and Osteoporotic Bone 

 AMBER
The tissue engineering research group is also part of the AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) Centre, a SFI and industry-funded centre providing a partnership between leading researchers in materials science and industry. By linking industry to research programmes including novel data processing and memory applications, diagnostics, drug delivery systems and regenerative tissue engineering, the aim of the centre is to develop products that can directly impact quality of life such as the development of next generation computer chips and new medical implants and pharmaceuticals that will improve patient care. AMBER is jointly hosted by CRANN and the TCBE, in collaboration with UCC and RCSI.