Dilip Thomas, Doctoral Candidate at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), NUI Galway. Photo: CÚRAM
Apr 11 2017 Posted: 15:14 IST

Dilip Thomas, a Doctoral Candidate at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, has been awarded first place in the category of ‘Best Preclinical Study’ at the Journal of Wound Care Awards 2017.

The Awards recognise the important work carried out by healthcare professionals in all fields of wound care, to benchmark standards within wound care and to highlight the great contribution that nurses, clinicians, scientists, researchers and academics make to the development of wound-care research and practice.

Winners are chosen by a prominent panel of expert judges that is representative of the diversity of disciplines and organisations that make up the sector. The judges assess each entry according to its objectives, available resources and budget. Laboratory studies shortlisted for ‘Best Preclinical Study’ award represent a vital first step in evaluating wound care interventions and form the base of the evidence pyramid on which all other research is built. This category recognises the efforts of those researchers who have provided strong, evidence-based studies in wound care.

The research for which Dilip was awarded focused on the development of a microgel-based cell delivery device for the treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia (a severe obstruction of the arteries). It captures the essence of interdisciplinary research, where biomaterials have been used to enable existing stem cell-based therapies for debilitating vascular diseases such as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). One of the early and critical events in wound healing is the establishment of a robust blood supply network, to promote infiltration of new cells that replace the damaged ones. Dilip's work involved stimulation of new blood vessels, and restoration of blood supply in a pre-clinical model via delivery of human adult mesenchymal stem cells entrapped in collagen-based capsules (referred to as microgels). The research highlights how entrapment of stem cells, and subsequent cell maturation within the engineered microgels enhance the release of therapeutic cargo by the stem cells for regeneration of new blood vessels. And as a therapy, microgels would not only help faster tissue repair but also provide treatment for more patients.

Congratulating Mr Thomas on his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “I’m delighted to see our researchers recognised for their hard work. Wound healing is an important area of research at CÚRAM and I’d like to congratulate Dilip on his project and the development of new knowledge in this area.”

Commenting on his award, Dilip Thomas said: “I’m delighted to receive the award for Best Preclinical Study and it definitely serves to boost confidence in my work and to motivate further studies. It’s always nice to have your achievements recognised, particularly as I finalise my PhD this year.”

Mr Thomas received a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Mumbai, India and an MSc in Biochemical Engineering at University College London in the UK. His research interests include the development of novel functionalised biomaterials, microencapsulation and transplantation of progenitor cells to promote angiogenesis in ischemic animal models.

Journal of Wound Care award finalists were invited to attend an evening gala dinner and awards ceremony last March 2017 at The Banking Hall in London. The full shortlist of finalists for the awards is available at www.jwcawards.com/shortlist-2017

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