Laura Bree, biomedical engineering undergraduate

Laura Bree is one of 10 recipients nationwide of the inaugural SFI/Dell Young Women in Engineering scholarship awards.

Michael Keeney, Ph.D. student

Michael Keeney received the Best Poster Award at the 20th European Conference on Biomaterials (ESB2006), the most important meeting of the European biomaterials research community. His poster "Development of Hierarchies in Scaffold Architecture" (Keeney, M., Damodaran, G., Coburn, J., and Pandit, A.) stood out among 400 others at the conference in Nantes. Michael is supervised by Prof. Abhay Pandit and is an Embark Postgraduate Scholar.

Mihai Basa, Ph.D. student

Mihai Basa received the Best Poster Award at the 9th Annual Sir Bernard Crossland Symposium and Postgraduate Research Workshop, for the poster "Smoothed particle hydrodynamics-modelling without a mesh", co-authored with Marty Lastiwka and Nathan Quinlan. Mihai's research is funded by an IRCSET Basic Research Grant.

Liam Breen, Ph.D. student

Liam Breen was awarded third place in the student papers competition at the Bioengineering in Ireland 12 for the paper "Analytical, computational and experimental validation of a vascular bioreactor," co-authored by Bruce Murphy and Peter McHugh. Endothelial cells line the internal surfaces of arteries. These cells are known to dysfunction during early stages of atherosclerosis, leading to the development of hear disease. Liam's project is focused on investigating how dysfunction is related to the mechanical forces that the cells experience. A bioreactor apparatus has been designed, built and validated that simultaneously applies pulsatile stretching (from the cyclic expansion of the artery due to the cycling in blood pressure) and pulsatile shear stress (from the cyclic flow of blood in the artery) to endothelial cells. The cells are analysed biologically in terms of their production of adhesion molecules that attract white blood cells as part of the disease initiation process.

Jeff Chan, Ph.D. student

Best Podium Prize at the Annual Meeting of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons, Dublin, 2005, for the paper "Tissue Response and Degradation Properties of the Cholecyst-derived Extracellular Matrix (CEM) - a Novel Biologically-derived Material for Use in Abdominal and Thoracic Wall Defects" by J. Chan, K. Burugapalli, J. Kelly, and A. Pandit. Jeff is developing a patented extracellular matrix that can be used to repair a hernia or thoracic wall defect. He is a clinician (specialising in plastic surgery) and has taken time to finish a PhD to pursue his interests in developing biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Jeff's research is funded through the Enterprise Ireland Technology Development Programme. Jeff hopes to develop this concept to the translational phase and see a commercial technology developed from his PhD.

Ailish Breen, Ph.D. student

Ailish Breen received second prize in the student papers competition at the 12th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. Ailish is developing an optimised fibrin scaffold for delivering a therapeutic gene. The clinical application that is targeted is diabetic ulcers which have a deficiency of angiogenesis. Ailish's preliminary studies have shown that a marker gene can be delivered to the site and is taken up by cells. Ailish's study to use fibrin to deliver a viral vector is a first report of these significant findings. Her research is funded by a Basic Research Grant from the Health Research Board. Full details of the paper are: Breen, A., Barker, T., Hubbell, J., O'Brien, T., and Pandit, A. In Vivo Adenoviral Vector Gene Delivery via a Fibrin Scaffold. 12th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Galway, 2006