Researcher profile

 

Professor Abhay Pandit

 

Introducing Abhay Pandit

Professor Abhay Pandit, a Professor in Biomedical Engineering, is the Director of the recently established 'Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB)'. Having joined the NCBES in 2002, he has played in immeasurable role in the development of biomaterials and tissue engineering research at NUI Galway. In recognition of the progress achieved thus far and the potential impact of research in the field of biomaterials, he received funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) which has led to the establishment of NFB, a strategic research cluster (SRC) which is an extension of the world-class biomedical research currently being carried out at the NCBES.

Establishment of NFB

“The establishment of NFB is recognition of the critical mass of Biomaterials research at NUI, Galway. It is a good example of how convergent research streams can work together on a single platform,” said Prof. Pandit.

NFB comprises a staff of 47 researchers, lecturers, students and support staff. The cluster is a multi-institutional campus-industry partnership with institutions in Ireland, Canada, Switzerland and the USA, affiliated with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) incorporating the GMP grade vector and cell production facility. The unique feature of the research carried out at NFB is that it brings together a critical mass of expertise working on a single research platform to develop the next generation of biomaterials to provide solutions for current clinical needs.

Over 20 years experience in the field of designing biodegradable biomaterials


Prof Pandit has over 20 years experience in the field of designing biodegradable biomaterials. He pursued his postgraduate degree under the guidance of Prof Dale Feldman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Feldman laboratory worked on the treatment of pressure ulcers using biomaterials for growth factor delivery, linking the laboratory to the clinic, allowing students to gain first hand experience of the clinical output of their research through interactions with clinical staff and patients. This direct clinical-patient interface was unique in the Feldman laboratory and cemented Prof Pandit's decision to continue researching biomaterials. “When I saw the opportunities that clinical translation made possible in the area of chronic wound healing, I was hooked. That my grandparents had suffered through debilitating forms of pressure ulcers made it clear that I should pursue a career in the field.”

Pandit's postgraduate work focussed on the synthesis and development of a fibrin scaffold for wound healing applications. The project involved the modification of a fibrin scaffold to deliver a therapeutic biomolecule. This work resulted in a clinical trial at the Burn Centre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Subsequent research in the Wound Care R&D Group at The Kendall Company resulted in a patent and FDA approval for a commercial wound dressing. He also led the Biomaterials Research Group at Surgical Sealants, Inc. where he received IDE approval for a collagen-based vascular sealant and he was the principal investigator for a tissue-engineered heart valve project (NIST Funded US $2M) at St. Jude Medical, Inc.

Collaborative Partnerships

Collaborative partnerships play a key role in Prof. Pandit's research. He is currently involved in a range of funded collaborative projects with Professor Mauro Alini from AO Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland, on disc repair. He collaborates with several researchers in REMEDI on designing biomaterials for gene and cell delivery, while active research collaborations have been established with Prof. Anthony Windebank's team in the Mayo Clinic on development of neural biomaterials. In addition, Prof. Pandit is working with Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (DEBRA), a charity that seeks to develop strategies towards treatment of blistering wounds in the treatment of Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society

Though very busy with the growth and development of the NFB, Prof. Pandit will host the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)-EU Meeting, to be held in Galway in 2010. This meeting will highlight the strength of tissue engineering research at NUI Galway. “TERMIS 2010 will establish Galway as a centre of excellence in biomaterials and tissue engineering research in the EU. This is the one of the largest tissue engineering meetings in the EU and to have successfully bid this event itself is recognition for all concerned at NUI Galway.”

Abhay Pandit

Professor Abhay Pandit