Oct 11 2010 Posted: 00:00 IST
A first year postgraduate researcher at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, (NFB) at NUI Galway, was recently awarded the best podium presentation at the 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials. Bill Daly received the award at the Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) which was held in Tampere, Finland. The research is funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Proof of Concept scheme and focuses on developing a three-dimensional construct to study neural tissue regeneration in vitro. The award-winning presentation is entitled 'A Three Dimensional in vitro Model for the Assessment of Neurite Growth'. The project investigates how alterations on the surfaces of implantable materials can modify the growth of nerve cells. This is relevant to peripheral nerve repair studies. To test the effects of modifying the surfaces, Bill has developed a system which uses lasers to etch patterns on the surface of the materials and then measures the resulting growth. Stimulating growth while also controlling the direction of this growth is the ultimate goal as this facilitates the re-growth of long nerve fibres. The work is co-supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis at the NFB and by Dr Claire O'Connell at the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA). NCLA researcher Dr Claire O'Connell says: "This is a great accomplishment for Bill. The NCLA is delighted to be involved in this research and recognises the enormous implication that this study will achieve in the neural tissue regeneration area." The 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials attracted more than 800 delegates from across the scientific and engineering disciplines as well as members from the clinical and industrial sectors. Researchers from the NFB presented nine podium presentations and two poster presentations during the event representing a significant achievement for the NFB at an international event. The European Society of Biomaterials is a non-profit scientific society whose main objective is to encourage progress in the field of biomaterials in all its aspects, including research, teaching and clinical applications, as well as to foster any other related activity. The society was founded in March 1976 and became a member of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering (IUS-BSE) at its inception in 1979. The ESB has approximately 750 members from 32 countries worldwide. Next year, the ESB conference will be hosted by the NFB in Dublin on 4 to 9 September, 2011 at the Convention Centre Dublin.