Galway scientists to lead Horizon Europe project on biodegradable medical implants

18 May 2023

Ted Vaughan. Image: Martina Regan

The Biomend project aims to improve the usability of biodegradable materials for implants and will provide training for up to 15 PhD researchers.

Scientists at the University of Galway are to lead a €4.17m European research project that aims to develop biodegradable medical implants.

They will lead a consortium of 18 international research and academic partners. The Biomend consortium’s project is funded by Horizon Europe’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions scheme.

Dr Ted Vaughan, associate professor in Biomedical Engineering at University of Galway, is one of the project’s Irish leaders. In 2020, he was one of a group of academics that developed a drone that can sterilise a room using UV light. It was intended for use in hospital settings and was debuted mid-pandemic.

“Our goal is to develop a range of endovascular stent implants that reduce the risk of long-term complications and improve patient outcomes,” Vaughan said of Biomend.

“We are delighted to receive this funding, which allows us to bring together leading experts from across Europe to develop the next generation of biodegradable implants.”

The researchers will work to make the use of biodegradable medical implants safer. Implants made to be biodegradable can gradually degrade when they are implanted in the body. The team reckons there is potential for these materials to reduce long-term complications associated with existing stent devices.

Biomend will begin in early 2024 and it will be structured as an integrated research and training programme.

The project will provide training for up to 15 PhD researchers, who will carry out doctorates across the Biomend network.

Dr Eva Barrett, from the School of Engineering at the University of Galway, is the proposal lead and training coordinator of Biomend.

She said the training would be “industry-based” and that it will “significantly enhance the career development and employment prospects of these researchers, promoting their future development into leading innovators of medical technologies”.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.