UCD, RCSI and TCD create new biomedical engineering alliance

19 Dec 2012

(From left) Prof Fergal O'Brien from the RCSI; Dr Daniel Kelly, director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering; and Dr Liam Breen, research fellow, TCD

A new collaboration called the Dublin Biomedical Engineering Research Initiative is being launched this week by Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), with the aim of pooling resources in order to help progress new healthcare devices and technologies.

The new initiative will aim to build on more than 20 years of collaboration between TCD, the RCSI and UCD in bioengineering research and education.

Researchers in the areas of engineering, medical technologies and science from the three partner institutions will be collaborating in the Dublin Biomedical Engineering Research Initiative (DBERI).

The aim of the initiative will be to provide a focus for collaborative research, education and commercialisation activities. DBERI will also aim to increase collaborations between the medical technologies industry sector, academics and clinicians.

Stem cell-based tissue engineering, regenerative therapies for orthopaedic medicine, valve repair devices for damaged hearts and imaging systems for neurology are some of the new technologies the new initiative will lead on.

TCD’s provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said the goal will be to improve healthcare delivery via new tools, technologies and medicines.

The DBERI will help progress the design of next-generation therapies and devices, according to Prof Fergal O’Brien, head of the Bone and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI.

“The next giant leap in patient care is going to happen through the joint efforts of engineering, life sciences, medicine and pharmacy specialists, applying their expertise to expand approaches for preventing, diagnosing and treating disease and injury,” he said.

Two patented technologies from O’Brien’s laboratory in RCSI for bone and cartilage repair are already being commercialised through a spin-out campus company called SurgaColl Technologies.

The DBERI initiative will also aim to introduce innovative applications of engineering into the clinical domain. For instance, the 2011 spin-out company BiancaMed originated from research in biomedical engineering at UCD. BiancaMed has since been acquired by the multinational company ResMed.

Siliconrepublic.com is hosting Med Tech Focus, an initiative which over coming months will cover news, reports, interviews and videos, documenting Ireland’sleading role in one of the hottest sectors in technology.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic