ERC Funded PhD - Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) and Biological Scaffolds

RCSI - Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
September 11 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Supervisor name: Dr Cathal Kearney,

Department: Anatomy

Funding Agency: European Research Council (ERC) - Horizon2020 Starting Grant

Studentship Details: Stipend of €18,500/year for 4 years and cover of EU fees

Start Date: Oct 2017

Subject Area: biomaterial scaffold design; induced pluripotent stem cells; tissue engineering; diabetic foot ulcers

Title of the Project

Development of a novel skin wound healing scaffold using induced pluritpotent stem cells.

Project Description

Although many skin wounds heal with conservative treatments, larger skin wounds or chronic wounds in patients with compromised wound healing remain a persistent clinical challenge. One example of a chronic wound, diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), are prevalent in 16.5million diabetics and 25% of diabetics will get a DFU in their lifetime; these wounds are infection-prone and have the devastating consequence of lower leg amputation. Tissue engineering approaches have been effective to some extent clinically in wound healing; however, in chronic, challenging wound cases (e.g., DFUs), the optimum biomaterial scaffold still eludes us.

A key focus in the Kearney Lab ( is the development of novel tissue engineering scaffolds and the integration of drug delivery systems that can be triggered to release signaling factors at precise timepoints into these scaffolds. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) - the reprogramming of adult cells to an embryonic-like state - offers an exciting new cell source capable of growing matrix. This matrix can then be used to fabricate biomaterial scaffolds.

This PhD project will specifically focus on, first, the growth and culture of iPSCs to generate extracellular matrix and, second, on the development and testing of a bilayered scaffold using iPSC matrix.

This fully funded 4-year PhD project will be undertaken in the newly renovated and expanded state-of-the-art Tissue Engineering Research Group ( laboratories in the main RCSI building beside St Stephen's Green. Aside from the core research project, transferable skills and career development will be strongly supported by Dr. Kearney, TERG and RCSI. In addition, funding is already in place for attendance at both national and international conferences and opportunities to undergo specialised training in collaborators laboratories in Ireland, the USA or elsewhere will be actively explored.

The Kearney Lab's ethos is to provide strong engineering, scientific and biomedical training within a nurturing and collegial environment to ensure trainees are fully prepared for (what we expect to be!) exciting careers.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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