ERC H2020 Funded Postdoc - Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Biomaterial Scaffold
Supervisor name: Dr Cathal Kearney,
Funding Agency European Research Council (ERC) - Horizon2020 Starting Grant
Postdoc Details Salary: €36,488
Start Date: Oct 2017
Subject Area biomaterial scaffold design; induced pluripotent stem cells; tissue engineering; diabetic foot ulcers
Title of the Project Understanding the role of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived fibroblasts in skin wound healing
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 (http://www.rcsi.ie/index.jsp?p=250&n=544&a=4804) 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 extracellular matrix and release growth factors. This matrix can then be used to fabricate biomaterial scaffolds.
A postdoctoral position (specified purpose; 2 to 3 year post) is currently available in the newly renovated and expanded state-of-the-art Tissue Engineering Research Group (http://www.rcsi.ie/tissueengineering) laboratories in the main RCSI building beside St Stephen's Green. The project will focus on the assessment of the matrix and factors produced by iPSC-derived fibroblasts and of a biomaterial scaffold (developed in collaboration with a PhD student) developed from them. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with a lab in Tufts University (Boston, USA) and opportunities to undergo specialised training in that lab will be actively explored. In addition, funding is already in place for attendance at both national and international conferences. Aside from the core research project, transferable skills and career development will be strongly supported by Dr. Kearney, TERG and RCSI.
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.
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