Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Group

Buckley Lab, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

The focus of the Buckley lab is to develop novel biomaterial, biofabrication and cell based strategies to regenerate or repair damaged tissues and restore function using minimal invasive strategies.

Conor Buckley is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Principal investigator (PI) in both the Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) national centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research (AMBER) Centre at Trinity College Dublin and Honorary Associate Professor in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has published over 80 international peer reviewed journal articles and over 180 conference publications. Buckley is a reviewer for 26 leading journals in the fields of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, an Editorial Board Member for the journals, Frontiers- Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering and serves on the International Advisory Review Board (ARB) for the Journal of Orthopaedic Research-Spine.

Buckley is also a PI on several commercial projects developing biomaterials for peripheral nerve repair and bioprinting for next generation implantable devices and tissues for orthopaedic applications. He also has experience in the commercialisation of technology including the filing and licensing of patents in relation to porous biomaterials for nerve (PCT/EP2020/083811) and cartilage tissue regeneration (EP18215447.6). In 2022, he co-founded Altach (https://altach.health), a campus spin-out company pioneering off-the-shelf cartilage scaffolds to regenerate damaged knee joints.

Prof Buckley’s laboratory has been recognised through notable honours and distinctions including the Irish Research Council (IRC) New Foundations Award, Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal, European Society of Biomechanics S.M. Perren Award. Buckley has been awarded PI funding of €3.3 million and Co-PI funding of €7.6million in the areas of biomaterials and biofabrication, intervertebral disc regeneration, cartilage/meniscus implants and nerve regeneration. In 2016, he received a Career Development Award (CDA) from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and in 2019 received a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator award to develop personalised medicine approaches to regenerate the intervertebral disc.

Current research activities: Personalised medicine and injectable gene activated biomaterials for intervertebral disc repair; Biofabrication of electroconductive ECM nerve guidance conduits; 3D printing of ECM derived meniscus implants; Predictive in silico metabolite modelling for cell-based therapies.
About Us

Dr. Marcos Barcellona

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Development and Characterisation of Injectable Gene Activated Biomaterials

Dr. Soraya Salinas

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Development of Bioinks and Biomaterials for Musculoskeletal Regeneration

Dr. Jijo Thomas

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Functionalised Injectable Extracellular Matrix Hydrogels

Emily McDonnell

PhD Candidate

In Silico Modelling and Development of Physiologically Relevant Organ Culture Systems for Assessment of Intervertebral Disc Cell-based Therapies

Tugdual Haffner

PhD Candidate

3D Printing of Fibrous Electroconductive Biomaterials with Controlled Architectures for Peripheral Nerve Repair

Niamh Wilson

PhD Candidate

Microenvironmental Profiling, Predictive Screening and In Silico Modelling for Personalised Regeneration of the Intervertebral Disc

Tara Ní Néill

PhD Candidate

Injectable Gene Activated Biomaterials to Modulate Regeneration and Inflammation of the Intervertebral Disc

Jake McDonnell

PhD Candidate

The Oestrogen-Adipokine Axis and Its Influence on Vertebral Cartilaginous End-Plate Calcification and Porosity Formation in Pre-Menopausal Females

Valerie Kersten

PhD Candidate

Functionalised Injectable Extracellular Matrix Hydrogels for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration

Daniela Silva Fischer

ERASMUS+ Visiting Internship Student

Development and Characterisation of Disc Derived Extracellular Matrix Bioinks

Alumni

Former Lab Members

INTEGRATE- Personalised Medicine for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration- Integrating Profiling, Predictive Modelling and Gene Activated Biomaterials

Project Summary: Lower back pain is a global epidemiological and socioeconomic problem. Biomaterial and cell-based therapies have been pursued for the treatment of degenerated intervertebral disc (IVD), with a number of clinical trials underway. However, the degenerated intervertebral disc has a distinct environment (e.g. altered oxygen, glucose, acidity, inflammatory cytokine levels) that is unique to an individual (i.e. patient-specific) and will ultimately determine the likelihood and rate at which regeneration can occur. A “one size fits all” approach will lead to the failure to demonstrate efficacy of advanced therapies, as they are not being designed or personalised for individual patients. This proposal envisions a future whereby advanced gene activated cell therapies are personalised (targeting regeneration or modulating inflammation) to treat back pain based on knowing the individuals unique disc microenvironment. This will be achieved through profiling of individual patient disc microenvironmental factors, with in vitro screening and in silico modelling to design cell therapies and predict regeneration outcomes (Aim 1) combined with the development of tailored functionalised gene activated biomaterials (Aim 2), to enhance matrix formation and modulate the inflammatory processes (Aim 3). Gene-based therapy offers several advantages over direct delivery of proteins or small molecules, among them the possibility of sustained efficacy and endogenous synthesis of growth factors or suppression of inflammatory factors and pathways. The platform technology (personalised gene activated biomaterials to regulate regeneration and inflammation) and knowledge (tailoring cell therapies to suit patient-specific microenvironments) generated through this research are beyond the current state-of-the-art and will provide a significant transformative scientific and clinical step change opening new horizons in minimally-invasive therapeutic strategies.

Funded by: European Research Council (ERC), Consolidator Award (CoG) (2020-2025)
Grant ID: 864104
ERC-INTEGRATE
  • Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute

Join our lab

We are always interested in expanding our research group. If you are interested in applying for funding through the Irish Research Council (www.research.ie), Science Foundation Ireland (www.sfi.ie) or Marie Curie programmes (https://marie-sklodowska-curie-actions.ec.europa.eu/) please contact me directly (conor.buckley@tcd.ie) to discuss.