Thursday, 5 February 2009

Morphing cells into body parts

Scientists at NUI Galway have made it on to the front cover of a prestigious journal with their research into controlling ‘tissue engineering’

By its very nature tissue engineering is exceptionally multidisciplinary, says Prof Peter McHugh who heads NUI Galway’s department of mechanical and biomedical engineering. He and PhD candidate Adam Stops joined Prof Patrick Prendergast and Dr Louise McMahon in Trinity College Dublin’s centre for bioengineering in a research project that reflects the complexity of tissue engineering.

Their work has had a huge impact, providing the cover story in the current issue of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “The project fits into the whole area of tissue engineering and regeneration,” says McHugh, who is also the research cluster leader for biomechanics within Galway’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science.

It is all about growing skin, tendon, cartilage or muscle in the lab for use as replacement tissue after loss or injury. It has huge potential given the original cells would come from the recipient and so there is no question of tissue . Full details on the new research model are available at