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Characterising male reproductive tissues for the development of accurate preclinical models


   Bernal Institute

   Wednesday, August 31, 2022  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project: This project is seeking to recruit a PhD candidate to work as part of an ERC Starting Grant funded project (alongside two postdoctoral researchers and three other PhD candidates). The overall aim of the project is to address the growing incidence of male infertility, whereby human sperm counts in western society have dropped by over 50% during the past four decades and are projected to reach zero by 2045. Identifying the underlying causes and effective treatments for male infertility requires appropriate preclinical models of the male reproductive system that accurately represent the native tissue and provide reliable and reproducible data. This project will develop a representative, reliable and reproducible preclinical model of the male reproductive system. For more project information, please contact Dr Eoghan Cunnane ().

Research Details: Candidates must have (or be in the final year of) a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics or a related field. The overall project will involve research in the following areas: (1) characterisation of biological tissue (mechanical, compositional, morphological); (2) fabrication and characterisation of tissue derived hydrogels; (3) isolation, culture and analysis of mammalian cells; (4) development of microfluidic systems; (5) spectroscopic characterisation of tissues and cells.

Start Date: From September 2022 onwards for a 4-year period; position will remain open until filled. How to Apply: Please submit CVs to . Independent PhD Fellowship applications related to the project will also be supported.

The Principal Investigator: After receiving his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Limerick, Dr Eoghan Cunnane spent time working as a Research Fellow in the Tissue Engineering Research Group at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and the Stevens Group at the Imperial College London. Dr Cunnane is interested in hands on supervision with a drive to see work published or commercialised. Dr Cunnane has previously mentored 10 PhD students across a variety of projects including tissue characterisation, medical device design, regenerative medicine, and preclinical tissue modelling. As a former MSCA Fellow and ERC Starting Grant recipient, Dr Cunnane is well positioned to offer guidance and support on academic career progression for young researchers. Dr Cunnane publication history can be found at Google Scholar. A recent seminar by Dr Cunnane on his research to date and a brief overview of the project can be found at Bernal Seminar Series.

The Institute: The team will be embedded in the Bernal Institute which consists of >400 researchers with backgrounds in pharmaceutics, chemistry, biopharmaceutics and engineering. The project will be based in the Bernal BioLabs which has award-winning infrastructure for biological applications and contains >25 principal investigators, >20 postdoctoral researcher and >50 PhD students. This project has received ERC funding to obtain dedicated equipment, thereby ensuring that the recruited team will have unimpeded access to the necessary research facilities and lab space. The BioLabs have received a Green Lab Certification from the My Green Lab program, which is considered the international gold standard in lab sustainability.


Funding Notes

This position is funded through a European Research Council Starting Grant awarded to the Lead Supervisor

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