A new slow-motion method of controlling the synthesis of polymers, which takes inspiration from both Trees and from Celtic Knots, opens up new possibilities in areas including medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives.
Scientists at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in the National University of Galway Ireland have just published their breakthrough polymerization method in Nature Communications. Their new polymerization technique allows for the easy creation of new complex branched compounds.

NFB postgraduate researcher Dalibor Soukup is set to travel to Prague in September 2013 following his award of a travel grant from the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). The Young Investigator Stipend will enable Dalibor to present at the prestigious neuroscience conference which is to be held from the 11th to the 14th of September.

The NUI Galway - UL Alliance recently held their Third Annual Engineering, Informatics and Science Research Day at NUI, Galway. The Alliance is a collaboration between the Faculty of Science & Engineering, University of Limerick, and the College of Engineering & Informatics and College of Science in the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Congratulations to Ben Newland and Maciek Doczyk for making the cover of ACS (American Chemical Society) Chemical Neuroscience April’s issue. Ben’s paper describes his efforts to make a synthetic agent that can deliver DNA to neuronal cells without the need of a virus. His work shows that an entirely new structure of polymer, consisting of single chains wrapped upon themselves in a "knot" structure, allows efficient delivery of DNA to neuronal cells. Specifically, using the knot polymer, he delivered the glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) encoding gene to inhibitory astrocytes. Astrocytes are one of the most abundant cell types of the CNS and, upon injury, they can become inhibitory to the growth of surrounding neurons.

Michael Monaghan has been awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship by the European Commission. The highly competitive Intra European Fellowship (IEF) will enable Michael to undertake exciting new post-doctoral research on laser optotransfection for stem cell reprogramming. He will hold the fellowship at the Fruanhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, Stuttgart, Germany, where he will work with leading biomaterials scientist Professor Katja Schenke-Layland.

NFB postgraduate researcher Shane Browne has been awarded a travel fellowship by the European Molecular Biology Organization to advance his research for the treatment of myocardial infarction (MI).

CLAIRE O'CONNELL, THE IRISH TIMES, 7th FEBRUARY 2013
Major strides are being made in replenishing some of the simpler body parts such as bladders and airways. It’s a tailored situation, and the biomaterials need to be responsive and to understand or communicate to the body.
In the future we might be growing organs such as hearts and livers in the lab for transplants, rather than waiting for donors. Or maybe injecting "smart" materials into the body to tackle injury or chronic disease.

NFB Increased Five-Fold Initial Exchequer Funding and Spins Out New Company
The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a multidisciplinary research group based in NUI Galway, is celebrating the award of its fifth successful coordinated EU grant. Over the past two years NFB has secured €14.2 million in EU coordinated grants.

Biomaterials for human tissue engineering, drug delivery applications, dental and bone fillers, and wound dressings

A new generation of ‘green’ biomaterials are to be sourced from the Atlantic Ocean by a team of scientists across Europe. As part of the project, two research groups based at the National University of Ireland Galway have received funding of over €0.5 million euro to investigate the potential use of such marine materials for applications in the biomedical industry.

Congratulations to Michael Monaghan, a fourth-year PhD researcher, who has been elected Chair-Elect to the European Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS) Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS). Michael’s tenure commenced on January 1st and the term will be for a three-year period.