The Project: This is an ERC Starting Grant funded project (RE3MODEL) aimed at addressing 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. The model will be developed using tissue characterisation, hydrogel synthesis, on-chip fabrication, testicular cell culture and spectroscopic analysis.
As part of the above outlined project, the postdoctoral researcher in Cell Biology will:
• Isolate, culture and analyse cells derived from male reproductive tissues.
• Determine the effect of cellular microenvironment on testicular cell behaviour.
• Culture and analyse testicular cells in an on-chip system.
The postdoctoral researcher in Spectroscopy will:
• Perform spectroscopic analysis of testicular cells and tissues.
• Develop a platform for automated spectroscopic analysis of tissue and cells in an on-chip system.
• Perform spectral processing and multivariant statistical modelling of the spectral data.
A doctoral degree (level 10 NFQ) in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics or a related field.
The position in Cell Biology requires at least one publication in a first quartile journal in at least one of the following three areas: 1. Isolation, culture and analysis of mammalian cells (preferably from male reproductive tissues); 2. Characterising the effect of microenvironment on cell behaviour (preferably testicular cells); 3. Culture and analysis of cells in an on-chip system (preferably testicular cells).
The position in Spectroscopy requires at least one publication in a first quartile journal in one of the following three areas:1. Spectroscopic analysis of cells and tissues (preferably testicular); 2. Automated spectroscopic analysis of cells and tissues in an on-chip system (preferably testicular); 3. Spectral processing and multivariant statistical modelling of the spectral data.
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 at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the University of Pittsburgh and Imperial College London. Dr Cunnane is interested in hands on team management with a drive to see work published or commercialised. 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’s publications can be found at Google Scholar. A recent seminar by Dr Cunnane on his research and a brief overview of the project can be found at Bernal Seminars.
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.