Supervisor Database Search

Search for supervisors below. You can filter your search using the options and select
multiple fields by holding CTRL (Cmd on Mac) + clicking multiple options in a list.

Full NameProfessor Garry Duffy

Department:Discipline of Anatomy

Organisation:National University of Ireland Galway

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields

  • cell and developmental biology/regenerative medicine
  • bioengineering/medical devices

Postgrad Medical Specialties

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Paediatrics

Medical Subspecialties

  • Endocrinology
  • Immunology
  • Other

Other Medical Specialties:


My Work

Prof. Garry Duffy is an expert in cell based therapeutics and advanced biomaterials. He leads the Duffy Lab at NUIG, which is focused on developing advanced biomaterials and enabling medical devices to facilitate targeted delivery and future clinical translation of cell based therapeutics to treat chronic diseases. The Duffy Lab uses hydrogels composed of naturally occurring biocompatible polymers as cell delivery vehicles to mimic the native extracellular matrix. Hydrogels can phase transition from liquid to solid states, enabling their targeted minimally invasive delivery via catheter. The development of bespoke minimally invasive medical/surgical devices to deliver these cell therapy products is further enabled by the Lab’s strong links with the biomed/biotech industry, in particular with Boston Scientific, with whom Garry completed an Industrial Research Fellowship in 2016.

Garry coordinates the European Consortium DRIVE, which gathers 14 industrial, academic and clinical partners. The DRIVE project seeks to develop biomaterial-based implants for pancreatic islet transplantation, a very promising cell therapy that is currently only available for the most at-risk type 1 diabetes patients. This is due to a shortage of pancreas donors and a need for lifelong immunosuppression in the recipient, which brings significant risks and side effects.

Potential Projects

The proposed project will take advantage of the clinical knowledge of the PhD fellow to develop anti-fibrotic diabetes reversing implants for the DRIVE project. A candidate with a background in transplant immunology and /or type 1 diabetes would be ideal.

The DRIVE project’s main objectives are to develop advanced biomaterial implants and medical devices that will (a) reduce the number of islets needed to reverse diabetes by improving their delivery, survival and engraftment and (b) forego the need for immunosuppression, thereby making the therapy wore widely applicable as a cell therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes, including paediatric type 1 patients. The islets will be housed in a hydrogel (β-Gel) that mimics the native extracellular matrix, which will be protected from the immune system by a semi-permeable biomaterial capsule known as the β-Shell.

A challenge with biomaterial implants is the foreign body response that over time can lead to fibrosis, which is detrimental to the function of the encapsulated cells. The Fellow will explore methods for minimising this response while maximising the survival and function of the islets, including the incorporation of local anti-fibrotic agents and surface engineering the implant.

The Fellow will be primarily based at the Duffy Lab NUI Galway, and will work with an international and interdisciplinary team of DRIVE researchers including experts in clinical islet transplantation, medical devices and regenerative medicine. S/he will also have access to the facilities of two national research centres that Prof Duffy is involved in, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CURAM) and the AMBER Centre as well as the Lambe Institute for Translational Research/HRB Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Galway.

Related publications and further reading:
Advances in islet encapsulation technologies. Desai T, Shea LD. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2017 Apr 28;16(5):367. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2017.67. PMID: 28450719

Biomaterial-Enhanced Cell and Drug Delivery: Lessons Learned in the Cardiac Field and Future Perspectives. O'Neill HS, Gallagher LB, O'Sullivan J, Whyte W, Curley C, Dolan E, Hameed A, O'Dwyer J, Payne C, O'Reilly D, Ruiz-Hernandez E, Roche ET, O'Brien FJ, Cryan SA, Kelly H, Murphy B, Duffy GP. Adv Mater. 2016 Jul;28(27):5648-61. doi: 10.1002/adma.201505349. Epub 2016 Feb 3. PMID: 26840955

A methylcellulose and collagen based temperature responsive hydrogel promotes encapsulated stem cell viability and proliferation in vitro. Payne C, Dolan EB, O'Sullivan J, Cryan SA, Kelly HM. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2017 Feb;7(1):132-146. doi: 10.1007/s13346-016-0347. PMID: 27924469

Colony stimulating factor-1 receptor is a central component of the foreign body response to biomaterial implants in rodents and non-human primates. Doloff JC, Veiseh O, Vegas AJ, Tam HH, Farah S, Ma M, Li J, Bader A, Chiu A, Sadraei A, Aresta-Dasilva S, Griffin M, Jhunjhunwala S, Webber M, Siebert S, Tang K, Chen M, Langan E, Dholokia N, Thakrar R, Qi M, Oberholzer J, Greiner DL, Langer R, Anderson DG. Nat Mater. 2017 Mar 20. doi: 10.1038/nmat4866. [Epub ahead of print]