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Full NameProfessor Sally-Ann Cryan

Department:Drug Delivery & Tissue Engineering

Organisation:Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields
  • infectious disease and the immune system
  • cell and developmental biology/regenerative medicine
  • bioengineering/medical devices
Postgrad Medical Specialties
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Paediatrics
Medical Subspecialties
  • Infectious diseases
  • Pharmacology
  • Respiratory Medicine
My Work

I lead the Drug Delivery and Pharmacoengineering team within RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) ( which focuses in the area of respiratory medicine including development of novel therapeutic and regenerative approaches for disease treatment. The team has developed significant expertise in and published extensively on the design and development of smart biomaterial device platforms suitable for use in convergent drug-device delivery systems and tissue engineering. These technologies have been developed for application in tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, cancer and acute lung injury as well as in regenerative medicine. These platforms are designed to enable the clinical and commercial translation of novel gene, protein and cell-based therapeutic strategies. We collaborate extensively with clinical, industrial & biomedical research groups on the development of advanced delivery systems and implants and we are part of SFI Centre in Medical Devices (CURAM) ( and the Advanced Materials and Bioengineering (AMBER) ( All team members get the opportunity to work closely with international and industrial partners as well as receiving extensive training in scientific publication and research commercialisation.

• O'Leary, C. etal. Biomaterials.2016Apr;85:111-27.PMID: 26871888

• O'Leary, C. etal Tissue Eng Part B.2015Aug;21(4):323-44.PMID:25587703

• O'Connor, G., etal Eur J Pharm Biopharm.2019Jan;134:153-165.PMID:30385419

• Lawlor C., etal., J Mater Sci Mater Med.2012Jan;23(1):89-98.PMID:22183789

Potential Projects

Tracheal Implant Programme:

Damage to the tracheal region due to cancer, infection or congenital abnormalities currently has very limited treatment options. Transplantation is limited by the complications of donor supply and immunosuppressive treatment, while artificial prostheses are associated with device dislodgement, tissue granulation, and stenosis. Tissue engineering strategies have the potential to overcome these issues. Within the team we are currently 3D Printing tubular scaffolds for application in tracheal regeneration. These scaffolds are then seeded with cells and through the use of a bioreactor the culture and maturation of the neotissue will is supported in a dynamic environment. The overall aim of this programme is to design and 3D Print a novel composite scaffold with suitable biocompatible and mechanical properties for tracheal tissue regeneration. This specific project will join the team in developing a novel implantable device that will be rigorously studied in vitro and in vivo, paving the way for clinical translation.

Inhaled TB treatments Programme:

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the primary infectious disease killer in the world and is the main cause of death related to antimicrobial resistance. Current treatments are lengthy, associated with a high risk of adverse drug reactions and poor patient adherence that is leading to multi-drug resistance (MDR-TB) strains emerging. By localising new and existing TB therapies to the lungs via aerosol, to target the site of TB infection in the alveolar macrophage, the occurrence of adverse events can be diminished, patient dosing requirements reduced and clinical efficacy enhanced. In this programme, we have prepared innovative emerging TB therapies into inhalable delivery platforms designed for cell-specific targeting to the macrophage using inhalable particle technology. Working alongside collaborators in St James Hospital Dublin and Imperial College London this project will focus on advanced pre-clinical testing of these inhaled treatments to support clinical translation.