The Biggs Lab at NUI Galway

Welcome to the Biggs Lab Homepage. The Biggs group conducts multi-disciplinary bioengineering research at the National University of Ireland, Galway to develop biomaterials focused solutions to medical device design with a focus on the nanofabrication of electrically active and responsive biomaterials.

World Biomaterials Congress
11/12/2020 - 15/12/2020


GRC meeting Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
18/07/2021 - 23/07/2021
Holderness - USA
EMRS Annual Meeting 2020


New Paper led by James Britton on the Development of a Green Strain Sensor Published in Materials & Design
Biosensor technologies are of great interest for applications in wearable electronics, soft robotics and implantable biomedical devices. To accelerate the adoption of electronics for chronic recording of physiological parameters in health and disease, there is a demand for biocompatible, conductive & flexible materials that can integrate with various tissues while remaining biologically inert. In this paper, we describe the development and characterisation of an electronic ink made from an environmentally sustainable copolymer-ω-pentadecalactone-co-ε-decalactone, (PDL) incorporating silver nanowires (AgNW). PDL nanocomposites were shown to be biocompatible, demonstrated in vitro through the promotion of neural adhesion and prevention of astrocyte activation. An optimised ink formulation was subsequently used to fabricate strain-responsive biosensors with high spatial resolution (sub – 100 µm) using a direct write additive manufacturing process.
Dr Marc Fernandez Awarded European Doctorate Award for Research Achievements

Dr. Mark Fernandez, has been awarded the Julia Polak European Doctorate Award 2021 of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) to be presented at the General Assembly of the next ESB conference to be held from 5-9 September 2021 in Porto. Candidates nominated for the award needed to demonstrate that they have received high standard research education and training at a European level in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and that they are also able to produce scientific results deserving recognition by being published and accepted in high-quality journals and conferences. Dr Manus Biggs supervised Dr Fernandez's doctoral research that focussed on developing a synthetic fibrous scaffold to promote tendon repair. The technology developed was specifically designed to address the biological, mechanical and adhesions issues in rotator cuff tendon repair and used electrospinning to generate a highly structured and porous scaffold made from an inert synthetic polymer.

Kasia's New Paper on Neural Interface Biomaterials Published in Scientific Reports

By providing a bidirectional communication channel between neural tissues and a biomedical device, it is envisaged that neural interfaces will be fundamental in the future diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. Due to the mechanical mismatch between neural tissue and metallic neural electrodes, soft electrically conducting materials are of great benefit in promoting chronic device functionality. In this study, carbon nanotubes (CNT), silver nanowires (AgNW) and poly(hydroxymethyl 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) microspheres (MSP) were employed as conducting fillers within a poly(ε-decalactone) (EDL) matrix, to form a soft and electrically conducting composite. The effect of a filler type on the electrical percolation threshold, and composite biocompatibility was investigated in vitro. All investigated composite surfaces were found to be biocompatible, and to reduce the presence of reactive astrocytes relative to control electrodes. The results of this work clearly demonstrated the ability of high aspect ratio structures to form an extended percolation network within a polyester matrix, resulting in the formulation of composites with advantageous mechanical, electrochemical and biocompatibility properties.

Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Funding Awarded to Marc Fernandez to Develop His PhD Work Into Commercial Devices for Tendon Repair 

Funding has been approved by Enterprise Ireland to Marc Fernandez to further develop his PhD research at the Biggs Lab into a synthetic fibrous scaffold for the promotion of tendon repair. Over 32 million musculoskeletal injuries occur each year worldwide. In particular, complete tears of the rotator cuff tendon is the leading cause of shoulder-related disability and one of the most significant clinical challenges (20 to 90 % repair failure rates). Despite the fact that repaired tendons using synthetic scaffolds have presented the best clinical outcomes, their poor biological integration limits their clinical adoption and tissue grafts are the preferred option for tendon repair. The technology being developed by Marc is specifically designed to address the biological, mechanical and adhesions issues in rotator cuff tendon repair. and is built on the use of electrospinning to generate a highly structured and porous scaffold made from an inert synthetic polymer.