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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

Researcher SmartPatch Transdermal Delivery Technologies

COMA-6 Researcher - SmartPatch: Transdermal Delivery Technologies

Contract Type: Full Time/Fixed Term Contract

The Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork is a world leader in the development of Micro Transdermal Interface Platforms (MicroTIPs) – wearable ‘smart patches’ for closed-loop delivery and diagnostics. Working closely with a global range of academic, business and clinical partners under our ‘ABC’ model, our technology is under evaluation by several SMEs and multinational corporations and is approaching market readiness in a number of areas. In parallel, Tyndall is currently engaged in an ambitious ‘ICT for Health’ strategy that will leverage our core strengths in Information and Communications Technologies to develop the next generation of intelligent medical devices and systems.

As a result of significantly increased commercial investment in this area, the Tyndall National Institute is now seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to join our team in this exciting and rapidly expanding R&D field, primarily to work on the next generation of microneedle-based drug delivery technologies. Microneedles are short, sharp projections made using microfabrication technologies and measuring less than 1mm in height, through which drugs and vaccines may be infused. These technologies have immense potential for use in transdermal delivery, primarily due to their ability to painlessly perforate the skin barrier and to deliver to specific layers within the epidermis.

The MicroTIPs team is focussed in merging microneedles with electronic micropumps in order to facilitate controlled delivery in a wearable form factor. The successful candidate will therefore perform a detailed study of the use of micropump technologies in microneedle-based transdermal delivery applications. This will involve integrating the micropump and microneedles, modelling fluidic performance, and establishing an experimental framework within which to assess pump performance and delivery efficacy.

Tyndall has several commercial partners in these areas and the candidate will work with these partners to develop microsystems that closely are aligned to industrial targets and specifications.

This is an exciting project in a fast-moving, industrially relevant area.  Reporting to the team leader of the MicroTIPS research activity, the candidate will take a hands-on role, and will be responsible for the day-to-day execution of the technical research tasks outlined above. Scientific dissemination (preparation of regular internal reports, journal and conference publications, and industrial liaison) is an essential part of the position. Some international travel may also be required.

It is critical that the candidate has an ability to work in a team environment, as he/she will liaise closely with other team members engaged in developing complementary aspects of the MicroTIPS platform. In addition, close cooperation with our industrial partners is required, who will provide support, supervision and direction throughout the research activity. The successful candidate should be highly motivated with excellent organizational and communications skills, demonstrate an understanding of the research environment, the ability to communicate his/her research and the potential to manage a research project.

In return, the position provides the opportunity to develop innovative solutions for medical technology challenges, as well as to gain valuable experience in design, fabrication and testing of next-generation devices and systems. The successful candidate will experience the excitement of working with high-profile industry on emerging technologies, and will have the opportunity to build the career profile associated with presentation at international conferences, workshops and industry meetings, and publication of the research in high impact journals.

The duration of the project is 12 months in the first instance, although this may be extended pending funding and the impact of the candidate.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

The candidate will be required to:

  • Review the state-of-the-art in micropump technology on an ongoing basis;
  • Identify and source a range of micropumps that meet our target specifications;
  • Liaise with Tyndall’s cleanroom staff to coordinate production of microneedle arrays;
  • Perform a detailed study of the use of microneedle-micropump assemblies to infuse agents into ex-vivo skin samples and skin substitutes;
  • Assess reliability of these devices before and after use;
  • Pinpoint where improvements and/or advancements to the system may be made;
  • Seek new methods of adding value by incorporating additional functionality  on the microneedle platform;
  • Construct demonstrator devices for internal and external showcase;
  • Report results to team leaders, commercial partners and funding agencies;
  • Participate in conferences, workshops and outreach events;
  • Comply with all relevant regulatory legislation, ethical considerations and safety regulations.

Essential Criteria

  • Applicants should have a PhD qualification in a relevant discipline (e.g. biomedical engineering, materials, engineering, physics).
  • Experience in areas such as microneedle technology, microfluidics, micropumps, medical device design and development, bioMEMS, basic electronic circuits and/or sensor development.
  • Laboratory experience and a willingness to adapt to a multidisciplinary field are essential.
  • Previous work with microneedles or microfluidics, micropumps, microscopy tools, and skin or skin substitutes will be an advantage.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Dr. Conor O’ Mahony, email

Appointment may be made on the IUA Researcher Scale €36,853 - €43,828. 

Application Instructions

Step 1 - click here to download and complete the application form

Step 2 - return completed application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to Handwritten forms will not be accepted. 

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.