'STEM CELL NICHE MIMICS' aims to fuse biomedical engineering, cell-material interaction and cell signalling responses to grow tissue outside the body using stem cells.

To do this the team – P.I. Dr. Kieran McGourty, Dr. Lynnette Marcar (MAGE protein’s roll in the tumour niche) and Ph.D. student Sigita Malijauskaite (Intestinal Niche Mimic) – investigate the natural tissue environment and then try to emulate that in vitro.

Kieran’s group aims to fuse biomedical engineering, cell-material interaction and cell signalling responses to grow tissue outside the body using stem cells.  The natural tissue environment provides the template for constructing niche materials with comparable properties to allow stem cells to behave as they would normally, giving rise to all the various cells of the origin tissue.  We are particularly focused on the intestinal, muscular, epidermal and cancer stem cells niches.



Dr Kieran McGourty

Lecturer in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Department of Chemical Sciences


Kieran did his PhD and his Post-Doctoral scientific training in the UK at Imperial College and University College London looking at how cells respond to infection and to their immediate environment.  He is currently a Lecturer in the Chemical Sciences department of the University of Limerick and is a Principal Investigator in the Bernal Institute.  He is of the founding members within the Bernal BioSciBER lab research space.

Specifically, Kieran’s group aims to fuse biomedical engineering, cell-material interaction and cell signalling responses to grow tissue outside the body using stem cells.  To do this Kieran investigates the natural tissue environment and then tries to build material with similar properties outside the body on which cells can grow in an orderly fashion.  He is particular focused on the intestinal, muscular and epidermal niche.


Sigita Malijauskaite

Biology PhD Student, Intestinal Niche Mimic


Sigita is a 1st year PhD student working in the BioSciber group with Dr. Kieran McGourty. Sigita’s work involves developing an InVitro Hydrogel scaffold of the intestine.


Dr Lynnette Marcar

Senior Researcher of BioSciber, MAGE protein’s roll in the tumour niche


Lynnette is interested in using the InVitro intestinal model created by the BioSciBER team to study intestinal cancer establishment and progression.  Using these InVitro models we can ask what happens when the environment of the cells is changed or when the cells contain cancer causing mutations.