Prof Timothy O’Brien is the Established Professor of Medicine and Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist in University Hospital Galway.

He established the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) with Prof Frank Barry in 2004 and is currently co-PI of the SFI-funded Centre for Research and Medical Devices (CÚRAM). Prof. O’Brien’s research explores the synergies between gene therapy, stem/stromal cell therapy and biomaterials science with a key interest in the development of therapies for diabetic complications. The objective of his research is to translate research findings in the laboratory to clinical trials.

He has successfully co-ordinated two EU consortia (REDDSTAR and NEPHSTROM) focusing on the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) for the treatment of diabetic complications and has established a network of good manufacturing practice cell manufacturing facilities in the EU. REDDSTAR (Reducing Diabetic Damage through Stromal Cell Administration) resulted in approval for a clinical trial of MSCs in a collagen biomaterial for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. NEPHSTROM (Novel Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease), includes a phase 2a randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial and is recruiting/treating patients with progressive diabetic kidney disease in Bergamo, Birmingham and Galway. In addition to the trials emanating from REDDSTAR and NEPHSTROM, Prof O’Brien was the lead principal investigator on a phase 1b trial of autologous delivery of MSCs in patients with no option critical limb ischaemia co-funded by a Translational Award from SFI and Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland.   

Prof O’Brien is the co-Director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) and has led on the development of the HRB-funded Clinical Research Facility in GalwayProf O’Brien has established partnerships with multinational and indigenous companies as part of SFI-funded programmes and is the co-founder of spin out company, Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd. This company has patented technology for stem cell isolation and currently has 16 employees in Galway.   

Prof O’Brien has been a reviewer for 20 international journals, and multiple funding agencies from 17 countries such as the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, Finnish Academy of Science, Swiss National Science Foundation and the Hong Kong Research Grant Council. He served as Associate Editor of Endocrine Practice, the Journal of the American College of Endocrinology from 1999-2006 and the e-journal of Translational Medicine. He is currently the global co-editor in chief of the open access journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy and on the editorial board of Human Gene Therapy.  

He is co-Director of the Joint Stem Cell Research Facility of Hebei Medical University and NUI Galway.  He is also the Irish Director of the Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine, which is a partnership between NUI Galway and The Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.  The goal of this programme is to discover molecules from Chinese Medicine products with regenerative capacity.

Please see here for research publications. Furthermore, for details on our current research endeavours please see our research group page here.