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Mark Ahearne

Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Tel: +353 1896 2359


Mark received a BEng. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Limerick in 2001, a MSc. in Cell and Tissue Engineering from Keele University (United Kingdom) in 2003 and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Keele University in 2007. His PhD research focused on the development of a novel spherical indentation system to characterise the mechanical behaviour of cell seeded hydrogels. He subsequently worked as a post-doctoral research associate for three years at Keele University where he developed an in vitro corneal wound healing model for pharmaceutical screening, in addition to working on other projects. Mark joined the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering (TCBE) as a post-doctoral research fellow in October 2010 to primarily work on developing a growth factor delivery scaffold for articular cartilage repair. In 2012 he commenced work as a research fellow and principle investigator in TCBE in the field of corneal tissue engineering and cornea repair after obtaining an Starting Investigator Research Grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Marie-Curie COFUND. In 2015 he was award an ERC starting grant to conduct research on developing artificial cornea. In 2016 he was appointed to the position of assistant professor in biomedical engineering.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Fernandez-Perez J, Ahearne M, Corneal tissue engineering: Effect of biochemical cues on corneal stromal cell phenotype and scaffold repopulation, 23rd Annual Bioengineering in Ireland ConferenceBelfast, 2017Meeting Abstract, 2017

Kador KE, Ahearne M, Influence of electrospun scaffolds geometry on corneal stromal cells, 23rd Annual Bioengineering in Ireland ConferenceBelfast, 2017Meeting Abstract, 2017

Lynch AP, Ahearne M., Retinoic Acid Enhances the Differentiation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells to Keratocytes In Vitro., Translational vision science & technology, 6, (1), 2017, p6Journal Article, 2017 DOI

All 92 peer-reviewed publications

Research Expertise


My primary area of research is in corneal tissue engineering and regeneration. Corneal blindness affect millions of people worldwide and there is a shortage of healthy donor corneas that are suitable for transplantation. This has led to alternative therapies being investigated. Tissue engineering approaches that combine three-dimensional scaffolds and stem cells are currently under investigation by my group. Several parameters that affect the phenotypic behaviour of corneal cells are being investigated in addition to different methods of fabricating biomimetic scaffolds with the ultimate goal of developing functional corneal tissue alternative that is suitable for transplantation.


Awards and Honours

SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant - Principal InvestigatorJuly 2012- July 2016

European Researching Council Starting Grant - Principal Investigator1/7/2015

SFI ERC Support Grant2016

COST short term scientific award - Applicant supervisor2017

COST short term scientific award - Host supervisor2016

COST short term scientific award - Applicant supervisor2014

1st placed poster award, 20th Nottingham Eye Symposium and Research Meeting, University of Nottingham - Co-author2015

DePuy Young Researcher Award - Student Supervisor2013

Travel award for best paper in the category of Corneal and Ocular Surface at the European Vision and Eye Research Conference - Student Supervisor2013

1st placed poster award, 4th Annual Limbal Stem Cell Meeting, Nottingham, UK - Co-author2012

Royal Academy of Engineers Travel Award Recipient2009

Royal Society Conference Travel Award Recipient2008

1st place at Expertissues Bioreactor Design and Stem Cell Processing Workshop, UK2006

3rd placed poster award, TCES annual conference, Sheffield, UK - First Author2006

Royal Academy of Engineers Travel Award Recipient2005