Zoan supports new undergraduate level projects with Dublin City University, investigating the physical and chemical properties of coral.

Zoan Biomed sustainably grows tropical coral for medical applications under highly controlled conditions in a purpose-built, cutting edge facility in Connemara, Co. Galway. Two final year students at Dublin City University will be contributing further knowledge on Zoan’s biomaterials during the course of their dissertation projects.

Zoan Biomed is delighted to be working with Dr Owen Clarkin, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Principle Investigator of the Biomaterials Research Group (www.biomaterials.ie) at Dublin City University to better characterise the biomechanical properties of our corals. Two final year biomedical engineering students supervised by Dr Clarkin will undertake their dissertation projects studying Zoan coral materials.

Zara Turvey’s project is investigating the compressive and tensile strengths of a range of different coral materials to better understand, for example, the strength-porosity relationship of corals manufactured for orthopaedic applications. Tiernan Cahill will be studying the relative resorption rates of different coral materials in vitro to discover the rate at which coral-based bone void fillers of differing porosity or granule size will resorb in the body.

Earlier in 2021, researcher Leah McManus, under the supervision of Dr. Clarkin, worked with Zoan to characterise the compressive strength of the coral used by Zoan in its flagship G03 bone void filler granules, finding that they are surprisingly strong. Leah says “The bulk coral has a compressive strength considerably higher than typical cancellous bone. In granular form it would be stronger still.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Zoan to better understand the biomechanical properties of its coral biomaterials. They show great promise for orthopaedic applications with an exciting combination of biocompatibility, porosity and strength. It’s a great opportunity for two of our students to be gaining hands-on experience working with an Irish start-up and its next generation of biomaterials. ” said Dr. Clarkin.

Zoan believes strongly in the benefits of engagement with the academic community to foster innovation and support education. Dr Martin Johnson, who leads R+D and product development for Zoan says “As a highly innovative biomedical company, we see a strong role for co-development of knowledge and innovation with our academic partners including Dr Clarkin’s Biomaterials Research Group at DCU with whom we have a growing relationship. We are delighted to be able support Tiernan and Zara in their studies and to give them a taste of real-world relevant biomaterials science.”

At the same time the benefit to Zoan is significant. James Martin, Production Director at Zoan BioMed commented “With a living library of more than 30 corals with differing characteristics and many different options for material processing, all resulting in different properties of our end products (strength, porosity, density, resorption, osteoinduction). We have a huge amount of potential to explore and Dr. Clarkin and his team are helping us to achieve this.

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