Irene Simfia (PhD)

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Irene Simfia is a PhD researcher in McNamara group. She completed her Bachelors (Honors) in Biomedical Engineering from National University of Ireland in Galway (2014). She has been the holder of title “University Scholar” for her excellence in academics in first year and second year of Bachelors.  Irene worked as an intern in the Research and Development Department with Hollister Inc. in Libertyville, USA in 2013. Before this, Irene had completed an internship with their Irish branch, Hollister ULC in Ballina Co. Mayo. After the second year in Bachelors, Irene was selected as an ambassador to represent the University of Ireland Galway in an exchange programme with Purdue University, Indiana. At Purdue her Engineering Projects in Community Services (EPICS) project was awarded a Corcoran Award 2013 for “excellence in human-centred design”. Just prior to starting her PhD, Irene was actively involved in a five- month project on Deep Vein Thrombosis Device in National University of Ireland Galway. She was involved in much of the lab work on designing, optimising and testing the device. Irene is one of the IRC award holders in the group. She is currently in second year of her PhD.

Osteoporosis is most commonly manifested in women following the menopause when oestrogen production is deficient, and 200 million women worldwide are affected by osteoporosis. Clinical treatments for osteoporosis, such as Hormone therapy (HT) and bisphosphonate drug treatments reduce fracture susceptibility and with drug treatment, 50% of sufferers experience disability and 75% never regain good health. Although osteoporosis reduces overall bone mass causing bone fragility, recent studies have shown that bone tissue composition is altered at the microscopic level. These changes in bone composition might be explained by alterations in bone cell biology, in particular the mechanobiological responses (Brennan et al., 2014). This research focuses on activation/inactivation of ROCK protein in combination with mechanobiology during the advancement of osteoporosis to explore its predicted therapeutic potential.