Prof. Fergal O’Brien

Fergal O’Brien is Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine, Director for Research & Innovation, and Head of Tissue Engineering Research Group in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), one of the largest advanced biomaterials and tissue engineering/regenerative medicine research groups in Ireland.

Following a degree in mechanical engineering and PhD in bone mechanobiology, he was a Fulbright Scholar in tissue engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School. Since his faculty appointment to RCSI in 2003, he has published over 230 journal articles in leading peer-reviewed international journals, filed 20 patents/disclosures and supervised over 40 doctoral students to completion.

He has a current h-index of 72 (July 2020; Google Scholar). He is a recipient of three prestigious European Research Council Awards. Other accolades include a Fulbright Scholarship (2001), New Investigator Recognition Award by the Orthopaedic Research Society (2002), Science Foundation Ireland, President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (€1.1. million, 2004), Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year (2014), Fellowship of both Engineers Ireland (2013) and the European Alliance for Medical & Biological Engineering Science (2016). In 2018, O’Brien was elected as member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), Ireland’s foremost body of experts in the Sciences and Humanities.

Tushar Ch. Patel, MD

Tushar Ch. Patel is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in all spinal surgery with a concentration on conditions of the cervical spine with a particular interest in minimally invasive surgery and disc replacement. He has been in practice since 1994 having served as Chief, Section of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Yale University School of Medicine until 2000, then in Northern Virginia until 2017.

Tushar’s research interests include tissue engineering, bone growth factors, and innovative techniques in spinal surgery. His research efforts have resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications and numerous patents. He has presented extensively both nationally and internationally at the meetings of the leading societies in spinal surgery. He is currently a member of the North American Spine Society, the Cervical Spine research Society and a founding member of the Lumbar Spine Research Society. He has held multiple leadership and committee positions in these societies. His research experience, academic experience, and extensive clinical experience allow him to devise an individualized care plan to allow patients to return as rapidly as possible to a healthy active lifestyle, with surgery as a last resort. He has been recognized as a “Top Doctor” six times by the Washingtonian magazine.

Previously, Tushar was a Principal Investigator on the Stryker Biotech OP-1 project (BMP-7).

Tushar and his wife – a transplant and heart failure cardiologist – have two boys. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching soccer, playing golf and spending time with his family.

Ali Khademhosseini

Ali Khademhosseini is the CEO of the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation. Formerly, he was Levi Knight Professor of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Radiology at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics at UCLA.

He joined UCLA starting from Nov. 2017 from Harvard University where he was a Professor at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and faculty at the Harvard-MIT’s Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) as well as an associate faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. At Harvard University, he directed the Biomaterials Innovation Research Centre (BIRC) a leading initiative in making engineered biomedical materials.

He has edited multiple books/journal special issues and is an author on >650 peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials and review papers, >70 book chapters/edited books, and >20 patent/disclosure applications. His work has been published in leading journals and routinely highlighted in international media. He has been cited >64,800 times and has an H-index of 131. Also, he has given over 250 invited seminars and keynote lectures. Annually for the past five years, he has been selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the World’s Most Influential Minds as a Highly Cited Researcher.

Nick Birch (Orth)

Nick Birch trained in Cambridge and London in the 1980s and became a fellow of the Royal College of surgeons in 1989. His general orthopaedic training was at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore and the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. His interest in spinal matters grew as he progressed through his training and he completed a formal Spinal Fellowship in 1995 prior to being appointed as a consultant at Northampton General Hospital in 1996.

From 1996 to 2002 he developed his specialist interest in spinal conditions and from 2002 onwards became a full-time spinal specialist. Since then, he has run a very successful private spinal practice in Northamptonshire.

From early in his career Nick has taken a very significant interest in professional and patient education and he has widely published and lectured in the UK, Europe and worldwide. He is the Spine Specialty Editor for the Bone and Joint Journal and he is a member of the Associate Editorial Board of the European Spine Journal. Since 2012 he has been the honorary treasurer of the United Kingdom Spine Societies Board ( and has had responsibility for co-organising BritSpine, the major biennial multidisciplinary spinal conference in the UK.