Growing The Missing Pieces

Although the human body demonstrates remarkable powers of regeneration, it still falls short of the extraordinary feats of self-repair which many other creatures possess.

A snake sheds its skin only to rapidly reproduce another, the deer discards then regrows its antlers for the new season, whilst the starfish miraculously replaces as many as four of its five limbs so long as its central nerve ring survives intact.

And whilst mechanical and electrical engineers have managed to produce quite extraordinary prosthetic limbs and other body parts, the fact remains that for many people the loss of a critical piece of the body results in greatly-diminished ability.

Another Piece Of The Puzzle

Jemma Redmond’s curiosity about her own medical condition prompted her to study nanobioscience and the possibilities of regeneration at UCD, where she attempted to grow pieces of human fingers for her thesis. This in turn prompted her to develop a hybrid bioprinter capable of creating sample human tissue suitable for drug testing (which may in turn see an end to using animals for this purpose).

Jemma, our featured guest on this week’s Kickstart Your Business, set up Ouro-Botics in order to develop partnerships that will put one of her hybrid bioprinters into every university and hospital in the world.

Talking ‘Bout Regeneration

Whilst George initially professed ignorance of the Our-Botics subject matter, he quickly warmed to the topic when Jemma eloquently explained ‘the science bit’ and how to put it to work to make a difference and make some money too (this is a business after all).

Gerard meanwhile admired Jemma’s achievements, notwithstanding her naturally self-deprecating approach, and suggested that whilst her website did a good job of introducing the bioprinters as an item for sale, she is missing an opportunity to tell the story of the impact which her work is likely to have on the world. In addition to the hope that she and other medical pioneers offer to those of us suffering from the variety of medical conditions that can be addressed only when the body can be helped to regenerate, putting an end to animal testing is no mean feat.

Say Your Piece

What do you suggest that Jemma might do to realise her aim of having a hybrid bioprinter in every hospital and university in the world?

Listen back to Jemma on Kickstart Your Business (with thanks to Energia), and tell us what you think:

We’d love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast on The Right Hook on Newstalk every Thursday around 6.25pm, and is available for playback immediately afterwards at