Dr Ian Major is Research Programme Leader for Composites and Upscaling at the Materials Research Institute. He is also a Principal Investigator at the Applied Polymer Technologies Technology Gateway were he is growing the composites and extrusion research for the centre, through funded research schemes from Innovation Vouchers up to Horizon 2020 EU funding. One of the largest projects he manages is the European Regional Development Fund and EI co-funded Commercialisation Fund project in the development of a synthetic conduit device for peripheral nerve repair (eNerveGen) in which a novel composite material is utilised to provide unique performance characteristics. He also have funded projects in the development of drug delivery and the 3D printing of solid dosage forms. He has published 17 journal papers, 4 book chapters and 8 conference proceedings in the last five years.
His research experience has always been centred on materials science and engineering. He is a graduate of QUB obtaining both a BEng in Chemical with Polymer Engineering (2001) and a PhD in Polymer Engineering (2005). He has considerable expertise in polymer processing and analysis. For the last ten years, Dr Major has been applying his materials engineering expertise to the preclinical development of medical devices. When he moved to AIT in 2013, he set up his own research group with a focus on the application of materials engineering in medicine, particularly implants for drug delivery and tissue engineering. In the last couple of years the output for this research has started to filter out in the form journal publications and more widely in several news articles including the Sunday Times (3D printers could create ‘magic’ polypill to cure all ills) and Silicon Republic. 3D Printing will be a key-enabling technology for medicine and advanced therapies, and Dr Major’s research is focused on overcoming the main disadvantage associated with the process – slow production rates, thus aiding the uptake of this technology in clinical applications. Applying the principle of mass-customisation, Dr Major’s team has developed a hybrid manufacturing technique that combines 3D printing and injection moulding.