Dr Eoin O'Cearbhaill
What is your research about? What is the clinical target?
Our group is focused on the design of novel medical devices. Most projects start with a problem - either a clinician is looking for a better way to perform a clinical procedure or a company is looking for a way to enhance an existing device or to figure out how to manufacture a device concept. We are often agnostic when it comes to clinical targets - we are more interested in how big the problem is. A key strength of ours is focusing on minimally invasive technology, figuring out ways of performing procedures that are less traumatic for the patient, improving outcomes and reducing recovery times.
Do you collaborate with industry and clinicians? If so what type and why?
Yes, practically every project we do has a clinical partner and we will either work with industrial medtech collaborators or try to commercialise the technology ourselves. Our goal as a lab is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and encourage people to engage in R&D and spin-out new medical device companies in Ireland, while doing great research. Our focus is quite applied, therefore we need to work with industry and clinicians to validate that the problems we are trying to solve are relevant and significant
How does your research get translated?
The road to translating of our research varies from project to project. We are working on medical devices that need regulatory approval before they can be used clinically. The regulatory burden associated with these devices depends on their complexity and how they interact with the body. We look to provide as much evidence as possible within the university setting that the technology has significant clinical and commercial potential before seeking additional funding for clinical studies. We hope to see some of our simpler devices in clinical use in the 2-3 year range.
How did you become interested in this type of research?
As an engineer, I am interested in solving problems and for me there are few problems more rewarding to solve than ones which could impact on sick patients. I have a mixed background working in industry and academia and have seen the benefits that both environments can offer. I would like to see more blurring of the lines between both and applied medical device research fits well in this space.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients / society?
We want to help patients recover faster from a range of diseases and train innovators that will lead medtech start-up companies here in Ireland.
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