Aug 25 2023 Posted: 09:00 IST

Professor Martin O’Halloran secures record level of prestigious research awards

University of Galway researcher and CÚRAM Funded-Investigator Professor Martin O’Halloran has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept grant worth €150,000. 

This latest accolade for Professor O’Halloran brings his total ERC awards to seven with a combined value of €4.25million in funding since 2015, making him the joint-highest ERC awardee in Ireland.

The ERC Proof of Concept is being awarded for his research work on NeuroProtect - a novel therapy to prevent peripheral neuropathy in patients undergoing chemotherapy. The side-effect results in nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) being damaged and can lead to weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet which can cause significant disability and pain for cancer patients.

Professor O’Halloran is Techrete Professor of Medical Electronics, Executive Director of the University of Galway-Enterprise Ireland funded BioInnovate Ireland, a funded-investigator at CÚRAM and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Galway.

His research projects to have been awarded ERC grants include:

  • BioElecPro - Examining the electrical properties of human tissue as a platform for new medical devices
  • Realta - Microwave ablation for the treatment of adrenal tumours
  • Draiocht - Medical device for the treatment of varicose veins
  • Hydrolieve - A long-lasting drug-free effective treatment for chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia pain
  • EndoSolve - A novel medical device for the treatment of Endometriosis
  • Arth-Alleve - Development of novel therapies for osteoarthritis pain

Speaking about the ERC Proof of Concept award for NeuroProtect, Professor O’Halloran said: “This represents our seventh European Research Council grant since 2015, and addresses a medical problem significant to cancer patients - to minimise the long-term side effects of chemotherapy. It builds on ever growing collaborations between engineering and medicine at the University, and we hope to have an impact in the clinic in the very near future.”

Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation at University of Galway, said: “The record ERC awards for Professor O’Halloran are a striking recognition of the quality and level of research he and his teams are leading at University of Galway, as well as the potential for impact on people’s quality of life. The ERC awards also demonstrate the role which our University plays regionally, nationally and internationally and its value in the medtech sector on a global stage.”

Proof of Concept grants are awarded to ERC grant holders as top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their ERC-funded research.



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