Innovation Awards

Ryan Award for Innovation

The recipients of the Ryan Award for Innovation 2017 were a team led by Dr Michel Dugon for a project titled Venomous Irish Invertebrates as a source of novel antimicrobial peptides.

Animal venoms are among the most diverse and neglected biocompounds available to us. Globally, venomous animals produce in excess of 40,000,000 peptides of which less than 0.0005% have been characterised.

In collaboration with several NUI Galway academics, the Venom Systems & Proteomics Lab led by Dr Ronan Sulpice and Dr Michel Dugon (NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences) has developed a novel platform permitting the extraction and the bioactivity screening of venoms extracted from minute-size Irish invertebrates. Findings so far have exceeded expectations, as venom compounds with potential antitumoral and antimicrobial applications were discovered. These exciting findings have been largely covered by news outlets both nationally (e.g. the Irish Times, RTE) and internationally (e.g. BBC, Euronews). I have attached a summary of the project for your review.

Allergen Innovation Award

An innovative approach to help breast cancer patients post-mastectomy has been awarded the Inaugural Allergan Innovation Award at NUI Galway. Dr Niamh O'Halloran, a researcher with the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, received the award for her project which seeks to use body's own cells to avoid complications with implants.

The Allergan Award for Innovation provides funding to accomplished scholars who wish to advance their innovative research studies in the field of Life Sciences. The winner was chosen from a competitive field of applicants among the postgraduate and PhD student community at NUI Galway.

Breast cancer is a global pandemic, with the National Cancer Registry predicting that by 2020 there will be approximately 5,000 new cases in Ireland per annum. Despite advances in oncology and the dawn of the molecular era in cancer diagnosis and treatment, an estimated forty per cent of breast cancer patients require mastectomy.

Immediate breast reconstruction has become an integral part of breast cancer care, affording psychosocial and aesthetic benefits. However, implants are not without their limitations and the response of the immune system to foreign materials in the human body can lead to complications.

Dr O'Halloran is developing a method of coating implants with a gel biomaterial which incorporates elements of the patient's own fat tissue. The hydrogel is based on hyaluronic acid, most commonly seen these days in skin creams and beauty products. The patient's own cells will grow on the gel, thus reducing scar tissue formation which leads to implant related complications.

The aim is to develop biocompatible prosthetic implants preventing complications such as capsular contracture, implant extrusion and implant rupture and will negate the requirement of regular implant exchange. The hope is that it will reduce patient morbidity and operation costs significantly over time. A biocompatible implant coated with cellular tissue will also result in improved cosmetic outcomes for the patient, giving the patient a higher quality of life

The TUSLA Project

Prevention & Early Intervention Development & Mainstreaming Programme

The research team at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway provides research, evaluation and technical support to Tusla's Development and Mainstreaming Programme for Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS). Tulsa - the Child and Family Agency began implementing this new and innovative programme of action since 2015, as part of its National Service Delivery Framework, with support from the Atlantic Philanthropies, Ireland through Galway University Foundation.

The study examines ?ve research areas and the overall impact of Tusla's programme on the service orientation towards prevention and Family Support including:

Tusla Infographic attached in the email. Can you create a new infographic that fits in with our design rather than copy this one and put it here.

A team of nine doctorate and post doctorate researchers at NUI Galway's UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre continues to be funded by this programme to complete this extensive system-wide evaluation of the entire initiative and to provide the specific technical support to TUSLA as it implements this radical programme and to disseminate the results internationally.

Galway University Foundation is the grantholder for Prevention & Early Intervention Development & Mainstreaming Porgramme on behalf of The Atlantic Philanthopies.