Catalina Vallejo Giraldo, PhD student at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway.
Mar 04 2016 Posted: 16:00 GMT

CÚRAM PhD student wins best paper award for her research to develop polymeric neural probes, which measure the electrical activity of neurons in our brains, for deep brain stimulation for patients with Parkinson’s disease

Catalina Vallejo Giraldo, a PhD student at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, has just received the Best Paper Award at ‘Biodevices 2016’, the 9th International Conference on Biomedical Electronics and Devices in Rome.

Ms Vallejo Giraldo’s paper titled ‘Electrochemical Analysis of Accelerated Aging of PEDOT-PTS Coated Screen-printed Electrodes’ (authors, Nathalia Peixoto, Tjerignimin Silue, Catalina Vallejo-Giraldo and Manus Biggs), was selected from a set of outstanding papers, based on the quantitative and qualitative classifications assessed by the distinguished program committee reviewers.

At CÚRAM, under the supervision of Dr Manus Biggs, Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Eilis Dowd, Catalina’s research aims to develop polymeric neural probes (which measure the electrical activity of neurons in our brains) for deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s, as well as reducing the development of scarring at the probe interface in the brain. Originally from Colombia, Ms Vallejo Giraldo’s research interests are focused on the area of biomaterials, with applications for tissue engineering and drug delivery, bio-interfaces, nerve regeneration and Parkinson’s disease.

Commenting on her work, Ms Vallejo Giraldo said: “Studies on using materials that conduct electricity to coat electrodes used in deep brain stimulation have been shown to enhance tissue/electrode integration and electrode performance. Current treatment strategies using electrodes for deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s patients have focused on reducing the complex ratio of the voltage to the current in an alternating current (AC) circuit, and the use of proteins to enhance the integration of the electrodes in the brain. We hope to develop biomaterial coatings for these electrodes so that they are accepted more readily by the body, perform more efficiently and for longer, thereby creating a much better therapy option for the patient.”

Congratulating Ms Vallejo Giraldo on her success, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to see more of our researcher’s successes at international conferences. It really reflects the high quality of research being carried out here at CÚRAM and in the Med Tech industry in Ireland in finding solutions for patients suffering from chronic illness.”

Over 200 renowned experts in biomaterials, drug delivery, cell therapy, glycoscience and device design are working on blue sky research and industry projects associated with CÚRAM, which aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness, by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices.

CÚRAM is a Science Foundation Ireland centre for research in medical devices, bringing together experts from Ireland’s leading universities and research institutes. Its academic partners, led by NUI Galway, include UCD, UCC, TCD, UL, The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Molecular Medicine Ireland.

ENDS

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