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November 2016 Lecturer in Medical Technologies recognised for outstanding early career research talent
Dr Martin O’Halloran, Lecturer in Medical Technologies at NUI Galway, has been awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Early Career Researcher award at the Annual Science Foundation Ireland Science Summit.
Dr O’Halloran’s research is focused on the development of patient-centred medical devices. Originally qualifying as an engineer, he retrained as a clinical researcher to ensure his lab-based research could be translated into the clinic, and have a clear and tangible impact on patient care.
His research is focused on developing medical device technology that is both close to patient and close to market. With this in mind, Dr O’Halloran’s Translational Medical Device Lab is the first in Ireland to be physically embedded within a large regional hospital and co-located with the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway.
Congratulating Dr O’Halloran on his award, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi said: “Martin and his team are at the very epicentre of our research in medical technologies, with their close collaborative ties with clinicians. With his multi-disciplinary background in engineering and clinical research, Martin reflects the innovative approach to research which thrives here at NUI Galway. I am pleased to see his excellence and determination being recognised and rewarded.”
Explaining his research, Dr O’Halloran said: “We are funded by the European Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. The research involves the measurement of the electrical properties of human tissue, as a platform for new medical device development. These properties are used in medical imaging (using microwave and electrical impedance imaging) and in therapeutic applications (radiofrequency and microwave ablation of diseased tissue).”
Our clinical targets range from neuro-imaging for stroke detection (funded by CÚRAM, to bladder imaging for managing bed-wetting in young children (collaboration with ICAN). Working closely with BioInnovate, we are also investigating a number of clinical applications of ablation, as a therapeutic technology in the gastro, ENT and cardiac spaces.”
Highlighting his ambition and commitment to medical research translation, Dr O’Halloran was the youngest ever successful co-proposer of a European COST Action (entitled ‘MiMED’), and is now leading a network of over 180 medical device researchers from 24 countries, focused on the clinical translation of medical devices in Europe. He also secured over €5.1 million in direct research funding, these grants include an SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant, an ERC Starting Grant, and several grants from the Irish Research Council and Enterprise Ireland.
Congratulating the award winners, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to recognise and honour the excellent work and achievements of Irish scientific researchers in a number of fields. 2016 marks the addition of five new awards recognising crucial areas of research and development including: industry collaborations, entrepreneurship, communication, public engagement and outstanding early career researchers. I want to congratulate the award winners on their hard work and accomplishments. I hope their success will be a source of inspiration to others.”