NUI Galway PhD gets first prize at US biomedical conference

5 Sep 2011

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A Tipperary native studying at NUI Galway has won first prize in the PhD Student Paper Competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Engineering Conference, a leading US conference in the field of biomedical engineering and biomechanics.

William Ronan, PhD student in mechanical and biomedical engineering at NUI Galway and from Cloneen, Co Tipperary, was shortlisted as one of six finalists in the category of cell mechanics from more than 150 international applicants and based on his submitted paper and podium presentation, he was awarded first prize.

Currently in the third year of his PhD research under the supervision of Dr Patrick McGarry, Ronan has developed advanced computational models that predict the active response of biological cells to different mechanical environments.

His winning paper is entitled Simulation of Stress Fiber Remodeling and Mixed-mode Focal Adhesion Assembly During Cell Spreading on Elastic Substrates.

A testament to the high quality of research in Irish universities

Speaking of this success, Prof Seán Leen, head of mechanical and biomedical engineering at NUI Galway, said: “William’s achievement is a testament to the high quality of research being carried out in biomedical engineering at NUI Galway and, in particular, by his supervisor Dr McGarry. This type of internationally leading performance is also evidence of the exceptional talent being developed in Irish universities with the support of successive Irish Governments and industry.”

Ronan is funded by an Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) scholarship and the research is also supported by Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme (SFI-RFP) and the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC).

This is the second major international award won by a member of McGarry’s research group in 2011, with PhD student Emer Feerick also winning first prize at the Annual Symposium on Computational Orthopaedic Biomechanics in the US in January.

Photo: NUI Galway student William, winner of the PhD Student Paper Competition at the recent American Society of Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Engineering Conference

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com