Breakthrough stent wins innovation award

22 Jun 2007

An engineering student from National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) has won the Siemens Innovative Engineer of the Year Award 2007. Michael Dunning won the prize, awarded jointly by Engineers Ireland and Siemens, for a biodegradable stint.

What is unique about Dunning’s stent is that it is made from biodegradable polymer material, while stents currently used in medical practice are metallic and often they require revisionary surgery which can be invasive and traumatic. Dunning, from Athlone, is a biomedical engineering student in NUIG.

The biodegradable stent removes the need for such revisionary surgery and is also self-expanding, which means it is non-invasive when inserted into the body.

Five of the six finalists in the competition worked on medical-related products.

Malcolm Banks, sales manager of medical solutions for Siemens, commented: “Medical devices are of high value and fit well with the new industrial and R&D trends in Ireland.”

Jack Golden, president of Engineers Ireland, said: “High-level research is paramount to the future economic success of our country and it is awards like this that encourage young researchers to be innovative in their work and to think about the practical applications of their research, so that it has value in the international marketplace.

Other entries in the final of the competition included an experimental assessment of hinged vapour chamber for use in laptop thermal management and a virtual reality Integrated ankle rehabilitation device.

By Niall Byrne

Pictured – Michael Dunning, winner of the the Siemens Innovative Engineer of the Year Award 2007