Monaghan student lands two awards at international science show

13 May 201629 Shares

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) has seen Monaghan student Louis Madden awarded two prizes for his DNA proposal.

Intel ISEF’s Arizona awards show had an Irish feel to proceedings, with two Irish students, from Monaghan and Balbriggan, among the 1,700 competitors in a competition with $4m worth of prizes on offer.

Better still, Louis Madden, from Clones, took two of the prizes on offer. Madden bagged a full fellowship to the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy, as well as a $1,000 prize from Monsanto.

His presentation, called Bringing genetics to the masses: the development of a low-cost DNA extraction and profiling kit,’ had already landed plenty of plaudits in Ireland before he headed to the US earlier this week.

Madden hypothesises that genetic testing and DNA research – which he says have numerous essential applications that are being neglected due to prohibitive costs – can be carried out simply, efficiently and cheaply.

Using cheap and recycled materials, Madden built a vortex, a spectrophotometer, a centrifuge, a PCR (polymerase chain reaction technology), a transilluminator, a gel box with power supply, and a gel camera. Total cost? Less than $200.

He was among three Irish students included in the global Google Science Fair last summer, before being named the overall winner of the all-island science competition, SciFest 2015.

IntelISEF SciFest 2015 winner Louis Madden (right), with RTÉ presenter Jen Cleary. Image via Intel Ireland

SciFest 2015 winner Louis Madden (right), with RTÉ presenter Jen Cleary. Image via Intel Ireland

The second Irish student over at Intel ISEF was Lauren Murphy, from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan. She developed a tangible aid to encourage greater hand dexterity for sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

Murphy went to a DCU hackathon and met with engineers, as well as the company Nuwave Ventures who were impressed with her concept.

They then developed the tool into a smart device that can give immediate feedback as users perform activities – the sensors are measuring force, range of motion and the number of actions in a given time.

Lauren Murphy with her father Gerard, showcasing Lauren’s aid for multiple sclerosis sufferers which aims to improve dexterity – all images via DCU

Lauren Murphy with her father Gerard, showcasing Lauren’s aid for multiple sclerosis sufferers, which aims to improve dexterity. Image via DCU

More awards will be announced later on today.

Main fireworks image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com