Eamonn Quigley and Michael Mahoney awarded St Patrick’s Day Science Medal

12 Mar 2019

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This year’s SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal went to leading gastroenterologist Prof Eamonn Quigley and Boston Scientific CEO Michael Mahoney.

Every year, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) celebrates Ireland’s patron saint by awarding a St Patrick’s Day Science Medal.

The medal is awarded to scientists, engineers or technology leaders who are based in the US and have strong Irish connections.

Now in its sixth year, the St Patrick’s Day Science Medal was presented to Prof Eamonn Quigley and Michael Mahoney for their significant contributions to academia, research and industry. It also acknowledges the winners’ roles in supporting and engaging with the research ecosystem in Ireland.

The medal was presented by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD. This is the fourth year the medal has been awarded to two recipients.

Speaking at the presentation, Bruton said both Quigley and Mahoney have “demonstrated outstanding leadership in their respective fields and have made extremely positive societal impacts in the United States and Ireland”.

An expert in gastroenterology

Quigley is a leading international expert in gastroenterology, with a career spanning 30 years on both sides of the Atlantic. After studying at University College Cork (UCC) and training in Glasgow, he spent two years as a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Quigley then became chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

In 1998, Quigley returned to his native Cork, where he was the dean of the medical school at UCC for seven years as well as a principal investigator at the APC Microbiome SFI research centre.

During his career, Quigley has been president of the American College of Gastroenterology, president of the World Gastroenterology Organization and editor in chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. He currently holds the David M Underwood chair of medicine in digestive disorders.

Quigley said he was greatly honoured to receive the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal for his work in gastroenterology. “Working between Ireland and the United States has given me a valuable international perspective that I have brought to my research, clinical practice and teaching,” he said.

A leader in medical devices

Mahoney has nearly three decades of experience in his field. Prior to joining Boston Scientific in 2011, he was the worldwide chair of the Medical Device and Diagnostics Group at Johnson & Johnson.

While Mahoney was born in the US, he has always felt a strong connection to his Irish heritage linking back to Cork and Mayo.

Mahoney is CEO and chair at Boston Scientific, which produces medical devices that treat more than 30m patients around the world every year. The medtech giant established its Irish manufacturing operation in Ireland in 1994 and is now one of the country’s largest employers with sites in Clonmel, Cork and Galway.

Mahoney said the St Patrick’s Day Science Medal is a wonderful recognition of the important R&D programmes as well as the strong connection Boston Scientific has with Ireland.

“Our presence in Ireland has grown over time thanks to the success of our hardworking Irish teams and a strong business ecosystem that is conducive to medtech and R&D,” he said.

“It is exciting to see the best and brightest minds from research institutions, clinical practice, manufacturing companies and government collaborating so that together we can address the most pressing healthcare needs.”

Quigley and Mahoney follow in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Margaret Murnane and David McCourt.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic