Tyndall scientist wins ICT Invention of the Year at UCC

27 Mar 2012

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Anita Maguire, vice-president of Research and Innovation at UCC, pictured with Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy of UCC and Professor Peter O'Keeffe of Tyndall National Institute, winners of the Life Sciences Invention of the Year award

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Professor Peter Kennedy of Tyndall National Institute has gleaned the top innovation accolade at University College Cork’s Invention of the Year awards. Meanwhile, the Life Sciences Invention of the Year award went to Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy and David Cronin of the Bioelectromagnetics Group in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at UCC.

The two scientists have invented a gastroenteral feeding tube placement kit for surgeons.

Anita Maguire, vice-president of Research and Innovation at UCC, said that the awards themselves showcased significant research in the area of life sciences and ICT.

Kennedy won the overall ICT award for developing a patented modulator for high-performance frequency synthesiser. His technology is aiming to disrupt the way that frequency synthesisers, which provide wireless communication signals, will operate in the future.  

The technology has now been licensed by Analog Devices and is currently being prototyped at its Limerick plant.

"It has been hugely exciting working with Peter, and seeing his technology outperform all current market-leading frequency synthesisers," said Maguire.  

She said that international interest in this invention has been very significant and that UCC expects the product to be in commercial production by 2013.

Anita Maguire, vice-president of Research and Innovation, University College Cork (UCC), pictured with Professor Peter O'Keeffe of Tyndall National Institute who won the ICT Invention of the Year award at UCC's Invention of the Year awards

Anita Maguire, vice-president of Research and Innovation, UCC, pictured with Professor Peter O’Keeffe of Tyndall National Institute who won the ICT Invention of the Year award at UCC’s Invention of the Year awards

UCC’s Technology Transfer Office works with inventors to help commercialise research and bring it to the next level.

Life sciences invention for surgeons

As for the Life Sciences Invention of the Year, Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy and David Cronin of UCC’s Bioelectromagnetics Group won for their ‘smart magnets’ invention.

The duo have created a gastroenteral feeding tube placement kit targeted at helping surgeons in gastroenteral procedures. The aim is to dramatically decrease the likelihood of complications and mortality.  

The kit provides for a magnetic coupling consisting of two magnets, which are coupled across a gastrointestinal and abdominal wall to provide a guide path for accurate incision and subsequent insertion of a feeding tube, said Cantillon-Murphy. He said that the internal magnet is carried on an endoscope, which is a component of standard feeding PEG tube kits.

"Working with surgeons in Cork University Hospital, and with the support of the Technology Transfer Office, we developed this novel solution which will greatly assist gastroenteral surgery, and will reduce the risk of complications for patients with feeding tubes inserted using smart magnet technology," explained Cantillon-Murphy.

Commercial eye

Maguire said that, this year, there were a large number of entries to UCC’s Invention of the Year from the centres on campus that support thei commercialisation of research including gatewayUCC, the BioInnovation Centre and Tyndall National Institute.

She pointed to the likelihood of inventions following in the path of recent commercial successes that were spawned from research projects at UCC such as Firecomms, ThinkSmart and InfiniLED.

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com