6 innovators emerging from Trinity College Dublin to watch

30 Nov 2022

Prof Tríona Lally and Trinity College Dublin provost Dr Linda Doyle. Image: Paul Sharp

From medical devices to fashion-tech, Trinity College Dublin celebrated several start-ups and individuals at this year’s Innovation Awards.

On 8 November, academics, researchers and founders gathered at Trinity College Dublin to recognise some of university’s best minds in research and innovation.

The 2022 Trinity Innovation Awards celebrated leaders in fields ranging from history to zoology, as well as highlighting the latest campus companies to watch out for.

Here are some of the start-ups and individuals who received awards on the night.

Starling Surgical

Medtech spin-out Starling Surgical has created a wound closure device that combines the rapidity of skin stapling with the clinical advantages of suturing.

The company was co-founded by Dr Cyrus Doctor, a BioInnovate fellow and former surgeon, and Travis Davis, who quit his job at NASA to work on the device.

Doctor said he hopes this tech will be the future of wound closure. “At the beginning of next year, we’ll be starting clinical trials, which we’re very excited about, in four or five different centres in Europe,” he said.


TurboTEM creates modular retrofittable adaptations to expand the performance, functionality or sustainability of scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEM).

Founded by Dr Lewys Jones, the company launched the Pulse signal processing unit to improve digital electron counting.

“We’re working on next year having an adjustable pole-piece electron lens and then after that we’re excited to look at four-dimensional STEM detectors, adaptive scanning systems, whatever excites us really.”

Tríona Lally

While she doesn’t have a company just yet, Dr Tríona Lally was named as one of the ones to watch at this year’s awards. Based at Trinity, Lally works with a number of companies that are developing new technologies using research to answer unmet clinical needs.

“One particular innovative technology that we’re currently working on is with a collaborator who already has an established company called HomeTesting.ie,” she said.

“Often people struggle to get a sufficient amount of blood [for testing], so we are working on developing a device now that will enable you very quickly, very easily with a quick, cheap, disposable device to get that blood sample, which will then ensure that you have a successful testing subsequently.”

Altach Biomedical

Another campus company that was celebrated was Altach Biomedical, which is working on novel ways to regenerate damaged or diseased musculoskeletal tissues.

Founder Danny Kelly, who is a professor of tissue engineering at Trinity, said the company aims to develop new approaches to help regenerate damaged joints such as the knee or the hip.

“We hope to develop a biomaterial that we can implant into patients [who] damage the cartilage in their knee in the hope that it will regenerate the cartilage and reduce the pain they would ordinarily suffer due to the damage in the joint,” he said.


Led by Dr Joao Cabral and Dr Christian Saam, VoiceTune is a cloud-based text-to-speech AI platform that takes input text and automatically generates expressive speech with emotions.

Speaking to SiliconRepublic.com, Saam said this can be used in computer games, audio books and “anywhere where you need credible, realistic, naturalistic and very expressive voices”.

“Our plans are to raise good investment and to start growing and growing and become a very successful start-up,” he said.


Fashion-tech company Swan is using AI to measure human bodies from video to “tailor accuracy”, which will enable users to shop more accurately.

CEO and founder Eoin Cambay said the platform then shows users the clothing directly on them through a virtual avatar.

“We change how fashion works from a glorified magazine to what is a much more personalised and individual experience, and one that actually revolves around the person and the way they look and shop,” he said.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic