Shane McHugo, a postgraduate researcher in GMIT and Enterprise Ireland’s Medical and Engineering Technology (MET) Gateway, has been awarded the Allergan Innovation Award for his research on congenital heart disease. Along with this prestigious award, Shane received a bursary of €9,000 to fund his ongoing work on the replication of surgical procedures for the treatment of congenital heart disease within the MET Centre.
Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect which affects the heart with 500 to 600 babies born in Ireland each year with the condition. Supported by the GMIT research and development fund, the congenital heart disease research programme was established by GMIT’s Dr Liam Morris, Dr Patrick Delassus and Dr Eugene McCarthy in conjunction with clinical partners Professor Colin McMahon, Paediatric Cardiologist, and Lars Nölke, Cardiothoracic surgeon, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
Shane’s work is currently assessing a number of different surgical procedures within an advanced bio-simulator in an attempt to optimise clinical results. The full development of this bio-simulator replicating congenital heart defects will provide surgeons and researchers next generation technology to test various surgical options and assess their clinical outcomes.
Pat Ruddy, Director and Plant Manager, Allergan Knocknacarra, Co Galway says: “We are delighted that the Allergan Innovation Award Programme will allow researchers such as Shane to further advance their studies in the field of Life and Health Sciences. For a company such as Allergan, scientific research and innovation are essential to the future of our industry, so we hope that this Innovation Award will inspire the next generation of pioneering researchers. Collaborating with a prestigious institute such as GMIT is an exciting initiative for all involved, and we look forward to the positive results and experiences it will bring for students and our industry.”
Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research & Innovation, says: “Our ongoing collaboration with Allergan really accelerates the career development of the awardees, but the Allergan Innovation Award Programme has a much broader impact. With Allergan we’re supporting projects of great importance. Our intention is to enhance the health of our community”.