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2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awardees in Conversation with Olive Keogh Series

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Journalist Olive Keogh chats with Prof Patricia Maguire, Dr Donal MacKernan about their research, inventions & commercialisation activities

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Join us on Thursday 13 May at 10 am as journalist Olive Keogh chats with 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awardees Professor Patricia Maguire and Dr Donal MacKernan

In March Patricia, along with UCD colleagues, Prof. Fionnuala Ní Aínle, and Dr Paulina Szklanna, received the 2021 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award for their discovery of biomarkers which can be used to diagnose preeclampsia risk.

Donal received the 2021 NovaUCD Licence of the Year Award for a disruptive molecular switch platform technology which was licensed by UCD to a US-based company Fionnachtain Inc with an initial application as a point-of-care medical diagnostic for COVID-19 and influenza.

Olive will chat with Patricia and Donal about their research and respective discoveries and how these discoveries have the potential to have a significant impact on health and well being of people in Ireland and internationally, and will discuss their commercialisation plans for 2021 and beyond.

Prof. Patricia Maguire

Professor Patricia Maguire is a researcher in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD Conway Institute and is also the Director of the UCD Institute for Discovery.

Using a novel non-invasive blood-based diagnostics platform, developed by Professor Maguire, she and her co-inventors, Prof. Ní Aínle, and Dr Szklanna, discovered biomarkers which can be used to diagnose preeclampsia risk.

Preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication, is difficult to diagnose and kills 50,000 mothers and 500,000 babies each year worldwide.

Based on their discovery the UCD team is developing a new diagnostic test to identify women with preeclampsia and predict preeclampsia severity thus helping to save the lives of mothers and babies.

Dr Donal MacKernan

Dr Donal MacKernan, a researcher in the UCD School of Physics, has developed a disruptive molecular switch platform technology. The platform, a specialised hinge protein with sensor and function domains, can be manufactured using standard recombinant protein technology.

The flexibility of the design allows a wide variety of applications including medical diagnostics, food and environmental testing, and therapeutics.

Olive Keogh

Olive Keogh has an extensive background in business and technology journalism and has been writing the New Innovators column in The Irish Times, which focuses on start-up companies, for the last 10 years. She is a weekly contributor to the paper's Business, Technology and Innovation sections writing about innovation, work culture and young companies and contributes to the Life Science pages with a focus on MedTech innovation.

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