GMIT student Shane McHugh has won the Allergan Innovation Award for his research into improving surgical practices for congenital heart disease.
Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect affecting the heart.
Every year up to 600 babies are born in Ireland with a congenital heart defect that puts their lives at risk and can cause health problems all through life.
Shane, a postgraduate researcher at GMIT and Enterprise Ireland’s Medical and Engineering Technology (MET) Gateway, is working on optimising a number of surgical procedures using an advanced bio-simulator.
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.
Along with this prestigious award, Shane received a bursary of €9,000 to fund his ongoing work on heart disease surgeries.
Pat Ruddy, Director and Plant Manager of Allergan Knocknacarra, said they are delighted to help researchers like Shane to continue advancing our healthcare knowledge.
“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.”
GMIT’s congenital heart disease research programme was established by GMIT’s Dr Liam Morris, Dr Patrick Delassus and Dr Eugene McCarthy working with partners at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research & Innovation said that winning this award is sure to help Shane’s career development, but the full benefits of the programme go much deeper than that.
“With Allergan we’re supporting projects of great importance.,” he said, adding “Our intention is to enhance the health of our community”.