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Dr Sharon Duffy wins Presidents award for research excellence

Dr Sharon Duffy, of Cerenovus and former postgraduate of Medical & Engineering Technologies Centre, won the GMIT Presidents’ award for research excellence. Sharon’s research focused on the characterisation and modelling of thrombi (blood clots) in acute ischemic stroke and the implications for therapy.

In Ireland alone, with a population of 4.8 million people, there are over 10,000 strokes annually, with approximately 2,000 of these cases resulting in mortality. Most strokes are Acute Ischemic Strokes, which are caused when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel supplying the brain. Current treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke involves the administration of clot busting drugs and a clot removal device using mechanical thrombectomy. Despite the development in the treatment of stroke there remains many patients for whom treatment is unsuccessful.

In collaboration with GMIT, Sharon’s PhD was funded through the Irish Research Council employment-based programme in partnership with Cerenovus (part of Johnson & Johnson and formally known as Neuravi Ltd)

A graduate of the GMIT B.Sc. (Hons) in Medical Science, Sharon’s research focused on a few key factors influencing the treatment of stroke.  The research generated new knowledge on the relationship between clot properties and current endovascular and medical therapies.

Working with Beaumont Hospital, Sharon investigated the composition of clot retrieved from patients during thrombectomy procedures.  In her investigation, Sharon was able to discover that difficult to remove clots, those clots that take several attempts to capture, have a different composition to clots that are more readily retrieved. The specific composition of these recalcitrant clots provides a focus for the development of future advancements in stroke treatment.

During her research Sharon developed extensive links with several highly regarded institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Los Angeles Stroke Centre, University of Heidelberg and Beaumont hospital. The findings of her research are published in a number of internationally peer reviewed journals.

Michael Gilvarry General Manager of CERENOVUS says “Sharon’s PhD was an outstanding success for us.  All of her work was directly relevant to our ongoing research work in stroke, and her publications have had a big impact not only for CERENOVUS as a company but are changing the way people are thinking about stroke therapy’.

Photo caption: Pictured with her project supervisors (L to R) Dr Ray McCarthy (Cerenovus), Dr Eleanor Rainsford (GMIT), Dr Liam Morris (GMIT), Dr Sharon Duffy, Dr Michael Hannon (Acting President of GMIT), Dr Eugene McCarthy (GMIT) and Michael Gilvarry (General Manager Cerenovus)

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