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GMIT Postgraduate Student wins recognition for her research on clot types for stroke

GMIT researcher Sharon Duffy has won industry recognition and acclaim for her early research into clot types and treatment for stroke, in collaboration with Neuravi, a medical device company in GMIT’s Innovation Hub.

Sharon, from Streete, Co Westmeath, presented her research at the Bioengineering in Ireland Conference held in Galway recently, where she was awarded first place for the Best Early Stage Research Presentation.

A graduate of the GMIT B.Sc. (Hons) in Medical Science, she is currently on an employment based research programme in GMIT’s Medical Device Research Centre (GMedTech),. Sharon work in conjunction with Neuravi which specialises in the development of mechanical thrombectomy devices for the removal of clots from ischemic stroke patients (stroke caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain by a clot).

“As part of my research we developed seven clot analogue types each with varying compositions, intended to represent commonly retrieved stroke clots in humans. These clots can then be applied to mechanical thrombectomy development, to investigate the device performance with different clot types. They can also be used for neuro-interventionalist technique evaluations with thrombectomy devices. We have a number of collaborations in place with international stroke centres including Beaumont hospital in Dublin, and the MAYO clinic in Minnesota US.”

Separately, Sharon received a prestigious awarded from the Irish Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine. The top two final year research project individuals/teams from GMIT, DIT and UCC/CIT presented their research to this body, and the best project was awarded this prize. After receiving this award Sharon went on to represent Ireland at the European Association for Professions in Biomedical Science conference in Croatia and came third for her final year project. Much of her current work is a continuation of this final year project.

Sharon’s supervisors in GMIT, Drs Eugene McCarthy, Liam Morris and Eleanor Rainsford are delighted with Sharon’s progress. Dr Eugene McCarthy, Principal Investigator in GMIT’s GMedTech Centre, says: “Sharon’s research focuses on enhancing our understanding of the dynamic properties of different blood clot types which is essential to advancing treatment strategies for stroke. Unique to her studies is the strong collaboration between clinicians, academics, medical scientists, engineers and an industry partner dedicated to advancing stroke therapy. Although in her first six months of her PhD, the impact of Sharon’s work can be further demonstrated by her recently accepted international peer reviewed paper in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.”

Michael Gilvarry, Neuravi, says: “Sharon’s research into clots and the analogues she has developed are an important advancement in stroke research. This work will enable further progress in the areas of clot imaging for stroke patients, device development, and procedure refinement. This award is a fitting recognition of the importance and the quality of Sharon’s research.”

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