Oisin Kavanagh secures a Fulbright Irish Award

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From Cybersecurity and Climate Action, to the significance of the Harp…
Ireland-U.S. Education Exchange Supports Innovative and Diverse Research

Friday 14th June 2019: The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, are pleased to announce 36 Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2019-2020. Recipients were presented with Awards at a ceremony in Dublin Castle last night.

Researcher Oisín Kavanagh, from SSPC, the SFI Pharmaceutical Research Centre based at the Bernal Institute, University of Limerick, has been named recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Award. Overseen by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Award honours individuals at the top of their fields.

As a Fulbright awardee, Oisín will visit the laboratory of Prof. Naír Rodríguez-Hornedo strengthening links between the University of Limerick and the University of Michigan in the U.S. There he will continue his research in crystal engineering to unlock the potential of new and old medicines in novel therapeutic contexts.

As an early career researcher, amongst his many accolades, Oisín has recently filed for a patent that is focused on combination drugs that each target a different aspect of a disease. Many complex medical conditions require treatment with a combination of drugs, with each targeting a different aspect of the disease. However, complex drug regimens negatively affect patience compliance and result in poor adherence to therapy. In epilepsy, for instance, a single missed dose can lead to a fatal seizure. By enabling simpler drug regimens, multidrug dosage forms could provide safer and more effective therapeutic alternatives.

Academics, professionals and students from 13 HEIs and organisations in Ireland will go to 30 leading U.S. institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from disciplines spanning technology, science, language, medicine and the arts. The Fulbright Awards celebrate diversity across topics, geography and backgrounds. Increased funding from both the Irish and U.S. Governments has allowed the Fulbright Commission in Ireland to support a wider range and number of exciting study and research awardees than ever before.

The first ever Fulbright-TechImpact Cybersecurity Scholar to Georgetown University, John Sheppard, a lecturer in cybersecurity and digital forensics at Waterford Institute Technology, will go to the U.S. to conduct research into wearable technologies and associated ethical implications. Conor Quinn, a Senior Cyber Security Consultant with Deloitte Ireland, will be the first Fulbright-TechImpact Cybersecurity Scholar to Boston College where he will join the Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Master’s program and examine new methods to implement cyber security strategies.

As a Fulbright-Geological Survey Ireland Scholar to Arizona State University and the University of Colorado Boulder, Dr Brenda McNally from Trinity College Dublin, will explore how socio-ecological imaginaries can be used to reinvigorate public engagement with climate and energy policy. As a Fulbright Scholar to the Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University, Dr Mary Louise O’Donnell will investigate the significance of the Irish harp as a political and cultural emblem of identification among Irish emigrants in the United States from 1780 to 1930. These are just a few examples of the scope of 2019-2020 Fulbright Awardees.

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