health-small_03Key research focus reflect the background, capabilities and specialisations of staff across the Bioscience Research Institute (BRI) in the domains of life and physical science, nursing and health science, and sports science that are aligned with regional, national and international strategic needs. R & D is focused around the main national priority areas of Food for Health, Medical Devices, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics Synthesis, Formulation, Processing and Drug Delivery. Specifically, BRI staff facilitate regional SMEs with complex problem solving viz a viz Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher and Partnership programmes, where AIT is the 2nd leading third level education provider in Ireland for uptake and completion of these.

Human Health

Internationally-leading research is conducted in the emerging applied-areas of bioactives and functional foods, with particular emphasis on dental and veterinary applications. Front-line research topics include the development of novel polymeric (medical) devices for various applications including healing of burns, repair or replacement of damaged meniscus (knee), or to treat irritable bowel syndrome. These encapsulate tissue and polymer engineering, novel decontamination, microbiology, and toxicology (biocompatibility). Realtime detection and alleviation of microbial infections in healthcare and the community setting is also strongly researched. Research with enterprise is also focused on allied-health subjects (audiology) in terms of novel decontamination, sensors and device functionality. Specific links with enterprise in this space include Arann Healthcare Innovation Disinfection Technologies, Bonavox and SynergyHealth Plc.

A specific research focus is also centred on optimising the diversity of needs (nutritional, behavioural and care) of specialist populations ranging from those with chronic illness (diabetes, dementia, cancer patients) to elite groups such as athletes. Related focus includes understanding and alleviating aggression and violence in affected individuals from a mental health perspective.

Key staff in these specialist areas:

Functional Foods:
Veterinary Toxicology, microbiology and practice:
Chronic illness and challenging behaviour
Dr Mary McDonnell Naughton, Dr Sheila Faherty, Dr Eileen Lane, Ms Marva FitzpatrickAudiology Dr Miriam O’Connor, Dr Carmel Kealey, Dr Eileen Lane, Dr James Kennedy, Prof Neil Rowan, Prof Clem Higginbotham, Dr Brian Lee
Dr Miriam O’Connor, Dr Carmel Kealey, Dr Eileen Lane, Dr James Kennedy, Prof Neil Rowan, Prof Clem Higginbotham, Dr Brian Lee
Mental Health
Medical Device
Dr James Kennedy, Dr Damien Brady, Prof Neil Rowan, Prof Clem Higginbotham, Dr Sinead Devery, Dr Jennifer Hayes


Animal Health

Smart specialisation areas include rapid detection, prevention and control of problematical bacterial and parasitic diseases in animals (companion and herd). Other related focuses including development of novel therapeutics such as preventing fatal equine haemorrhaging to novel controlled-release delivery food and mineral systems for animals. Research is also framed around novel decontamination of contact-surfaces and air in veterinary practices with particular relevance to zoning and infection control. Smart device innovations for vet applications also include novel means of artificial insemination. Specific links with enterprise in this space include Irish Equine Centre, Farmlab Diagnostics, AutoGenomics and Nugget Quality Feeds.

These projects are frequently linked with enterprise and are also aligned with core strategic needs identified by both the National the Irish Strategy for Higher Education 2030 and Growing the Delivery of Strategically Oriented, Impact Focused Research, Development and Innovation in the Institutions of Technology (March 2013). Publically-funded research projects have been facilitated through various bodies including the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (FIRM), Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland Programmes, along with EU FP7 Programmes.