Discovery of biomarkers to diagnose preeclampsia risk wins 2021 NovaUCD Invention of the Year award


Researchers from UCD Conway SPHERE who discovered biomarkers that can be used to diagnose the risk of preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication, have received the 2021 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award for their discovery.

The team are led by Conway Fellows, Professor Patricia Maguire, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Institute for Discovery and Professor Fionnuala Ní Aínle, UCD School of Medicine and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, along with Dr Paulina Szklanna, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.

UCD ConwaySPHERE_2021InnovationPictured L-R: Professor Fionnuala Ní Aínle, Professor Patricia Maguire and Dr Paulina Szklanna, UCD Conway SPHERE group.

They discovered the biomarkers using a novel non-invasive blood-based diagnostics platform (PALADIN), which was developed by Professor Maguire.

Based on their discovery the team is now developing a new diagnostic test called AI_PREMie, an AI-powered risk stratification platform, to identify women with preeclampsia and predict preeclampsia severity thus helping to save the lives of mothers and babies.

Professor Patricia Maguire said, “Together with my co-inventors, Professor Fionnuala Ní Áinle and Dr Paulina Szklanna, we are delighted and deeply honoured to receive the 2021 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award for our new blood test for pre-eclampsia.”

“Pre-eclampsia is a serious complication affecting 1 in 10 pregnancies that results in the death of 50,000 women and 500,000 babies every year. Our new test ‘AI_PREMie’ powered by artificial intelligence, will help clinicians to diagnose and better manage patients, saving the lives of mothers and their babies."

A patent has been filed in the European Patent Office for this invention and the technology will be the basis of a planned new UCD spin-out company.


The 2021 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award is one of a total of 7 Awards which were revealed today by NovaUCD during a virtual event to highlight successes made in areas of knowledge transfer, consultancy, entrepreneurship and the promotion of an innovation culture, by members of the UCD research, innovation and start-up community.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “I would like to congratulate all those who have received 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awards. These Awards were established to recognise and highlight the successes being made by members of our research and innovation community across the University. I wish them all continuing success in 2021 and the years ahead as they continue to shape the future and deliver impact for the economy and society through their commercialisation, consultancy, entrepreneurial and innovation activities.”

For details of the recipients of the other 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awards, visit NovaUCD.