UCD Policies: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Just the Women | Just the Men

Professor Madeleine Lowery
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects parts of the brain that control the movement of muscles, and can result in the person having ‘shakes’ or tremors and experience difficulty walking and speaking. One treatment for these symptoms is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which implants an electrode into the brain to calm muscle tremors and other motor symptoms.
Professor Madeleine Lowery is using computer models to build a better understanding of how DBS affects brain tissue, how it stimulates the nerves that carry signals to muscles and how it impacts the muscles themselves.
Ultimately the aim is to develop a ‘smart’ Deep Brain Stimulation system that can figure out what the person needs and can automatically deliver the correct level of timely stimulation, thereby reducing symptoms effectively and with longer battery life.

You can read the full case study here:
Engineering a smarter treatment for Parkinson’s disease

Dr. Oliver Kinanne
The built environment accounts for over one-third of the world’s final energy. Traditional building skins, including those of concrete, are often a barrier to energy efficiency. In addition, making concrete, traditionally in high quantities with high levels of cement, results in high carbon emissions.
Dr. Oliver Kinanne and research colleagues Dr. Richard O’Hegarty and Dr. Aidan Reilly at UCD College of Engineering & Architecture are researching and developing new forms of high-performance concretes to create novel, thin, ultra high-strength, thermally superior pre-fabricated skins for buildings, for new and retrofit applications.
Through collaborations with industry and as a principal investigator on the major European project IMPRESS, Dr. Kinnane’s work will make buildings more energy-efficient, more environmentally sustainable and more comfortable for the people within.

You can read the full case study here:
Concrete Solutions for Sustainability in Buildings

Dr Ellen Rowley

Ellen Rowley is an architectural and cultural historian based in the School of Architecture, APEP, UCD. She is a writer and teacher, currently curating Belfield 50, a celebration of UCD’s 1960s and 1970s campus. Ellen mostly writes about twentieth-century Irish architecture, as a type of social history. Her books include 'Housing, Architecture + the Edge Condition' (2019) and 'More Than Concrete Blocks' (edited, 2016 + 2019), as well as (as co-editor) 'Architecture 1600–2000, Art + Architecture of Ireland, Volume IV' (2014). This history is pioneering and so, she admits, there are mistakes. In 2017, Ellen was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, for services to Irish architecture.

You can find the Davis Now lecture series here:
UCD Davis Now Lectures

Dr. Elizabeth Shotton
The built environment stretches across time. In that time, its materials store ‘embodied’ energy and carbon, some of which help to reduce emissions of carbon to the environment, such as the use of timber. In that time too, materials get broken down by the environment, and in the face of that damage our approaches to remodeling and rebuilding change. Dr Elizabeth Shotton at UCD School of Architecture is looking forward in time at how we can make more environmentally sustainable use of timber in the built environment, and she is looking back at the construction of small harbours in Ireland to both preserve and learn from their history.

Read the full case study here:
Timber and Harbours: Insights into Sustainability in Design & Construction

Will Dimond and Marcus Donaghy
When architects Will Dimond and Marcus Donaghy set out to design an extension to The Inchicore Model School in Dublin 8, they faced a series of interesting challenges. How could they take a 19th century building and bring it into the realm of 21st-century education? How could they protect the spirit of the history while ensuring that students would have the space to learn, play and grow? By working with light, space and nature and by considering the needs of students, teachers and the local community the architects refurbished and extended the school with an award-winning design that has enriched the locality.

Read the full case study here:
The Inchicore Model School: a 21st-century design on education

Dr Eoin O’Cearbhaill
3D printing technology is breaking down traditional barriers for manufacturing objects. It turns a design into an object by ‘printing’ layers of materials, building up three-dimensional shapes. At UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Dr Eoin O’Cearbhaill and his team at the UCD Medical Device Design Group are developing new and innovative ways to make cost-effective, efficient and often highly personalised objects to help us to monitor health, deliver life-saving medicines and to support the body as it repairs after injury.

You can read the full case study here:
3D printing to revolutionise medical devices

Professor Aoife Gowen
Water is the most abundant molecule in the known Universe and it is vital for life, yet we understand precious little about it.  Professor Aoife Gowen is changing that thanks to her expertise in a branch of science called hyperspectral imaging, which looks at minute changes within molecules as they interact.
Her current project, which secured prestigious European Research Council fund-ing, is examining how water interacts with surfaces and how that can affect import-ant processes such as the breakdown over time of materials grafted into the body to repair bone. She is also applying her expertise to help improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer in patient samples and to monitor the growth of bacteria on surfaces.

You can read the full case study here:
Getting up close with chemistry – new perspectives on life’s interactions

Professor Da-Wen Sun
We all know the importance of eating fresh food, but could frozen food be just as good for us? That depends on how quickly and effectively the food has been frozen, and whether its nutrients have been protected on its journey to us. Professor Da-Wen Sun, Professor of Food and Biosystems Engineering at UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, has written key textbooks for the food industry and has received many international accolades for his work on refrigeration and freezing technologies.
He has developed a method that uses ultrasound during freezing to make the process more effective, lessening damage caused by ice crystals and protecting nutrients within foods. The method is now under consideration by academic and industry food researchers, and could ultimately help to protect nutrients in food processing and storage and improve human health through more effective nutrition.

You can read the full case study here:
A fresh look at freezing foods: new technology to preserve nutrients

Dr. Fionnuala Murphy
When you figure out the environmental cost of making something, do you take everything into account? Dr Fionnuala Murphy at UCD School of Biosystems & Food Engineering takes a close look at various processes that use bio-based materials - from generating biofuels to making products from algae and agricultural and plastic wastes - and finds the true environmental cost across the life-cycle of those processes.
Dr Murphy’s work has already helped to move towards more sustainable sources for bio-fuel generation and, through major European projects, she is contributing to the development of a more sustainable bioeconomy that reduces levels of agri-food waste by using it for higher value products.

You can read the full case study here:
Accounting for Environmental Impact in the Bioeconomy

Dr. Tom Curran
Waste can cause problems. When fats, oils, grease and sanitary products congeal in a sewer, it can build ‘fatbergs’ that slow and clog sewers, resulting in backed up pipes, environmental damage and expensive and dangerous operations to clear the blockage. Dr Tom Curran at UCD is making strides in the fight against fatbergs, working  on prevention and detection. His research has shown high levels of compliance among businesses to prevent fatbergs, which saves Dublin millions of Euros each year in sewer management and wastewater treatment costs.

You can read the full case study here:
Engineering Solutions to Offset Waste Problems

Dr. Yaqian Zhao
Wastewater treatment systems are not always pleasant to look at. But what if they could be aesthetically pleasing and offer the public a space for recreation and enjoyment as they carry out the necessary work of removing impurities from the water supply?

Dr Yaqian Zhao is a world leader in constructing artificial wetlands to do just that. His group has not only developed and tested an approach that re-uses waste products to build wetlands that clean water themselves, they have also devised an approach to generate electricity from wetland activity. Dr Zhao has been recognised internationally for his pioneering contributions to the field.

You can read the full case study here:
Constructed wetlands: from waste to oasis

Dr Sarah Cotterill
Two-thirds of Ireland’s drinking water originates from upland peat dominated catchments. These vital ecosystems have been extensively modified by humans with detrimental impact on water quality. Dr Sarah Cotterill is working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop water treatment techniques to replace chlorination, which can lead to the production of potentially carcinogenic disinfection by-products (DBPs). Instead, they're hoping to use the process of electrocoagulation to remove Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), nutrients and solids from raw waters. Removing DOC from raw waters has become increasingly difficult, and is one of the largest costs of drinking water treatment. The aim is to develop a low-cost, low-voltage treatment process which can be used in remote, rural locations alongside catchment management practices to restore and rewet peatlands. 

Dr Fiachra O’Loughlin
Rivers are arteries for human civilisation, and can enable prosperity or, in the case of flooding or drought, they can bring the potential for devastation. Dr Fiachra O’Loughlin from UCD School of Civil Engineering is using freely available satellite data to better model and understand large river systems. His work on modelling the Congo basin has brought about deeper insights into the potential flashpoints for flooding and carbon cycling as well as dynamic data that could help local communities and businesses to use the river as a resource. Dr O’Loughlin has also worked on information to help researchers and organisations build more effective models of other river basins around the world.

You can read the full case study here:
New Perspectives on River Models

Professor Eugene O’Brien
Bridges are often key factors in transport, allowing us to get across landscapes efficiently. If a bridge fails, the results can be catastrophic for human life, for economies and societies and for the environment.
This is why bridges are monitored as they age, to estimate whether they can still safely bear expected traffic. But the processes that civil engineers use to do that on long-span bridges are limited. This could result in bridges being closed due to safety concerns.
Professor Eugene O’Brien and his team at UCD School of Civil Engineering have been using cameras to augment the data we can collect about traffic weights and patterns on long-span bridges.
They have developed a first-of-its-kind method to quantify the traffic loading on some of the world’s biggest bridges – structures with clear spans of up to 2 kilometres. This means that engineers can now provide a more realistic measurement of bridge safety, thereby protecting human lives. The UCD-developed method should also help to prevent the unnecessary closure of economically important bridges, thus saving money and reducing disruptions to economies and societies and to the environment.

You can read the full case study here:
How much traffic can this bridge safely take? A breakthrough in quantifying traffic loading on big bridges

Dr Shane Donohue
We rely heavily on the earthworks that support our roads, railways and watercours-es. If they fail it can cause loss of life, disruption to transport services and the ex-pense of repair. As earthwork infrastructure ages and faces pressure from climate change, we need a fast and economical way to assess the earth. Dr Shane Donohue from UCD School of Civil Engineering is researching seismic-wave-based technology to help major transport and infrastructure managers rapidly assess earthwork assets at scale. This will enable timely maintenance, reducing the risk of failure.

You can read the full case study here:
Assessing the Internal Health of Earthworks for more Stable Infrastructure

Professor Eoin Casey
Research at UCD has developed new technology to save up energy in wastewater treatment.  Conventionally, bubbles of oxygen are forced through wastewater to support bacteria that remove nutrients and contaminants, but this wastes energy. Professor Eoin Casey and colleagues at UCD have developed an alternative technology: membranes that diffuse or ‘breathe’ oxygen and thereby directly support biofilms of bacteria.
Their studies show that this Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) technology can save up to 75% of the energy conventionally needed to support bacteria in their wastewater treatment role. In 2014 UCD spin-out company OxyMem delivered the first commercial MABR technology to the market, and it is now reducing energy use for wastewater treat-ment in numerous countries.

You can read the full case study here:
Energy-saving UCD technology breathes life into wastewater treatment


Assoc Prof Susan McDonnell

The Biopharmaceutical sector has become an important source of high-level, value added employment in Ireland and the number of biologic manufacturing sites across Ireland has increased from two in 2003 to 22 in 2019.  Biopharmaceutical Bioprocess Engineering is one of the School’s major research priority areas.  Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells have become the standard cells for the large-scale production of biopharmaceuticals and biologics.  Assoc Prof Susan McDonnell of the School of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering is developing strategies to establish optimal conditions for the continuous growth and productivity of cells within the bioreactor.  A current specific project is to extend the lifetime of CHO cells in culture by preventing a form of cell death known as autophagy.

You can find details of her Master's programme here:
MEngSc Biopharmaceutical Engineering


Dr Philip Donnellan
Engineers solve problems, and Dr Philip Donnellan currently has two main problems in mind. One is how to store energy generated from renewable sources such as wind or solar, so that we can capture that energy when it is plentiful and use it at a later time when we need it. The other is the need to get medicines to patients efficiently and cost-effectively, which is why Dr Donnellan is developing small, portable 3D-printed reactors and units to allow flexible, local medicine manufacturing.

You can read the full case study here:
Engineering design to solve long-term problems in energy storage and medicine

Professor R. Bogdan Staszewski
In the 21st century we are used to connected technology reliably working in the background to monitor and fine-tune our environment. We have also come to ex-pect that we can communicate easily and instantly with others around the world.This level of instant connectedness requires not only clever engineering but also smart science, so that devices can function as needed in their environments. 

Professor R. Bogdan Staszewski at UCD School of Electronic & Electrical Engineer-ing is solving fundamental issues to enable devices to monitor and communicate at scale as the Internet of Things. He is also developing technology to allow human communication in even the most challenging of environments, such as sites of natu-ral disasters. Professor Staszewski works closely with industry leaders such as Intel, Xilinx and Analog Devices, and his research has resulted in hundreds of patents and two start-up companies based in Europe.

You can read the full case study here:
Smart science to power the Internet of Things

Associate Professor Damian Flynn
Renewable energy offers the promise of harnessing environmentally sustainable power from wind, sun and ocean. But switching power systems over to renewable sources needs planning in order to avoid the danger of power outages.  Associate Professor Damian Flynn at University College Dublin School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering is taking a detailed look at how power systems can turn up the dial on renewable energy sources, particularly wind energy.

The research will inform how Ireland moves towards sustainable energy goals in the 21st century without compromising the reliability or stability of the power supply.

You can read the full case study here:
Maintaining the balance of power – through engineering

Dr. Elena Blokhina
One of the driving trends of the 21st century is technology’s ability to connect. Dr Elena Blokhina at UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering is working on fundamental approaches to enabling even more efficient connection into the future. She is developing new architecture for signal generation to facilitate 5G, the latest standard in wireless infrastructure, and she is designing energy-harvesting technology to enable small devices such as sensors to use nearby movement as a power source. The impact will be a more connected and sustainable web of devices.

You can read the full case study here:
A Boost for Wireless and Energy-Harvesting Technologies

Dr Le-Nam Tran
Fifth-generation wireless networks, commonly known as 5G, seek to send data rapidly and reliably. To achieve this, a critical issue that needs to be resolved is the ‘last hop’ between users’ devices and the serving base stations. Specifically the connections in the last hop of a wireless network can suffer from severe interference, and it is expensive and inefficient to overcome that by allocating dedicated time slots or frequency bands to each device.
Dr Le-Nam Tran at UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering is developing new ways to optimise this important step in transmission for future wireless networks, and the impact will be a more reliable, affordable, sustainable communications system. 

You can read the full case study here:
Optimising the Last Mile of 5G Wireless Networks

Dr. Aisling Ní Annaidh
Head injury is the leading cause of death within a range of sports including cycling, horse riding and skiing. However, helmet testing standards for these activities lag behind the science, which shows that testing should include rotational accelerations. Dr. Ni Annaidh, the Tissue Biomechanics Group and the pan-European HEADS project seek to improve the understanding of head impact injury and to design new helmet standard test methods that recognise the influence of rotational kinematics. Using a combination of computational simulations of real-life accidents, experimental and computational investigation of injury thresholds, and the design of new helmet certification tests, this research seeks to improve the safety of future helmet designs.

You can read more about Aisling's work here.

Dr. Nan Zhang
Many industries require precision components. Manufacturing these components can involve engineering materials and features at tiny scales, on the order of microns or even nanometers (billionths of metres). Dr Nan Zhang at UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering aims to help bring innovations in precision manufacturing from the lab-based prototypes to the large volume of manufacturing that industry needs. The research is building capacity in Ireland to enable the mass production of precision micro/nano devices.

You can read the full case study here:
Towards Mass Production for Precision Micro/Nano Devices

Professor Lizbeth Goodman
How can we make sure that technology is designed to suit all the people who might use it? And how can we build technology that helps users with specific needs, such as People With Disabilities, People With Autism Spectrum Disorder, people with medical conditions such as Obesity, or Alzheimer’s Disease and, more generally, marginalised groups in society? These are some of the questions that keep Professor Lizbeth Goodman at SMARTlab in the UCD College of Engineering and Architecture energised. She and the team in the Inclusive Design Research Centre focus on developing technology tools and innovation methods for real social change. Her work across numerous projects and programmes develops new approaches to designing inclusive technologies that suit the individual user. The research has helped people with severe physical disabilities to communicate and create in new way;  it has supported local communities; and it is developing new ways to enable all people to show their strengths.

You can read the full case study here:
Technology for all: towards truly inclusive design

Dr. David McKeown
Movement affects performance, whether it is a spacecraft, a robotic arm or even a horse. That is why Dr David McKeown at UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering is developing new ways to monitor movement and, in some cases, make adjustments on the fly to improve performance. Dr McKeown's research will help to improve the design of next generation rockets so they can carry payloads safely and more economically into space. His work is also supporting the first Irish satellite, robotic arm development for future Mars missions and even how to detect future lameness in high performance horses.

You can read the full case study here:
Controlling Moving and Shaking for Better Space Travel and Horse Training

Dr Francesco Pilla
Dr Francesco Pilla is working on several projects to tackle environmental issues in Dublin and in other European cities, with the aim of scaling up the technologies and approaches his group develops. The research is currently co-designing and testing interventions with citizens to mitigate against poor air quality and its related health effects, to predict localised flooding and plan for future protection against such events, and to assess the value of green spaces to human health and wellbeing. The research is already increasing awareness among citizens of the need for greater sustainability, and the interven-tions are designed for larger-scale impact in Europe.

Read the full case study here:
A Living Lab Approach for more Sustainable Cities

Professor Mark Scott & Dr Michael Lennon
Green spaces are not just easy on the eye, they also help to keep urban spaces safe and biodiverse, and they can even safeguard our health. To increase the awareness of green infrastructure among planners, a team from UCD School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy developed work-shops and games to encourage experts to put their heads together and prioritise nature-based infrastructure in plans. Their workshops with local authorities have encouraged new collaboration and fresh thinking about how to support nature in urban environments and tackle natural and societal challenges.

Read the full case study here:
Eco-Plan: Upping the game for green spaces in urban planning