PEARlabs Wins Viewers’ Choice Award at Enterprise Ireland’s 2021 Big Ideas Showcase

Pictured are Jürgen Osing, PEARlabs and Stephen Creaner, Executive Director - Food, Industrial, Life Sciences and Innovation (Maxwell Photography).

PEARlabs Wins Viewers’ Choice Award at Enterprise Ireland’s 2021 Big Ideas Showcase

PEARlabs, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out supported by NovaUCD, has been named winner of the Viewers’ Choice Award at Enterprise Ireland’s 2021 Big Ideas event.

The aim of Big Ideas, which this year took place virtually and included 12 start-up pitches, is to empower the front runners in Irish research to take centre stage and pitch their technology solutions and business propositions, to an audience comprised of the Irish research and investment communities. Big Ideas, an annual showcase event, provides investor ready start-ups with a bespoke pathway to success, support with growing their business and creating jobs in Ireland.

PEARlabs has developed a novel photonic chip which enables ultra-high spatial resolution at video rates in optical microscopy, far beyond the diffraction limit of visible light. The PEARlabs technology aims to transform the understanding of processes such as cell signalling and cell proliferation in cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

The patented technology has the potential to aid early diagnostics, precision medicine and the delivery of improved drug treatments. It also has the potential to be used as an add-on to conventional optical microscopes opening up access to ‘nm resolution imaging’ for many fields of science.

The company was founded by Professor Dominic Zerulla as a spin-out from the UCD School of Physics, and Jürgen Osing, who recently joined PEARlabs as a commercialistion expert, pitched PEARlabs at the Big Ideas event.

Jürgen Osing said, “I am delighted that PEARlabs has won the Viewers Choice Award at this year’s Big Ideas event. Having spun-out of UCD we are positioning PEARlabs as a leading global provider of super resolution imaging solutions and we are now seeking to raise seed funding. Winning this Award, and participating in the Big Ideas event, will enable PEARlabs to gain access to a network of investors and organisations that can contribute to and accelerate our global growth ambitions.”

PEARlabs is currently taking part in the 2021 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme which is run by NovaUCD.

XTremedy Medical, an NUI Galway start-up focused on improving infection treatments to prevent unnecessary amputations, won the ‘One to Watch’ Award at this year’s Big Ideas event. The start-up was founded by Dr Lyn Markey, who pitched at Big Ideas and Camille O’Malley.

In 20% of patients, an amputation is required to control the infection. XTremedy Medical has developed a surgical device that delivers electrical signals through the wound treating both the surface and below to zap any residual infection. The XTremedy platform technology has scope to expand into the wider chronic wounds, trauma and surgical site infection markets.

Broadcaster Matt Cooper, Big Ideas 2021 host, Jürgen Osing, PEARlabs and Dr Lyn Markey, XTremedy Medical

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said, “The Big Ideas event is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of business in Ireland. The interaction between investors, higher education institutes and Enterprise Ireland provides these 12 ambitious founders with an opportunity to take their businesses to the next level. The commercialisation of companies that were born as a result of a research idea is an imperative for Enterprise Ireland and the State as their success will change our collective future for the better.”

Two other UCD start-ups supported by NovaUCD, EpiCapture and IlluminAi Tech, also pitched at this year’s Big Ideas Event.

EpiCapture has emerged from research carried out in the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. EpiCapture is developing a novel urine DNA test for aggressive prostate cancer which measures six epigenetic biomarkers which are indicative of aggressive disease, using a widely available PCR platform. The members of the EpiCapture team are Associate Professor Antoinette Perry, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and Edward Simons.

IlluminAi Tech has developed a desktop light/stress therapy lamp which replicates the continuum changes of natural light while connecting a user to the outside world with immersive scenes of nature. The company was founded by Morteza Matkan and Dr Sadegh Panahi Azar as a spin-out from the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environment Policy and the UCD School of Psychology.


12 November 2021

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, e:

Editors Notes

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities for knowledge-intensive companies alongside a comprehensive business support programme for our client companies. NovaUCD also runs a series of programmes, such as the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator, to assist researchers who are commercialising research outputs. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.

The aim of Big Ideas 2021 is to highlight the successful collaborations that exist between higher education institutes here in Ireland, investors and state support. The event offers an ideal platform to showcase the quality of research that is currently taking place within institutes of higher education across the country. The accomplishments achieved by Ireland’s national technology transfer system and the high standard of research that is currently being produced by Irish research centres will be featured throughout. Big Ideas is an annual showcase event which highlights successful collaborations between higher education institutes, investors and state support.