UCD Covid-19 Response

The UCD Community is rising to the challenge posed by the global pandemic

UCD Centre for Precision Surgery


Led by Professor Ronan Cahill, this is an applied research and educational centre focused on advancing surgery for better patient care. It contains a clinical anatomy centre led by Professor James Jones and a digital surgery unit at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

It provides applied research for tangible outputs particularly in the area of smart surgery with intraoperative decision support via image guidance and artificial intelligence alongside practical training and learning for undergraduates and postgraduates.

It has many collaborators nationally and internationally in academia including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the PILLAR Centre for Transformative Healthcare as well as in industry including IBM Ireland, Stryker, Intuitive, Palliare and Deciphex. 


Covid-19 Projects 


  • Image analytics of air vortex and flow during breathing and coughing with and without surgical masks and other personal protective equipment, and during exercise and physiotherapy, in collaboration with UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering (Dr Kevin Nolan) and the departments of Surgery and Physiotherapy at the Mater Hospital.
  • Analysis and modification of surgical gases during critical operations focussed on laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery in collaboration with Dr Kevin Nolan and Palliare with analytical input from IBM Ireland.
  • UCD Digital Surgery, led by Professor Ronan Cahill and joined by Dr Kevin Nolan, is a leading academic partner on a new €2.4 million Covid-19 research project funded by the EU. PORSAV is led nationally by medical technology company Palliare, in collaboration with UCD, as well as Polish medical device manufacturer SteriPack and leading French institution for surgical training IRCAD. UCD Digital Surgery is based at the Mater Hospital, Dublin and is part of UCD Centre for Precision Surgery.
  • Assessment and validation of powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) for surgical team and patient safety. Field-leading research, in association with RCSI, regarding equipment for bidirectional personal protection during complex, long interventions. Validation includes sterility and comfort and also communication and collaboration during focussed technical tasks.
  • 'Future of Colorectal Cancer Surgery' is a consortium project, funded by the Irish government via the Disruptive Technologies and Innovation Fund 2018, that is focussed on the development of decision-support tools to enable real-time, immediate visual diagnosis and tissue characterisation in high-stakes surgical situations including cancer and intestinal reconstruction using near-infrared fluorescence technology and digital pathology. A collaboration with IBM, RCSI Chemistry and Deciphex, this work is accelerating during the Covid-19 pandemic to actualise methods of reducing patient contact and intervention including tissue samples to streamline major surgical cancer care.


Watch these YouTube videos showing Schlieren Imaging with high speed sensitivity camera recording (10,000 frames/second, courtesy of Bell Labs) of a human cough and sneeze, illustrating the rationale behind social distancing. 



For more videos visit the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Surgery's YouTube channel