Allergan Innovation award-winner to further TB vaccination research

Dr Cilian O’Maoldomhnaigh is the winner of the Trinity Allergan Innovation Award, which was presented at the recent Trinity Translational Medical Institute research day. It will provide Dr O’Maoldomhnaigh with an Allergan-sponsored bursary of €8,500 to further his research into developing more effective vaccinations against tuberculosis (TB), which is the single biggest infectious killer in the world.

The focus of Dr O’Maoldomhnaigh’s research will centre on the differences between how adults and children respond to getting the infection. By identifying the different immunological and metabolic response pathways the research may lead to improved drug therapies and better ways to vaccinate against the disease.

Dr O’Maoldomhnaigh was selected as overall winner due to the patient-centred approach to his research and its translational nature. As a clinician scientist, he demonstrated the ability to engage between the clinical and basic science spaces, with his research topic traversing paediatric and adult medicine, and demonstrating a holistic approach from ‘cradle to grave’.

Speaking about the Allergan Innovation Award, Dr. Cilian O’Maoldomhnaigh, said: “I would like to thank Allergan for this bursary that will allow me to attend international conferences and courses, where the latest advances in the cutting-edge field of immunometabolism in tuberculosis infection will be explored and where we can showcase our research.”

“The Post-Graduate Certificate in Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Innovation Academy at Trinity offers a wonderful opportunity to continue my personal development during my PhD studies. I would also like to thank the National Children’s Research Centre for funding my project.”

Vice President, Solid Dose Manufacturing at Allergan Ireland, Francis Bates, said: “We are delighted that the Allergan Innovation Award Programme will allow researchers, such as Cilian, to further advance their exciting research in the field of Life and Health Sciences. For a company such as Allergan, innovation is truly the lifeblood of our industry, so we hope that this Innovation Award will inspire more students who wish to establish themselves within this field. Collaborating with a prestigious university, such as Trinity College Dublin, is an exciting initiative for all involved, and we look forward to the positive results and experiences it will bring for students and our industry.”

Head of Trinity Translational Medical Institute, Professor Orla Sheils, said: “The Allergan Innovation Award is a fantastic initiative that both encourages and supports entrepreneurial thinking among our PhD students here in TTMI. As an exclusively health sciences-focused educational and research institution, embedded within the acute hospital setting, TTMI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance translational research for the benefit of patients and to improve the health of the community. This award sits well with the ethos of TTMI, and allows the successful student to develop their patient-centred research in areas aligned with Allergan’s ambition to work with the best and brightest forward-thinking technical minds to address clinically relevant areas of unmet clinical need.”