Leading Edge Advances in Physical Science, Life Sciences and Information and Communication Technology Showcased at TCD

Posted on: 20 October 2010

Trinity Research & Innovation showcased a selection of the latest exciting advances in physical science, life sciences, and information and communications technology by TCD researchers at an event in the O’Reilly Institute on Thursday, October 14th last.  The technologies offer significant commercial, economic and societal value.  The event showcased many technologies that have reached the commercialisation stage and offer industry collaboration and investment opportunities.

Cancer Vaccine and Immunotherapeutics:

Samples of the technologies on view included a novel and highly effective immunotherapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer.  Immunotherapy is the treatment of a disease by manipulating an immune response.  Usually used in the treatment of tumours and the prevention of their re-occurrence, these anti-tumour vaccines have proven to be difficult to control to date as tumours selectively promote the production of cells that will ensure their survival.  The TCD based research, conducted by Professor Kingston Mills of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, reveals that currently many cancer vaccines and immunotherapeutics in development suppress protective T cells, which can eradicate tumours, thereby promoting the survival of the tumour.  Professor Mills’s group discovered a new approach that involves the activation and expansion of protective T cells promoting tumour eradication.  This technique has shown considerable efficacy in pre-clinical models of cancer and is now ready for translation to clinical trial.  Opsona Therapeutics, a Trinity College campus biotechnology company, has exclusively licensed the technology from TCD and is exploring a variety of partnering and licensing opportunities.


Another exciting research project showcased at the event was borne out of the concerns of an Aer Lingus pilot who had experienced the risks of aircraft collision first hand.  Dr Gerard Lacey of TCD’s School of Computer Science and Statistics worked with Captain William Butler on developing a system that would enable pilots to avoid on the ground aircraft collision in the future.  The project, called Wingwalker, is a collaborative effort between the Graphics, Vision and Visualisation Group and the Aircraft Psychology Research Group at Trinity College, and provides an early warning system for pilots enabling them to map their surrounding environment by displaying the proximity of objects and the risk they pose.  This allows the pilot to immediately take corrective action avoiding any possible damage to the aircraft.  Currently wing-tip collisions alone cost the industry upwards of $5 billion per year.  At present the technology is at proof of concept stage and the researchers are scheduled to test the Wingwalker system later this month in Dublin Airport.  The technology and its applications could also be applied to other large vehicles, in medicine and in media, increasing the commercialisation opportunities.

Aspiration Efficiency Reducer:

The Aspiration Efficiency Reducer, by researchers Dr Aonghus McNabola and Dr Laurence Gill of the School of Engineering, reveals a low cost and sustainable addition to existing air pollution reduction solutions.  The technology, which can reduce the amount of air particulate pollution or fine particles passing through a vent by between 20% and 80% without using power or other consumables, can be applied to commercial or residential buildings as well as ventilation systems for transport vehicles.  Indoor health pollution is classified as one of the most significant threats in terms of diseases affecting the global population.  A device such as the Aspiration Efficiency Reducer has the potential to positively impact on human health by significantly reducing occupants’ exposure to air pollution.  This technology is currently being reviewed by suitable licensees to bring the product to a commercial stage.

Approximately 30 projects from a broad range of areas were showcased at this years’ event.  Trinity Research & Innovation encourages innovation by assisting researchers at all stages of the commercialisation process and by providing entrepreneurship training.   More information on related news and events can be found online.