Trinity student wins two significant Biomedical Engineering awards

Posted on: 05 October 2018

A final year Trinity PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, Robert Gaul, has scooped two major engineering awards – first prize in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) PhD competition for Cardiovascular Mechanics and Cell Biomechanics at the World Congress of Biomechanics, and the Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal.

Robert’s first award was presented at the 2018 World Congress of Biomechanics which takes place every four years.  This year it was organised by Trinity with approximately 3,000 people in attendance.

The Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal was presented at the annual Biomedical Engineering in Ireland 2018 conference. It is awarded annually to a PhD student deemed to be making the greatest contribution to the field of biomedical engineering research in Ireland. Sponsored by DePuy Synthes, it is adjudicated based on a research paper and presentation, by an expert panel drawn from academia and industry. Robert’s winning presentation entitled “Strain Mediated Arterial Degradation is Critically Influenced by Matrix Content and Collagen Crimp” provides key insights into how arterial tissue degrades when loaded. The fundamental insights gained from the research have applications in the development of next generation medical devices and in enabling earlier diagnosis of arterial diseases.

The research was performed with the support of Trinity postdoctoral researcher, Dr David Nolan, and in collaboration with Professor Carlijn Bouten and Dr Sandra Loerakker from the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The project is supervised by Trinity’s Professor in Bioengineering, Caitríona Lally and funded by the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland and the European Research Council.

Robert joined Professor Lally’s lab in September 2014 having been awarded an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholarship to carry out his PhD in the area of arterial remodelling. Prior to this, he studied for his BEng in biomedical engineering and received his degree from DCU in 2014, finishing top of his class. He is one of the developers of the recently launched, Engineers Ireland-funded Irish Biomedical Innovation Forum, which aims to connect healthcare professionals and engineers to identify and provide creative, effective, and affordable solutions to current unmet clinical needs.