MedScience student wins top prize at LABCON 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 Press Office
Press Release

Sharon Duffy wins 'Best undergraduate Science Project' for her work characterising mammalian thrombi (clots)

A Medical Science student at GMIT has won the top prize at this year’s Medical Laboratory Conference, LABCON 2015, for ‘Best Undergraduate Science Project’, which took place in Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny on 17 and 18 April.


Sharon Duffy from Street, Co Westmeath was awarded the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine (ACSLM) President’s Prize by the President of the ACSLM, Dr Irene Regan, for her project titled ‘Development of a histological protocol for the characterisation of mammalian thrombi’.   Sharon was presented with her medal by the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar at the event. She will represent Ireland at the European Association for Professions in Biomedical Science (EPBS) Conference in Croatia in October.


Using mammalian blood, Sharon developed a procedure to characterise blood clots which can now be applied to investigate clots retrieved from stroke patients. The project was part of her final year studies on the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Medical Science programme in GMIT.


Sharon is continuing her studies in this area and had commenced a PhD research project in recent months funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC). Her academic supervisor is Dr Eugene McCarthy of GMIT’s GMedTech Centre and the enterprise partner is Neruavi Ltd, a client of GMedTech and a former client company at GMIT’s Innovation Hub.


Dr Eugene McCarthy says: “Sharon demonstrated a high level of academic excellence during her undergraduate project and through her innovative approach delivered a high level of impact to the research area.”


“Working closely with GMedTech, Neuravi Ltd recognised Sharon's potential and decided to sponsor her PhD through the Irish Research Council employment based programme to continue her research with GMIT in the area of acute ischemic stroke.”


The President’s Prize is an annual award given to the best undergraduate project in third-level Biomedical/Medical Science degree courses accredited by the ACSLM. Nominations were provided by colleges providing these courses – Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Cork Institute of Technology/University College Cork (CIT/UCC) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). The finalists presented their project in both oral and poster format at LABCON.


The President of the ACSLM, Dr Irene Regan, applauded the standard of the finalists’ work. She said that the future is very bright for Medical Science in Ireland because of the breadth of research that was exhibited already at an undergraduate level. She congratulated the six finalists, their colleges and their supervisors and said that there were no losers and this research work has the potential to enhance the patient care pathway. 


Dr Regan encouraged the students to continue researching in their work or college lives and never to lose the hunger to ask questions, enquire and publish.


Speaking about Sharon’s achievement, GMIT lecturer and 4th year co-ordinator Mary McGrath says: “We are all delighted for Sharon. This is a great achievement and is an endorsement of the high quality of the Medical Science programme here at GMIT. Our students graduate with excellent career and postgraduate opportunities.”


For further information on GMIT’s Medical Science programmes see:…   For information on GMIT’s GMedTech Centre (Galway campus), see: