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Are potholes about to become a thing of the past?

Could self-healing asphalt bring an end to road repairs?

November 21, 2018

Opinion: new technology may provide a speedy resolution to how potholes and cracks causes accidents and congestion on our roads - Dr. Amir Tabaković, Strategic Research Proposal Coordinator, Research Enterprise and Innovation Services, DIT

Potholes and cracks cause many accidents on our roads. However, a new technology called self-healing asphalt could make them and much of the major road repair work that contribute to traffic congestion a thing of past, saving billions of euros in the process. Read more...


DIT receives Athena SWAN award for gender equality

13 November, 2018

Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD commended DIT and the other awardees on their tremendous efforts to drive real change in the higher education sector.

The ceremony was opened by Dr Ruth Gilligan, Associate Director of Equality Charters at Advance HE, the organisation administering the Athena SWAN programme, and featured a number of expert speakers exploring themes such as positive action and breaking bias.







Coffee morning with Professor Yvonne Galligan - Women Leaders network

06 November, 2018

The DIT Women Leaders in Higher Education (WLHE) Network has invited Professor Yvonne Galligan, the newly appointed Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for DIT/TU Dublin, to meet and greet the WLHE community over coffee. 

If you, or any of your colleagues, would like to join the WLHE Network and attend these informal networking events, please send an email to


Coffee Morning with Professor Yvonne Galligan - Hosted by the DIT Women Leaders in Higher Education network

      • Wednesday 21 November, 11.15am 
      • Courtyard, DIT Aungier Street

2019 Bolton Trust/ DIT Student Enterprise Competiton ...ENTER NOW

01 November, 2018

DIT is again providing its students, both undergraduate and postgraduate  students, with the opportunity to win a range of cash prizes in the biggest 3rd level institute enterprise competition in the country. Click here for more information


TU Dublin Partners Named Sunday Times Good University Guide Institutes of the Year

Photo by Donal Healy, DIT Photo Society

06 November, 2018

It is the first time that the publication has given the prestigious annual award to more than one Higher Education Institute, and is in recognition of “the fact that all three now stand on the cusp of a new joint venture.” Amongst the highlights of the coverage in the Sunday Times Good University Guide was a striking photo taken by DIT Product Design student Donal Healy where he captured his DIT Photo Society colleagues as they explore the quirky side streets and narrow lanes of Dublin City for the perfect photo opportunity.  

Announcing that the TU Partners would receive this important accolade, Alastair Campbell of the Sunday Times Good University Guide said, “For the first time in its history, The Sunday Times Good University Guide has jointly awarded theInstitute of Technology of the Year award to three institutions: Dublin, Blanchardstown and Tallaght ITs. The joint award recognises the three institutions that will together form the new Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) from January 1, 2019.

The new joint venture represents the biggest change in Irish third-level education in a generation, instantly becoming one of the largest third-level educators in the country, with some 28,500 students. A huge building programme is currently underway, and once complete Technological University Dublin will be spread across three campuses, at Grangegorman (DIT), Tallaght (IT Tallaght) and Blanchardstown (IT Blanchardstown).” 

Are you interested in finding out more about what life as a student of TU Dublin will be like? Why not attend one of the Open Day Events taking place over the next few weeks. 


Will community energy power Ireland’s green revolution?

20 September, 2018

DIT is working with the International Energy Research Centre and industry partners to help transform the energy landscape in Ireland, empowering communities to produce much more energy from renewable sources than ever before. Read more..


Applications Open - IRC enterprise partnership funding

01 August, 2018

What a postgraduate scholarship comprises:

Awardees receive an annual package of up to  €24,00 per annum comprising of:

  • A scholarship stipend of €16,000 per annum
  • Fee contribution of up to  €5,750 per annum
  • Research expense fund of  €2,250 per annum

The Irish Research Council (IRC) co-fund two thirds of the cost for a postgraduate researcher to undertake research directly related to an organisation’s interests. We contribute up to €16,000 per annum towards the researcher costs. The enterprise partner commits an annual contribution of €8,000. Both Irish enterprises and researchers benefit greatly from the programme. Enterprise partners co-fund excellent researchers who dedicate their time to a specific research project related to the organisation. At the end of the project, the researcher will gain workplace skills and a degree by research. The enterprise benefits from high value and in-depth research in an area closely aligned with their strategic interests.

What a postdoctoral fellowship comprises: 

Awardees receive an annual package of €45,925 including:

  • a salary of €31,275
  • employer’s PRSI contribution of €3,395 (10.85% of salary)
  • employer’s pension contribution, where applicable, of €6,255, (20% of salary)
  • eligible direct research expenses of €5,000

The IRC co-funds 2/3 of the cost for a postdoctoral researcher to undertake research directly related to an organisation’s interests. The Irish Research Council contribute up to €30,616.67 per annum towards the researcher costs. The enterprise partner commits an annual contribution of €15,308.33.

How to apply

To ensure eligibility, potential applicants should read the 2018 Terms and Conditions carefully at: PostgraduatePostdoctoral. Applications (including academic supervisor, enterprise mentor and referee forms) will only be accepted through the online application system. 

For more details, visit the IRC website.

If you have any interest and/or questions pertaining to the scheme, or work with or know any potentially suitable applicants, please contact

Key Dates

Call open 25 July 2018 (indicative)
FAQ Deadline 16:00 (Irish Time) 22 August 2018
Applicant Deadline 16:00 (Irish Time) 5 September 2018
Supervisor, Enterprise Mentor and Referee Deadline 16:00 (Irish Time) 12 September 2018
Research Office Endorsement Deadline 16:00 (Irish Time) 19 September 2018
Outcome of Scheme 30 November 2018
Fellowship Start Date 1 March 2019


DIT researchers scoop funding for innovative food projects

01 August, 2018

Dr Paula Bourke is leading a team of researchers from DIT, UCD and Teagasc to investigate one of the most commonly reported bacteria associated with food borne disease, Campylobacter, which often develops in chicken. The team is working closely with the poultry sector to develop novel sensors for campylobacter detection, new decontamination technologies for poultry processing based on cold plasma and light, and nature-based antimicrobials, improving both safety and shelf-life. 

Professor Yuliya Semenova is developing a new optical fiber probe to assess the authenticity and quality of alcoholic beverages. The probe, which consists of an array of micron-sized optical sensors mimicking human taste buds, will be capable of quickly and accurately recognising alcoholic beverages by their origin, brand, blend and age. The long-term objective is facilitate quality control and to help identify counterfeit products in the beverage industry.

Pre-hypertension has recently been identified as a stage in the development of high blood pressure. Dr Jesus Frias is developing antihypertensive peptide formulations which could be used as the basis for food supplements for pre-hypertensive patients. The supplements may have the potential to reduce the use of pharmaceutical therapy or complement it. Dr Frias has also received funding to collaborate on a project led by Teagasc exploring if the food pathway may be significant in infection by the pathogen, Clostridium difficile.

Professor Nissreen Abu-Ghannam will collaborate on a project future-proofing Irish livestock sustainability by reducing reliance on fertiliser and increasing meat and milk productivity and quality, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Dr John Kearney received funding to collaborate on a national survey of teen’s food consumption, providing up-to-date information on children’s nutrition, lifestyle and health status. Dr Carl Sullivan will help to develop strategies to manage the high levels of cadmium in Irish soil, which can seep into horticultural produce affecting food quality and posing a potential risk to consumers.

The awards were announced in July by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, saying, “The 23 projects being funded by my Department will make a significant contribution to the future sustainability, innovation and competitiveness of the Irish agri-food sector.”

For a summary of all the projects that received awards in this funding call, visit here.


An Taoiseach announces Ireland's first Technological University

Student Union Officers from DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght celebrate the designation of TU Dublin

17 July, 2018

The University will be located on three campuses at Grangegorman, Blanchardstown and Tallaght creating an inclusive and open learning experience offering pathways to graduation from apprenticeship to PhD level to a diverse range of students.  Read more..

The University will be located on three campuses at Grangegorman, Blanchardstown and Tallaght creating an inclusive and open learning experience offering pathways to graduation from apprenticeship to PhD level to a diverse range of students.  

DIT campuses in Kevin Street, Cathal Brugha Street and Rathmines will move to Grangegorman in 2020, while the Aungier Street campus will relocate in 2021. The Bolton Street relocation will take place at a later stage.

Joining An Taoiseach in Grangegorman to mark this transformative development in Higher Education, were Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.  

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Tom Collins, Chair of the three Institute’s Governing Bodies, said: “The members of the Technological University Dublin Alliance are delighted to receive confirmation today from An Taoiseach that we are to become Ireland’s first Technological University (TU Dublin) in 2019. This is the historic culmination of seven years of hard work and commitment on the part of our three Institutes.  The process of engaging with the independent international panel that visited Dublin in May gave us the opportunity to highlight the potential for TU Dublin to be ground-breaking by providing a pioneering and practice-based, research-informed learning framework to students.  We are extremely pleased that the panel’s final report, combined with the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) recommendation, has resulted in a decision by the Minister for Education and Skills to grant us designation as Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin).”

President of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Professor Brian Norton, said: “This is a milestone day that marks the beginning of a new type of Irish University that will revolutionise Higher Education in this country. TU Dublin will be positioned at the convergence of the arts, business, science and technology, and will strengthen the Greater Dublin Region and its prominence as a location that encourages and supports knowledge advancement, sustainable development and inclusive education.  After many years of laying the groundwork, today is the realisation of our long-held collective ambition to become a Technological University and the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Higher Learning in Ireland.”

Dr Diarmuid O’Callaghan, President of Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, said: “Technological Universities are an established feature of many international educational systems in Germany, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand, acting as a dynamic catalyst for economic, technological, social and cultural progress.  TU Dublin will comprise a joined-up approach to the third-level experience that involves connecting students, employers, researchers and the wider academic community to facilitate economic transformation and sustainable growth.  On this momentous day, we look forward to the establishment of the pioneering TU Dublin, where our students, staff and societal partners will connect with academic programmes to create Ireland’s skilled graduates of tomorrow.”

President of Institute of Technology TallaghtMr Thomas Stone, said: “On behalf of all the staff, the 28,500 students across our three Institutes, and all the contributors over the last seven years that have made this breakthrough possible, I would like to express our delight at today’s announcement by An Taoiseach.  TU Dublin will focus on practice-based, research-informed learning, combined with rigorous academic standards and success through inclusive and authentic engagement with our students.  We look forward to the final stage of this process which will include ongoing engagement with the HEA and the Department of Education and Skills in advance of formal designation early next year.”

Dr Mary Meaney, TU4Dublin Programme Lead, said: “This is a red-letter day that is the culmination of a huge effort over many years. The passion and hard work of staff and students across our three Institutes over the last number of months, in particular, laid the final foundations for this exciting announcement and we’re enthused about the ultimate stage of our journey to designation as TU Dublin.”

The legal framework to establish TU Dublin was made possible by the enactment of the Technological Universities Act 2018 in March.  Following its application for designation as a TU last April, the Technological University Dublin Alliance submission was evaluated in May by an independent international panel.  As part of their evaluation process, the panel met with students and staff from DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght, as well as a wide range of community and industry partners.  In a follow-up report to the HEA, the panel confirmed that the application for TU status met the specified criteria for designation.  The panel’s report was considered by the HEA, which made a formal recommendation to the Minister for Education and Skills, resulting in his decision to award designation.

With establishment confirmed for early next year, the first graduates of Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) will receive awards from the new university in 2019. CAO and lifelong applicants who accept a place in DIT, IT Blanchardstown or IT Tallaght this August, as well as our continuing students, can look forward to receiving their parchments from the new University.

Editors’ Notes:

  • Since the 2011 Hunt Report, DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght, as part of the Technological University Dublin Alliance, have been building on their respective histories and distinctive strengths and combining ideas and resources to create a new type of university - a Technological University - for the Greater Dublin Region.  The shared ambition of the TU Dublin partners has been to create 'an incomparable institution of higher learning which will offer wide-ranging opportunities to learners, collaborating with civic, academic and industry partners.'
  • The development of the Grangegorman Campus has accelerated with construction underway on two major PPP projects that will accommodate 10,000 students by September 2020. The students will include those currently studying in DIT buildings in Kevin Street, Rathmines and Cathal Brugha Street. 
  • Development will continue on the Blanchardstown campus with the opening of a new, dedicated student services building in early 2019, and a 4000 m2 teaching building will also be built as part of the Government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme for the higher education sector. The project in Blanchardstown is one that will help drive regional development and meet many of the skills needs that have been identified by the National Skills Council and the nine regional skills fora, which were established last year by Minister Bruton.
  • The Tallaght campus will continue to expand its academic programmes and research activity, as well as community and enterprise supports to the South Dublin County Region as part of Technological University Dublin.  Two new building projects are currently in progress on the 41 acre campus with planned completion dates in 2021. The first is a 5,200 m2 multi-disciplinary building as part of the Government’s PPP programme, combining teaching space, hospitality and culinary arts as well as engineering and apprenticeship activities. The second building is a Sports Science, Health and Recreation building including outdoor sporting facilities.

#RTEBrainstorm - Eat your vegetables and reduce your blood pressure by Conor Kerley

24 July, 2018

The dietary nitrate found in spinach, rocket, beetroot and rhubarb can help decrease blood pressure and improve blood flow to muscles, writes Dr Conor Kerly, DIT School of Biological Sciences.

In 1998, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Ferid MuradLouis Ignarro and Robert F Furchgott for the discovery of a gas called nitric oxide. Before this, nitric oxide was considered to be an air pollutant with little relevance for humans. However, detailed experiments which began in the 1980s found that nitric oxide is so important because it makes blood vessels bigger. Bigger vessels mean the pump (heart) doesn’t have to work so hard to get blood around the body. This discovery of nitric oxide is still viewed as one of the most important ever.

However, doctors and scientists have struggled to find drugs that can increase nitric oxide in the body which is where vegetables came in. In the mid-1990s, several research teams around the world discovered that dietary nitrate could increase nitric oxide and decrease blood pressure after only two hours. Dietary nitrate is really only found in vegetables, especially such green vegetables as spinach and rocket as well as beetroot with rhubarb being the only fruit source.

Recent research has shown that dietary nitrate can improve blood flow to muscles helping people exercise better – think Popeye and his spinach! My research team demonstrated that dietary nitrate from vegetables could actually improve exercise tolerance in those with a lung condition caused by long-term smoking (COPD).

But the most obvious condition relating to nitric oxide is high blood pressure which can cause heart damage, stroke, dementia as well as kidney and eye damage. My research team carried out some early work using beetroot juice which contains lots of nitrate. We found that beetroot juice didn’t really affect blood pressure in people whose blood pressure was being controlled by medication. However, the juice lowered blood pressure in those taking medication who still had high blood pressure.

We then went on to conduct a larger, more detailed study in Connolly Hospital. This time, we included only people who were taking medications, but still had high blood pressure. We asked them to continue taking their medications but to take beetroot juice for one week and then fake juice for one week. The results were phenomenal: seven days of juice lowered blood pressure by 8/4 points. This is what would be expected from taking an extra one or two medications. All done by just taking some vegetable juice for a week. 

My research team also conducted research in obstructive sleep apnoea. It's a common and growing condition which causes a person to stop breathing while asleep. In turn, this can lead to many problems but particularly high blood pressure and particularly high blood pressure at night time. As you might imagine it’s not so easy to measure blood pressure at night time but, even worse, it is really difficult to treat blood pressure in those with sleep apnoea.

Similar to our blood pressure study, we recruited people who had detailed sleep studies done in Connolly Hospital. We asked them to continue taking their medications, but to take beetroot juice each evening for two weeks and then fake juice for two weeks. The results were even more phenomenal: the juice lowered blood pressure by 8/6 points and, again, this was achieved by just taking some vegetable juice!

So what else can dietary nitrate from vegetables do?

Because dietary nitrate helps make blood vessels bigger, it is not surprising that it has many remarkable effects in addition to lowering blood pressure and improving exercise tolerance. In one fascinating experiment, a single meal containing dietary nitrate increased blood flow to the brain almost immediately. This suggests that vegetables may be able to improve brain function (useful for the exam season), but also may have a role in preventing and treat brain disorders such as Alzheimer's.

Sildenafil, also known as Viagra , is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and a serious lung disorder called pulmonary arterial hypertension. The way Viagra works is similar to the way that dietary nitrate works. Although there have been no studies of dietary nitrate and erectile dysfunction yet, it is likely that increasing vegetables can increase blood flow just like Viagra.

The do's and don'ts of dietary nitrate

Dietary nitrate must be converted inside the body, which can only be done by bacteria and specifically bacteria in our mouths. Using mouthwash soon after meals completely stops the effects of dietary nitrate. Also, the acid in our tummy is important so drugs which lower the acid levels in your tummy such as proton pump inhibitors can decrease the response to dietary nitrate. If you are concerned, speak to your GP or dentist. Although dietary nitrate can start to work very quickly, the effects last less than a day so you need to eat vegetables…every day to get the most benefit. This advice sounds familiar…!

Finally, I recommend getting dietary nitrate from a variety of green vegetables, beetroot and rhubarb as opposed to juice. The whole food sources come with fiber, antioxidants and much more as well as being cheaper and tastier. However, my research group are in the early stages of trying to design a nutrition product to increase nitric oxide.

This research has been funded by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Lung Foundation and has won several awards including the Irish Cardiac Society award (2015), the British Hypertension Society award (2016) and the International Society of Hypertension (2018). 

By Dr Conor Kerley

Lecturer in Dietetics & Public Health, DIT 

This article was originally published on RTÉ Brainstorm


Leadership & Higher Education: Where are the Women?

18 June, 2018

‘It is time for a more inclusive higher education landscape’ was the rallying call at the inspirational panel discussion on women in leadership in higher education in DIT last week.

WLHE - Panel Discussion 2018 1


Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, TD gave a passionate opening talk on addressing gender equality in the higher education sector to over 100 guests from across DIT. In her powerful call to action, she stated that the future will be bright, but that it is up to all of us to provide the next generation with every opportunity to maximise their potential and access leadership roles. “You are the role models that our future female leaders will speak of – let’s do everything possible to create a more inclusive landscape."

Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin (UCD) chaired the panel, which included an esteemed lineup of gender equality experts including Professor Jane Grimson (TCD), Professor Celine Marmion (RCSI) and Dr Ashley O'Donoghue (DIT). Embracing the challenging questions, the panel explored how to bring about organisational and cultural change to support gender equality, the debate on quotas, and the benefits of embracing diversity and including women at the decision-making table.  

Along the way, the panellists offered excellent advice on how to advance your career, including ‘remain authentic to yourself’, ‘be courageous and embrace opportunities’, ‘get better at not saying yes straight away’, and ‘take time to stop and reflect on your career goals.’

The event was hosted by the DIT Women Leaders in Higher Education network, which was founded in 2016 to support, encourage and advocate for women in career advancement in DIT.

WLHE - Panel Discussion 2018 2

WLHE - Panel Discussion 2018 4


First place win in Paris for Molecular Gastronomy

Joint First Place winners: Ruth Kelly, DIT and Blandine Dallemagne, Chimie ParisTech, (centre, front) with Dr. Hervé This (centre left) Co-founder of Molecular Gastronomy, and some of the judges and organizers of the International Contest for Note by Note Cooking.

20, June, 2018

Ruth Kelly, MSc student in the DIT School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, has won joint First Place in the student category at a major international molecular gastronomy competition, Note by Note, held in Paris on June 1st, 2018. 


Based on molecular gastronomy, Note by Note cuisine was founded by Dr. Hervé This.  Dishes are made using pure compounds rather than animal or plant tissues.

The Sixth International Contest for Note by Note Cooking took place in AgroParisTech, and the challenge for competitors from nine countries was ‘Crackling and crispiness’.  Ruth Kelly won joint first place for her dish, ‘A Dish Reminiscent of Black Forest Gateaux (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) incorporating an isomalt dome with a crisp and crunchy texture and honeycomb providing a crunchy and crackling texture’. Photo attached.

Proposals were evaluated by a jury of eminent experts including Michel Nave - Chef of Pierre Gagnaire, Patrick Terrien - former Chef of the chefs at the School Le Cordon Bleu, Sandrine Kault-Perrin - Company Louis François, Michael Pontif - Company Iqemusu.  The prize winners received odorant products from the Iqemusu (www.iqemusu), products for consistency by Louis François, and the latest books by Dr. Hervé This. 

Ruth’s travel to Paris was very kindly supported by La Rousse Foods.


DIT research aims to establish new test for cervical pre-cancer

21 March, 2018

Researchers at the DIT Radiation and Environmental Science Centre (RESC), under the leadership of Professor Fiona Lyng, may be on the cusp of a major breakthrough in cervical pre-cancer diagnosis.

The team at RESC has been developing a novel technology for cervical cancer screening based on Raman spectroscopy for a number of years. Now, they are carrying out a clinical utility study of 1,000 patient samples to establish the accuracy of the new testing method.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest patient study using this type of spectroscopic assay in the world,” explains Fiona. “Previously, people have only looked at up to 100 patient samples. Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool that uses light to generate a biochemical fingerprint of cells. We are currently building a large database from the 1,000 samples, so that we can map out the biochemical fingerprint of cells at different stages of cervical pre-cancer.”

Fiona was appointed as the Centre Manager of RESC in 2003. Her relationship with DIT stretches back to her undergraduate years when she studied Physics in DIT Kevin Street. There, she was mentored by Dr Carmel Mothersill, a trailblazer in the area of radiation biology, who inspired her to apply her physics knowledge to make an impact in human health. A prolific researcher, having published over 100 research papers and supervised 26 PhD students to completion, Fiona was awarded a Professorship by DIT in 2012 and the ‘One to Watch’ Award in 2011 by Enterprise Ireland, who previously funded the project for five years.

Current screening
A lot is changing in cervical cancer screening because of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection which can be genital or oral. For women, persistent HPV infections can cause abnormal changes in the lining of the cervix, which can lead to cervical cancer (Irish Cancer Society). HPV is implicated in 98% of cervical cancers, explains Fiona, and as a result HPV testing has recently been been introduced by CervicalCheck, Ireland’s cervical screening programme.

Current cervical cancer screening is by the Pap test or cervical smear test. Cells are taken from the cervix and sent to a cytology lab, where the cytologist uses a microscope to analyse the structure of the cells: size and shape, staining patterns. “The main problem with the Pap test is that it is subjective and therefore, subject to human error. Missed or incorrect diagnoses are common. The Pap test has saved many lives, but it’s been around since the 1940s, it’s time for a new test.”

If low grade changes are found in the cells by cytology, the sample is also tested for the presence of HPV. If you test positive for HPV, you will be sent for a number of further tests, for example colposcopy and biopsy. “A lot of women are sent for colposcopy when they might not necessarily need it. The HPV infection is very common and usually clears up by itself. It only causes pre-cancer in a percentage of women. A colposcopy exam can be an unnecessary procedure and can cause a lot of extra worry for the woman.”

Major impact
The potential impact of the new testing method is huge.

Fiona says that their test can tell from the cellular biochemical fingerprint if the sample is positive for HPV and further, whether the cells are at risk to go on to pre-cancer or whether the infection is transient and will resolve itself. This new technique uses classification algorithms to analyse Raman spectra of cells, comparing them with the predefined database of samples. The system is completely objective and does not rely on human subjectivity.

“The dream would be to see it used as the main test for cervical pre-cancer in Irish hospitals and cytology labs. This new test could help achieve an earlier and more accurate diagnosis for women, reducing stress on the patient and ultimately saving lives.” It is also more cost effective, as all of this is possible by analysing the biochemical fingerprint of the sample you originally give to your GP.

With more than 800 samples analysed out of 1000, the results so far are good. “We’ve gotten greater than 90% specificity and sensitivity in our results so far. It’s very exciting.”

The clinical utility study is due to be completed in 2018. If the results continue to shine, the team is hoping to generate interest from companies that could bring the test to market. They are also working to translate over to other cancers, for example oral cancer and lung cancer.

Damien Traynor is a fulltime Research Assistant on the team. Dr Shiyamala Duraipandian, a postdoctoral Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow who worked on the project for the past two years, recently moved on to a full-time position with the Danish National Metrology Institute (DFM).

The clinical utility study is being carried out as part of the CERVIVA Consortium, a collaborative research group focused on cervical cancer screening and other Human Papillomavirus (HPV) associated diseases, which is led by The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital (Professor John O’Leary and Dr Cara Martin), in partnership with DIT, Trinity College Dublin and The National Cancer Registry.

Along with using Raman and infrared spectroscopy for cancer diagnosis, RESC specialises in radiation biology and environmental toxicology. RESC is located in the FOCAS Institute, a research facility at DIT dedicated to surface engineering, nanotechnology, photonics and biophotonics, materials science and radiation biology.

This article was originally published in the DIT Research News Magazine. If you would like to read more articles from the magazine, click here

FOCAS - RESC Cervical Cancer


DIT Research News magazine

14 March, 2018

We are delighted to announce that the latest edition of the DIT Research News magazine is now published and online! This edition celebrates 'Women in STEM' and features some of the dynamic research initiatives led by women scientists, engineers and technologists in DIT. Whether developing new approaches to cancer diagnosis, novel methods for drug delivery, creating new technologies to tackle counterfeiting, managing innovation in the tech sector, or boosting energy efficiency in older buildings, DIT research teams are exploring a whole range of issues to make a significant impact in people's lives. Common to all the featured research projects in this issue is a commitment to develop new applications that address real-world challenges and harness science and technology to solve pressing problems in the world today. Check out the magazine online here, or if you would like some copies, please email


Two DIT students win WHERE THERE IS NO ENGINEER competition

20 June, 2018

This year's theme was Forced Migration, with six projects chosen for the National Finals on Saturday 9th June in DIT Grangegorman. Olivia and Rachael designed and presented "TIDE" - a menstrual toolkit including pad washing system to help those in refugee camps. The judges were particularly impressed with the effort the team had gone to while researching their concept, speaking to women living in Direct Provision and ensuring the product made sense on a practical, social and cultural level - meeting the needs and concerns of their end users.

The overall prize for the WTINE winners is a working trip to a refugee camp to meet people affected by this issue to develop their concept further. The trip is sponsored by Davies Water and facilitated by Concern Worldwide. Second and third place teams from TCD and NCAD were awarded an ARUP Innovation Award and will have their product concepts developed further here in Ireland over the coming months. 

"We are delighted with this achievement and hope that it will help to highlight the plight of females in the refugee crisis. We are very grateful to Engineers without Borders for the opportunity to enter this competition and to our lecturers for their guidance and to the guest talkers who gave of their time generously to help us in attempting to understand the scale of this issue", said Olivia Holbrook. 

The project was supervised by Dr Colm O’Kane and Keith Colton of the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering. A number of guest lecturers were invited to speak to the Product Design students to aid their understanding of the refugee crisis, including Fr Alan Hilliard, Peter Kifle and Sara Hakim of Places of Sanctuary Ireland. 

The BSc in Product Design in DIT was developed to produce graduates who can oversee the complete development cycle of a product and who are equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in today’s demanding design fields. It takes a holistic approach to Product Design education and is a partnership between DIT's Schools of Mechanical and Design Engineering, Creative Arts and Marketing. 

This project was conducted within a new Ethical and Sustainable Design module developed by Dr O'Kane, who is also chair of the Programme, and Mr Colton along with Dr Pearl O'Rourke. They will present the process of developing the module and its approach to Sustainable Design Education at the upcoming Engineering and Product Design Education conference in London this September. Rachael and Olivia will also represent DIT at the European Innovation Academy in Shenzhen later this summer. 

TIDE. Poster - EWB 2018 Interactive