Institute of Technology Sligo
Sligo, Ireland

Institute of Technology Sligo is a state funded third-level educational institution situated in the town of Sligo, Ireland. The Institute has three Schools and 9 Departments. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2013-1 | Award Amount: 1.02M | Year: 2013

The manufacture of bioresorbable medical devices for temporary implantation inside the human body is growing into a high-value industry with many benefits over traditional devices. Bioresorbable devices do not need a removal operation, reducing patient trauma and significant healthcare costs. Due to the ability to add antibacterial or antibiotic drugs and to control the release rate at the implant site, such devices can reduce the number of post-operative complications and open up possibilities for new therapies. However, development times for new devices can be lengthy and extremely expensive. Bioresorbable materials have a high cost and are difficult to process, resulting in high scrap rates. The addition of fillers such as bioactive particles further complicate the manufacture. In Bio-PolyTec, sensor technology - centering on optical spectroscopic techniques - will be developed for in-process monitoring of the key quality measures of polymer degradation and additive dispersion. The availability of this information in real-time rather than after time-consuming and expensive laboratory testing represents a significant improvement in Quality Control for bioresorbable devices as well as enabling better process control. The influence of typical processing procedures on the degradation and mixing and hence subsequent bioresorption/release behaviour and mechanical properties will be fully investigated for the commercial products of the consortium SMEs to optimise their processes to achieve specific and consistent product requirements. In particular the processing of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and dispersion of bioactive Calcium Phosphate particles for orthopaedic implants will be investigated among other polymer/filler systems. The innovations in sensor technology will extend outside the consortium to enable other device manufacturers to reduce scrap rates and hence production costs for bioresorbable devices. The trial-and-error guesswork is taken out of the process development stage for new products, significantly reducing the time and cost and stimulating activity in the market. Possible batch-to-batch variation will be eliminated, avoiding adverse behaviour of the products after implantation in a patient.

News Article | April 21, 2016

A new discovery could control the spread of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs which experts fear are on course to kill 10 million people every year by 2050 — more than will die from cancer. A team of scientists, led by Professor Suresh C. Pillai from the Institute of Technology Sligo, have made the significant breakthrough which will allow everyday items — from smartphones to door handles — to be protected against deadly bacteria, including MRSA and E. coli. The research was published today in prestigious international scientific journal, Scientific Reports, published by the Nature publishing group. News of the discovery comes just days after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned that superbugs could become deadlier than cancer and are on course to kill 10 million people globally by 2050. Speaking at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, Osborne warned that the problem would slash global GDP by around €100 trillion if it was not tackled. Using nanotechnology, the discovery is an effective and practical antimicrobial solution — an agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth — that can be used to protect a range of everyday items. Items include anything made from glass, metallics, and ceramics including computer or tablet screens, smartphones, ATMs, door handles, TVs, handrails, lifts, urinals, toilet seats, fridges, microwaves, and ceramic floor or wall tiles. It will be of particular use in hospitals and medical facilities which are losing the battle against the spread of killer superbugs. Other common uses would include in swimming pools and public buildings, on glass in public buses and trains, sneeze guards protecting food in delis and restaurants, as well as in cleanrooms in the medical sector. The discovery is the culmination of almost 12 years of research by a team of scientists, led by Professor Suresh C. Pillai initially at CREST (Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology) in DIT and then at IT Sligo’s Nanotechnology Research Group (PEM Centre). “It’s absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against superbugs. It can effectively control the spread of bacteria,” says Pillai. “Every single person has a sea of bacteria on their hands. The mobile phone is the most contaminated personal item that we can have. Bacteria grows on the phone and can live there for up to five months. As it is contaminated with proteins from saliva and from the hand, It’s fertile land for bacteria and has been shown to carry 30 times more bacteria than a toilet seat,” he says. The research started at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)’s CREST and involves scientists now based at IT Sligo, Dublin City University (DCU), and the University of Surrey. Major researchers included Dr. Joanna Carroll and Dr. Nigel S. Leyland. It has been funded for the past eight years by John Browne, founder and CEO of Kastus Technologies Ltd., who is bringing the product to a global market. He was also supported by significant investment from Enterprise Ireland. As there is nothing that will effectively kill antibiotic-resistant superbugs completely from the surface of items, scientists have been searching for a way to prevent the spread. This has been in the form of building or “baking” antimicrobial surfaces into products during the manufacturing process. However, until now, all these materials were toxic or needed UV light in order to make them work. This meant they were not practical for indoor use and had limited commercial application. “The challenge was the preparation of a solution that was activated by indoor light rather than UV light and we have now done that,” says Pillai. The new water-based solution can be sprayed onto any glass, ceramic or metallic surface during the production process, rendering the surface 99.9 percent resistant to superbugs like MRSA, E. coli, and other fungi. The solution is sprayed on the product — such as a smartphone glass surface — and then “baked” into it, forming a super-hard surface. The coating is transparent, permanent and scratch resistant and actually forms a harder surface than the original glass or ceramic material. The team first developed the revolutionary material to work on ceramics and has spent the last five years adapting the formula — which is non-toxic and has no harmful bi-products — to make it work on glass and metallic surfaces. Research is now underway by the group on how to adapt the solution for use in plastics and paint, allowing even wider use of the protective material. Pillai, Kastus, and the team have obtained a U.S. and a U.K. patent on the unique process with a number of global patent applications pending. It is rare for such an academic scientific discovery to have such commercial viability. “I was sold on this from the first moment I heard about it. It’s been a long road to here but it was such a compelling story that it was hard to walk away from so I had to see it through to the end,” says John Browne, Kastus CEO. He says, “This is a game changer. The uniqueness of antimicrobia surface treatment means that the applications for it in the real world are endless. The multinational glass manufacturers we are in negotiations with to sell the product to have been searching for years to come up with such a solution but have failed.” Professor Declan McCormack, Head of the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at DIT, says, “This is a great example of excellent science being translated into impactful real-life applications. The potential this has in terms of application, and in terms of dealing with the very real issues of infections, is substantial. We are delighted to have collaborated with IT Sligo, DCU, the University of Surrey in the U.K., and Kastus on this very fruitful research and hope that collaboration continues for many years into the future.” Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of IT Sligo, says, “This landmark piece of research is perfectly in tune with IT Sligo’s ambition to continue to develop our research profile. We want the Institute’s research to have meaningful impact on the development of the region, and society as a whole. This discovery by Suresh and his team is a prime example of that ambition.” Source: Institute of Technology Sligo

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISIB-02-2015 | Award Amount: 2.23M | Year: 2016

High nature value (HNV) farmland designates those areas in Europe where agriculture is a major land use and where that agriculture supports, or is associated with, either a high species and habitat diversity or the presence of species of European conservation concern, or both. They are an important component of European agriculture, notably in terms of biodiversity, cultural landscape, territorial cohesion, quality products and employment. However, abandonment, degradation, economic and social marginalisation are long-standing challenges for the associated farming systems which are still under considerable pressure. For national and local authorities, the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy, and for stakeholders, the challenge is twofold: to avoid further degradation and disappearance of HNV farming and increase their socio-economic viability: this could be done by collating, evaluating and disseminating innovations as tools for their development; to maintain their natural value, i.e the environmental services they provide to the society. For these reasons, our consortium, an EIP Agri Focus Group and new partners, propose a network dedicated to supporting HNV farming, networking HNV areas covering a range of different farming systems across the EU, and to focussing on innovations improving simultaneously socio-economic viability and environmental efficiency. Conceived as a support service for knowledge and innovation exchanges, the HNV-Link network will give a decisive new impetus to this sector, and will provide tools to organisations, actors and networks supporting HNV farmlands. The marginality of HNV areas in conventional research and development means that HNV farming-related innovation is rarely discussed in academic exchanges. Our thematic network, both grassroots-based and transnational, can really make a difference, by connecting farmers and innovation actors in line with the vision of the EIP-Agri operational groups.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.60M | Year: 2010

Current ECM process technology is limited in machining accuracy and process stability. The primary reason for this limitation is that the power supply units, which are at the heart of ECM are traditionally designed for the millisecond pulsed current range. Developing a power supply unit that has the capability of pulsing in the microsecond / nanosecond range, will result in more control of the process and better product, leading to improved uptimes on the shop floor and improved product quality. The SME partners in this project consortium have identified a commercial opportunity for a new generation of ECM that can offer: - Improved process stability and control - Increased accuracy (at a micron level) - Better process uptime and increased efficiency / outputs - Consistently better performing and better quality products - Shorter product development lead time This project will undertake the research and development work necessary to ensure that the SMEs in the consortium can realise this commercial opportunity through the development of a power supply unit (SMPS) that can support the next generation of ECM. The project aims to develop an SMPS that will deliver quicker electrical current pulsing rates in the microsecond / nanosecond range, resulting in an ECM with a machining accuracy better than 1 micron. The project will also develop a demonstrator / prototype that will be used for validating and demonstrating the next generation ECM. Based on research undertaken by CDAMC (in conjunction with SMPS manufacturers and suppliers), it is clear that power units in this performance range are currently not commercially available. The availability of a new generation of SMPS could result in a major step change in ECM capability and help sustain Europes leading position in ECM technology.

What has an ancient bear got to do with human existence? Well, a lot, because it can push back the first human arrival in Ireland as early as 2,500 years. Since the 1970s, experts believed the Irish civilization began during the Mesolithic Period or around 8,000 B.C. following the discovery of a settlement in a Londonderry county. However, in a paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews on March 21, researchers revealed that the first humans in Ireland might have arrived in 10,500 B.C. or during the Paleolithic Period. The discovery was accidental. In 2010, National Museum of Ireland research associate and co-author Ruth Carden found a 113-year-old patella (kneecap) bone of an adult bear, which was excavated in Alice and Gwendoline Cave in Co Clare, untouched inside a cardboard box in the museum since the 1920s. The bone had noted markings, but it never underwent dating since the technology was not available until the 1940s. So Carden, together with Institute of Technology Sligo archeologist and lead author Marion Dowd, applied for funding from the Royal Irish Academy. After receiving it, they asked Queen's University Belfast to do it. They also sent bone samples to Oxford University researchers who confirmed the date as well as to three other specialists in Europe who noted that the age of the cut marks is the same as that of the bone. The authors were "shocked" by the results. "Yes, we expected a prehistoric date, but the Paleolithic result took us completely by surprise," Dowd shared. The bone markings also suggested that the carcass was still fresh when it was being butchered but that whoever wanted to separate the joint didn't succeed perhaps because of lack of experience, poor tools or level of difficulty. For her part, Carden, who is also an animal osteologist, calls the discovery "exciting" and that "this paper should generate a lot of discussion within the zoological research world ... it's time to start thinking outside the box ... or even dismantling it entirely!" The authors are presently seeking more funding so they can date hundreds of other bones in the same collection. In 2015, the discovery of a partial leg bone fossil found in Red Deer Cave in southwest China also suggested that some human ancestors may have lived longer than the Late Plestoceine Period.

News Article | March 21, 2016

The journey began in 1903. A team of scientists, excavating the Alice and Gwendoline Cave in Ireland’s County Clare, discovered thousands of animal bones. Among the collection was a bear bone etched with knife marks. While the curiosity was noted, the bone was subsequently stored at the National Museum of Ireland, where it remained since the 1920s. But a new look at the butchered bear patella has allowed archaeologists to confirm human existence in Ireland 2,500 years earlier than previously thought. Marion Dowd, of the Institute of Technology Sligo, and Ruth Carden, of the National Museum of Ireland, are responsible for the new finding. Their research on the subject was published recently by Quaternary Science Reviews. After the team reexamined the bone, they sent it to Queen’s Univ. Belfast for radiocarbon dating. The bone was dated to 12,500 years ago. “When a Palaeolithic date was returned, it came as quite a shock,” said Dowd, who is a specialist in Irish cave archaeology, in a statement. “Here we had evidence of someone butchering a brown bear carcass and cutting through the knee probably to extract the tendons. Yes, we expected a prehistoric date, but the Palaeolithic result took us completely by surprise.” For confirmation, the team sent another sample for radiocarbon dating at Univ. of Oxford. The second test confirmed the validity of the first. According to Dowd, the person butchering the bear was likely inexperienced, as there are around seven or eight cut marks on the bone. Previously, the oldest human evidence from Ireland was found at County Derry’s Mount Sandel. The site was dated to 8,000 BC, the Mesolithic period. “Archaeologists have been searching for the Irish Palaeolithic since the 19th century, and now, finally, the first piece of the jigsaw has been revealed,” said Dowd. “This find adds a new chapter to the human history of Ireland.” The research team hopes to expand their investigation to other archaeological items found during the 1903 expedition. Establish your company as a technology leader! For more than 50 years, the R&D 100 Awards have showcased new products of technological significance. You can join this exclusive community!  .

Flynn C.,University of Auckland | McCormack B.A.O.,Institute of Technology Sligo
Journal of Biomechanics | Year: 2010

One of the outward signs of the aging process of human skin is the increased appearance of wrinkles on its surface. Clinical studies show that the increased frequency of wrinkles with age may be attributed to changes in the composition of the various layers of skin, leading to a change in mechanical properties. A parameter study was performed on a previously proposed multi-layer finite element model of skin. A region of skin was subject to an in-plane compression, resulting in wrinkling. A number of physical properties of the skin model were changed and the effects these changes had on the size of the subsequent wrinkles were measured. Reducing the moisture content of the stratum corneum by 11% produces wrinkles 25-85% larger. Increasing the dermal collagen fibre density by 67%, results in wrinkles, which are 25-50% larger. A reduction and change in the pre-stress distribution in the skin model, which represents the natural tension and relaxed skin tension lines in real skin, also influences the wrinkle height in a similar manner to real aging skin. Typically, there can be up to a 100% increase in the height of wrinkles as skin ages. This model would be of benefit in the development of cosmetic moisturisers and plastic-surgery techniques to reduce the appearance of aging. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Institute of Technology Sligo | Date: 2013-01-02

The present invention relates to a formulation and method for the treatment of fungal nail infections, such as those caused by Trichophyton rubrum and/or Aspergillus niger. The formulation of the invention comprises glucose oxidase, D-glucose and hydrogen peroxide in an aqueous solution. Advantageously, the formulation of the invention provides a two-stage hydrogen peroxide release for the treatment of the fungal nail infections.

Institute of Technology Sligo | Date: 2012-12-20

The present invention relates to an antimicrobial and immunostimulatory system, applications thereof and a process for the production of the antimicrobial and immunostimulatory system. The present invention provides a storage-stable antimicrobial and immunostimulatory system comprising an oxidoreductase enzyme, a substrate for the oxidoreductase enzyme and hydrogen peroxide in an aqueous solution wherein the substrate for the oxidoreductase enzyme is present up to 90% by weight and water is present up to 20% by weight based on the weight of the total composition; the system has a pH from approximately 4 to 8; and the system provides a two-stage hydrogen peroxide release.

News Article | April 24, 2016

A nanotechnology coating could control the spread of potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are very difficult to kill, a new study found. This new breakthrough will allow ordinary items like smartphones, door handles and telephones to be protected against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are expected to kill about 10 million people around the world by 2050. A team of researchers from Institute of Technology Sligo found a way that could stem the spread of deadly and hard-to-treat superbugs. "It's absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against superbugs. It can effectively control the spread of bacteria," said Professor Suresh Pillai from IT Sligo. The nanotechnology has a 99.9 percent kill rate of potentially fatal bacteria, the researchers found. It contains a potent antimicrobial solution that is robust enough to kill pathogens and even inhibit their growth. A wide range of items could be used as long as they're made from metal, ceramic or glass including screens of tablets, smartphones and computers. It could also be used on door handles, television sets, urinals, refrigerators, ATM's and ceramic tiles or floors. It will be very useful in hospitals and other medical facilities that face the problem of superbug infections or what is commonly called nosocomial infections. Other common public areas that can use this nanotechnology are public swimming pools, buildings and transportation. One of the most dominant nosocomial bacteria, those that develop and spread in hospitals, is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This group of bacteria could survive on hospital surfaces for up to five months. Current methods are not efficient enough in eradicating Staphylococcus aureus. Existing hygiene coatings used today have two drawbacks - it relies on ultraviolet lights to generate electrons and reactive species and a purely photocatalytic hygiene coating is inactive when in the dark. The nanotechnology, however, will effectively and completely kill superbugs from the surface of items. This is a water-based solution that can be sprayed on while manufacturing glass, metal or ceramic materials. The transparent coating will be baked into the material, forming a hard surface that is resistant to superbugs including MRSA, some fungi and Escherichia coli. The team is now studying on how the material could be incorporated into paint and plastics to explore a wider use of the discovery. The study was published in the journal Nature. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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