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Two APC entrepreneurs among winners at UCC’s SPRINT Awards

23 Mar 2023
Dr Julie O’ Sullivan, APC Microbiome Ireland, Dr Siobhain O’ Mahony, APC Microbiome Ireland, Dr Brenda Long, UCC School of Chemistry, Environmental Research Institute & Tyndall National Institute and Dr Shivani Pathania, Teagasc are recipients of the SPRINT Accelerator Programme Awards 2023.
  • Women researchers won all accolades at the 2023 GatewayUCC’s SPRINT Awards.
  • The awards celebrate the commercialisation of research to address key health, social and environmental issues.
  • GatewayUCC supports researcher-led start-up and spin-out companies.

Dr Siobhain O’ Mahony and Dr Julie O’Sullivan of APC Microbiome Ireland were among the all-women winners of the 2023 UCC Sprint Awards. 

The awards celebrate innovative technologies led by early-stage start-up companies on the SPRINT accelerator programme.  In 2022 – 2023, 50% of participants are women founders which represents the largest cohort of women founders in the programme to date.  

Dr Siobhain O’ Mahony, received the SPRINT Clinical Impact Award 2023 for her project FemmeBiome which supports a mothers’ well-being during pregnancy and postpartum to reduce the burden of stress on body and mind and improve overall health for mother and baby. FemmeBiome’s oral supplement will harness the signalling pathways of the microbiome-gut-brain axis, which Dr O’ Mahony has identified as playing a key role in maintaining well-being and physical health.  

The SPRINT One to Watch Award 2023 was received by APC’s Dr Julie O’ Sullivan, for the SkinCoat technology initiative.  1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults in Ireland will get Atopic dermatitis (AD).   AD is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disease, with a lifetime prevalence up to 20% and substantial effects on quality of life. SkinCoat’s technology treats AD, with potential to alleviate antimicrobial resistance. SkinCoat’s technology can alleviate the symptoms of skin conditions like AD for patients who are seeking an alternative to conventional treatments e.g. antibiotics, using antimicrobial peptides that are mined from the human skin microbiota. 

Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC, Professor John Cryan said: “Congratulations to the SPRINT award winners for 2023, and the fantastic contribution to the programme made by female researchers and entrepreneurs this year. Today we see a sample of innovative research at UCC, resulting in potentially game changing impacts that aligns with the strategic plan of the University. SPRINT accelerates the movement of research out of the laboratories and into commercial application. Our ambition in the University is to create an Innovation Culture and Entrepreneurial Campus, underpinned by an ethos of creativity and discovery.” 


The SPRINT Programme was developed to help spin-out and start-up companies overcome challenges they may encounter when starting their businesses. On the programme, pre and early-stage start-ups work with successful business mentors who help the researchers and founders to bring their business from idea stage through to the eventual commercialisation of the product or service. The SPRINT programme is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland and Cork City LEO and Cork City Council. 

Other winners featured a new technology to enhance performance in electric vehicles and a new approach to green food packaging. 

For more information on the 2023 Sprint Awards click here 


For more on this story contact:

APC Microbiome Ireland: JohnGallagher@ucc.ie

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Host Logos - UCC and Teagasc

Partner Institutions

APC Microbiome Ireland

Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,