UCC student innovation breathes new life into patients

27 Nov 2014
(Photo: Clare Keogh)

NebulAid is the winner of the 2014 UCC Biomedical Design Innovation Award and the John Francis Burke Perpetual Trophy. The team, which is an interdisciplinary mix of UCC medical and engineering students, has developed an innovative solution to deliver medication more efficiently to the airways.

Drug delivery inefficiency in respiratory illness management is a constant challenge. NebulAid has been designed to increase the efficiency of drug delivery through a new facemask design which improves the overall efficiency of the ventilator delivery system by decreasing “dead space,” giving the medicine and oxygen supplies separate pathways and directing the medicine directly towards the patient’s mouth. The team’s solution represents a cost effective, simple, more efficient, reliable and easy to use solution for a problem which costs the Irish healthcare system over €100M annually. The NebulAid team is Killian Browne (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), James Cunningham (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), Amy Kelliher (Medicine), George O’Mahony (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and John-Paul McAuliffe (Mechanical Engineering). The team’s clinical mentor is Dr Rodney Meeke, consultant anaesthetist at Cork University Hospital.

The Biomedical Design module at UCC is a ground-breaking medical design process which couples medical and engineering students at UCC with consultant clinicians to develop innovative solutions to real-life clinical needs.  Pádraig Cantillon-Murphy, who developed and co-teaches the module with UCC innovation facilitator, John McSweeney, notes that “what we see here is the best of UCC students’ capacity to innovate. We challenge these students to think about real problems, real patients, and they respond magnificently with real and viable solutions!” This year’s awards were sponsored by Stryker Ireland and Boston Scientific. More details on the module is available at

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