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2016 Press Releases

Leading biophotonics researcher joins UCC/Tyndall

19 May 2016
Prof Stefan Andersson-Engels

UCC and Tyndall National Institute have appointed Prof Stefan Andersson-Engels to lead a new €6m SFI funded biophotonics research programme to develop further Ireland’s medical device and diagnostics research capability.

Professor Andersson-Engels has been appointed Professor of Biophotonics in the Department of Physics, UCC and Head of the newly-established Biophotonics Group at the Science Foundation Ireland Irish Photonic Integration Research Centre (IPIC).  He will lead the new research programme under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme.

Biophotonics is an emerging area of scientific research that uses light to understand the inner workings of cells and tissues in living organisms, allowing researchers to see, measure and analyse living tissues in ways that have not been possible before. 

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Andersson-Engels said: “I am delighted to be joining the talented team in Cork and look forward to working with colleagues across Tyndall, UCC and IPIC. With the medical devices sector in Ireland recognised as one of the five emerging global hubs, it is an exciting time for the Biophotonics Group to forge close collaborations with companies, clinicians and research centres for the faster development and deployment of more accurate, less invasive diagnostic treatment methods for cancer and other diseases”

Professor Andersson-Engels has received several prizes for his research achievements. His impressive track record in the development and commercialisation of technology has been critical to ensuring that patients will benefit from results of scientific research. His pioneering work in the area of ALA-PDT (Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using the topical application of aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a photosensitizing agent) for the treatment of non–melanoma skin cancer is currently one of the first lines of treatment at most skin cancer clinics around the world.

Welcoming the appointment Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “Ireland may be a small country, but we're a big player in the medtech industry with 18 of the world's top 25 medtech companies located here.  This appointment represents a significant investment in strengthening Ireland’s research capabilities in biophotonics and will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global hub for the medical devices industry. Professor Andersson-Engels’ exceptional academic credentials and proven track record in the commercialisation of technology will enhance the reputation of the research community in the SFI Irish Photonic Integration Research Centre  (IPIC) and will boost Ireland’s standing as a destination of choice for world-class researchers, industrial partnerships, collaborations and as a location for attracting international funding such as that available under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.”

Speaking about the appointment, Dr Kieran Drain, CEO, Tyndall National Institute said: ”The appointment of Professor Andersson-Engels will elevate Tyndall’s world-class research capabilities in the area of biophotonics and will significantly enhance Tyndall’s expanding offering to medical-device-focused companies and organisations. Through Professor Andersson-Engels’ leadership, the new Biophotonics Group will ensure that Tyndall, IPIC and our partners remain at the forefront of developing and delivering the next-generation technology solutions for healthcare.”

Professor Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research & Innovation at University College Cork also welcomed the appointment: “Professor Andersson-Engels is a world leader in biophotonics and we are delighted that he is joining UCC’s research community. This appointment will have a positive impact for Ireland’s research profile internationally and will be a crucial support for the development of world-leading innovation in the health and Medtech sectors.”

Previously, Professor Andersson-Engels was Deputy Head of the Atomic Physics Division and Head of the Medical Laser Centre at Lund University, Sweden. He is co-founder of the renowned international summer school ‘Biophotonics’. Professor Andersson-Engels received the “Lindbomska belöningen” from the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in recognition of his outstanding achievements in teaching. His contribution to business has also been acknowledged through the SKAPA award, the most prestigious entrepreneurship award in Sweden.

Professor Paul Townsend, Director of IPIC concluded: “Professor Andersson-Engels’ appointment will consolidate IPIC’s outstanding research team by providing the scientific vision and knowledge to steer existing photonic device integration towards innovative new applications in the biomedical areas. Furthermore, by establishing a world-class biophotonics research programme at IPIC and Tyndall, we can establish strong collaborative partnerships with other Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres at UCC – including INFANT and APC –  through projects that will present huge opportunities at a global level and again raise Ireland’s research credentials in the biomedical space.”


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