Home » Future of Healthcare » Combining Irish–US strengths in health tech research for better outcomes

Professor Patricia Maguire

Director, UCD Institute for Discovery and UCD AI Healthcare Hub

Professor Jared Auclair

Director of Biotechnology, Director of Bioinformatics,
Vice Provost for Research Economic Development and Director of Bioinnovation at NU

Technology is driving major advances in healthcare and health outcomes for people at all stages of life, in many domains such as AI, biologics and robotics.

Through renewed partnership in 2023, University College Dublin (UCD) and Northeastern University, Boston (NU) are driving technological breakthroughs across four core strands: Digital Rehabilitation and Independent Living; Biologics and Advanced Manufacturing; Enhanced Post-Cardiac Surgery Outcomes; and Maternal Health. 

AI and maternal health 

Professor Patricia Maguire, UCD Professor in Biochemistry and artificial intelligence (AI) evangelist, leads the AI_PREMie team that combines cutting-edge biomedical, clinical and machine-learning research to develop a new solution for preeclampsia.  

“AI will revolutionise healthcare by enabling earlier diagnoses and promoting personalised treatment, giving back valuable time for healthcare professionals to focus on patient care,” she says.  

AI_PREMie has developed a prototype risk stratification tool for preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that causes one expectant mum to lose her life every seven minutes. “Integrating AI into maternal care will enable effective, efficient clinical decision-making, leading to better outcomes for both mother and baby. This will ultimately prevent premature birth and save lives, having a huge impact on societal good,” adds Maguire.  

The team aims to collaborate with NU researchers to create new, AI-powered solutions to transform maternal health across the globe. 

AI will revolutionise healthcare by enabling earlier diagnoses and promoting personalised treatment.

Robotics and biomanufacturing  

Professor Jared Auclair, Biologics and Advanced Manufacturing (biomanufacturing) expert, says robotics can positively impact patients’ lives. “UCD and NU bring unique capabilities in robotics to address digital rehabilitation and independent living, but that only scratches the surface of what is possible. They both have expertise in robotics and automation which can impact healthcare.”  

He believes biomanufacturing will be key in the future of healthcare. To this end, NU’s Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory (BATL) engages in real-world research in biomanufacturing to end-product testing. UCD also hosts the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), which is committed to providing training and research solutions for the biopharma manufacturing industry. 

“There are opportunities to drive towards continued manufacturing strategies that include interactions across robotics, advanced manufacturing and other areas,” Auclair says. Biomanufacturing doesn’t only apply to innovations in biological drugs. By using it to develop environmentally friendly processes — such as biomaterials — and solutions to food insecurity, biomanufacturing can ultimately improve patient health and outcomes.  

“We are taking a holistic approach to global challenges in healthcare that leverage new technologies and data to drive learnings while focusing on quality of life for patients,” he adds.  

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