Cian O'Donnell

Class of 2017-2018

University College Cork, 2017

Why I chose ESTEEM: I have always had a keen interest in biological sciences and am of the firm belief that modern advances in technology will greatly increase the rate in which scientific discoveries are made. The time between discovery and commercialization of new therapies and diagnostic tools is poised to fall. However, many scientists are not armed with the business nous to take their ideas to those who will benefit most from their discoveries. Furthermore, smaller research groups and biology based start-ups have more power than ever to make significant advances in a shorter amount of time.

I joined ESTEEM to gain the tools necessary to bridge the gap between meaningful scientific discovery and those who need these discoveries most.

My capstone thesis project and why I’m excited about it: As mentioned, technological advances will now accelerate the rate of scientific discovery. Our connected devices including phones and smartwatches now have the ability to gather huge amounts of data about us: from the number of steps we take, to our heartrate and even our mood.

This year I am working on a mobile application to find out if this data can be gathered to monitor and track disease progression in Parkinson’s and migraine clinical trials. I am excited to discover how advances in everyday tech are enabling people to live healthier lives.

What I hope to do after ESTEEM: After ESTEEM I would ideally like to be get involved with a start-up who are using biochemical techniques to develop impactful technologies. I think the area of CRISPR gene editing will be huge in the coming years, and could see myself eventually exploring this avenue. It will be important to have ethical businesspeople at the frontier of these rapidly evolving technologies as they begin to advance faster than the laws put in place pertaining to them.

What I like to do when I’m not working in Innovation Park: When I’m not in the Greenhouse I can be found gleefully skateboarding around campus- something you’d never get away with back in Ireland! I enjoy going to the gym and weightlifting, and am making an effort to rediscover my love of reading this year.