Empowering Technical Backgrounds: Oscar Gleeson's Journey in the ESTEEM Program

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

Meet Oscar Gleeson, a M.S. in Entrepreneurship, Technology, & Innovation (ESTEEM) graduate student in the class of 2024. Prior to his enrollment in the program, he completed a degree in pharmacology at the University College of Dublin in 2023. Venture with us as we chart Oscar's transformative path, from his foundational years in Dublin to his groundbreaking endeavors at Notre Dame. Learn how the ESTEEM program has equipped Oscar and his peers with the unique fusion of technical acumen and entrepreneurial insight, molding them into the visionary change-makers and innovators of the future.

From Pharmacology to Commercial Brilliance

Driven by a background in pharmacology, Oscar opted for the ESTEEM program to gain the needed skills and business acumen to bring commercially viable solutions to market. One of the direct ways the ESTEEM program prepares its students for this is through hands-on learning with the capstone projects. Oscar is working with CergenX, an Irish-based startup developing a new device to assess infants at birth for potential brain injuries.

“One of the most interesting parts of working with CergenX for me is how real the actual project is. CergenX is going into clinical studies in January and then hoping to launch in 2025,” explained Oscar. “The work that I'm doing with them is actually having a real impact. During my weekly meetings they're fully invested in all of my work so I can see that what I'm doing is actually having a direct impact on their future strategy and the development of their product.”

CergenX is a spin-out from the INFANT Research Centre at University College Cork (UCC) and is focused on developing and commercializing the extensive research conducted by INFANT over many years. Their novel platform utilizes an automated AI assessment to detect abnormal brain activity in infants at birth, providing easy-to-interpret results in under fifteen minutes. This platform will enable immediate follow-up and early intervention by medical professionals, which is critical for achieving improved outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for newborns with brain injuries. Oscar’s capstone project is focused on developing a comprehensive market access strategy and commercialization plan for the US market.

Understanding the U.S. healthcare system and its intricacies has been one of the main challenges for Oscar. Coming from Ireland, he had to familiarize himself with a completely different system. However, this hurdle has also been a source of fascination, as Oscar immersed himself in stakeholder interviews with medical professionals. Collaborating with neonatologists, pediatric neurologists, and other clinicians, he gained valuable insights into their needs and the current methods of identifying newborn brain injury. This experience allowed him to appreciate the significance of his work and the potential impact it can have on patients' lives.

Making Connections and Gaining Skills

One of the standout features of the ESTEEM program to Oscar is the access it provides to the Notre Dame alumni network. Oscar loves the Innovation Rallies held every Friday during Notre Dame Football home game weekends, where alumni return to share their experiences and wisdom. This exposure to successful individuals with diverse careers and perspectives has been truly inspiring for Oscar and his fellow students. The program's emphasis on practical, honest conversations with industry leaders fosters personal growth and expands horizons.

“One of the biggest standouts has been the access to the Notre Dame network that you get,” explained Oscar. “You get the opportunity to talk to these people that really you'd never have the opportunity to do in Ireland.”

But perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the ESTEEM program, according to Oscar, is the confidence it instills in students. Public speaking and pitching were once nerve-wracking experiences for him, but now he can confidently present to large audiences. This newfound ability will undoubtedly prove invaluable in his future career endeavors, where effective communication is a key component of success.

In the intersection of technical prowess and commercial innovation, individuals like Oscar shine as beacons of possibility. Through the ESTEEM program at the University of Notre Dame, Oscar's journey exemplifies the power of merging science with business to create impactful, real-world solutions. As Oscar continues to harness his passion and skills, he inspires a new wave of innovators to dream big and bridge the gap between research and the marketplace. To all aspiring changemakers, the world awaits your touch; and programs like ESTEEM serve as a stepping stone to make those dreams tangible. Dive into the realm of possibility, and let your passion be the driving force of change.

To join us on the journey of innovation and entrepreneurship, discover more about the ESTEEM program and take the first step toward a rewarding future today. 

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