Epigem Increases Blood Research Activity

High-tech British micro engineering company Epigem today announced the appointment of new staff member Niamh Kilcawley.

Miss Kilcawley, from Dublin, has been appointed as a Marie Słodowska-Curie fellow in Epigem as part of the RELEVANCE project.

The 25-year-old will be developing microfluidic devices for the diagnoses of rare anaemic conditions, such as Sickle Cell Anaemia and Thalassemia.

She will be collaborating with a team of 15 fellows across Europe at leading blood research centres, including clinicians and blood transfusion experts.

Miss Kilcawley said: “Using microfluidic devices will allow us to use infinitesimal volumes of blood and screen them in order to diagnose rare conditions.

“I will be specifically researching the separation of key blood components using microfluidic technology for diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical purposes.

“This is such a great opportunity for me. Working with Epigem will give me access to an abundance of high tech equipment that will be imperative to the successful completion of this project.”

“In addition, this fellowship allows me to utilise facilities across all the various European partners of the project. There are so many possibilities available to me.”

“Using the resources of a company like Epigem will make a huge difference to the research. I’m currently learning new techniques and methods within a broad spectrum of different fields.”

Miss Kilcawley’s interest in microfluidics began at Dublin City University, Ireland, where she said she found her feet as a researcher while studying to complete her undergraduate degree in Physics with Biomedical Sciences.

She added: “It really opened my mind up to see what can be done with tiny amounts of fluid, particularly when it comes to medical diagnoses.

“My main drive is to help people by developing new diagnostic tools. As part of my career development plan, I would like to contribute to the science of haematology and improvement of the health and wellbeing of society.”

Epigem is a polymer micro engineering company specialising in the life sciences, development and manufacture of microfluidic devices, micro optical components and film processed printed electronics.

While she was still an undergraduate Miss Kilcawley spent time working in the area of microfluidics for BluSense Diagnostics, Copenhagen, as well as securing a placement in the Microfluidics Platforms Group in Dublin City University during the 3rd year of her studies.

Her work comprised of the fabrication and assembly of microfluidic platforms using a range of micro-fabrication technology.

Epigem Managing Director Dr Tim Ryan said: “We are really excited that Niamh is joining the company.

“She has studied microfluidics and is working hard. It’s great employing someone who loves to learn. I know she’ll be a valuable member of the team.”

There are currently 15 Marie Curie fellows working on the RELEVANCE project over the next 36 months and Miss Kilcawley believes their research will deliver new and more efficient diagnostic devices.

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