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Sports Research in Ireland


Dr Brendan Marshall

Dr Brendan Marshall received his PhD in Sports Biomechanics from Dublin City University and worked as a member of the Sports Medicine team at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin. There Dr Marshall worked with motion capture technologies in the clinic’s state of the art 3D Biomechanics Lab, which he helped establish. His work provided individuals with detailed feedback on their movement patterns in order to inform individualised rehabilitation and to reduce their risk of future injury, with a focus on the biomechanics of athletic groin pain. Dr Marshall now works as a Senior Scientific Writer with Novartis. Dr Marshall is a volunteer for the Smart Futures programme, providing STEM career advice to students, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents in Ireland and stimulating an interest in STEM subjects in secondary school and at third level.


 Professor Brian Caulfield

Leading the Personal Sensing group at the INSIGHT Research Centre, Prof Brian Caulfield has focused his research on wearable sensors and how they can be used in orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation and performance analysis. Prof Caulfield’s research programme is focused on exploiting technological advances, such as the use of remote sensors, to provide real-time feedback on rehab exercises. Similar sensors are also used in sports performance research, in particular INSIGHT have collaborated with the IRFU to investigate the biomechanical impact of different playing surfaces using data from sensors worn on the pitch.



Professor Daniel Kelly

Director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering Prof Daniel Kelly and his team are developing novel approaches to regenerating damaged and diseased musculoskeletal tissues. Using tissue engineering techniques, they are hoping to generate biological alternatives to joint replacement prosthesis. Prof Kelly's research involves the use of adult stem cells to regenerate normal articular cartilage and bone within a damaged joint rather than replacing these tissues with a metallic and polymer implants, which ultimately fail in the long-term. This new technique would offer a much more sustainable solution to joint and bone ailments, catering for the growing population of younger and more active patients.


Professor Fergal O’Brien

Last year the horse industry was estimated to be worth €1.1 billion to the Irish economy, making the health and performance of thoroughbred horses a critical concern to breeders. A new technology developed in RCSI and commercialised by Irish company SurgaColl Technologies under Prof Fergal O’Brien is changing the face of bone graft therapy. Beyonce, a 16-month-old thoroughbred filly affected by the previously untreatable bone disease osteochondritis dissecans, was given a new lease of life after treatment with a new 3D scaffold technology called ChondroColl. Composed of materials found naturally in the bone & cartilage of articular joints, including collagen, hydroxyapatite and hyaluronic acid, the scaffold promotes the body’s own cells to regenerate the damaged tissue. Since undergoing this ground-breaking new treatment Beyoncé has returned to competitive show jumping.



Dr Orla O'Sullivan

The exercise regime and diet of elite athletes commonly surpasses that of the general population with a much higher emphasis on protein intake. Studying the effects this lifestyle can have on the gut, and specifically the bacteria that reside there is Teagasc researcher Dr Orla O'Sullivan. Dr O’Sullivan and her team in the Science Foundation Ireland APC Microbiome Research Centre are comparing results from differing gut profiles in order to identify microbial pathways that contribute to health in the hope that it will eventually be possible to alter an individual’s microbiota, converting it from an unhealthy to a healthy population.





Professor Andy Way & Dr Haithem Afli

The ‘Braziliator’ project, led by Prof Andy Way of DCU, was a sentiment-based live tweet translation service run by the ADAPT research centre during the 2014 football world cup. It was also the perfect platform for continued research into machine translation. Brazilator translated over 80 million words during the World Cup using 26 machine translation systems built in ADAPT, and provided live sentiment analysis of football-related tweets during all of the matches.

Dr Haithem Afli
, based in DCU is using the machine-learning system CARA to investigate the preservation of the original sentiment during the automatic translation. The training and test data for the system consists of 4000 tweets from the 2014 World Cup that have been manually translated into German and manually assigned a sentiment of either positive, negative, neutral or “conflict” (both positive and negative). The results can then be compared to automatic translation and the CARA system will learn from the results, improving future translation accuracy.