We spoke to LIYSF President, Professor Richard O’Kennedy, who’s currently a Professor and Scientific Director at Dublin City University, Ireland.
Professor of Biological Sciences and Scientific Director of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.
I was interested in science from a very early stage and this was nurtured by excellent teachers at school. Represented Ireland at the I4th London International Youth Science Forum in 1972 and subsequently was a staff member, Host, Lecturer, Advisor and currently President of the Science Forum. This really excited me about science and its global significance and the importance of linking scientists internationally. Was a founding member of CONTACT in Ireland focused on increasing interactions between people from all backgrounds. Was also a founder of the Irish Science and Arts Week based, to a large degree, on the Science Forum.
My current research interests are in diagnostics based on the use of antibodies. These are applied in diseases ( e.g. cancers – colorectal, prostate, ovarian and pancreatic; cardiovascular disease), environmental monitoring, food safety and drug detection. This offers a very powerful way of detecting any target e.g. a disease marker or a food or environmental contaminant.
My research is focused on developing diagnostics that can allow early detection of diseases.
Tests developed have been commercialized and are being used to improve health; technologies have been patented and licenced by companies; am directly involved in helping company development and in start-up companies and spin-outs. Have graduated 63 Ph.Ds, and mentored hundreds of Post-doctoral Fellows, Masters students and undergraduates.
The capacity of developing highly specific tests that can detect disease at a very early stage thus greatly improving health outcomes. This is being achieved in colorectal and prostate cancer, in inflammation and cardiovascular disease. It is also very exciting to be able to detect food or environmental contaminants before they can cause diseases such as cancers.
Funding is an ongoing issue as it limits our ability to get the requisite results really quickly.
A massive improvement in our ability to detect major diseases at a very early stage resulting in much better outcomes, better and more efficient healthcare and greatly improved lifestyles for everyone especially those in less ‘well-off’ countries. Far better methods for detecting contaminants in food thus preventing infections and health problems;
Exciting new ways for detecting many environmental contaminants very effectively.
My passion for science and the desire to find answers began at a young age, examining the array of colours on flower petals and pondering over how or why it is that colour. It has since then developed into a lifelong goal to discover new and wondrous principles that will hopefully lead to making lives better. I arrived in the U.K at the age of 10. One of the main challenges that arose was my unde...
07 April 2018
Let’s start with the facts: An estimated 880 million people still don't have regular access to clean water. On average, women in developing countries walk 6 Kilometers a day to collect water. About 5,000 children die each day due to preventable diseases such as cholera, which are caused due the intake of contaminated water. A lack of water for personal hygiene leads to the sp...
19 March 2018
Q 1. When did you attend LIYSF and what was it like coming to the LIYSF? I was a participant, one of about 15, representing Ireland at the LIYSF in 1972. This was on completion of my first year at University. It was a great opportunity to learn about many aspects of science and to meet so many young people from all over the world with similar interests. The chance to visit London was a very excit...
13 March 2018