ECME project has many leading researchers working to advance cardiac healthcare technology. If you want to contact any of the team please get in touch via the contact us form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof McLaughlin OBE, a physicist is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Irish Academy of Engineering and a Member of the IEEE. He has developed significant initiatives within bioengineering research, technology transfer, outreach and teaching since 1986. Presently, as a Professor in the School of Engineering he is also the Director of the Engineering Research Institute and Director of NIBEC. His salient disciplines address Connected Health, Healthcare Wireless Sensor Systems, nano-based Point of Care and related bio-sensing applications.

He was awarded an OBE for his services to Research and Economic Development. He has attained in excess of three hundred publications (H index 36) and he has been honoured as an invited speaker at over fifty International Conferences and he has attracted over £42m of funding (EPSRC, NSF (US-Irl), EU, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme, RDA’s, HEA (Irl) and DOH). He has been PI on a wide range of Smart Healthcare Sensor Systems funding including Welcome Trust Wireless Vital Signs in the Hospital, EPSRC MATCH, Large Cross Border Point of Care Funding, British Council Point of Care funding with IIT Mumbai. He has supervised over 30 PhD students to completion.

In recent years Professor McLaughlin’s over-arching strategy is to develop a strong Connected Health Platform within Northern Ireland (as a Co-Director of the European Connected Health Alliance); UK – Innovate UK Advisory Board and the EU. This work involves linking bioengineering and computing sciences with sensor technology developed within NIBEC and thus facilitating clinically-led research initiatives to benefit the healthcare sector. He has recently set up a Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) with colleagues.

As part of the ECME project Jim will be collecting data via FDA approved, specially designed wireless integrated devices which will feed data to a central encrypted secure system. This will provide a pathway to the development of new smart CPR diagnostics that will allow early warning of key changes in cardiac function during transport to hospital. It will also allow more effective diagnosis of cardiac patients health within 5 minutes. This will greatly assist with the prioritisation of patients and more rapid treatment of those who need it most.

Dr. Adrian Boyd was appointed as a lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering in 2005 and is a core member of the Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Cluster within the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC), part of the School of Engineering at the University of Ulster. He was a category A member of the Engineering Research Unit (ERI) and was a member of the Unit of Assessment 29 submission in the 2008 Research assessment exercise (RAE). He is currently a council member of the UK Society for Biomaterials (UKSB), council member of the Surface Science of Biologically Important Interfaces (SSBII) group and a committee member of the Northern Branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). He is a full member of the (MRSC), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a past president, secretary and treasurer of the Northern Ireland Biomedical Engineering Society (NIBES).

Adrian will be working on fabrication of bioresorbable polymer substrates via 3D Bioprinting methods that can support the adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of cardiomyocytes; Integration of sensor components capable of monitoring the response cardiomyocytes to external stimulation. This will allow improved methods of predicting the efficacy of the scaffold based myocardial in vitro model system for AF detection.

James DavisJames Davis is Professor of Biomedical Sensors in the School of Engineering and a member of the Engineering Research Institute. James’ research interests are directed toward the development of new diagnostic devices for the rapid treatment of disease and injury. He has participated in, and is the Principal Investigator/coordinator of a number of multi-centre – multi-discipline research collaborations with funding from the EPSRC (GR/S90560/01, GR/S85351/01, GR/S47984/01, GR/S16621/01, EP/G001049/1, EP/I01179X/1, EP/I01764X/1), Wellcome Trust, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Heart Research UK. He is also the Principal Investigator for the Ulster University component in a multicentre initiative involving the University of Connecticut and National University of Ireland Galway funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Learning Northern Ireland and the Science Foundation Ireland to develop biosensors for the early detection of prostate cancer.

James also holds a number of Invest NI awards to facilitate the commercialisation of his sensing devices for ostomy management and, more recently, for his work on wound management technologies that can enable the early detection of infection. He is currently involved in a number of multidisciplinary projects investigating the design and development of autonomous “smart” implants and patches for drug controlled release and transdermal micro-devices for a range of biomedical and industrial applications.

James has both BSc and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Paisley. He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has held Chartered Chemist status since 1996. James is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teaches on Engineering Fundamentals, Physical Sciences 2, Professional Skills and Advanced Medical Sensors.

During the ECME project James will seek to lay the foundations for a remote diagnostics and telemetry patch technology that is capable of providing unassisted periodic monitoring of small molecule metabolites for use in the assessment and subsequent clinical management of stroke. The project seeks to enable the realisation of a point of care technology platform that could induce a transformative change in the diagnostic toolkits of researchers, front line clinicians and community support workers.
Current assay systems detect only a single (or at most a limited number) of biologically relevant species, require complex, time-consuming, labour-intensive analytical processing, and are temporally compromised with respect to the short half-lives of most biologically relevant ROS species. This last point is especially important and frequently overlooked. By the time analytical measurements are initiated using conventional methods, significant loss of signal has accrued due to decomposition. The project would develop the foundations that enable the robust collation of real time data relating to the dynamics of the main protagonists in the oxidative stress processes known to have a direct impact on the condition and subsequent complications.

Dewer is a Reader in Electronic Engineering in the School of Engineering and a member of the Engineering Research Institute.  Dewar’s main area of research interest is in healthcare technology.  In particular he is interested in the application of technology in cardiovascular medicine with a particular focus on computerised ECG analysis. He has secured funding to support this research from a number of funding bodies that include: EU (H.2020), ESRC, DEL, InvestNI, HEA.

Dewar is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Computing in Cardiology Inc.  He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Electrocardiology and has served as conference Chairperson for both the 37th (2010) Computing in Cardiology conference and the 40th (2015) Conference of the International Society for Computerised Electrocardiology.

Dewar holds a BEng Degree in Electronic Systems and a PhD in Computing.  He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His main areas of teaching are in digital signal processing and engineering computing.  He previously served as Course Director for Ulster’s postgraduate Health Informatics programmes.

As part of the ECME project Dewer will be investigating large data-sets of multi-modal cardiovascular patent data to develop tools to support rapid diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. The analysis will focus on emerging techniques to combine datasets to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and develop personalised treatment strategies.

Brian MeenanBrian J. Meenan is Professor of Biomedical Materials and Associate Dean for Research & Impact within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.

Brian’s research interests are directed toward the development of enhanced biomaterials for medical device applications with particular emphasis on the promoting interactions on the sub-micron to nanometre scale for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Core projects include: studies of bioactive surfaces and reactions thereon; calcium phosphate thin film coatings; modification of polymer surfaces by atmospheric dielectric barrier discharge (DBD); control and medication of cell-surface interactions and the development of new methods for in situ biological process control in a bioreactor environment.

Much recent emphasis has focused on the role of nanotechnology for enhancement of in vivo functionality of biomaterials and medical devices.

He is also active in the area of health technology evaluation and its role in medical device design and service delivery. Brian’s research has led to a number of patented inventions and he is Co-Founder, Director and Chairman of Surf-Spec Ltd., an Ulster University spin-out company established in 2013 to commercialise IP in the area of atmospheric pressure plasma technology.

As part of the ECME project Brian is researching heart arrhythmias which occur when there is a fault in the electric activity in the heart muscle, causing the heart to beat irregularly and in an uncoordinated way. Although there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, being able to prove their effectiveness (and safety) requires extensive pre-clinical and clinical assessment. Animal trials are central to such studies but recent and on-going changes to legislation on their use have significant implications for the future development of medical devices and therapies. Hence, there is need to develop in vitro models that can replicate the function of tissues of the heart in a manner that can reduce and ultimately replace the need for animals in pre-clinical studies. In the case of a clinically effective model system, the key requirement is to produce a pseudo-tissue that can replicate the effects of stimulation of cardiac tissue and subsequently respond to treatments that involve the application of various energy waveforms to correct an arrhythmia.

Chris NugentChris is the Head of School of Computing and holds the position of Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

He received a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems and DPhil in Biomedical Engineering both from Ulster University. Chris joined the University as a Research Fellow in 1999 and was appointed as Lecture in Computer Science in 2000. Following this he held positions of Senior Lecture and Reader within the Faculty of Computing and Engineering before his appointment as Professor of Biomedical Engineering in 2008. In 2016 he was awarded the Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship from Ulster University.

His research within biomedical engineering addresses the themes of the development and evaluation of technologies to support ambient assisted living. Specifically, this has involved research in the topics of mobile based reminding solutions, activity recognition and behaviour modelling and more recently technology adoption modelling. He has published extensively in these areas with papers spanning theoretical, clinical and biomedical engineering domains. He has been a grant holder of Research Projects funded by National, European and International funding bodies.

Chris is the Group Leader of the Pervasive Computing Research Group and also the co-PI of the Connected Health Innovation Centre at Ulster University.

As part of ECME Chris will be researching home based support for those recovering from a stroke, specifically how pervasive and mobile solutions have been proven to offer improvements in health recovery in addition to offering economic benefits. Technology based systems have, however, suffered in their usability in addition to their long term adoption by those using them. This Project will focus on the development of an un-obtrusive sensing solution based on the aggregation of heterogeneous sensor technology to improve the support offered to those rehabilitating post stroke. In addition, consideration will be given to the factors associated with the adoption of technical solutions with the goal of improving long term usage by potential users.

Rodd is the founder and director of NetwellCASALA and an architect by background. Rodd has a wide range of interests including creating and sustaining healthy communities and homes; the inter-relationship between environment and peoples’ health and wellbeing; organic design methods and community decision-making frameworks. Rodd is past President of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and continues to hold a strong interest in local policy and business. Rodd has secured over €22m in direct and in-direct funding for NetwellCASALA at DkIT since 2006.

Rodd’s area of expertise is applied environmental gerontology, and how the interplay between better environmental design, more person-centred care services and technology innovation can improve the quality of life for older people. Specifically, Rodd have been working at the interface between applied research, policy development and regional implementation of new community-oriented models for ageing-in-place, with a particular interest in technology for independent living. Rodd’s national and European work within the WHO Age-Friendly Cities initiative has contributed to the recent specific action on ‘innovations in age-friendly buildings, cities and environments’ within the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

As part of the ECME project Rodd will be representing DKIT on the management board and assisting the various projects to ensure best practice in design and  more person centric care pathways.

Dr Fergal Mc Caffery is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Principal Investigator. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics, DkIT. He is Director of the Regulated Software Research Centre (RSRC) in Dundalk Institute of Technology and the Medical Device Software Engineering competency area leader in Lero. He has been awarded over €11 million in funding including SFI funding through the Stokes Lectureship, Principal Investigator, CSET and Centres Programmes to research the area of medical device software. Additionally, he has received EU FP7 research funding to improve the effectiveness of embedded software development environments for the medical device industry. He also has received Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation funding for a number of different medical device projects.
He has published over 200 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers and is on the editorial board/programme committee for a number of leading software engineering conferences and journals. From these publications he has been received “Best Paper Awards” at 6 international conferences. He also is a chair/programme board member/reviewer for over 20 leading international software engineering conferences and journals. He was listed as a finalist in the Irish Software Association’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards Category in 2014.

In the ECME project Fergal will focus on the development of an approach which can assist HDOs and MDMs in implementing the requirements of standards and regulations related to the risk management. The approach will allow HDOs and MDMs to leverage the benefits of networked medical devices while ensuring that the risk of placing the device on the network are managed and that health information is protected in line with the relevant standards and regulations. Collaboration with the Regulated Software Research Centre (RSRC) in DkIT and other data analytic partners will be key. The RSRC have extensive experience in the development of a number of international standards to ensure the safety and security of medical devices.


Lucia Carragher, is a Research Fellow in Social Policy. She has extensive experience of projects working directly with older people and health care professionals. At national level, she contributed to the development of National Falls Strategy and the first national training programme for long-term care settings, “Places to Flourish” which aims to change the culture of care from task orientated care to resident directed care in environments which reflect residents’ homes.

Since joining NetwellCasala she has attracted €1,345,786 grant funding from a range of sources, including: INTERREG, the Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (CIP-ICT-PSP), the Marie Curie Industry‐Academia Partnerships and Pathways Programme, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Lucia’s research on the ECME project will focus on two areas.  Firstly, how older adults learn to use remote health monitoring technologies.  Learning to use technology to monitor health can help older adults to remain independent for longer.  However, learning to use new technologies is not always easy, especially for vulnerable older adults with cardiac conditions. The aim of this project is to provide a better understanding of how older adults learn to use technology for remote health monitoring and the role that social support plays in this process.  Secondly,  technology innovations have the potential to enable independent living and better access to care for greater numbers of older adults. However, transforming care to support technology enabled care requires a workforce with appropriate skills, values and behaviours.   The aim of this project is to explore professional demarcation, including demarcations between specialist and acute services, primary and community care and the implications of these for new models of care based on remote health monitoring.  It will also explore the skill sets staff will need to develop to use and integrate technologies in the home.

Julie’s research is in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus on health and wellness technologies for use by older adults and healthcare professionals. In her current position as Research Fellow at NetwellCASALA, Julie leads HCI research that crosses the fields of ambient assisted living, falls prevention, emotional wellbeing and chronic disease management. Julie is a Principal Investigator on a number of EU projects, including the H2020 project ProACT, examining integrated care for older people with multiple chronic conditions. She is also PI on a project examining how technology can support older adults transitioning from hospital to home, including how such technology and the resulting data can be used by healthcare professionals in practice, that involves partners including the HSE and Fujitsu. Julie oversees all user-centred application design and development at NetwellCASALA. Her current research is examining (1) the effectiveness of various types of feedback to convey health and wellbeing information to older adults, (2) how to increase older adults’ awareness of their own health and (3) ultimately support them in self-management of their health with the goal of enhancing quality of life. Julie also has significant experience in behavior change research and designing and deploying trials to evaluate the impact of self-management on health and wellbeing.

Julie’s ECME related research focuses on how behaviour change interventions have targeted one specific area of health and/or wellbeing, e.g. weight control. However, older adults typically have multiple co-morbidities and therefore a holistic view of the person is necessary when delivering interventions. This may necessitate delivery of multiple interventions targeting health and wellbeing management (e.g. take vital signs, track and manage medications,sleep hygiene), lifestyle choices (diet, physical activity, smoking cessation), as well as interventions targeted at encouraging technology usage. This project will explore how best to design technology-based systems that use multiple behaviour change techniques to deliver multiple health and wellbeing interventions, evaluating their effectiveness and impact for this population.

Dr Silvana Togeri is currently working as a post doctoral researcher on a Lero project which focuses on the development of a Medical Device Software Development Framework. This research is being performed in collaboration with six companies and Silvana is working closely with these industry partners in performing this research. She is second supervisor for a number of students on this project.

Her doctoral research involved the development of a framework to allow HDOs to self-assess against the requirements of IEC 80001-1, a standard aimed at the risk management of medical IT networks.While the IEC 80001-1 standard outlines the roles, responsibilities and activities related to medical IT networks, Healthcare Delivery Organisations (HDOs) often struggle to understand and implement the requirements of the standard. As a result of her research, an assessment framework, MedITNet, was developed which allows HDOs to assess the capability of their risk management processes related to IT networks which incorporate medical devices against the requirements of IEC 80001-1. The framework provides a flexible approach to the assessment of IT network related risk management processes regardless of the scale of the HDO or the regulatory environment in which the HDO provides care. This work was published as a technical report, ISO TR 80001-2-7, on which Silvana acted as international project leader. As project leader, in addition to authoring the technical report, Silvana has presented her research at a number of ISO/IEC Joint Working Group 7 (JWG7) international standard meetings and led the comment resolution and editing of the technical report. As a result, her research has been extensively reviewed by the members of JWG7 and also by members of the Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination (SPICE) community. In addition, Silvana has worked closely with HDOs in the development and validation of the framework. Her doctoral research has resulted in a number of publications in addition to the technical report, details of which can be found in the publications section of the RSRC site. One of her most recent publications received a Best Paper award at the First International Conference on Fundamentals and Advances in Software Systems Integration (FASSI) 2015.

As part of the ECME project Silvana will be researching the need to provide care at home for the management of chronic diseases, medical devices are increasingly being designed to be placed onto an IT network. Placing a device onto a network can provide many advantages in terms of patient care but may also pose risks to the safety, effectiveness, and security of the medical device negating the potential benefits. Risk Management Standards, such as the IEC 80001-1 series, and regulations governing the storage and exchange of protected health information, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have been and are being produced to address these issues. However, Healthcare Delivery Organisations (HDOs) and Medical Device Manufacturers (MDMs) struggle to implement the requirements of these standards and regulations.

Prof Paul Cahill is an accomplished scientific leader with a primary background in academia in the US and Ireland and a record of delivery nationally and internationally. Presently, he is Professor of Biotechnology at DCU and a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Principal Investigator and Director of the Vascular Biology and Therapeutics group.

His work focuses on understanding the cell and molecular changes in developmental regulatory networks that control resident vascular stem cell fate and vascular smooth muscle cell function and their modification by biomechanical cues, epigenetics and various environmental risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. He has developed a programme to exploit these changes using novel photonic platforms and liquid biopsy interrogation to detect these events whilst also developing the next generation of drug-coated stents to deliver targeted therapies against these cellular and molecular events.

He has supervised 14 MSc students and 23 PhD students by dissertation and mentored 21 postdoctoral fellows. He has published in excess of one hundred and twenty peer-reviewed publications (h-index 39) and over one hundred peer-reviewed abstracts and has been honoured as an invited speaker at several International Conferences, including a Gordon Conference. He has attracted over €11m in funding [Higher Education Authority (HEA) PRTLI, National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Heart Association(AHA), American Health Association (AHF), Wellcome Trust, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Health Research Board (HRB), Enterprise Ireland (EI), Irish Research Council (IRC)] and has managed collaborative programmes of research with industrial partners including Bayer AG, Medtronic AVE, Elan Corporation, General Electric (GE), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Solvotrin Therapeutics.

Pauls research on the ECME project will focus on the mechanism by which arterial wall thickening occurs. He will investigate the biochemical processes which are involved in this process and what can be done in order to mitigate the harmful effect of this process and how can we detect vascular health deterioration earlier. More specifically the project looks at extracellular vesicles include apoptotic bodies, exosomes, and microvesicles (also known as microparticles). The role of extracellular vesicles as regulators of transfer of biological information, acting locally and remotely, is now widely acknowledged. Circulating vesicles released from endothelial cells contain potential valuable biological information for biomarker discovery in primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. These vesicles accumulate in human atherosclerotic plaques, where they affect major biological pathways, including inflammation, proliferation, calcification, and differentiation responses.

David Collins graduated with a BEng in Mechatronic Engineering from Dublin City University in 2000, and later completed a part time MEng in Laser Based Surface Metrology in 2005. David has extensive experience in the aerospace, pharmaceutical and medical device industries and from 2007 to 2009 ran a small engineering company offering contract engineering (mechanical, electrical & control system) services.

In 2009 David joined the Irish Separation Science Cluster and completed a PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2013 under Prof. Brett Paull. Since 2013 David has been a principle investigator within the group and his work focuses on the fabrication of polymeric phases for both liquid and gas chromatography and also on the development of analytical instrumentation.

David’s research on the ECME project will relate to the need for effective diagnostic systems for cardiac disease and, particularly, for early detection of potential cardiac arrest. Current approaches rely mainly on troponin I (TnI) determinations but lack adequate sensitivity and existing testing formats have issues with sensitivity and specificity. In addition, reliance on Tn I levels provides inadequate information. We have developed high sensitivity recombinant antibodies to key troponin epitopes and to other markers. In addition, we have established novel approaches for the incorporation of such antibodies into microfluidic-based centrifugal and other platforms that currently outperform established lab-based technologies. We will utilise panels of antibodies to selected biomarkers on a novel microfluidics platform to successfully address the current limitations in detection of heart disease.

Robert Forster holds the Chair of Physical Chemistry within the School of Chemical Sciences at Dublin City University and is the Director of the strategically important National Centre for Sensor research. He is the author/co-author of more than 230 manuscripts and reviews, supervised more than 35 PhD and M.Sc. students to completion, mentored more than 40 Post-Doctoral Fellows and has been a Visiting Scientist to the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. He has served as DCU Dean of Research and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health with responsibility for research. He has received the President’s Research Award and was the first Irish based electrochemist to present an invited talk at the Gordon Research Conference on Electrochemistry. He has contributed invited articles to more than eight Festschrift Issues celebrating the accomplishments of distinguished international scientists. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Electrochemical Communications. He has been deeply involved in major national research programmes including the establishment of the National Centre for Sensor Research, the Biomedical Diagnostics Centre and the NanoBioAnalytical Research Facility at DCU.
As part of the ECME project Robert will develop a sample-to-answer device for the ultrasensitive, PCR free, multiplexed detection of low concentrations (sub-femtomolar) of miRNA biomarkers of theranostic value in CVD, including miR-126, miR-133, miR-143, miR-208 and the let-7 family. Novel, asymmetrically functionalized electrocatalytic metal nanoparticles will significantly amplify the signal generated by biomarker capture allowing them to be directly detected. Multiplexing will allow a small panel of biomarkers to be detected thus improving early diagnosis as well as the monitoring of treatment efficacy and disease recurrence
The main impact will be the ground breaking advances in Ultrasensitive, Multiplexed and Multi-target Assays will lead to Low Cost, Near-Patient devices and enable the identification of at risk individuals, the early detection of disease and the personalised tailoring of treatment based on the biomarker profile of an individual patient’s disease through companion diagnostics.

Professor Brian Caulfield is the lead Investigator in the ARCH (Applied Research for Connected Health) Centre, an industry-facing technology centre providing cross cutting research capability for the benefit of Irish industry in the Connected Health sector. Brian’s research programme is focused on exploiting technological advances to enhance human performance in the fields of connected health and sport. Brian has co-authored over 180 research publications, six patents, and has supervised over twenty graduate research MSc and PhD projects to completion.

As part of the ECME project Brian will be researching opportunities created by the advent of integrated electronic health records and personal sensing devices. We can now create a comprehensive longitudinal digital footprint for patients as they move throughout their lifespan and different interactions with the care system. The resultant data offers enormous potential for transforming care models. However, little is understood regarding the perceptions of different critical stakeholders (including patients and caregivers, clinicians, data scientists and service providers) with respect to important issues such as their understanding of the potential application models, how they would like to interact with this new digital world and see it fitting into their work/life patterns, how they feel about constant monitoring in the home, privacy and data control, and so on. In this project we aim to conduct a deep ethnographic analysis of these issues through direct consultation with the different stakeholder groups in cardiac care.

David’s research focuses mainly on Human Computer Interaction. The overall goal of my research is to design systems that help to address important societal challenges, in particular healthcare and sustainability.

My current work has a strong interdisciplinary focus, with several broad themes:
User Experience: I am developing new techniques to understand the experience of agency when interacting with novel technologies, including intelligent and on-body interfaces.
Health technologies: I have projects investigating the use of games and mobile devices in mental health interventions and lead the user-centred design activities in two large health technology projects, SPHERE and the IEU.

Crowdsourcing and information visualisation: Other projects are investigating crowdsourcing and visualisation to support environmental activism and safety critical navigational tasks.
In terms of the ECME project David will be investigating how physical rehabilitation and lifestyle management are critical components of programmes aimed at primary and secondary prevention of cardiac disease. A major challenge in implementing these strategies is the problem of ensuring good patient engagement and compliance with prescribed exercise programmes and nutrition plans. Evidence from the literature suggests that only tightly supervised intervention programmes have been successful and that self directed management is not successful due to problems with engagement and adherence. The problem lies in expecting patients with a wide variety of life patterns and personality types to conform to standardized prescribed programmes that do not fit with their ever changing context. The combination of evidence based contextually relevant recommendation engines and personalised adaptive training programmes has potential to address this problem.

Professor M-Tahar Kechadi was awarded PhD and Masters degree – in Computer Science from University of Lille 1, France. He joined the UCD School of Computer Science & Informatics (CSI) in 1999. He is currently Professor of Computer Science at CSI, UCD. His research interests span the areas of Data Mining, distributed data mining heterogeneous distributed systems, Grid and Cloud Computing, and digital forensics and cyber-crime investigations. Prof Kechadi has published over 260 research articles in refereed journals and conferences. He serves on the scientific committees for a number of international conferences and he organised and hosted one of the leading conferences in his area. He is currently an editorial board member of the Journal of Future Generation of Computer Systems and of IST Transactions of Applied Mathematics-Modelling and Simulation. He is a member of the communication of the ACM journal and IEEE computer society. He is regularly invited as a keynote speaker in international conferences or to give a seminar series in some Universities worldwide.

The core and central focus of his research for the last decade is how to manage and analyse data quickly and efficiently. Nowadays we live in digital world, we produce more data than we can analyse and exploit. This big data will continue to grow at rapid pace, will underpin new waves of innovation in nearly every sector of the world economy, and will reshape the way we build and use computers (hardware and software).

Dr. Brian Mac Namee received a BA (mod) and PhD in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin in 2000 and 2004 respectively. After a period working in industry as an R & D software engineer for Agilent Technologies, Brian joined the School of Computing at Dublin Institute of Technology as a lecturer in 2005. At DIT Brian co-founded the Applied Intelligence Researcher Centre (www.ditairc.ie), and developed DIT’s successful MSc in Computing (Data Analytics) programme. In 2015 Brian joined the UCD School of Computer Science as a lecturer where he is a Principal Investigator at the CeADAR centre (www.ceadar.ie) and a Funded Investigator at the Insight centre (www.insight-centre.org). Brian’s research focuses on machine learning, predictive analytics, data visualisation, and augmented reality. Brian has published extensively in machine learning, predictive analytics, and information visualisation – a recent highlight is the textbook “Fundamentals of Machine Learning for Predictive Data Analytics: Algorithms, Worked Examples and Case Studies” published with MIT Press in 2015 (www.machinelearningbook.com).

In terms of ECME Brian will focus on the development of models that use patient generated data to recognise cardiac patient behaviour and lifestyle patterns in the home and community, and identify factors that influence changes in these patterns. The project will be based on the creation and analysis of a longitudinal patient-generated dataset that leverages mobile devices and sensors.

Dr David McEneaney is lead consultant cardiologist in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. Prior to his current appointments he was a senior fellow in cardiac electrophysiology at Lahey Clinic, Massachusetts, USA. His clinical interests include cardiac electrophysiology, heart failure and cardiac implanted device therapy.

He is Director of the Cardiovascular Research Unit, Craigavon Area Hospital and Co-director of the Centre for Advanced Cardiovascular Research at the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) at the University of Ulster. His research interests include clinical cardiac electrophysiology, telemedicine, resuscitation science and novel cardiac/renal biomarkers. He has been a co-investigator in more than twenty clinical trials of cardiovascular therapeutic agents and devices. He has developed successful research collaborations with several biotechnology and medical device companies.

As part of the ECME project David will be researching how Congestive Heart Failure is associated with repeated cycles of exacerbation and remission, leading to frequent unexpected admissions to hospital. Effective monitoring of CHF patients could lead to implementation of early warning systems that can prevent exacerbations escalating to the point where hospital admission is required, resulting in better outcomes for patients and reduced healthcare costs. However, monitoring programmes to date have had limited success for a variety of reasons. In this work we will explore the potential for leveraging sensor streams from the patient’s mobile phone, in concert with wearables such as the Intelesens ECG , to develop exacerbation prediction algorithms.

Dr Ian Menown MB BCh BAO MD MRCP(UK), FRCP(Edin), is Consultant Cardiologist and Director of Interventional Cardiology at the Craigavon Cardiac Centre, Northern Ireland, is current President of the Irish Atherosclerosis Society and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast. His special interests include coronary artery disease, coronary prevention/screening, coronary risk reduction, interventional cardiology (angioplasty/stenting), atrial fibrillation, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure and cholesterol management. Dr Menown successfully undertakes one of the highest annual volumes of interventional cardiology (stent) cases in the UK. He received his medical degree with distinction from the Queens University of Belfast and trained in Cardiology in Belfast before completing an interventional fellowship at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, BC, Canada. He obtained a postgraduate doctorate of medicine, the Purce medal and JD Williams prize for his research in improving early detection of acute coronary syndromes and has been elected to Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. Dr Menown serves on European Society of Cardiology expert groups of Thrombosis, Acute Cardiac Care, Cardiovascular Pharmacology & Drug Therapy, Hypertension and Atherosclerosis & Vascular Biology, serves as editor of several journals and has published over 90 papers and 100 scientific abstracts in fields including acute coronary syndromes, lipids/cholesterol, cardiovascular risk and percutaneous coronary intervention.

 

As part of the ECME project, Ian will be researching how latest generation vascular imaging integrates with and augments the predictive value of biomarkers and conventional risk factors for prediction of cardiovascular events.

Dr Peter Sharpe is the Associate Medical Director for Research & Development in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust based at Craigavon Area Hospital.  Peter is the lead for all aspects of Research & Development promoting research, ensuring governance requirements are adhered to, facilitating agreements, linking with Universities/Industry etc.  As a Consultant Chemical Pathologist, Peter is a past Chair of the NI Region of Association of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine and Chair of the Royal College of Pathology, NI Regional Council.  His main clinical interest are lipids, nutrition and diabetes having established an Area Lipid Service in the Trust and participates in the Area Out-patient Diabetic Service and also the Hospital Nutrition team.  Peter is Chair of the Trust’s Point of Care Testing Committee.

As part of ECME Peter will be researching new lateral flow based methodologies for assessing heart failure via blood diagnostics in line with new Heart Failure medicine that is now entering the NHS. Heart Failure is the clinical syndrome can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs ability of ventricle to fill with or eject blood. This area is well known to be associated with high levels of readmissions and there is a high possibility that a system can be developed to allow blood monitoring and therefore keep the patient from returning to the hospital. Such a project would also look at other parameters such as vital signs, weight and BP as indicators of improving or deteriorating health.

Dr McKillop is the Lead Consultant Clinical Scientist based at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
As part of ECME Derek will be working evaluate new lateral flow biomarkers suitable for HF assessment and monitoring in the home, to optimise and specify the need and type of sensor requirement along side Dr Sharpe.

Prof Ian Megson, is a cardiovascular scientist and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Higher Education Authority. He has developed significant initiatives within bioengineering research, technology transfer, outreach and teaching since 1986. Presently, as a Professor in the School of Engineering he is also the Director of the Engineering Research Institute and Director of NIBEC. His salient disciplines address Connected Health, Healthcare Wireless Sensor Systems, nano-based Point of Care and related bio-sensing applications.
Prof Megson has published ~120 peer-reviewed paper (H index 40) and has attracted over £10m of funding (EPSRC, MRC, Chief Scientist Office, EU, Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation). He has been PI on a wide range of projects, including drug development, biomaterial, biomarker and nanotoxicology initiatives. In addition to his academic research, Prof Megson spearheads the interaction of health researchers with industry and has been instrumental in attracting ~£100k of commercial activity per annum to the university.
In recent years, Prof Megson’s brief at the university is to develop and deliver a strategy for health research that ties together chronic illness diagnosis, prevention and management in a remote and rural context. The outcome is the nascent School of Health at the university, incorporating both the Rural Health & Wellbeing team and the Department of Diabetes & cardiovascular Science. The School enshrines the Health and Wellbeing Research Cluster from across the entire UHI partnership.

As part of the ECME project Ian will be researching novel biomarkers for predicting clinical outcome following administration of contrast agents to patients. A range of risk markers will be evaluated with a view to determining suitability of prophylactic measures and of identifying patients at risk before hospital discharge. The project will involve work with clinical samples and laboratory experiments to explore mechanism.

Trish’s main research interests are in psychological and behavioural aspects of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health. My work is underpinned by behavioural epidemiology and has focused on health outcomes, physical activity and sedentary behaviour measurement, understanding the correlates of these behaviours and the design and evaluation of behaviour change interventions. I have been involved in a number of randomised controlled trials of behaviour change interventions (e.g., PREPARE, STAND, Girls Active). Populations I have worked with include children and adolescents, young adults, individuals at high risk of type 2 diabetes, older adults, and adults with peripheral arterial disease. I have received funding from the Medical research Council, NIHR, government departments, health charities and commercial partners.
As part of the ECME project Trish will investigating the implementation of a new community based cardiac rehabilitation service in the Highlands, taking into account the experiences and outcomes of patients, NHS staff and community providers. The PhD student will have the flexibility to develop the programme of research and specific research questions. As examples the PhD could:

1. Use the RE-AIM framework to determine the impact of the new delivery approach
2. Undertake a realist evaluation to explore how the programme works, the outcomes achieved and the influence of context.

In 2016 in Highland region over 800 patients were referred to the CR service and it is estimated that a further 400 patients could potentially benefit from CR. This will include patients with a range of clinical conditions including acute coronary syndromes, stable angina, post angioplasty, stable heart failure, cardiac surgery, implantation of a cardiac defibrillator or cardiac resynchronisation device and heart transplantation. Therefore, there is a wide patient population from which research subjects would be drawn.

Professor Jun Wei is a highly experienced medical scientist who has carried out medical research in the fields of medical genetics, pathophysiology, immunology and neuroscience for more than 30 years. His current research interests are to investigate immunogenetic mechanism of human diseases.

As part of ECME Jun will be researching the relative risk of coronary artery disease developing into acute events. This is notoriously difficult, but is crucial in personalising treatment that is proportionate to risk. Our recent work has shown that, in a retrospective study, certain epitopes derived from APO-B100 can be used to discriminate between levels of specific antibodies in patients with myocardial infarction (MI) compared to patients with coronary artery disease but no MI. There is now a need for a prospective study to confirm that the changes in antibody levels predict MI.

As part of the ECME project Mark will be researching how Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a risk factor for stroke and despite calls for widespread screening, a proportion of ~30% of patients are asymptomatic and remain undiagnosed. This risk rises sharply with increasing age. 10-20% of patients who suffer a stroke had undiagnosed AF. And strokes that result from AF are more likely to be large, severely debilitating, or fatal. Patients with stroke are among the patient group with the longest length of stay after an acute event. AF-related strokes have direct costs three times greater than strokes from other strokes of other aetiology.

A multi-pronged approach for screening for AF has been advocated as a ‘one size fits all’ programme could not reach all those at risk of stroke. Opportunistic pulse checks are advised by the Scottish Government in those over 65 year old but are not widely adopted. Pulse checks however are a relatively imprecise approach and an ECG is required to make the diagnosis. Newer mobile and non-mobile technologies, real time patient data, satellite acquisition and cloud-based analysis offer the potential for opportunistic screening for, and detection of, AF. But the reliability and acceptability of emerging technologies requires further field and user testing.