My research involves using acoustics to monitor the inhaler use of people with respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Many people have problems using their inhaler devices correctly and as a result their symptoms do not improve.
With the help of a discrete microphone that can be attached to an inhaler, I record people using their inhalers on a day-to-day basis. Using advanced signal processing methods I am then able to analyse the audio signals of inhaler use and provide feedback on inhaler technique and medication adherence to clinicians and patients. With correct feedback patients can improve their health and overall quality of life.
What brought you to research?
My motivation for research in the area of Bioengineering stems from a fascination in the medical devices which keep people alive. Inhalers are a type of medical device that deliver medication to the lungs and help people breathe effortlessly. As an asthma sufferer myself I know the challenges associated with this common respiratory disease and in using inhalers correctly.
My overall ambition is to help people with respiratory diseases improve their inhaler technique and to help them get better.
I studied Biomedical Engineering in the University of Limerick and graduated in 2011 with an honours degree. During my undergraduate studies I was lucky to get the opportunity to work for medical devices company Boston Scientific for a period of 8 months. It was here I had the opportunity to see at first hand the innovation and research that goes into designing and developing cutting edge medical devices.
Outside of research, I have a huge interest in sports such as athletics, hurling and rugby.