The European Society of Cardiology estimate that in the near future every sixth man and every seventh woman in Europe will die from a heart attack, while those left living with heart disease can have a much reduced quality of life and currently cost the EU over €110bn in direct medical care alone.
Clive works in heart research at the intersection between regenerative medicine (the regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function), and medical device design. He is currently developing a temperature controlled medical device for injecting temperature responsive gels, containing bioactive therapeutics, into the heart. The injection of such bioactive therapeutics into the heart has been proven to improve the heart function of patients that have suffered heart attacks.
Clive Curley graduated from Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College Dublin. He then worked briefly at the aerodynamics lab of Helsinki University of Technology and in the microfluidics and medical device design groups at the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft Institute for microsystems technology in Germany. He is currently a PhD student in a collaborative project between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. His work is funded by the Higher Education Authority of Ireland, under the PRTLI GREP programme, and Enterprise Ireland.
What made Clive pick research as a career?
Ever since I was a kid I was always taking just about everything I could lay my hands on apart. I was compelled to see how things worked and was fascinated by how sometimes a seemingly frail and weak collection of components could come together and work in harmony to create a robust and essential part of our daily lives. From here a lifelong interest in designing and making my own curios and innovations, and my choice of studying Mechanical Engineering in college grew.
During my undergraduate I came to realise that the finest machine of all is the human body. It is a symphony of systems and subsystems where atomic scale reactions can lead to macro scale effects in a matter of milliseconds. Though the body is self-repairing and hardy to insult, there are times when intervention is needed. In the past this intervention mainly treated symptoms, now research has led to such advanced technologies that it is becoming possible to treat root causes.
When given the opportunity to develop such fundamental cutting edge technology into real products for treating seriously ill patients though a PhD on regenerative medicine and medical device design things felt right and it was a no-brainer that this was where I was meant to be.