Kerry scientist wins €100k for STD research

Research into sensor technology by a Kerry native scientist to help diagnose sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) early was awarded over €100,000 by Government this week.

If fruitful it’s anticipated it will equip medicine with a brand-new tool to diagnose and combat STDs and other infections early.

Dr James Rice, who led the UCD research into what was described as a ‘novel’ sensor technology, received the award as part of a Government tranche of funding for promising medical and scientific research in Ireland.

A native of Tullahinnell, Ballylongford, Dr Rice attended Asdee National School and St Joseph’s Secondary School in Ballybunion before pursuing a career in science that sees him today primarily focusing on ‘optical processes in nanomaterials’ in his research.

And it’s in this field the Kerry man is developing the sensor technology, which is hoped will form part of medicine’s arsenal in identifying and diagnosing disease early.

“The research aims to develop a novel sensor technology for disease diagnostics.

This technology will be able to monitor on-the-spot early signs of infections such as those associated with sexually transmitted diseases,” Dr Rice explained.

“The aim of the research is to provide technological solutions in areas such as medical diagnostics or energy harvesting through applying the understanding of light-driven processes in nanomaterials.”

He said the award “means we can apply research undertaken over the last four years to develop a new medical diagnostic tool.”