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Prof Eamonn Quigley and Mr Michael Mahoney awarded  St Patrick’s Day Science Medals

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D.,  presented Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) prestigious St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Prof Eamonn Quigley, Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, at Houston Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College; and Mr Michael Mahoney, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Boston Scientific, for their significant contributions to academia, research and industry.

Now in its sixth year, the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal also recognises Prof Quigley and Mr Mahoney’s significant roles in supporting and engaging with the research ecosystem in Ireland. The medal is awarded annually to US-based scientists, engineers or technology leaders with strong Irish connections. This is the fourth successive year that the medal will be awarded to two recipients, with an eminent recipient chosen by an independent selection committee, from academia and another from industry.

Congratulating the recipients at a presentation event at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Minister Bruton said: “I am very pleased to present the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal on behalf of the Government of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, to both Prof Quigley and Mr Mahoney. Both have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their respective fields and have made extremely positive societal impacts in the United States and Ireland. The recognition of US-based scientists, engineers and technology leaders with an Irish connection further highlights the continued strength and durability of US-Ireland relations that exist across a broad range of sectors. The SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal is an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic research and collaboration that our two countries are achieving together.”

Prof Eamonn Quigley, a native of West Cork, is a leading international expert in the field of gastroenterology. His career has spanned over thirty years, working on both sides of the Atlantic. A graduate of University College Cork (UCC), and following clinical training in Glasgow, he spent two years as a Research Fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. In 1986, he joined the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he was Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Prof Quigley returned to Cork in 1998, where he served as Dean of the Medical School at UCC for seven years and was a Principal Investigator at the APC Microbiome SFI Research Centre from its inception. He took up his current post in Houston in 2013 where he holds the David M Underwood Chair of Medicine in Digestive Disorders.

Over the course of his career, Prof Quigley has held influential positions of leadership and influence including with the American College of Gastroenterology as President and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology and with the World Gastroenterology Organization as President. His research relationships with global companies such as Proctor and Gamble have directly benefited Irish research through their partnership in the establishment of the SFI Research Centre APC Microbiome Ireland.

Upon receiving the award, Prof Quigley said: “I am greatly honoured to receive the SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal, which recognises my work in gastroenterology. Working between Ireland and the United States has given me a valuable international perspective that I have brought to my research, clinical practice and teaching. It is important that we recognise, and continue to nurture, the innovative and transformational research taking place between both countries, benefiting our collective societies. I hope this important link between our scientific communities continues to grow in the coming years.”

Mr Michael Mahoney has nearly thirty years’ experience working with medical devices organisations. Prior to joining Boston Scientific in 2011, he served as Worldwide Chairman of the Medical Device and Diagnostics Group (MD&D) at Johnson & Johnson. US-born, Mr Mahoney has always felt strongly connected to his Irish heritage, with family linking back to Cork and Mayo. Boston Scientific has a long-standing relationship with Ireland, since establishing there in 1994 with the support of IDA Ireland and is now one the country’s largest employers with 5,000 employees at its sites in Clonmel, Cork and Galway. The company produces devices that help treat more than 30 million patients worldwide annually, including treatments for disorders of the heart and circulatory systems, chronic pain, Parkinson’s Disease, gastrointestinal and urological conditions. The Irish manufacturing operation is an integral part of the corporations manufacturing strategy and capability.

Speaking of his award, Mr Mahoney said: “The SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal is a wonderful recognition of the important R&D programs and our strong connection to Ireland at Boston Scientific. Our presence in Ireland has grown over time thanks to the success of our hard-working Irish teams and a strong business ecosystem that is conducive to medtech and R&D. It is exciting to see the best and brightest minds from research institutions, clinical practice, manufacturing companies and government collaborating so that together we can address the most pressing healthcare needs.”

Congratulating the recipients, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The outstanding work of both Eamonn and Mike is a fantastic example of the global reach of Irish science, engineering and technology. We continue to go from strength to strength, building on our international reputation for world-leading transformational research with impact. The SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal not only recognizes their special contributions but also highlights the importance of our diaspora and our transatlantic collaborations.”

Pictured above (left to right): Prof Mark Ferguson, Director Science Foundation Ireland, Prof Eamonn Quigley,Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, at Houston Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College; Mr Michael Mahoney, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Boston Scientific,  and Mr Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.