DIT partnership paves way for Fulbright scholar to research at Purdue
Paul Duffy shows off the monitoring system he is creating as part of his Fulbright research.
The College of Technology is hosting a Fulbright Scholar from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) this academic year.
Paul Duffy, who is working on his doctorate in mechanical engineering at DIT, is developing an online water monitoring control system. After hearing about the work done by Michael Kane, associate professor of computer and information technology, in DNA detection technology, Duffy knew he would benefit from working with Kane on his project.
The monitoring system, when complete, will initially be set up to detect pathogens in water. The fully automated system will include sample collection, a way to break cells open, DNA amplification, and a biosensor. It will be designed to work independent of human contact.
“I’m spending my time here focusing on E. coli. Then, at DIT, I’ll incorporate this work into a larger system,” Duffy said. “Ideally, I’ll leave here with a sensor that’s been fully verified. I’d like to expand its capabilities to all E. coli strains and other pathogens.”
The connection between Duffy and Kane was made possible by the partnership created between the College of Technology and DIT. During a CoT visit to Ireland, one of Duffy’s advisors realized that Kane’s research interests could be helpful to Duffy. He made the introductions, and Duffy began the Fulbright application process.
“DIT were very behind me in coming here,” Duffy said. “I think the partnership reduced the amount of red tape involved. The hope for my project may be higher because I am researching as a Fulbright. But it is also validation that there is merit in the project.”
Kane, who spent a month at DIT this past summer teaching a course, believes hosting a Fulbright scholar is a confirmation that CoT’s globalization efforts in recent years have been helpful.
Duffy, with the assistance of Bruce Applegate, associate professor of food science, has been able to use a lab in the Department of Food Science to test his monitoring system instead of introducing pathogens into a CoT lab. His other work is being done in the Bioinformatics and Biotechnology Laboratory in Knoy Hall.
He will take a short break in February 2011 to attend a rocket launch in Sweden. The rocket will be carrying an experiment devised by Duffy and other researchers. It was created as part of a contest for the European Space Agency. Duffy’s group was the first team from Ireland to be chosen for the annual competition.
This is the second in a series of stories about the College of
Technology's relationship with the Dublin Institute of Technology. Read the first story about the creation of the partnership.