Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI research to feature in third series of ‘The Science Squad'

24 October 2014

Squad travel to Uganda with to see SODIS Project in first episode

Tune in this bank holiday Monday to the third series of RTE's The Science Squad. SODIS water, surgical technologies and lung research from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) will feature throughout the series.

Pictured is the Science Squad (l-r) Kathriona Devereux, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain and Jonathan McCrea
Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm.

Episode 1 - Saving Lives with Sunlight - Monday 27th October
Aoibhinn and the team, along with Professor Kevin McGuigan, Associate Professor of Medical Physics in the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics visit the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) project in Uganda. Prof McGuigan has been working on this technique for the past 20 years, which involves exposing transparent plastic or glass containers filled with water to direct sunlight for six to 48 hours. This has a germicidal effect which is based on the combined effect of thermal heating of solar light and UV radiation, thus kills bacteria and disease-causing pathogens and disinfecting the water. This water purification project could save the lives of millions. 

Kevin explains the SODIS method to Aoibhinn
Aoibhinn also visits Kevin's PhD student Jacent Asiimwe in Uganda to find out about the science behind the process, and the team meets with lots of Ugandan schoolchildren who will directly benefit from the technology.

Speaking ahead of the airing of the programme, Prof McGuigan said, ‘It was fantastic for Jacent and I to be able to bring Aoibhinn and the crew out to Uganda and show them our research and work on the SODIS project. An important aspect on the future direction of SODIS is to get word on this out to wider audiences and it was great to see the warm welcome the local people and school children gave to the visiting crew.' 

Aoibhinn meets the local schoolchildren

Episode 3 - Innovative Surgical Technologies Saving Lives - Monday 10th November
In this programme, Aoibhinn meets Dr Peter Naughton, Consultant General / Vascular Surgeon, and his RCSI team to learn about abdominal aortic aneurysms and how recent innovations in surgery in the form of a new procedure, Endovascular Aneurysm Repair, (EVAR) has drastically reduced mortality rates. The team run through preparations ahead of one of these EVAR operations. Aoibhinn meets one of Peter's former patients who underwent the successful surgery to find out how it saved his life.

Episode 6 - Lung Health - Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI's Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team's research into Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could be linked to a genetic lung condition (Alpha-1) which affects 1 in 24 Irish people, 90% of which are undiagnosed. Jonathon also meets two people who were diagnosed with Alpha-1 to find out how the disease has impacted their lives.
RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.