Pictured: Dr. Donohoe, with his supervisors and PhD thesis Examiners after his successful Viva Voce on Monday the 20th of January 2020 at the TSSG Boardroom. Dr. Alan Davy (Internal Examiner), Dr. Sasi Balasubramaniam (Supervisor), Dr. Michael Donohoe, Dr. Brendan Jennings (Supervisor), Prof. Robert Schober (External Examiner) and Dr Suzanne Denieffe (Session Chair).
Michael Donohoe successfully defended his thesis at a Viva Voce on Monday the 20th of January 2020. The external examiner was Prof. Robert Schober (University of Erlangen -Nürnberg) and the internal examiner was Dr. Alan Davy (WIT).
The thesis, titled “Using embedded energy-harvesting nanodevices for neural data communications in the human body”, proposed the use of ultrasound as a method of providing in-body energy harvesting for implanted medical devices at a shallow depth of tissue. Mathematical modelling was used to simulate how arrays of devices containing piezoelectric nanowires (nanodevices) can convert incident ultrasound energy into electrical pulses. These pulses can stimulate a nerve to generate a stream of modulated signals along the nerve. The simulation included a specific scenario of a stimulus system on the vagus nerve in the neck sending modulated data pulses and delivering simple instructions to an embedded, multi-reservoir drug-delivery system in the brain. The overall energy-harvesting and communications system is simple, biocompatible and safe.
The Supervisors were Dr. Brendan Jennings and Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam. The research content was published in four technical papers, published in three top-tier journals, and supported by the SFI CONNECT project. Dr. Donohoe is now reviewing options for further post-doctoral research.