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Dr. Sinead O'Keeffe


Dr. Sinéad O'Keeffe is a Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellow at the OFSRC. She graduated with BE (hons) in Electronic Engineering from the University of Limerick in 2003 and received her PhD in 2006 from the same institute, for the development of polymer optical fibre sensors for the sterilization industry. On completion of her PhD, she worked as a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the General Engineering Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University, developing optical fibre sensors for monitoring UV and Ozone. She returned to the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre at the University of Limerick in 2008 and was awarded an FP7 Marie Curie Research Fellowship developing radiation dosimeters for monitoring patient doses received during radiotherapy for cancer treatment. She was Chair of the highly successful and recently completed COST Action TD1001 aimed at developing fibre optic sensor systems for reliable use in safety and security relevant applications in society. She is Member-at-Large of the IEEE Sensors Council for 2017-2020 and Chair of the IEEE Sensors Council Women in Sensors Committee 2019-2020.

Research Interests

Project: Advancing Photonics for RadiotherapyFunded by The Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research FellowshipThis project addresses the challenges of delivering effective and optimal radiation treatment for oncology, with specific focus on Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy for treating prostate cancer. It focuses on the need for personalised real-time radiation monitoring during advanced cancer treatments by proposing advances in photonics technology applicable to radiotherapy. It focuses on the development of highly innovative optical fibre based technology to create in-vivo devices for the diagnosis, assessment and radiotherapy treatment of prostate cancer tumours. Specialist micro-machining techniques, based on femto-second laser and ultra-precision diamond tooling, will allow for miniaturised sensor tips to be incorporated at the end of an optical fibre. The small geometries of optical fibres, coupled with the novel and innovative use of micro-machining technologies, facilitates in-vivo placement of the sensors at the tumour site or nearby critical structures requiring monitoring. Furthermore the development of a fully integrated sensor system, in close consultation with leading clinicians and radiotherapy physicists, will ensure the sensors can be incorporated within current clinical environments in a minimally invasive means. The measurement of oxygen concentration, coupled with the in-vivo radiation dose measurement, constitutes a powerful combination of leading-edge optical fibre based measurement techniques, providing potential solutions to as yet unresolved problems (reliable and repeatable measurements during the treatment of hypoxic tumours). This opens up the possibility of adapting the radiation dose delivered during the course of the radiotherapy treatment, with a consecutive impact on improving patient outcomes.

Project: Optical Fibre Dose Imaging for Adaptive Brachytherapy [EU H2020 - ICT-05-2019 - Application driven photonics components]

ORIGIN aims to deliver more effective, photonics-enabled, brachytherapy for cancer treatment through advanced real-time radiation dose imaging and source localisation. This will be achieved by the development of a new optical fibre based sensor system to support diagnostics-driven therapy through enhanced adaptive brachytherapy. A 16-point optical fibre sensors system will be developed, for Low Dose Rate (LDR) and High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, with sensitivity of 150 counts/Gy for LDR- and 2500 counts/mGy for HDR- BT alongside a dedicated data acquisition system providing a dose mapping system with a spatial resolution of 0.5mm (HDR) and 3mm (LDR) and time resolution of 0.1s (HDR) and 0.5s (LDR), with 5% uncertainty. This is a 50% improvement in uncertainty over existing systems. Further interrogation of the optical signal will provide real-time monitoring of the radiation source location during treatment. The ORIGIN system will be integrated into existing clinical brachytherapy treatment planning and delivery systems to confirm that the dose prescribed to the tumour is achieved, whilst ensuring the dose to organs at risk (OARs) is within acceptable limits. This will provide for optimised dose-led, patient-oriented, personalised treatment plans leading to improved patient outcomes and prevention of treatment errors, with the potential to reduce the overall risk of treatment error by 55%. The optical fibre radiation dosimeters will be further optimised for improved optical signal collection efficiency, higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and repeatable high volume fabrication. Taking manufacturability into consideration from the outset will ensure that ORIGIN establishes Europe at the fore of brachytherapy system development and photonics manufacturing.


Book Chapter


Optical fibers and optical fiber sensors used in radiation monitoring
Sporea, Dan and Sporea, Adelina and O’Keeffe, Sinead and McCarthy, Denis and Lewis, Elfed
Selected Topics on Optical Fiber Technology, M. Yasin, SW Harun and H. Arof, Eds., Intech

Conference Publication


Zacharias, S,Newe, T,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E,
2012 Ieee Sensors Proceedings


Sensors, 2012 IEEE
Zacharias, Sven and Newe, Thomas and O'Keeffe, Sinead and Lewis, Elfed


ICWMC 2012, The Eighth International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Communications
Zacharias, Sven and Newe, Thomas and O’Keeffe, Sinead and Lewis, Elfed


Zacharias, S,Newe, T,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E,
2012 12th International Conference On Its Telecommunications (Itst-2012)


EOS Topical Meeting on "Blue" Photonics - Optics in the Sea
Surre F., Lyons W., Sun T., Grattan K.T.V., Elosua C., Hernaez M., Barian C., O¿Keeffe S., Fabian M., Newe T., Toal D., Lewis E.

Peer Reviewed Journal


Compact and Low-Cost Optical Fiber Respiratory Monitoring Sensor Based on Intensity Interrogation
Kam, W,Mohammed, WS,Leen, G,O'Keeffe, M,O'Sullivan, K,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E
Journal Of Lightwave Technology DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2017.2749499


Low cost portable 3-D printed optical fiber sensor for real-time monitoring of lower back bending
Kam, W,O'Sullivan, K,O'Keeffe, M,O'Keeffe, S,Mohammed, WS,Lewis, E
Sensors And Actuators A-Physical DOI: 10.1016/j.sna.2017.08.044


An Optical Fibre-Based Sensor for Real-Time Monitoring of Clinical Linear Accelerator Radiotherapy Delivery
O'Keeffe, S,Zhao, WH,Sun, WM,Zhang, DX,Qin, Z,Chen, ZY,Ma, Y,Lewis, E
Ieee Journal Of Selected Topics In Quantum Electronics DOI: 10.1109/JSTQE.2015.2482945


Optical Fibre Bending Sensor With Automatic Intensity Compensation
Zawawi, MA,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E
Journal Of Lightwave Technology DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2014.2378754


Characterization of Scintillating X-ray Optical Fiber Sensors
Sporea, D,Mihai, L,Vata, I,McCarthy, D,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E
Sensors DOI: 10.3390/s140203445


Multidisciplinary evaluation of X-ray optical fiber sensors
Sporea, D,Mihai, L,Tiseanu, I,Vata, I,McCarthy, D,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E
Sensors And Actuators A-Physical DOI: 10.1016/j.sna.2014.03.038


Radiation Dosimeter Using an Extrinsic Fiber Optic Sensor
McCarthy, D,O'Keeffe, S,Lewis, E,Sporea, DG,Sporea, A,Tiseanu, I,Woulfe, P,Cronin, J
Ieee Sensors Journal DOI: 10.1109/JSEN.2013.2284857


Plastic Optical Fibre Sensor for Spine Bending Monitoring with Power Fluctuation Compensation
Zawawi, Mohd Anwar and O'Keeffe, Sinead and Lewis, Elfed


Optical Fibers and Optical Fiber Sensors Used in Radiation Monitoring
Sporea, D,Sporea, A,O'Keeffe, S,McCarthy, D,Lewis, E,Yasin, M,Harun, SW,Arof, H
Selected Topics On Optical Fiber Technology


Cross-sensitivity evaluation for ammonia sensing using absorption spectroscopy in the UV region
Manap, H and Dooly, G and O’Keeffe, S and Lewis, E
Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical


Polymer optical fibre for in situ monitoring of gamma radiation processes
O’Keeffe, S and Lewis, E
International Journal on Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems


Real-time fibre optic radiation dosimeters for nuclear environment monitoring around thermonuclear reactors
Fernandez, A Fernandez and Brichard, B and O’Keeffe, S and Fitzpatrick, C and Lewis, E and Vaille, J-R and Dusseau, L and Jackson, DA and Ravotti, F and Glaser, M and others
Fusion Engineering and Design