Meet Dr Anthony Maher - UL BSc Industrial Biochemistry Graduate, researcher and Kerry Senior Footballer. One of UL's many PhD graduates striving for excellence and making a real impact to our knowledge economy. 94% of  our PhD graduates are employed, with the majority working in Ireland and helping to build our world-leading innovation ecosystem.

Through his research, Anthony is working as part of the Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster (SSPC) hosted by the Materials and Surface Science Institute, UL - a unique collaboration which supports the Irish pharmaceutical industry while driving process development and R&D worldwide.

Explaining the significance of this type of research, Anthony said; “My research involves a drug called Piracetam which is an agent that acts on cognitive dysfunction without causing sedation or stimulation. Cognitive dysfunction is one of the main symptoms accompanying ageing, stroke, head injury and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.  My work centres on an area known as polymorphism – where the same chemical material can exist in two or more physical forms. The most common form of polymorphism is where carbon can exist as diamond or graphite. In the highly competitive world of pharmaceuticals, polymorphism can impact the effectiveness of a drug." 

Anthony’s research involved working with one of Irelands leading multi-national pharmaceutical companies where he investigated process changes which would deliver a zero failure rate and contribute significant savings to the company.

Dr Mary Shire, Vice President Research at UL explains the significance of this type of industry partnership: “The pharmaceutical industry accounts for €50billion in Irish exports and employs 24,000 directly and another 24,000 people indirectly. UL PhD research is playing a vital role in supporting this important industry in Ireland”

Led by the University of Limerick, SSPC brings together leading researchers from - Pfizer, Glaxo Smith Kline, Eli Lilly, Merck Sharp and Dohme, Roche, Schering Plough, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Clarochem and UCB Pharma, UCD, UCC, NUI Galway and TCD. The SSPC was established through Science Foundation Ireland funding.