Healthcare and Life Sciences 50 – 2016 – Irish America Irish America Magazine Sat, 20 Jul 2019 03:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 82361074 James Watson Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:50:16 +0000 Read more..]]> Dr. James Watson is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, chancellor emeritus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and 2011 inductee to the Irish America Hall of Fame. He was one of the key co-discoverers who unraveled the structure of the DNA while a student at Cambridge University, one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century. It resulted in a Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1962. Later, he accepted a position in the biology department at Harvard University. It was here where he wrote his classic Molecular Biology of the Gene and the award-winning Double Helix. After Harvard, James led the Cold Harbor Laboratory, where he devoted his energies to setting up the Human Genome Project.

“Deeply proud” of his Irish ancestry, James is a third-generation Irish American with roots in Tipperary. His great-grandparents had emigrated from Ireland in the 1840s, settling in Ohio and later moving to Indiana.

He has received numerous awards throughout the years including the National Medal of Science, the city of Philadelphia Liberty Medal, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal Award by the American Philosophical Society. In 1962, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and, in 1977, he received from President Ford the Medal of Freedom. In addition to numerous honorary degrees, in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary Knight of the British Empire.

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Ruth Sullivan Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:49:17 +0000 Read more..]]> Dr. Ruth Sullivan is the founder and former executive director of the Autism Services Center, a nonprofit health care center that provides assistance to families of individuals with developmental difficulties.

Prior to establishing the Autism Services Center, Ruth co-founded the Autism Society of America in 1965, as well as its first elected president. She now serves as an honorary board member.

Ruth assisted in the production of the 1988 film Rain Man, acting as consultant for Dustin Hoffman on autistic behaviours, and allowed him to spend time with her son, Joseph, who is himself autistic. Ruth has written many articles on autism from the perspective of care providers, most recently in the 2005 Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders, edited by Fred Volkmar.

Born into a large Irish Catholic family of eight, Ruth has continued this tradition with her husband, William, and has seven children of her own. She currently lives in Virginia. (See sidebar on page 60 for a short interview.)

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John Sullivan Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:48:21 +0000 Read more..]]> John Sullivan is the vice president of engineering at TransMedics Inc., where he has managed technical teams and product development since March 2006. Before joining TransMedics, he developed software for patient monitoring machinery for six years at Siemens Medical.

John’s great-grandfather immigrated to Boston in the 1800s, where he worked as a motorman for the elevated railway. His grandfather taught electrical shop in the Boston public school system, and encouraged John’s father to become a construction electrician, which he did. Though John’s father never attended university, he ensured that all four of his children had the means to do so. “I believe the family history is similar to many of those of Irish-American heritage,” John says. “Doing hard work to help build this new country, with the support of the extended family and Irish community.”

John received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University and later completed a master’s in computer engineering at Boston University. He continues to live in Massachusetts with his wife, Lori, son, Ian, and daughter, Abby.

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James P. Sullivan Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:47:22 +0000 Read more..]]> Dr. James “Jim” Sullivan serves as the vice president of pharmaceutical discovery at AbbVie Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company. In his role, he oversees research projects focused on cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, and many autoimmune diseases.

Born in Drogheda, Co. Louth, Jim grew up in Stamullen Co. Meath and earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin. His father, who came from Co. Cavan, was a physician in the Irish army. It was this, Jim says, that inspired him “to be a scientist and to find better treatments for devastating diseases.” He believes that the Irish routinely “punch above their weight,” and accomplish much in doing so.

Jim has helped discover drugs that are used in the treatment of cancer and hepatitis C, is the inventor of 11 patents, and has over 130 scientific publications to his name. He is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University. He resides in Chicago with his wife, Jeanie, and has three children, Gavin, Ross, and Aidan.

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Orlaith Staunton Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:46:26 +0000 Read more..]]> Orlaith Staunton established the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention following the death of her 12-year-old son, Rory, from sepsis in 2012. Sepsis is the body’s severe reaction to infection; it kills more than 258,000 Americans each year. The Foundation focuses on sepsis education and awareness programs and the development and implementation of sepsis protocols in hospitals.

Orlaith successfully campaigned for the adoption mandatory sepsis protocols in all New York hospitals. Known as Rory’s Regulations, they are projected to save up to 8,000 lives annually and are now being adopted across the country. She is also responsible for the development of comprehensive sepsis education programs in schools and for the annual National Forum on Sepsis, which brings together policymakers, healthcare experts, educators and patient advocates to chart new pathways in the fight against sepsis. She co-chairs the National Family Council on Sepsis.

In addition, Orlaith has educated hundreds of thousands of Americans about sepsis through her testimony at the first Senate Hearing on Sepsis and by sharing her experience with sepsis in numerous media programs and publications, including the New York Times, the Today Show, and CBS Nightly News.

A native of Drogheda, County Louth, Orlaith and her husband, Ciaran Staunton, reside in New York with their daughter, Kathleen, and remain actively involved to the Irish American community.

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Frank Reynolds Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:45:15 +0000 Read more..]]> Dr. Frank Reynolds is the co-founder, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief security officer, and chairman of the board of PixarBio Corporation, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that invents, researches and devel- ops drugs, biologics, and treatment technologies for a range of neurological issues.

As the son of first-generation Irish immigrants in New York, Frank has embraced Irish culture for his entire life. As a child, he won trophies and medals for Irish step dancing and performed at Irish shows at Carnegie Hall in the 1970s.

“After being paralyzed in 1992 and emerging from bed in 1999, I reconnected to the real world through Irish business activities,” he says.

“The Irish helped relaunch my life. I cured paralysis with the help of Irish minds, and as I say every day, ‘Irish scientists rule’!”

Frank is the inventor of NeuroRelease, the first morphine strength, non-addictive pain treatment for post-surgical pain. Pain treatments for 7-day, 14-day, and 90-day are expected to begin receiving FDA approval in 2018. He also invented the NeuroScaffold, the first treatment to restore function in humans after a traumatic spinal cord injury. This achievement was recognized by the National Spinal Injury Association, and in 2014 he received a lifetime achievement award for curing paralysis. He is has co-invented over 50 other neurological technologies.

Frank lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Mary. They have three children, Margaret, Lauren, and Anthony.

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Muredach Reilly Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:44:15 +0000 Read more..]]> Dr. Muredach Reilly is the Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine and director designate of the Irving Institute for clinical and translational research at Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital. He also has extensive training and expertise in cardiovascular medicine, human genetics, preventive cardiology, clinical pharmacology, and clinical epidemiology.

Muredach is a fellow of both the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland, and has been presented with the Special Recognition Award by the American Heart Association for his work in cardiovascular medicine and science. He is also a past recipient of the William Osler Award for Patient-Orientated Research.

Like both of his parents, Muredach was born in Co. Mayo, Ireland. He received qualifications in medicine and pharmacology from University College Dublin in 1988 and 1989 respectively. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at St. Vincent’s and the Mater Hospitals in Dublin, as well as at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, from which he earned a master’s in clinical epidemiology in 2003 and served on the faculty for 16 years, most recently as professor of medicine with tenure. He is married to fellow UCD-graduate Emer Smyth, and they have three children, Maeve, Fina, and Cormac.

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Lori Reilly Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:43:18 +0000 Read more..]]> Lori Reilly is the executive vice president of policy, research and membership at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a leading trade group representing innovative companies in the pharmaceutical industry across the United States. In her capacity, Lori works to advance policies that encourage medical progress and patient access to the fruits of pharmaceutical innovation. In her membership role, Lori leads the association’s efforts to grow the depth and breadth of pharmaceutical company membership and engagement; in the last year alone, she has helped add five additional companies to the organization.

With a B.A. and J.D. both from the University of Nebraska, Lori is third-generation Irish on both sides, with roots in Co. Clare, Co. Cork and Co. Tipperary, and is an active member of the Omaha Irish Cultural Center and the Ireland Fund, Washington D.C. Young Leaders Society.

For her, the Irish people are emblematic of pride, strength, and perseverance. “The sacrifices made by my ancestors to travel to the United States and leave behind family in the hopes of a better life required self-sacrifice and determination,” she says. “My Irish upbringing provided me with a strong faith, love of family and appreciation for the traditions which have been passed on from generation to generation.”

Lori currently resides in Virginia with her husband, Michael, and four children, Madelaine, Grace, Olivia, and Jack.

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Eileen O’Reilly Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:42:26 +0000 Read more..]]> With her medical degree from Trinity College Dublin, Dr. Eileen O’Reilly is a gastrointestinal medical oncologist who serves as an associate director of the Rubenstein Pancreas Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) along with being an attending physician and member at MSKCC and a professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She completed her fellowship training at MSKCC and has been a faculty member in the GI Oncology service at MSKCC since then. Her primary research initiatives include integration of molecular-based therapies and genomically-based novel therapeutics for the treatment of pancreatic cancer along with development of adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy.

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains one of the most challenging malignancies. “To have a major impact in terms of outcomes, we need to be able to screen successfully and diagnose the disease earlier. Both of those are elusive challenges at the moment,” Eileen, who is Irish-born, said in an interview with Joe Cavallo.

At a national level, Eileen is the chair of the Gastrointestinal Cancers Committee in the  Alliance Co-operative goup. She is also an associate chair of the MSKCC IRB and Privacy Board, a member of Research Council and is the recent past president of the MSKCC medical staff.

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Hugh O’Neill Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:41:18 +0000 Read more..]]> Hugh O’Neill is the senior vice president and president of autoimmune and rare diseases at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. He manages all commercialization efforts and broad market access activities within the company’s specialty brands department, and has over 20 years of experience in new product planning and execution in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2015, he was the winner of the PM360 Elite award, which recognized his exceptional ability as a leader and innovator.

“A leader must be at the core a strong and grounded person,” says Hugh. “My positive outlook and overall resiliency are two of my strongest traits, and are also traits that define my Irish heritage.” His paternal and maternal bloodlines stem from Co. Monaghan and Co. Longford, respectively.

Hugh earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Montclair State University and an M.B.A. in marketing from Seton Hall University. He has a wife, Lissa, and three children, Gregory, Lauren, and Samantha.

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