Tête-à-tête with Eoghan Cunnane

Get to know Eoghan Cunnane, one of the invited speakers to the upcoming 16th NYRA Meeting in Brussels (May 27th-29th), through this interview. 

Dr Cunnane is a lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator on an ERC Starting Grant at the University of Limerick. His research focuses on translational biomedical technology.

When and why did you decide to work in the field of reproductive biology?
I spent much of my early research career working in the field of urology. My work involved characterising urological tissues for the purposes of developing medical devices and also engineering tissues for regenerative therapies. When it became time for me to write an independent grant in 2021 after 6 years of being a postdoc, I wanted to apply my skills to a field that was new to me. I had a desire to work with in vitro systems and realised that there was a pronounced need for such systems in the field of andrology. I felt that many engineering principles could be leveraged to contribute meaningfully to this community and assist in advancing the field, which formed the basis of my first independent grant application.

What was the greatest success in your career?
Helping other researchers to achieve their scientific and professional goals by supervising and supporting their projects is a massive honour for me. I would therefore consider the greatest success of my career to be assembling the research team and network of collaborators that I currently work with.

Could you name a moment of failure (and which lesson did you learn from it)? 
I’ve had many instances of rejection during my career in terms of grant applications, journal submissions and job applications. These experiences have taught me that you learn something from every instance of rejection, and I would argue that the only real failure is the failure to try.

Which advice would you give to young researchers? 
My advice to young researchers would be; don’t let your actions be influenced by the fear of rejection. If you identify an opportunity that you believe is right for you, commit yourself to it, and if that endeavour ends in rejection, take what you’ve learned and move on to the next opportunity.

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