Prof McLaughlin, a physicist, and a Fellow of the Inst. of Physics has developed significant initiatives within research, technology transfer, outreach and teaching over these past 30 years. Presently, as a Professor of Bioengineering he is the Director of NIBEC. His salient disciplines address Digital Healthcare Technology and related bio-sensing applications. He is also a Senior Distinguished Research Fellow (2013) and a Senior Impact Fellow (2016) of the University.
He was awarded in 2012 an OBE for his services to Research and Economic Development in Northern Ireland, as well a numerous research and innovation awards. In 2022 he was further awarded with a CBE for Research and Education in Northern Ireland.
His present research interests address nanotechnology and it’s application in areas such as point-of-care sensors and cardiology based medical diagnostics. These interests involve the integration of sensors, microfluidics, electronics and photonics.
Professor McLaughlin has attracted over £70m of funding to establish research that has led to the establishment of the ECME, Biodevices Lab, CHIC, NIBEC, NICAM, NanotecNI and BEST. These centres have now led to a vibrant research institute (ERI) with over eighty researchers carrying out both basic and applied research in topics.
He has attained in excess of three hundred publications (H index 50) and he has been honoured as an invited speaker at over sixty International Conferences and he has attracted over £70M of high quality funding from bodies such as EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, EU, NSF, DOH, DEL, HEA, Leverhulme Trust, RDA’s, Royal Soc., DoE; as well as industry.
In recent years his over-arching strategy is to develop a strong Digital Health Technology Platform within Northern Ireland and the EU. This work involves linking bioengineering and computing sciences with sensor technology developed within NIBEC and thus facilitating clinically-led research initiatives to benefit the healthcare sector. Affiliated Centres have now been set up including £9M CHIC, £8M ECME, £6M Biodevices Lab, £1.5M CACR; Integrated Diagnostics Lab., and the Eng-Comp Digital Twin Hub. Current initiatives include leading the set-up of a new £43M Belfast City Deal-Centre for Digital Healthcare Technology-CDHT.
Professor McLaughlin has led key developments in the technology of sensor materials and it’s impact into the health technology industry in areas such as cardiac arrest, heart failure and ubiquitous predictive monitoring. This work has had a strong influence on the Universities commercialisation of IP relating to Digital Healthcare Technology companies in NI, as well as providing the basis for a range of new biomedical sensing platforms.
He is the co-founder and CTO of Intelesens Ltd. (formerly ST&D Ltd. and now sold to Ultralinq) which specialises in the design and fabrication of wireless vital-signs monitoring systems, as well as incorporating new micro- and nano-scale technologies, thus enabling the miniaturisation and integration of low-cost medical device systems. He was a Director with SiSAF (Director 2014-2018; Chief Scientific Officer (2015-2017) and is currently a Director (and helped set-up) with the European Connected Health Campus/Alliance (Chair 2009-2011). Consultancies and expert roles led to the initial phases of Heartsine (now Stryker) and Heartscape (now Roper).
Notable recent achievements include leading a 2017 Qualcomm Xprize Tricorder Team to joint third place (out of 380); 2017 Healthcare NI Innovation Award; Distinguished Research (2013) and Impact (2016) Awards etc. and a Life Savers Recognition from MadeinUni in 2021.
Professor McLaughlin is a Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and he represents the University on panels such as; RAE 2008 Metallurgy and Materials Assessment Panel; Northern Ireland Industry and Science Panel (MATRIX); NanoIreland Task Force/Chairs the Nanomaterials Panel; US Ireland R&D Partnership; Advisory panel to MSSI; co-chair of the 2014 NI Matrix Life and Health Science Strategy Expert Panel; TechStart 2014 Advisory committee; Innovate KTN Health Technology Advisory Board as well as numerous local organisations. He is currently a board member of ECHA; IUL Ltd and NIACE Ltd. He is a member of the numerous advisory boards including COST Action; CRANN (2012-2016); NanoCDT (2012-2021); NIACE etc. He is also a Trustee of the Heart Trust Fund NI
He is also a well-known conference organiser; and has membership of a range of International Conference Committees.
He is also responsible for teaching Advanced Medical Sensors, Biomedical Physics and Bio Instrumentation and qualifying numerous undergraduate and postgraduate students including over 40 PhD students to date.