School of Biotechnology
Academic biographyBiography Assistant Professor in Biomedical Sciences at Dublin City University (DCU) lecturing in immunology, diagnostics and therapeutics. Co-founder and CSO of Remedy Biologics Ltd. Previous director and head of R&D at Vaccinogen Ireland responsible for leading Vaccinogen’s overall strategy in Ireland including scientific, operational and financial. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt experienced leading process improvements in the autologous cell therapy space using Lean Six Sigma principles. Demonstrated proven publication and grant application record in the areas of antibody engineering, high throughput screening and assay development. Lead inventor on granted and pending patents filed in the US and Europe on methods and devices related to single cell analysis, cell recovery and manufacturing improvements. Expert assessor (2012-present) for Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst and Health and Life Sciences programmes and La Caixa Foundation, Spain (2018-present). Former Research Fellow in Prof. Richard O’Kennedy’s research group at the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU (2003-2009) working on projects in the areas of antibody engineering, point-of-care diagnostics and high throughput screening. Carried out postgraduate research studies from 1999 to 2003 on the generation of antibody-based assays for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes food contamination under the supervision Prof. Richard O’Kennedy at DCU. Research Interests Utilising innovative algorithms and page ranking, Google replaced the early search engines of the mid ’90s to become the de facto platform for searching the internet today. Like the internet’s growth at the time, the advent of innovative recombinant antibody technologies in the early 1990s heralded a renaissance in the antibody discovery field that has seen monoclonal antibodies now become the driving force behind the growth of the biological drug market. However, despite market successes, antibody ‘search engines’ or discovery platforms have not evolved to adequately meet market needs with most companies still utilising traditional hybridoma or display approaches. At DCU, we have invented a new single cell analysis platform called DiCAST (Direct Clone Analysis and Selection Technology) that comprises millions of bundled sub-nanoliter volume bio-incubation chambers for the identification and recovery of target-specific antibody secreting cells (ASCs). We are collaborating with partners to demonstrate DiCAST in multiple disease therapeutic areas and to demonstrate how functional tests can be performed on every single cell in one experiment using this novel (patent granted) platform. Dr Leonard previously led and directed a talented team of research scientists in the areas of single cell analysis, vaccine development and manufacturing improvements, antibody engineering, high throughput screening, discovery and assay design at Vaccinogen Inc., a Baltimore headquartered autologous cancer vaccine company. Since returning to DCU in Sept 2017 Dr Leonard is looking to further his research interests in these areas.