The Museum of Innovation exhibition at Ulster Transport Museum, Cultra, has announced its first living ‘Innovator in Focus’ as Professor Andriana Margariti. A Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Margariti is renowned for her ground-breaking research into stem cells to support regenerative medicine.
The exhibition in Ulster Transport Museum’s redeveloped Land, Sea and Sky galleries represents new thinking and focuses on telling a bigger story, with a view to the museum’s transport and industry collections becoming an engine of STEM learning and skills development.
The recognition was made after Professor Margariti’s team became the first in the world to establish that the gene QKI-7 causes cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. The breakthrough, which was awarded a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council New Investigator prize, was assisted by funding from the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, and the Department for the Economy.
All of the objects on display at the exhibition and their inventors have contributed in some way to Northern Ireland’s long and illustrious legacy of innovation. Some of the inspiring stories told in the exhibition include that of John DeLorean, whose iconic DeLorean sports car, built in a bespoke state-of-the-art Dunmurry factory, is given the 21st century treatment in the new exhibition.
Professor Margariti, who completed post-Doctoral training at King’s College London in 2008, currently works at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine of Queen’s University Belfast at Belfast City Hospital. Using stem cell technology, she has developed a method to investigate a multitude of drugs without direct testing on patients. It is hoped that this breakthrough could help to transform the future of healthcare.
Professor Andriana Margariti, Professor in Vascular and Regenerative Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “I am honoured to be chosen by the Museum of Innovation as its next Innovator in Focus. I follow in the illustrious footsteps of the female pioneer, Lilian Bland, and am delighted to have my contributions to stem cell research recognised.
“Stem cells are vitally important as they can repair damaged cells. Our research could revolutionise treatment for people with diabetes, not only for their heart conditions but for other diabetes related issues such as loss of sight and amputations. Our work could also be applied to the treatment of organs in the body such as the kidneys or liver, transforming the lives of those patients and the future of healthcare in these areas.
“The Museum of Innovation is providing an essential platform for STEM learning, helping to inspire the field’s future leaders.”
Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI, who curated the exhibition, added: “We are delighted to introduce Professor Andriana Margariti as our next, and first living Innovator in Focus.
“At National Museums NI, we aspire to enhance learning in schools and beyond and the Museum of Innovation exhibition showcases the inventions of some of Northern Ireland’s most extraordinary engineers, designers and innovators. From individuals tinkering in their garage to industry giants - all have had a role to play.
“Professor Margariti’s ground-breaking research into stem cells serves as a true inspiration to our next generation of STEM innovators.”
The Museum of Innovation has been developed in collaboration with a number of partners including the Harry Ferguson Society Northern Ireland, HeartSine Technologies Inc., Dunlop, Spirit AeroSystems, Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, historian Guy Warner and David O’Neill.
Tickets for The Museum of Innovation at Ulster Transport Museum should be booked online in advance. For opening times, to book time slots and for further details visit