Twelve Trinity researchers secure major funding for innovative projects


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The successful group of 12 researchers from Trinity College Dublin have been awarded funding to lead or co-lead 11 STEM-related groundbreaking research projects through Science Foundation Ireland’s Frontiers for the Future programme.

Funded in collaboration with the Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the awards worth roughly €1.28 million each were announced by Patrick O’Donovan, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The research grants, which span over 4-5 years, will support postdoctoral positions, PhD students, research assistants and other roles.


Prof. Martin Caffrey from School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute – TBSI, and School of Medicine is looking to establish molecular blueprints of enzymes and proteins that will help develop antibiotics targeting pathogens that have become resistant to existing antimicrobials.

Prof. Kingston Mills (School of Biochemistry and Immunology, TBSI) will be studying immune responses to Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) in nasal tissue. The intention is to develop a more effective intranasal vaccine that would generate immunological memory in the respiratory tract.

The focus of Prof. David Finlay’s work at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, TBSI, and School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is on identifying the sterol-like elements that inhibit Natural Killer cells from eradicating infected or tumor cells. He will study how the “OFF” switch works and understand its role in controlling our immune system.

Partnering with Prof. Karsten Fleischer, Dublin City University, is Prof. Igor Shvets of the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin. They are committed to driving innovation in manufacturing technologies and materials. A key aspect of their research endeavors lie in the development of methods that significantly reduce energy usage during production.

At Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – TCIN’s School of Genetics and Microbiology, Prof. Jane Farrar is working on developing innovative gene therapies for dry-related macular degeneration (AMD). Her research encompasses creating new treatments and rigorously assessing their effectiveness in various model systems, enhancing the lives of those diagnosed with it.

Daniel Kelly (School of Engineering), with Prof. Pieter Brama of University College Dublin, is determined to pioneer groundbreaking solutions with the use of 3D (bio)printing technologies. End target is the engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, anticipated to transform orthopaedic medicine. Grafts to regenerate joints could prevent osteoarthritis, a disease affecting millions worldwide.

Under the leadership of Prof. Rhodri Cusack, advanced deep neural networks (DNNs) are being utilized to eliminate motion artifacts from infant functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans.

Trinity College Dublin’s Prof. Naomi Harte from the School of Engineering is committed to constructing a sophisticated framework encompassing all elements of speech, including intonation, expression, and other nuances. By doing so, she aims to empower machines with the ability to grasp the intricacies of human speech more accurately.

Marco Ruffini (School of Computer Science) and Prof. Dan Kilper (School of Engineering, and CONNECT) will work on a project that will create a digital twin of the optical network as a safe testing environment. This will be used to test and drive innovations in today’s optical networks so it can support digital systems such as Smart Cities and Virtual/Augmented Reality.

These awards support the development of world-class research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, delivering solutions to societal challenges in healthcare, the environment, and technology

Minister O’Donovan

School of Biochemistry and Immunology, TBSI’s Prof. Andrew Bowie is looking to help us better understand how cells respond to viruses.

The research of Prof. Mani Ramaswami (School of Genetics and Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences, and TCIN) will focus on Ataxin-2, which regulates many biological processes that are significant for health.

The Dean of Research at Trinity, Prof. Sinéad Ryan, said “I welcome this news; these awards are an investment in world-class research and in our next generation of researchers – such important resources for Ireland’s future.”

This article was initially shared by Trinity College Dublin on the 27th of May.

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