Conway Fellow secures prestigious ERC funding award

Professor Lorraine Brennan has been awarded an European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant worth €2M over the next five years to develop new nutrition research tools. Professor Brennan is a senior lecturer in UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science and principal investigator in UCD Institute of Food & Health. Her research programme focuses metabolism and health using metabolomic techniques.

Metabolomics involves measuring small molecules present in a biological sample such as glucose in urine or blood for example. This reveals valuable information on metabolic pathways in the body and how they are altered in diet related diseases or different dietary regimes.

Through this ERC award, Professor Brennan intends to apply metabolomics in nutrition research to identify new biomarkers of dietary intake.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Brennan said, "It is fantastic to get such funding as it allows researchers to perform high risk research which could have major impacts in the future."

The funding will support the expansion of Dr Brennan’s research programme both in terms of people and equipment.

Professor Lorraine Brennan is one of seven Irish awardees along with UCD colleague, Professor Madeleine Lowery from UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering. Professor Lowery is using computer models of the brain to develop new approaches in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

In total, there were over 2,500 applicants from 24 European countries to this ERC funding programme call, which is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 budget. The European Research Council announced 372 awards totalling €713M to excellent mid-career scientists.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "With every project of this calibre, we're making Europe the laboratory of the world. Our most extraordinary and creative researchers benefit from EU funding and, in turn, Europe benefits every day from its investment in knowledge and people".

 Article via UCD Conway Institute.