November 2014

Prestigious Nature Accolade for Inspiring Science Students

Mon, 3 November 14 14:28

Professor Cormac Taylor is a Fellow of UCD Conway Institute, Principal Investigator in Systems Biology Ireland and Professor of Cellular Physiology in UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science at University College Dublin. ‌He is one of three prominent Irish scientists to be recognised by Nature and received the mid-career award and €10,000 prize. Professor Cliona O’Farrelly, Professor of Comparative Immunology in Trinity College Dublin and Professor Martin Clynes, Director of the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology in Dublin City University, were jointly presented with the lifetime achievement award and €5,000 each. Launched in 2005, the annual Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science recognise outstanding scientific mentorship and focus on a specific country or countries each year. Nature is the leading weekly, international scientific journal.

Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell, said

In an era when laboratories are under great pressure to be competitive, it is essential that they maintain the technical robustness and ethical integrity of their science, while also empowering creativity. Thus the mentoring of young researchers has never been more important. And good mentoring by laboratory heads is not a skill that can be taken for granted.

Professor Taylor is a leading authority in the field of hypoxia research. His laboratory has made several important contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms by which cells respond to hypoxia, and the discovery of the importance of this pathway in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He has also demonstrated that targeting oxygen sensitive pathways in IBD represents a new therapeutic possibility.

Former student Eoin Cummins, who is a lecturer in physiology at University College Dublin, said

Cormac is an outstanding mentor with the right blend of experience, knowledge of the business, enthusiasm, insight and generosity to allow all of those fortunate to be mentored by him to thrive in their respective careers.

Alex Cheong, senior lecturer in pharmacology at Aston University, UK, praises him as a “very fair and supportive mentor with a great personality”. Cheong hopes to emulate Professor Taylor’s “attitude and joy for science” in his own current teaching role.

After obtaining his PhD in pharmacology from University College Dublin, Professor Taylor trained in Harvard Medical School for five years and since 2001 has led an independent research group.

Professor Taylor has successfully supervised 16 PhD students and mentored 9 postdoctoral researchers in addition to publishing over 90 articles, accumulating in excess of 4800 citations and achieving a h-factor of 44. He has maintained continuous funding through the Science Foundation Ireland investigator award programme since 2002 and has held career development awards from the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health (USA). He is an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy and conducts reviews for journals and funding agencies including Nature, Cancer Cell, PNAS, Science Foundation Ireland, Wellcome Trust and the National Science Foundation (USA). Speaking on the topic of mentorship, Professor Taylor said

It is essential to realise the individuality of researchers and to tailor their mentorship accordingly. I maintain an open door policy and feel that as a mentor, it is my duty to ensure that each person under my supervision generates the high level of scientific achievement required to pursue a successful career in international science.

Caption: Dr Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature and Nature Publishing Group (left) with Professor Cormac Taylor

Original article by UCD Conway Institute