SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Awards
President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, honoured the recipients of the SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award at a special ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin. Five awards by Science Foundation Ireland, representing a €7 million investment, will also support the additional recruitment of 15 research positions. Research supported by the awards will examine novel drug targeting for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and obesity-related diseases, regenerative medicine, immunology, tissue engineering, protein engineering, and memory storage in amnesia.
A passionate political voice, poet and academic, President Higgins has been a long-standing advocate of inclusive citizenship and creativity, highlighting not only the positive contribution of science to society, but also the links between the creativity of artists and the innovation of scientists. Equally, the President has stressed the importance of placing scientific research in a clear social, cultural and ethical context, saying that the benefits of scientific advances should be spread as widely as possible.
The awardees of the SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award are Dr Tomás Ryan, who was recruited from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to Trinity College Dublin (TCD); also based in TCD is Dr Lydia Lynch, recruited from Harvard University, USA; Dr Claire McCoy was recruited from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI); Prof John Laffey has been recruited from St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada to the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway); and Dr Christina Kiel has been recruited from the Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG), Barcelona, to University College Dublin (UCD).
Congratulating the awardees, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said
The President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award is designed to attract to Ireland outstanding new and emerging research talent. In supporting these talented and innovative individuals, we are delighted to recognise early career researchers who have already displayed exceptional leadership potential at the frontiers of knowledge. The development of leadership skills in these researchers early in their careers is vital to ensure research and innovation in Ireland continues to progress. Our investment highlights the importance that Science Foundation Ireland places on supporting all stages of academic careers, and on the attraction and retention of star researchers.
Our investment highlights the importance that Science Foundation Ireland places on supporting all stages of academic careers, and on the attraction and retention of star researchers"
Dr Christina Kiel's research focuses on the structural analysis of signalling pathways and protein interaction networks relevant in human diseases, such as colon cancer and retinal degenerations. The senior investigator at UCD Systems Biology Ireland said
I am delighted to receive this award, which will enable me to recruit an interdisciplinary team of experimental and computational scientists to understand cellular signalling networks in colorectal cancer. The award will support my research in the field of cell signalling and protein engineering. The research will identify the network connections that are deranged by genetic mutation and then aim to exploit this aberrant connectivity to destroy cancer cells. Ultimately, this approach may provide better mechanism-driven diagnostics and treatments.