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Posted 08 August 2014

Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship for UCD scientist

UCD researcher, Dr Colm J Ryan, has been announced as the recipient of Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship, under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Health Research Board (HRB) and Wellcome Trust Biomedical partnership, which funds biomedical and clinical research in the Republic of Ireland.

The Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship offers funding opportunities for young researchers, who are in the final year of their PhD studies or have no more than one year of postdoctoral research experience.

Dr Ryan’s research at University College Dublin will focus on the progression of cancer treatments through the identification of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer cells. Through this fellowship he will receive funding of €300,000, over a four year period.  A major challenge in cancer therapeutics is to kill tumour cells without harming other cells in the body. This cancer research will focus on understanding how genetic differences between tumour cells and healthy cells can be exploited to address this challenge.

Dr Colm J. Ryan said, “I am delighted to be awarded this fellowship as it offers me the freedom and financial support to research why a particular type of personalised cancer treatment, known as synthetic lethality, might work in some individuals but not in others. During the fellowship I will collaborate with some of the leading experts in the field, in labs in multiple countries, to address this important question.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said “Providing funding opportunities, such as the Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship, for promising young researchers is an important investment we must continue to make. The SFI partnership with the Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board leverages the funding of each partner and provides an effective and efficient mechanism for progressing excellent research with impact, in the biomedical sector. Moreover, Dr Colm Ryan competed successfully for this award against candidates from the UK and Ireland, illustrating the international quality of Irish science - I congratulate him.  SFI will continue to build relationships and partnerships which facilitate the support of excellent science with impact, which in turn will enhance Ireland’s international reputation and provide economic and societal benefits.”

"The Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowships provide early career scientists with the opportunity to work in the very best research institutes, enabling them to build an international reputation and develop into the next generation of research leaders,” said Dr Candy Hassall, Head of Basic Careers at the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Hassall added, “Many of the Sir Henry Wellcome Fellows funded to date have already made important discoveries and we look forward to Dr Ryan’s ongoing success."

“Personalised medicine is a hot, promising field. Hats off to Colm for coming through a gruelling selection process. His success highlights the level of research talent here in Ireland,” said Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board.

The Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Health Research Board (HRB), fund biomedical and clinical research in the Republic of Ireland under the auspices of the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership since October 1st 2010.

The vision of the Wellcome Trust, the UK-based global charity, is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health through a broad range of funding schemes. Since 2005, the Wellcome Trust has awarded 59 grants to Republic of Ireland institutions, with a total value of €20.3m (£16.2m).


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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