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SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award for UCD medical researcher

Pictured: Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, Dr Christina Kiel, UCD School of Medicine and Systems Biology Ireland at Áras An Uachtaráin

Posted: February 6, 2018

Dr Christina Kiel, Principal Investigator at the UCD School of Medicine and Systems Biology Ireland, has received a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award.

Her grant of €1.57m is the largest of five research awards presented by SFI to academics in Ireland.

Dr Kiel’s research will examine how mutations in cancer damage biological networks that control the functioning of cells and the health of organisms.

“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,” said Dr Kiel.

“Ultimately, this approach may provide better mechanism-driven diagnostics and treatments.”

The partner institutions in Dr Kiel’s project are Uppsala University, Sweden, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, the Centre for Genomic Regulation, Spain, and St Vincent’s University Hospital, Ireland.

Research supported by these five SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Awards will explore the development of drugs for the treatment of diseases and research on regenerative medicine.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, honoured the award recipients at a special ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin.

He presented a total of five research grants, representing a €7m investment overall by Science Foundation Ireland.

The other four awardees are:

Dr Tomás Ryan, Trinity College Dublin, (award value €986,012) – Investigating where the brain stores memories with a view to retrieving lost memories.

Dr Lydia Lynch, Trinity College Dublin, (award value €1.52m) – Exploring new therapies for the treatment of obesity-related diseases.

Dr Claire McCoy, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, (award value €1.54m) – Exploring new therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Professor John Laffey, National University of Ireland Galway, (award value €1.54m) – Investigating how stem cells could treat sepsis.

By: Jamie Deasy, digital journalist, UCD University Relations