Six School of Medicine researchers, Trinity College Dublin, are the recipients of the TCD School of Medicine Research Seed & Travel Awards 2024. The researchers were presented with their awards at a special ceremony on Tuesday, 21st May.

Professor Sarah Doyle, School of Medicine's Director of Research, hosted the celebratory event which took place in the Senior Common Room, Trinity College Dublin. Professor Colin Doherty, School of Medicine’s Head of School, presented the awards to 3 TCD-MED Research Seed awardees and 3 TCD-MED Travel Awardees.

The TCD-MED Research Seed Awards Programme supports new and innovative research. One of the programme’s primary aims is to provide early to mid-career researchers with an opportunity to develop their own research ideas as an independent investigator on a pilot grant. This opportunity, in turn, enhances awardees’ potential to compete for large-scale external awards from sources such as the European Commission, Wellcome Trust, Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and Health Research Board, among others.

This year’s TCD-MED Research & Travel Awards awardees included representation from a broad range of research disciplines, including Paediatrics, Public Health & Primary Care and Clinical Microbiology.

The winners of the TCD-MED Research Seeds Awards for 2024 are:

Dr. Carlos Bruen, Assistant Professor, Centre for Health Policy and Management

Title of Research Project: Harnessing the new Health Regions for improved health system performance and population health outcomes: Evidence to inform the policy process.

Speaking about his award, Carlos said: . “This TCD-MED Research Seed Award allows me to build a research programme aimed at driving significant improvements in health outcomes and equitable provision of services through the new Health Regions.”

Dr. James Trayer, Clinical Lecturer, Discipline of Paediatrics

Title of Research Project: Childhood Allergy- Neutrophil Activation in Response to Nuts.

Speaking about his award, James said: “This award will help fund research investigating the role played by neutrophils in food allergy. A more detailed understanding of allergic reactions will hopefully lead to new treatment options for children with food allergy”.

Professor Julie Renwick, Assistant Professor, Clinical Microbiology

Title of Research Project: Social Antimicrobial Resistance (sAMR): An unknown player in the global AMR crisis.

Speaking about her award, Julie said: Antimicrobial resistance is a growing public health concern with stark predictions for the future. This TCD MED research award will allow me to explore a very much understudied mode of resistance observed during microbe interactions in communities of microorganisms or ‘Microbiomes’ representative of chronic airway infection.

Each of the three Seed Award winners will receive €10,000 each.

The TCD MED Short Term Travel Award provides mid-career researchers, from an academic or research background, to develop their research question through international collaboration. Like the TCD MED Seed Award, the primary aim is to support the researcher’s career development and to raise their research profiles, both nationally and internationally.

Again, a variety of disciplines was represented in this year's Travel Awards, including Neurology, Surgery and Psychiatry

The winners of the TCD Med Short Term Travel Awards 2024 are:

Dr Sarah Fullam, Specialist Registrar in Neurology, Discipline of Neurology

Title of Research Project: The prevalence and phenotypic significance of Lewy Body pathology in cognitively impaired individuals with and without Alzheimer’s pathology.

Speaking about her award, Sarah said: "It is a privilege to represent Trinity College and Tallaght University Hospital Institute for Memory and Cognition in advancing neurodegenerative research through international collaboration."

Dr Aisling Heeran, Research Fellow, Surgery,

Title of Research Project: Investigating the role of FKBPL in the Barrett’s oesophagus to oesophageal adenocarcinoma disease progression pathway.

Speaking about her award, Aisling said: Receiving this travel grant is an incredible opportunity to visit Dr Michael Quante’s lab in Germany to develop my skillset in a novel model of Barrett’s oesophagus to oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Dr. Niamh Ryan, Senior Research Fellow, Discipline of Psychiatry

Title of Research Project: Modeling Copy Number Variants on Risk for Affective and Psychotic Disorders in Pedigrees with Whole Genome Sequence data using PECAN.

Speaking about her award, NIamh said: This travel grant will help build a new and exciting collaboration between the Dept. Psychiatry at TCD and researchers at Harvard Medical School. This visit will give myself and my colleague Dr. Cathal Ormond access to tools and training to aid our investigation into genetic risk factors for psychosis in families affected by mental illness.”

Left to right: Dr Aisling Heeran, Professor Sarah Doyle, Dr Carlos Bruen, Dr James Trayer,

Dr Niamh Ryan, Professor Julie Renwick, Professor Colin Doherty