€3.8 million Funding Award for Dopamine Neuron Research in Brain-Centred Illnesses

Posted on: 26 April 2013

Researchers in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology have secured €3.8 million funding for a prestigious Marie Curie PhD training network project,  ‘Training in neurodegeneration, therapeutics intervention and neurorepair’ (TINTIN). The research focus is on the dopamine neuron and the role it plays in brain-centred illnesses, such as anxiety, mood disorders, schizophrenia, autism-spectrum disorders, parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and dementia.

According to the project coordinator, Dr Gavin Davey, “There is an urgent need to produce new generations of scientists with multidisciplinary skillsets so they can discover the fundamental mechanisms that underlie major diseases and disorders in society.” He added, “TINTIN will train 12 PhD students how to undertake research projects on metabolism, neurodegeneration, computational biology, stem cell biology, neurotherapeutics and neurorepair systems.” 

Dopamine neurons made from stem cells

The infrastructure in the newly created Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute was an important reason for successful funding and it’s Advanced Confocal Imaging and NMR centres will run in-depth training courses as part of the programme.

Co-author on the TINTIN proposal and computational biologist Dr Andrew McDonald further explained: “The training and research will be merged with new cutting edge glycan based biomarker technologies, drug simulation technologies and mathematical models of dopaminergic neurons.”

The TINTIN PhD students will be trained in seven universities across Europe. They will also be seconded into and out of eight commercial partners in the areas of biomarker discovery, analytics and drug design. As well as attending a range of bespoke research training courses in the partner universities the students will take courses run by the Trinity-UCD Innovation Alliance centre on how to commercialise research discovery.