Leading Health and Science Trinity Research Projects Awarded Health Research Board Funding

Posted on: 01 October 2013

A total of 12 projects by Trinity College research groups have been selected to receive funding from the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of their €12.3 million investment in research projects for better health.

The Trinity led research projects cover a range of subjects which have the potential to affect policy and practice and to improve patient care and health. The research projects selected for the funding will investigate a wide variety of disease areas and health related subjects with research groups based across a number of TCD Schools and disciplines including Dental Science, Medicine, Pharmacy and Genetics and Microbiology.

According to the HRB, applications for funding were assessed by international peer review panels which looked for proposals that demonstrated ambition and innovation that would lead to results that are relevant both nationally and internationally. Over the next three years, each project will receive up to €330,000 in funding.

The research projects which received funding include: 
Dr Sarah Doyle of the School of Medicine will examine age-related-macular-degeneration in the aging Irish population and explore inflammatory related risk factors for more severe forms of AMD with the potential to support early detection of high-risk individuals. 
Professor Cliona O’Farrelly, Professor of Comparative Immunology at the School of Medicine will focus on the immune cells of the liver and a particular protein, CD1d, which may provide clues to the functioning of anti-tumour immune cells from the liver and its ability to indicate the likelihood of a cancer returning. 
Dr Lucy Norris of the School of Medicine will develop a risk score model for patients with gynaecological cancers to more accurately identify those patients who may be at high risk of developing blood clotting in the veins or lungs, which is a common complication of cancer and in particular, with gynaecological cancers. 
Professor G. Jane Farrar, Professor of Genetics at the School of Medicine will conduct research into replacement gene therapy for treating two kinds of severe and debilitating eye disorder. 
Dr Lorraine O’Driscoll, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will look at ways of manipulating specific molecules in order to try to overcome resistance to Her-2 targeted anti-cancer drugs and to develop ways of predicting patients who might benefit most from these drugs. 
Professor Orla Hardiman, Clinical Professor of Neurology at the School of Medicine will use new technologies based on brain waves (advanced EEG and MRI) to try to identify subtypes of Motor Neurone Disease which will help in the development of new and more effective drugs. 
Dr Graham Pidgeon, Associate Professor in Surgery at the School of Medicine will build on the pioneering work done by his research group on oesophageal cancer and obesity. They will be the first to examine how fat cells may alter the metabolism of tumour cells and will examine a potential target in tumour cells to block the effects caused by obesity. 
Dr Mary O’Sullivan, Associate Research Lecturer at the School of Medicine will investigate the role of subsets of dendritic cells (specialised cells of the immune system) in the bacterial infection that causes tuberculosis (TB). This research should contribute to the development of better vaccines against TB. 
Dr Mikel Egana, Assistant Professor in Physiology at the School of Medicine will look at whether age and gender affect the exercise training induced benefits and uptake of blood oxygen in people with Type 2 Diabetes. 
Dr Mary Clare Cathcart, a Post Doctoral Researcher in Surgery at the School of Medicine will be conducting bench-to-bedside research examining alternative therapies with a reduced side effect profile which target COX-2 pathways and which may reduce the risk of oesophageal cancer development. 
Dr Gary Fleming, Associate Professor in Dental Materials Science at the School of Dental Science will combine expertise in Materials Science and Cellular and Molecular Biology to optimise clinical treatment protocols relating to patient therapy of dental resin restoratives. 
Dr Veronica O’Keane, Associate Professor in General Adult Psychiatry at the  School of Medicine will initiate an investigation into the effects of maternal depression during pregnancy on the baby’s cortisol levels and stress responses during the first year of life.