Leading Immunologist Honoured as Ireland’s Laboratory Scientist of the Year
Posted on: 16 December 2013
Trinity College Dublin’s Professor of Experimental Immunology, Kingston Mills, won the ‘Laboratory Scientist of the Year’ award at the inaugural Irish Laboratory Awards ceremony. His Immune Regulation Research Group was also honoured with the titles of ‘Research Laboratory of the Year’, ‘Bio Science Laboratory of the Year’, and overall ‘Laboratory of the Year’ in Ireland’s scientific version of the Oscars.
Professor Mills and the Immune Regulation Research Group are focused on making basic discoveries in the field of immunology that are relevant to the treatment of human diseases. In the last year they made a major discovery on the role of retinoic acid, which is derived from Vitamin A, in controlling the gut inflammation that leads to inflammatory bowel diseases.
Fundamental discoveries on how to harness immune responses to eradicate tumours have progressed to the pre-clinical evaluation of a new treatment for cancer, which is now being prepared for clinical development by their start-up company, TriMod Therapeutics. Professor Mills’ group have also been involved in the development of a more effective vaccine against whooping cough, which may eventually help to control the re-emergence of this infectious disease.
Professor Mills said: “On behalf of my research group, I am delighted to receive these awards. The success of the laboratory is built on the commitment, enthusiasm and dedication of the postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and support staff, and these awards are a testament to their hard work.”
Research Fellow in Biochemistry at Trinity and senior member of the laboratory, Dr Sarah Higgins, added: “Kingston Mills is one of Ireland’s Immunology champions. Not only does he lead a successful research team but he has also played an instrumental role in bringing together other leaders in the field of Immunology in Ireland as Director of the Immunology Research Centre. He has also been involved in setting up two spin-out campus companies – Opsona Therapeutics and TriMod Therapeutics. The collaborative efforts of Irish Immunologists such as Kingston, has garnered Immunology as a jewel in Ireland’s research crown.”
A total of 16 awards were up for grabs at the Irish Laboratory Awards ceremony, and over 100 candidates were considered. Sponsors included Air Products, Lennox, Antech, and Eurofins, with IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council, IRSA, Molecular Medicine Ireland, ISTA, Teagasc, IFSTI, Amarach research, and New Morning acting as supporters.
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