Professor Dan Bradley wins Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal

Posted on: 12 May 2021

Dan Bradley, Professor of Population Genetics in Trinity’s School of Genetics and Microbiology, was today awarded a highly prestigious Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medal in the Life Sciences.

Professor Bradley is a globally recognised pioneer in ancient genomics research. He spearheaded the project to sequence the first genomes from ancient Irish humans; has contributed greatly to sequencing ancient livestock genomes and a complete dog genome from a Neotlithic Newgrange sample; and, most recently, helped sequence the genome of an adult male buried in the heart of the Newgrange passage tomb, uncovering a previously hidden tale of first-degree incest among a ruling social elite in days gone by.

Professor Bradley has won numerous awards for his work, including two European Research Council Advanced Grants, which are among the most competitive and sought-after.

Professor Bradley has also collaborated closely with Professor Orla Hardiman in Trinity’s School of Medicine to produce a genomic analysis of motor neuron disease in Irish patients. This work has contributed to the establishment of a thriving, globally connected research programme to combat this tragic disease.

He has also translated fundamental population genetics research into practical application: as co-founder and former director of the livestock genetic testing company, IdentiGEN Ltd. In 2013 IdentiGEN DNA testing first revealed the horse meat scandal in the European food supply.

Professor Bradley said:

It is a fantastic honour to be awarded this Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal. Science is of its nature a collaborative activity and any achievements I have owe an enormous amount to the bright young (and some not so young) scientists I have been lucky to work with over the years.


Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, addressed Professor Bradley and fellow RIA Gold Medal winner (Humanities), Professor Mary E Daly, in a virtual award ceremony.

Minister Simon Harris said:

 The Royal Irish Academy Gold Medals recognise and celebrate Ireland’s highest achieving academics and the international impact of their work. Over the past year, addressing our social and economic challenges has crystalised the importance of research and expertise to society, globally. These awards acknowledge the leading work of the academics in Irish institutions to benefit society, the international impact of their work and their support and inspiration of current and future generations of scholars.



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