TCD Researchers Awarded SFI Funding For Groundbreaking Research Projects

Posted on: 24 July 2009

Five Trinity College research projects received funding under the Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator Programme announced by the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan on Thursday, July 23rd last.

Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said: “Today’s Government investment will enable crucial research to be carried out in Ireland over the next three to five years. The successful 22 projects include medical research into cancer, stroke and brain injury, Alzheimer’s Disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, salmonella, meningitis, pre-clampsia,  genetics and medical devices, while other areas to be funded include greenhouse gas emissions, web personalization, cloud computing, cyber security, digital media and semi-conductors.”

“To date, the academic and commercial outputs stemming from previous PI funding have been promising, which bodes well for today’s recipients under this programme”, stated Chairperson of SFI, Professor Pat Fottrell at the announcement.  “By subjecting all funding applications to a high level of scrutiny and review by 28 distinguished international scientists, SFI has illustrated its meticulous and exhaustive approach in rewarding ground-breaking research with the greatest potential for commercial and societal benefits.”

From a total of €20m in funding granted by the SFI Principal Investigator Programme, Trinity College projects received €4.5m. The successful TCD projects were:

Immunomodulation by Cell Death-Related Proteases
The killing and removal of damaged, infected or cancerous cells in the body occurs by a process called ‘apoptosis’, which occurs without activating normal immune responses within the body. Professor Seamus Martin at the School Genetics and Microbiology (Smurfit Institute of Genetics) in TCD aims to better understand how apoptotic cells can avoid activating the immune system and to identify new therapies against the numerous human diseases associated with immune activation through his research.

Adaptive and Adaptable Media and Services for Dynamic Personalisation and Contextualisation (AMAS)
Personalising web content and services is increasingly being recognised as a key enabler for modern working and living as web users want to avoid trawling through pages and pages of irrelevant content before they find the content that is relevant to them. Professor Vincent Wade and Dr Owen Conlan at TCD’s School of Computer Science and Statistics will develop web personalisation and validate it in real-world education systems in the US and Ireland .

Content Aware Visual Media Processing
Professor in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Anil Kokaram at the School of Engineering will bring his expertise to medicine and microbiology, analysing visual media content.

Supramolecular Coordination Networts for Gas Storage, Gas Separation and Catalysis
Dr Wolfgang Schmitt’s research at the School of Chemistry at TCD will result in the development of novel nanoscale materials which can be used for efficient and safe gas storage and for removal of pollutants through gas separation.  His research will support the development of hydrogen fuel cells and the removal of carbon dioxide emissions from flue gases. 

Environmental Adaptation, Gene Regulation & Virulence of Salmonella
Stokes Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis at the School of Genetics and Microbiology, Professor Jay Hinton and his team will investigate how salmonella infects humans and animals with the intention to develop life saving interventions. This bug has developed intricate ways to ensure its spread and survival and remain a global problem causing millions of deaths each year.