Trinity researchers win Science Foundation Ireland 2019 Science Awards

Professors Lydia Lynch and Danny Kelly of Trinity have won Science Foundation Ireland 2019 Science Awards for their significant research contributions.

They were among the 10 winners announced at the annual SFI Science Summit, at which over 300 leading members of Ireland’s research community came together to celebrate their research achievements.

Lydia Lynch, Associate Professor in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology, won one of two SFI Early Career Researcher Awards, which recognise outstanding early career research talent.

Dr Lynch graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics and a PhD in Immunology and went onto receive a Newman Fellowship for her early post-doctoral studies in St Vincent’s University Hospital, where she helped establish the Immunology and Obesity Lab. Here she discovered adipose iNKT cells and demonstrated that their activation could help manage obesity and metabolic disease.

Dr Lynch is also the recipient of the prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO International Women in Science Award and a Marie Curie International Fellowship, which allowed her to move to Harvard Medical School in 2013 and continue studying immunometabolism. While at Harvard, she was a recipient of the inaugural Innovation Evergreen Fund award.

Dr Lydia Lynch is also the holder of an American Diabetes Association Award and a Cancer Research Institute Award as well as a European Research Council (ERC) Starting grant and SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leader Award and currently leads an international team in immunometabolism in Trinity.

Danny Kelly, Professor in the AMBER SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, and Director of the Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, won the SFI Industry Partnership Award for collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.

Professor Kelly leads a large multidisciplinary orthopaedic tissue engineering group. He holds the Chair of Tissue Engineering at Trinity and has received three prestigious European Research Council (ERC) awards. He is at the forefront of tissue regeneration using 3D bioprinting strategies.

Through his position at AMBER he has led the Johnson & Johnson partnership on the TRANSITION programme, funded under SFI’s Spokes programme to develop a new class of 3D-printed biological implants that will regenerate, rather than replace, diseased joints.

TRANSITION is a shared vision and expands upon AMBER’s long-standing collaboration with DePuy Ireland Unlimited Company.

TRANSITION, led by Professor Danny Kelly, brings together Principal Investigators and researchers from four AMBER partners (DCU, RCSI, Trinity and UCD) and scientists and engineers from Johnson & Johnson’s 3D Printing Centre of Excellence and DePuy Synthes.

A significant milestone was realised earlier this year with the establishment of the Collaborative Bioprinting Laboratory in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, which co-locates researchers from both sides of the partnership.

Professor Kelly said:

I am delighted to receive this Industry Partnership Award from Science Foundation Ireland.

I would like to thank my colleagues at AMBER and Johnson and Johnson for all their hard work in building this collaboration. I would also like to thank Science Foundation Ireland for their continued support over the past 10 years; this collaboration builds on the discoveries and innovations we have made in that time.

Acknowledging all 10 SFI 2019 Science Award winners, John Halligan, Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, said:

“The Science Foundation Ireland Awards recognise the breadth and depth that research encompasses from industry collaborations to public engagement and the innovative breakthroughs that are leading research globally in the areas of Immunology, Biomaterials, Cancer research and much more. I would like to congratulate each awardee on their achievements, which illustrate the invaluable knowledge and resource that Ireland’s research community offers. I am also pleased to see mentorship amongst the awards this year, highlighting the importance of supporting the next generation of researchers and enriching our growing research community.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, also congratulated the award winners, saying:

“On behalf of Science Foundation Ireland, I would like to congratulate the award winners on their success and recognise their dedication in realising their ambitions and in doing so, building Ireland’s reputation as a global research leader. We are very proud of the excellent quality of research that our funding enables, and the SFI Awards are an important acknowledgement of the collective achievements of the Irish research community, which continue to be impactful, inspirational and world-leading.”