Maynooth University Researchers Receive Science Foundation Ireland Funding

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 00:00

Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. has announced new funding to help support Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. The funding which is being awarded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) will help ensure that Ireland’s most talented young researchers can be encouraged to remain in Ireland, while also helping to attract excellent young researchers from other countries to base themselves here.
Dr Karen English has been awarded €519,997 funding through SFI’s Starting Investigator Research Grant Programme. The research focuses on cell therapies with the capacity to dampen inflammation and the immune system. The ultimate goal of the research is to further understand how cell therapies suppress immune responses and translate these findings for the successful application of cell therapy to control and dampen immune responses in organ transplantation and other inflammatory disorders.
Dr. Ozgur Bayram (€597,630) and Thomas Naughton (€611,421) were both awarded funding under SFI’s Career Development Award Programme.  Dr Bayram’s research will focus on fungal development and secondary metabolite production in various Aspergillus species, including Aspergillus nidulans (a model organism) and Aspergillus flavus, which produces food contaminating aflatoxin causing disease and poisoning when ingested by humans and animals. 
Thomas Naughton’s project is on the capabilities and limits of an optical technique called digital holography, which can be used for sensing, processing, and display of three-dimensional objects, both large and small. In the case of micro-organisms such as human cells, indicators of cancer can be visible with a digital holography microscope at a significantly earlier stage than with other visible light microscopes.
As well as the three lead scientists, the projects will involve six other researchers at Maynooth.