Posted on December 6, 2016

The US Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) has awarded Trinity researchers significant funding to pursue five ground-breaking research projects in a number of fields related to human health, including neuroscience, psychiatric illness and pulmonary disease.

Professor of Psychiatry, Michael Gill, and Professor in Psychiatry, Aiden Corvin, were successful as partners funded by the NIH National Institute of Mental Health (and co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland) for a project led by the University of North Carolina.

The Trinity team will lead a global research effort, applying genome sequencing to identify genes that predispose to major mental disorders in multiply affected families.

Professor Corvin said: “It will be an honour to lead this ambitious programme working with researchers and families from around the world as part of the international Psychiatric Genomics Consortium initiative.”

Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Anne-Marie Healy, was successful as a partner within 2 NIH grants led by Professor John Fahy of the University of California. She will focus her research on carbohydrate-based therapies for people living with lung disease.

Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, Colm Cunningham, was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His five-year programme is focused on how the loss of a chemical called acetylcholine from the brain leaves it vulnerable to inflammation arising during acute illness.

Professor of Neurology Orla Hardiman’s pre-eminence in the study of Motor Neuron Disease (MND) was recognised by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), and she will now coordinate a project that includes partners from Latin America and Italy. The project will examine the relationship between MND prevalence in differing and mixed-race populations. Professor Hardiman will establish new registers of the incidence, prevalence and risk factors for MND in three Latin American countries, Cuba, Chile and Uruguay. This is the first time that the US government has provided federal funding for research in Cuba.

Trinity’s Research Development Office supported these projects as part of the Colleges Funding Diversification Strategy. This strategy aims to optimise the funding for research in Trinity by exploiting opportunities beyond the traditional national and EU funding programmes.

Research Project Officer at TR&I, Tony Flaherty, said: “This investment of US Government funding is a huge endorsement in the world-leading health research that is ongoing in Trinity, and in the societal impact it is having globally.”

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