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APC Researchers Awarded Funding Under The SFI Frontiers For The Future Programme

12 May 2022

APC Researchers Awarded Funding Under The SFI Frontiers For The Future Programme

APC Researchers Prof Jennifer Mahony and Dr Olivia O’Leary have each been awarded funding under the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme as announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD.

Jennifer Mahony has been awarded €478,945.00 to support the project ‘The sweet tooth of a bacterial virus: Unravelling Phage-Host Attachment and Recognition Modalities (PHARM) in the dairy bacterium Streptococcus thermophilus’. Prof Mahony is a PI at APC as well as an Assoc. Prof in Molecular Food Microbiology at University College Cork (UCC) where she leads a research team dedicated to understanding the mechanisms by which phages infect their hosts and how bacteria respond and evolve in order to adapt and survive. Her research team, furthermore, evaluate the functional properties of lactic acid bacteria, particularly thermophilic organisms such as Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus spp.

Olivia O’Leary has been awarded €479,720.40 to support the project ‘Unlocking the mechanisms underlying gut microbial regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis: Implications for cognitive and stress-related brain disorders’. Dr O’Leary is an APC Funded Investigator and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, UCC where she leads a research team focused on understanding the neurobiology of stress-related psychiatric disorders with a particular focus on depression.

Commenting on the SFI Future Frontiers Programme, Minister Harris TD, said: “Congratulations to all the researchers who have received funding today as part of the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme. I am delighted to support this programme which funds individual-led research, with an emphasis on fundamental research at the cutting edge of science and engineering which will help us build a better future for Ireland through discovery, innovation, and impact.”

“Not only will these grants support research in important areas for Irish society, they will also fund the support of 216 people in varying research positions across 10 Higher Education Institutes to further develop their research careers. We are investing in talent. I would like to offer my thanks to the Higher Education Institutions for their support in delivering this programme again this year.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of SFI said: “After the success of the first SFI Future Frontiers Programme in 2020, I am delighted to see 76 research grants awarded. The research programmes are wonderfully diverse, but they have one thing in common: they ask fundamental questions and will lead to important scientific breakthroughs, with important applications in areas such as climate action, biodiversity, human and animal health and digital transformation, with real and lasting benefits to our society and economy. The SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme is a key element of SFI’s new strategy – Shaping Our Future providing support for excellent research.”

“It is really encouraging to see that 42% of the research grants are led by female researchers for the second year running. SFI is committed to addressing the gender imbalance evident in areas of Irish research and this is another example of that commitment in action.”

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