Prof. Maria McNamara is awarded €2.5M ERC Consolidator Grant

25 Jan 2021

BEES palaeontologist Prof. Maria McNamara has been awarded €2.5M in research funding by the European Research Council as part of its latest round of Consolidator Grant awards.

Prof. McNamara’s project, “Palaeochem”, aims to understand how key biomolecules such as melanin, keratin and collagen evolved in vertebrate animals, and to understand how these important biomolecules can be preserved in fossils. Her project will combine fossil analysis and fieldwork with studies of modern vertebrates and innovative fossilization experiments.

Prof McNamara said, “It will be really exciting to probe deeper into the geochemistry of fossil soft tissues and to push the boundaries of what we know about how important biomolecules have evolved. We will be testing and refining different techniques for analysing the chemistry of fossil tissues, and for conducting experiments simulating fossilization.” Prof. McNamara, who has already received an ERC Starting Grant, added, “It will be great fun to build on my team’s research on fossil colour and take it in new directions by answering bigger evolutionary questions. The research will create opportunities to raise the profile of palaeontology and geoscience in Ireland and will hopefully inspire more young people to choose careers in the natural sciences.”

You can read more about Prof. McNamara’s research here:

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K