Research spotlight: APC Microbiome Ireland

All eyes are on APC Microbiome Ireland, as 10 of the centre’s researchers rank in the top 1 percent of their fields

16 Jan 2019
Back, L-R: Prof. Paul Ross, Dr. Paul Cotter, Prof. John Cryan, Prof. Colin Hill; Front, L-R: Prof. Catherine Stanton, Prof. Elke Arendt, Dr. Orla O’Sullivan; (Photo: Tomás Tyner)

“To have 10 researchers who are working to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges in the areas of food, microbiome and health, ranked in the top 1 percent of their fields alongside Nobel laureates, is a fantastic achievement.”

These were the words of Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland, as 10 APC Microbiome Ireland researchers were recognised in a prestigious citations ranking.

Prof. Elke Arendt, Dr. Paul Cotter, Prof. John Cryan, Prof. Ger Fitzgerald, Prof. Ted Dinan, Prof. Colin Hill, Prof. Paul O’Toole, Dr. Orla O’Sullivan, Prof. Paul Ross and Prof. Catherine Stanton were all named in the 2018 world list of Highly Cited Researchers.

The researchers, all based in the APC – a collaboration between UCC and Teagasc – each ranked in the top 1 percent of their fields: food, health and microbiome.

The ranking, which is determined by peers across the globe, identifies those influential researchers who are leading the way in solving the world’s biggest challenges.


Meet the researchers:

Prof. John CryanHead of Dept. of Anatomy and Neuroscience, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC 

His research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and drug dependence. His group is also focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut and the gut microbiome, and how it applies to stress and immune-related disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder.

Prof. Ted Dinan: Professor of Psychiatry, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC 

His main research interest is on the role of the gut microbiota in influencing brain function and development. Within this context, he has focused on depression and irritable bowel syndrome. He has made significant contributions to the literature on the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in situations of stress. 

Prof. Ted Dinan (Photo: Ger McCarthy)

Prof. Elke Arendt: Professor for Cereals and Beverage Science, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC 

Her research in the area of food and health is related to cereals and beverages, including gluten-free, starter cultures, antimicrobial agents, food structure, brewing and malting, and functional foods.

Dr. Paul Cotter: Head of Department of Food Biosciences, Teagasc Food Research Centre; Principal Investigator, APC 

His research focuses on the microbiology and microbiomes of food (especially fermented and other dairy foods), food processing and production environments, and the gastrointestinal tract with a view to maintaining/establishing a healthy gut microbiota through dietary interventions, especially in athletes.  

Prof. Colin Hill: Professor of Microbial Food Safety, School of Microbiology, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC

His research interests are in infectious disease, particularly in defining the mechanisms of virulence of foodborne pathogens; and in developing strategies to prevent and limit the consequences of microbial infections in the gastrointestinal tract, including the use of bacteriocins and bacteriophages. 

Prof. Catherine Stanton: Senior Research Officer, Teagasc; Dept. of Psychiatry, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC

Her research includes nutritional aspects of dairy and functional foods, probiotic cultures, bioactive metabolite production, infant gut microbiota, and healthy proteins and fats that are produced by gut bacteria. She is also very interested in the microbiome during pregnancy and in infancy.

Prof. Ger Fitzgerald and Prof. Paul O'Toole

Prof. Ger FitzgeraldProfessor of Food Microbiology, Head of the School of Microbiology, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC 

His research interests span fundamental and applied aspects of the industrially important lactic acid bacteria, which are used in the production of fermented foods and probiotics.

Prof. Paul O’Toole: Professor of Microbial Genomics, School of Microbiology, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC

His research focuses on the genomics of gastrointestinal bacteria in humans, with emphasis on commensal species and host interaction. He is particularly interested in the relationships between the composition and function of the gut microbiota, its interaction with habitual diet, and its relationship to health, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and ageing.

Dr. Orla O’Sullivan: Research Officer, Teagasc Food Research Centre; Investigator, APC

Her research focuses on elucidating the microbiome from various environments including human gut and lung, rumen and food. Of particular interest to her is the role of exercise and diet, specifically whey protein, on the human gut microbiome both in healthy and diseased cohorts.

Prof. Paul Ross: Head of College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC; Principal Investigator, APC

His research in food and health includes the development of new antibiotics and anti-infectives, bacteriophage (viruses that infect only bacterial cells), human and animal pathogens, and how the gut microbiota influences health.


Follow this link for more information on the APC Microbiome Institute.

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