Success for UCC at the Irish Laboratory Awards

13 Mar 2019

UCC-based research groups win three awards at the Irish Laboratory Awards 2019.

UCC enjoyed tremendous success at the Irish Laboratory Awards 2019 which saw UCC-based research groups pick up 3 seperate awards. The Irish Laboratory Awards was launched in 2013 to celebrate and recognise the achievements of Irish laboratories, with this year's ceremony taking place on 7 March at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin. 

Impressively, the Cork Centre for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research received two awards, the 'Academic/Research Laboratory of the Year' award and the 'Food Laboratory of the Year' award, which were presented to Professor Mairead Kiely and Professor Kevin Cashman. The Cork Centre for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research, one of UCC's designated research centres of excellence, is embedded in the School of Food and Nutrition.

The key goal of the centre’s vitamin D research programme has been to deliver excellent science aimed at preventing vitamin D deficiency and protecting the health of Irish and European citizens. Such science is needed to provide the evidence-basis for sound public policy, both nationally and internationally. The specific objectives of the centre’s vitamin D programme over the last two decades have been:

  • Development of state-of-the-art assessment techniques for vitamin D metabolites and dietary modelling.
  • Defining status, intake, population deficiency prevalence and health effects of vitamin D.
  • Development of food-based strategies for vitamin D deficiency prevention that are agriculturally and economically sustainable.

Mairead Kiely and Kevin Cashman accept award 

Dr Fionnuala Hickey presents the 'Food Laboratory of the Year' award to Professor Mairead Kiely & Professor Kevin Cashman, UCC.


The UCC Palaeobiology Laboratory received the 'Start-up Laboratory of the Year' award. The UCC Palaeobiology Laboratory, which is led by Dr Maria McNamara (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences) and is curenly comprised of 12 members, focuses on the study of soft tissues (skin, organs, etc.) preserved in fossils.

Such tissues are extremely rare and are thus invaluable archives of palaeobiological information. Much of their research relates to fossil colour, including identifying evidence of the original colours of animals such as birds, reptiles, and insects millions of years ago and studying how these evolve through time in different lineages. A related major research strand pertains to the functions of colour – including pigments such as melanin and colours produced by biophotonic nanostructures – and how these functions have evolved through deep time. Another important research topic is the evolution of feathers, which they study via evidence preserved in ancient birds, feathered dinosaurs, and pterosaurs. The group also has led field expeditions to globally important fossil sites preserving soft tissues.


Dr Fionnuala Hickey presents the 'Start-up Laboratory of the Year' award to Valentina Rossi, Dr Maria McNamara & Tiffany Slater, UCC.


Additionally, Professor Catherine Stanton was awarded 'Laboratory Scientist of the Year' for her research with Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark. In addition to her work with Teagasc, Professor Stanton is also a principal investigator of the APC Microbiome Institute and a Research Professor at UCC.


Research and Innovation

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