Two Trinity researchers win prestigious SFI awards

Trinity professors Lydia Lynch and Danny Kelly were awarded for their impact on Irish science research

Trinity professors Lydia Lynch and Danny Kelly were announced yesterday as winners of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) 2019 Science Awards for their impact on Irish science research. 

Prof Lynch, of the school of biochemistry and immunology, won an SFI Early Career Researcher Award in recognition of a display of considerable talent within the early years of her research career. Her research is currently based around the effects of obesity and diet in immune cell function, and the role of the immune system on metabolism regulation. 

After being awarded her PhD in Immunology from University College Dublin (UCD), Prof Lynch was awarded a Newman Fellowship to carry out postdoctoral research in St Vincent’s University Hospital. She was also the recipient of a Marie Curie International Fellowship which enabled her to research immunometabolism in Harvard Medical School. 

This SFI research award follows a long list of other achievements including an American Diabetes Association Award, Cancer Research Institute Award, a European Research Council (ERC) Starting grant and SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leader Award. 

Prof Danny Kelly was awarded the SFI Industry Partnership Award for his collaborative work with Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. Kelly is 

the director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering and a principal investigator in Trinity’s Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) centre. 

Professor Kelly’s research is focused on multidisciplinary orthopaedic tissue engineering. His work with Johnson & Johnson in particular focuses on the 3D bioprinting, ie. printing using layers of biological material, to regenerate damaged and diseased joints as opposed to current methods where these are replaced. Earlier this year, a new Bioprinting Laboratory was established in Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) which has aided in this work. 

Professor Kelly holds the chair of Tissue Engineering at Trinity. He is the recipient of three ERC awards and was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Scholar grant to carry out research in the University of Columbia, New York. 

Professor Kelly thanked his colleagues at AMBER and Johnson & Johnson “for all their hard work in building this collaboration”, as well as SFI “for their continued support” over the past 10 years. He added: “This collaboration builds on the discoveries and innovations we have made in that time.” 

Professor’s Lynch and Kelly’s awards were two of 10 awarded yesterday at the annual SFI Science Summit which acknowledge outstanding achievements by Irish researchers. John Halligan, Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, said: “The Science Foundation Ireland Awards recognise the breadth and depth that research encompasses from industry collaborations to public engagement and the innovative breakthroughs that are leading research globally in the areas of Immunology, Biomaterials, Cancer research and much more.”

Lucy Fitzsimmons

Lucy Fitzsimmons is the current Deputy SciTech Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Fresh Chemical Sciences student.