Trinity professor lands over €200,000 for major genomics project

30 Aug 2016

Prof Daniel Bradley of Trinity College Dublin has been awarded €212,246 in funding to help with a major international genome-tracking project.

Bradley, who has worked on several groundbreaking pieces of research in recent years, will partner with a team of academics from Iceland, Denmark and the UK.

Between them, they will investigate the uses of genomic data in the study of human population histories.

Called ‘Identity, citizenship, and nationhood in the post-genome era’ (CITIGEN), the research will encourage humanities and natural sciences researchers to collaborate to develop integrated approaches to understand the past.

Daniel Bradley genome

In recent months, Bradley has collaborated on fascinating genomic projects like last November’s discovery of a new genetic strand of an ancient human European hunter-gatherer descendent.

Genomes discovered in Georgian caves revealed remains from two humans who lived in the Caucasus thousands of years apart, 13,300 and 9,700 years ago. Among the genomes sequenced was the first-ever sequencing of one from the Late Upper Palaeolithic period, with the results published in Nature Communications.

Elsewhere, 80 skeletons discovered in York a decade ago were only recently put through Bradley’s genome sequencing processes, with the results showing a multi-ethnic band of gladiators, hinting at a rich, diverse culture in the UK as recently as a couple of thousand years ago.

But this project promises to be more far-reaching for Bradley, with the international, historical angle providing the perfect platform for broader results.

Prof Daniel Bradely, Trinity College Dublin

Prof Daniel Bradely, Trinity College Dublin

“This project is an excellent opportunity to integrate different perspectives on how the fast-emerging field of genomics is impacting on public understandings of the past,” said Bradley.

The Irish Research Council (IRC) is the handling agency in Ireland for ‘Uses of the Past’, a collection of 18 separate, but related, projects, all hosted under the guise of HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area).

Commenting on the funding announcement, Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, IRC chair, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide funding for Prof Bradley to participate in the ‘Uses of the Past’ project.

“IRC is committed to the growth of collaborative humanities research across Europe and programmes such as these are important in generating new theories and identifying challenges of the changing world that lie ahead.”

Main DNA image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic