UCD and NUI Galway professors win prestigious awards

5 May 2017

Image: tomertu/Shutterstock

Physiology and chemistry experts at two Irish universities have received recognition for their contributions to science, both in Ireland and internationally.

Prof Henry Curran of NUI Galway and Prof Cormac Taylor of University College Dublin (UCD) have received the prestigious Boyle Higgins Gold Medal and Takeda Distinguished Research Award, respectively.

Curran is regarded as an expert in chemistry combustion, with his research helping in the design of cleaner, more efficient energy systems.

His prize, given by the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, is an annual award for people who have made a significant contribution to chemistry.

“It is truly an honour to be recognised by my peers in this way,” said Curran. “Ireland has such a strong cohort of experts working in the field of chemistry that to be chosen for this accolade is truly gratifying.”

Curran works on international projects with companies including Shell, Rolls Royce and Siemens, and is also involved in EU-funded project ECCO-MATE, which aims to create a research and training platform for the improvement of diesel engines.

He is the director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s school of chemistry, and of the Energy Research Centre in the Ryan Institute.

Prof Henry Curran with his 2017 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal

Prof Henry Curran with his 2017 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal. Image: NUI Galway

Prof Taylor received the Takeda Distinguished Research Award last week. This is the first time the American Physiological Society has given the prize to someone outside of the US.

Presented annually, the award goes to an outstanding investigator who is internationally recognised for his or her contribution to physiological research in gastrointestinal and liver physiology.

Taylor leads a research group investigating the mechanisms by which epithelial cells respond to low oxygen levels (hypoxia).

The group explores the regulation of gene expression in hypoxic conditions and the potential of targeting of oxygen-sensitive cellular pathways in inflammation as a means of treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Taylor said he was “delighted and honoured” with the prize.

“This award, which underscores the importance of investigator-led basic research in medicine, is a testament to the hard work of the PhD students and postdocs who have trained in my lab at UCD over the last number of years.”

Dr Declan F McCole, chair of APS Gastrointestinal and Liver Section, with Prof Cormac Taylor of UCD

Dr Declan F McCole, chair of APS Gastrointestinal and Liver Section, with Prof Cormac Taylor of UCD (right). Image: UCD

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic