NUI Galway scientist awarded $750,000 by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

3 Dec 2020

Image: © kkolosov/

The philanthropy fund created by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr Priscilla Chan has awarded funding to NUI Galway scientist, Dr Kerry Thompson.

The researcher set to receive more than $750,000 in new funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) said it will facilitate a “paradigm shift in research in Ireland”.

Dr Kerry Thompson, a researcher in anatomy at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine and Centre for Microscopy and Imaging, was awarded the funding as part of a $32m philanthropic package to support biomedical imaging researchers and the development of technology to drive the discovery of cures, prevention or management of disease.

CZI was established by Dr Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Thompson’s funding will be used to support a new centre of excellence at NUI Galway offering STEM professionals, scientists and researchers the latest training in bio-imaging and analysis.

“Microscopy is the linchpin of modern biological research,” Thompson said.

“The funding will facilitate a paradigm shift in research in Ireland. It will elevate the role that imaging has at the frontline of discovery. The critical expertise and capabilities that we will be able to impart will be invaluable as we develop advanced training programmes to enhance technical aptitude.”

An enormous achievement

Prof Peter Dockery, an established professor of anatomy at NUI Galway, said securing such a significant funding award from the Zuckerbergs was an enormous achievement.

“Dr Thompson has played an instrumental role in the development of the core Centre for Microscopy and Imaging at NUI Galway which provides access to essential imaging technologies for the research community,” he said.

“The work and training that will take place in our university as a result of the funding will take the drive for higher standards and expertise to another level.”

In addition to the $32m in funding announced by CZI, the initiative also opened a new request for applications aimed at supporting technology development that will allow researchers see the inner workings of cells, including proteins, at near-atomic resolution. Overall, the goal is to support greater understanding of what causes disease and how to develop treatments.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic