Tag Archive | "University College Dublin"

GMI Launch Genomic Research on Rare Disorders


Irish life-sciences company, Genomics Medicine Ireland Ltd. (GMI) announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the UCD Academic Centre on Rare Diseases (ACoRD) to launch a groundbreaking research study which will examine children with rare undiagnosed genetic disorders attending Temple Street, and their parents in order to identify the key genetic components of rare disorders. The study will combine advanced scientific technology in genomics, the study of all of a person’s genes, together with detailed clinical information to identify the genetic cause of rare disorders affecting/amongst families in Ireland.

Director of UCD ACoRD Sean Ennis said: “This study will give us a greater understanding of the role of genetics in rare disorders for faster and more accurate diagnoses for patients and to help in the development of more targeted therapies for treating these conditions. Ultimately, in the longer term, we are looking to gain insights that will lead to the prevention of these conditions.”

Rare Disorders affect an estimated 300,000 people in Ireland meaning one person in 12 may have a rare disease at some stage in their lifetime.

Temple Street Children’s University Hospital Research Manager Tara Raftertry said “Genome studies hold significant potential to deliver improvements in the quality of life for future generations of children with rare conditions. The route to diagnosing these disorders often involves multiple tests, some of which can be invasive. We can render these kind of tests unnecessary if we can get better insight to the cause of the rare disorder from the outset.”

Genomics Medicine Ireland hopes to quickly expand the research activity in Rare Disorders beyond the charter study at Temple Street to other research centres in Ireland. It will also be launching additional studies in a number of major chronic and incurable conditions where there is a need to better understand the role genetics and lifestyle play in disease and disease progression.

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Origin and UCD Form €17.6 Million Crop Science Research Partnership


Origin Enterprises plc and University College Dublin established a €17.6 million, five-year agriculture and crop science research programme, UCD announced on Monday.

The collaboration combines the leading expertise of UCD in data science and agricultural science with Origin’s integrated crop management research, systems capabilities and extensive on-farm knowledge exchange networks.

“The collaboration provides Origin with a development platform which accesses the very substantial intellectual capacity, advanced data analytics, sensing technologies and modelling resources of UCD Origin CEO Tom O’Mahony said. “The merging of conventional crop science and agronomic application with digital technology and prescriptive data analytics will enhance Origin’s knowledge-intensive offering along with improving the capacity to scale our service.”

A cornerstone of the partnership will be the creation of scalable, dynamic and integrated crop models which incorporate consistent and real-time data-driven and data-analytical approaches that optimise sustainable crop performance through enabling enhanced predictive intelligence capabilities at field level.

“The SFI Strategic Partnership Programme supports unique research partnerships with strong potential for impact on the Irish economy,” said Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland Mark Ferguson. “Combining the resources and expertise from these organisations will secure Ireland’s international position in the field of data-driven agriculture. The proposed integrated crop model will have global implications in the sustainable production of crops, addressing the challenge of food production for a rapidly expanding global population,” he said.

Posted in Food, Innovation, R&D Investment, University InvestmentComments (0)

UCD to Lead €4 million European Research Network Developing Mental Health Services Technologies


Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People (TEAM), a new €4 million research and training network focused on developing new technologies to support the provision of mental health services for young people, was announced on Tuesday, November 22, at University College Dublin (UDC).

A UCD Press release said that numerous international studies have concluded that many people experiencing mental health difficulties do not have access to appropriate support. Young people have been identified as being particularly vulnerable and requiring specific attention. Research suggests that 50% of mental disorders emerge by 14 years of age. Untreated difficulties at a young age also triple the likelihood of further difficulties in later life.

TEAM, which brings together a multi-disciplinary network of mental health experts, computer scientists, designers and policy experts from five countries, (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the UK) will provide a doctoral training and research platform for 15 PhD students.

The overall objective of the TEAM network is to train these researchers to deliver more effective, affordable and accessible mental health services for young people. The network will also focus on the design, development and evaluation of new technology enabled mental health services.

TEAM, led by University College Dublin, involves nine partners; four universities (Technical University of Denmark, Technical University Vienna, University of Glasgow and UCD); two university hospitals (Medical University Vienna, Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen (Region Hovedstaden)), two not-for-profit organisations (The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, ReachOut Ireland Ltd); and one industry research laboratory (Telefonica Alpha).

Dr David Coyle, TEAM project co-ordinator, and a researcher in human computer interaction at UCD’s School of Computer Science said, “We are not going to address all of the challenges in youth mental health in just four years. But we do aim to train a new generation of researchers, with a unique combination of skills, who will be at the forefront of this challenge in the coming decades.”

He added, “Technology can play an important role in improving mental health services, but only if we get the details right. It was critical that TEAM had an appropriate balance of mental health experts, computer scientists and designers. Throughout the project we will work in close partnership with mental health services and with people with experiences of mental health difficulties.”

The TEAM research programme is built around four key themes: assessment, prevention, treatment and policy. It aims to deliver new technologies that can support rapid, early and large-scale assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people.

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EpiCor Therapeutics wins UCD Start-up of the Year Award


Biotech start-up EpiCor Therapeutics won the UCD Start-Up of the Year Award 2016 on Thursday, November 17. It received a €20,000 prize as part of the overall winner award of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The start-up is aiming to develop a treatment for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM), a significant cause of sudden cardiac death.

HOCM is a disease in which a portion of the heart muscle is enlarged without any obvious cause resulting in impairment of the heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations. In the US alone, HOCM currently affects around 175,000 people with associated annual healthcare costs amounting to over $1 billion.

EpiCor Therapeutics is currently focused on repurposing an existing drug, 5-azacytidine, for the treatment of HOCM. It will also investigate the use of biomarkers to deliver targeted treatment for individuals.

EpiCor Therapeutics was founded by Dr John Baugh, Dr Nadia Glezeva, Dr Chris Watson, Dr Mark Ledwidge and Professor Ken McDonald, all of UCD School of Medicine.

“It is an honour for EpiCor Therapeutics to win the 2016 UCD Start-up of the Year Award,” said Dr John Baugh. “It is a great endorsement for us going forward as we work to develop treatments to target a variety of heart diseases, including our initial focus on hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

The disease has no approved disease-modifying therapeutics, is a significant cause of sudden cardiac death of individuals in any age group and a leading cause of such death in young athletes.

EpiCor Therapeutics is now seeking to raise €750,000 in seed funding to enable pre-clinical bridging studies. Following additional fund raising, it plans to proceed with a clinical proof-of-concept study to support its approval as a treatment for HOCM.

UCD’s annual VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme aims to support and accelerate the launch of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property emerging from the university.

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Irish geologists create atlas to aid in Atlantic exploration


Scientists from the Geological Survey of Ireland and University College Dublin (UCD) have launched a new geological atlas of the north-east of the Atlantic Ocean to aid exploration and research in the region.

Known officially as the Northeast Atlantic Geoscience Tectonostratigraphic Atlas (NAGTEC), the project is one of the most ambitious of its kind undertaken in Europe. Aside from the geological benefits, it will supposedly help Ireland economically and scientifically in the long term.

Costing €4m, developed by eight geological surveys, and sponsored by more than a dozen exploration companies, the three-year project has successfully correlated all offshore data for the entire north-east Atlantic Ocean.

The Irish contribution to the NAGTEC project has been co-ordinated by Maria Judge, INFOMAR geologist at the Geological Survey of Ireland, with support from a post-doctoral researcher, Dr Kenneth McDermott, who had been based at the School of Geological Sciences, UCD, under the supervision of Prof Pat Shannon.

Minster of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh, TD, said the atlas’ release has been well-placed for future endeavours.

“This new data is also very timely in the context of the Atlantic exploration licensing round which was opened this summer and concludes in September 2015.”

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