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School of Biotechnology

Dublin City University

Awards March 2017

Grants up to €2.3 million awarded to the School of Biotechnology

EU Interreg awarded approximately €8.2 million for the project “Eastern Corridor – Medical Engineering Centre (ECME) – An Innovative Cross Border Integrated Research Programme”, with €834,000 coming to DCU.  Prof. Richard O’Kennedy is the Principal Investigator with Prof. Paul Cahill, Dr. David Collins, School of Biotechnology and Prof. Robert Forster, School of Chemical Sciences.  Project partners are University of Ulster, University of Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Southern Health and Social Care Institute (NI), Dundalk Institute of Technology and University College Dublin.

 Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine awarded approximately €325,429 to Principal Investigator Prof. Richard O’Kennedy for a project entitled “Sensing Crop Pathogens:  A novel surveillance system for crop diseases of economic importance”.

 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) awarded a grant of over €1.1 million to Dr. Niall Barron, School of Biotechnology and Director of National Institute for Cell Biotechnology (NICB for investment into research facilities to examine mass spectrometry, an important technique for protein identification and characterization.  The knowledge gained from understanding proteins is fundamental to the understanding of cellular function, especially in disease.

 DCU Teaching and Learning 2016-17 award was received by School collaborators Dr. Tim Dowing, Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott, Dr. Denise Harold, Dr. Emma Finlay, Dr. Dermot Walls, Dr. Sandra O’Neill and Dr. Niall Barron.   This award will fund the purchase of a portable Nanopore MinION DNA sequencer and kits for teaching into the School’s two main programmes – Biotechnology and Genetics & Cell Biology degree programmes.

Antioxident Travel Award to attend a conference in 2017 was received by Dr. Keith Rochfort, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Dr. Phil Cummins’ Endothelium Biology Group.

The prestigious Wellcome Trust–National Institute for Health (US) PhD Scholarship – a first for DCU - was awarded to Darren Walsh, a 4th year Genetics & Cell Biology student.   The project “Investigating the role of folate metabolism in driving mitochondrial DAN mutations and ageing” will be jointly supervised by Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott in the School of Biotechnology and Dr. Lawrence Brody, National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH), Bethesda, U.S.

Darren Walsh School of Biotechnology


Biotechnology graduate, John McGrath (Senior Vice President of Global Industrial Operations at GSK Vaccines) was honoured with an Alumni Wall Award at a gala dinner held in The Helix on Friday, 16th February 2017.

In 1987, John McGrath graduated from DCU - which was then known as National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) – on the BSc. in Biotechnology degree programme.  Since then, he has gone on to become the Senior Vice President of Global Industrial Operations at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines based in Belgium, where GSK has one of its largest vaccine manufacturing plants.  John McGrath is the man responsible for making sure sufficient supplies of vaccine are available when the Health Service Executive starts immunising infants against meningitis B from December.  While on a short-term relocation to Lonza’s Swiss headquarters, another Swiss group Novartis, offered him an opportunity to run its vaccine manufacturing business and he decided to take on the new challenge.  It was no small task – particularly since GSK took over the Novartis vaccine business to become one of the major players in the sector and is now the largest producer worldwide of vaccines.  Bexsero is the first meningitis B vaccine worldwide and was developed by GSK at its Sienna plant in Italy and all global supplies of the vaccine are produced at its sister site in Rosia just a few kilometres down the road.  John is now in charge of a global manufacturing network that ships about two million doses of vaccine every day and the meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, is his first big rollout.
A full profile that prompted his nomination can be found at the following link to the Irish Times:


6th April, 2017