NUI Galway bacterial infection project awarded €420,000

galway daily bacteria project nui
Repro Free: Dublin 15th January 2019. The Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, T.D, launched Science Foundation Ireland's Plan for 2019. Pictured are . Picture Jason Clarke

Almost €420,000 in funding has been awarded to NUI Galway for developing new technology for faster clinical detection and diagnosis of bacterial infections which can lead to mortality in Cystic Fibrosis patients.

Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway received his award as part of a government investment of €10.8 million in Irish research funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG).

With awards ranging from €376,000 to €425,000 over four years, the projects funded will support 20 researchers and a further 20 PhD students in the research areas of health, energy, environment, materials and technology.

Speaking about his funding award, Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway, said: “Rapid diagnosis of bacteria is vital to inform appropriate medical treatment strategies and combat increasing antibiotic resistance globally.

“By providing a new methodology for rapid diagnosis of bacterial infection, my work will facilitate quicker decision-making on targeted medical treatment strategies for patients.

“In Ireland this would be particularly valuable for rapid diagnosis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, a significant risk factor for cystic fibrosis patients (as well as others with compromised immune systems).

“More generally, helping clinicians avoid the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics would help combat the global challenge of increased antibiotic resistance.”

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland supports researchers at every stage of their careers.

“The SIRG awards help early-career researchers develop the essential skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology.

“Having passed through a rigorous competitive international merit review process, these projects continue to advance Ireland’s international research.”

A native of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Dr Joseph Byrne joins the School of Chemistry and CÚRAM, following a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at Universität Bern, Switzerland.