NUIG Professor Laoise McNamara has been named the country’s top scientific researcher of the year for her work on brittle bone conditions and the interface of technology and biology.
Dr Harold Berjamin of the School of Mathematics at NUIG was also awarded the Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the STEM category.
President Michael D Higgins was the guest of honour at the Irish Research Council’s awards ceremony this week, and presented the two with their awards.
Professor McNamara’s research in bone mechanobiology is at the interface of engineering and biology and informs medical device design.
Her work seeks to understand how the mechanobiology process is changed in osteoporosis, a disease which affects bone mass, and in cancer metastasis to bone.
Chair of the Irish Research Council, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer said the Prof McNamara’s works shows the wide breadth of research that is being carried out in Ireland, impacting every aspect of life.
“I warmly congratulate Laoise on her outstanding track record to date, and on receiving the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year award.
Dr Berjamin’s research in Professor Michel Destrade’s group is based on the modelling of acoustic waves in brain matter. The goal of this project is to get closer to realistic simulations of traumatic brain injuries.
President Higgins has made research and education one of the primary focuses of his presidency, championing academic freedom to pursue knowledge down every path.
He has frequently emphasised the role that universities and research institutes can play in crafting a global response to the great global challenges of our time.
Peter Brown, Director of the IRC said that the council is unique in that it funds work across every discipline, and makes it a priority to support research that addresses major societal problems.
“We must never forget the importance that world class research talent has on our economy and our society,” he said.
“Over the last 20 years, the Council has made a significant impact in establishing a vibrant research community in Ireland by investing in exceptional researchers at all stages of their careers.”
“We look forward to building on our achievements to date with the launch of a new five-year strategy next year.”