Eight UCD projects receive €1.5 million to help respond to COVID-19 pandemic

Eight (8) University College Dublin research projects been awarded just under €1.5 million in funding by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Programme.

The projects are among 41 projects from accross Ireland that received a total of €5.5 million in new investment announced today by Simon Harris TD, the Irish Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Welcoming today's announcement Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, "We are very proud of the response by UCD academics and clinicians to the Covid-19 crisis, having come to together rapidly and across numerous disciplines to produce effective, innovative solutions to the many challenges posed by the pandemic. The diversity and interdisciplinarity of the Covid Rapid Response projects demonstrates the breadth and depth of expertise across a range of fields from molecular biology to computer science, as well as the creative and collaborative spirit of UCD's academic community."

Among the 8 UCD funded projects is a project entitled, 'The COCOON study: COVID-19 coagulopathy and thrombosis: Novel prognostic and therapeutic opportunities' led by Dr Barry Kevane, Consultant Haematologist at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, UCD Conway Institute and UCD School of Medicine.

In this multi-disciplinary clinical and translational research study, which has been awarded just under €294,000 in funding, Dr Kevane will work with key collaborators, Professor Patricia Maguire, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and Professor Fionnuala Ní áinle, UCD School of Medicine and co-directors of the UCD Conway SPHERE research group.

The Cocoon Study is an international project which will examine blood coagulation in Covid-19 patients and its interplay with inflammation. The study aims to address urgent clinical dilemmas and to develop novel solutions for existing diagnostic and therapeutic challenges.Using advanced artificial intelligence and genomics technologies, the project will deliver enhanced thrombotic prevention strategies and a rapid diagnostic platform for personalised risk assessment.

Using technologies which have been developed by my colleagues Professor Fionnuala Ní áinle and Professor Patricia Maguire in theUCD Conway SPHERE research group, we intend to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying clotting derangements in COVID-19. A deeper understanding of this problem would help inform clinical decisions relating to clot prevention and treatment in this disease and would be of major clinical benefit."

Dr Barry Kevane, Consultant Hematologist at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, UCD Conway Institute and UCD School of Medicine

Further information on this project and details on the project partners available via:
https://www.ucd.ie/research/covid19response/news/thecocoonstudy/#d.en.509147

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme was established by SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council.

Minister Simon Harris TD, said, "Research, development and innovation will play a significant role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The 41 projects announced today are part of a national drive to find solutions to the challenges we face now, and to help us prepare to live in a changing environment that requires new thinking and innovative approaches. I would like to congratulate all of the researchers receiving funding today and thank them for their efforts in Ireland's collective response to COVID-19."

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, said, "The COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation funding is critical to supporting Ireland's National Action Plan in response to the pandemic. The projects announced today will play a pivotal role in developing societal and economic solutions to challenges we face.As a nation, we are stronger when we work together, and we will continue to generate solutions to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Today's announcement builds on SFI's previous investment of €8 million across 17 COVID-19 research and innovation projects. All of the projects funded have been internationally peer reviewed at the assessment stage.

Further information on the 41 funded projects available via https://www.sfi.ie/research-news/news/minister-harris-covid-19/index.xml

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