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Funding for BYDV and gut microbiome research

Funding for BYDV and gut microbiome research

Teagasc researchers, Dr Louise McNamara and Dr Orla O’Sullivan have been awarded funding as part of the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme in the respective areas of research in BYDV and the gut microbiome.

Dr McNamara’s project ‘Elevate: Epidemiology of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) in Ireland Under Current Climate and Elevated Temperature And CO2’ will carry out the studies needed to generate the data necessary to establish a model to predict potential yield loss in barley associated with different virus strains, presence of co-infection, and timing of infection.

BYDV is one of the most detrimental infecting agents impacting cereal production worldwide, and ELEVATE will also look ahead to how ‘extreme’ weather events and a changing climate will impact both virus transmission and aphid behavior, and establish a platform to evaluate new and old barley genetics.

Additionally, Dr Orla O’Sullivan has been awarded funding for ‘Fitbiota: Examining the Emergence of a Fit Gut Microbiome in Young Adults and The Potential Impacts on Gut Health’.

The human intestinal tract is host to an extensive population of microorganisms (the microbiome) working in concert to play a pivotal role in human health. Almost every aspect of modern lifestyles can impact the microbiome; recently the concept that regular exercise may foster or assist the maintenance of a preferential gut microbiome has gained momentum.

Fitbiota aims to specifically understand the role physical fitness plays in modulating the gut microbiome and investigate if there indeed is a ‘fit’ microbiome profile, and can this be transferred to a host resulting in improved health.

The provision of funding to Teagasc researchers was made as part of a wider announcement by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., who announced funding for 28 awards in total, valued at €34 million, to support research across seven Higher Education Institutions.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister O’Donovan said: “These awards support the development of world-class research in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“The projects and higher education institutions are focusing on will help deliver solutions to some of the major challenges facing society, including in healthcare, the environment and technology.”

The 28 awards are of 4-5 years’ duration and will support 124 research positions including 58 postdoctoral positions, 53 PhD students and 13 research assistants and other positions.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SFI Frontiers for the Future awards provide opportunities for independent investigators to conduct highly-innovative, original research on important questions.”

Full details of the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme awards are available here.