Maynooth University has announced the launch of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research. The institute, which is located on the university’s campus, takes a uniquely integrated approach to address some of the major health problems of today, including obesity and antimicrobial resistance, as well as researching many chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
The primary objective of the institute is to study key determinants of human health from childhood to adulthood, through to old age. Researchers at the institute will explore how environmental, psychological, behavioural and biological factors affect health.
The new institute will consist of approximately 40 groups featuring over 100 researchers from disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Computer Science as well researchers from other Maynooth University departments. While most of the groups will focus on the biology of diseases and treatment, researchers will also examine the various factors across the life course that determines health.
The institute is named after Kathleen Lonsdale. Born in 1903 in Newbridge in Kildare, Lonsdale was a pioneer in using X-rays to study crystals, a technique that can be used across disciplines to discover novel drug targets. As a female scientist in the field of chemistry and physics, she was ahead of her time and having made seminal findings in these areas at the start of her career, she applied this expertise to the study of medical issues later on.
Speaking at the launch, Maynooth University President, Professor Philip Nolan, commented:
“The Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research is an important development for Maynooth University in advancing research into major health problems and chronic disease. The institute draws on key disciplines and expertise at Maynooth, and the input of international academics, healthcare providers and industry stakeholders, to offer a holistic approach to the study of human health. The opening of this institute underlines our ambition to advance research and innovation in areas vital to meeting societal, environmental and economic challenges.”
Professor Paul Moynagh, Head of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research commented: “Naming the institute after Kathleen Lonsdale is very appropriate as she encapsulates the ethos and culture of the institute in bringing together disparate approaches to address major health challenges facing society today. This uniquely collaborative approach that spans many scientific disciplines will provide a better understanding of these challenges as well as informing novel solutions. When we consider the common health issues affecting modern society, the research that will be conducted at the institute has significant potential and far reaching impacts.”