Follow the money, do the research
He models materials to understand their characteristics and these can then be made at Crann. He wants to use organics because they are cheaper to make, formed at much lower temperatures. They also come in such variety and are more readily recycled.
Prof Aoife McLysaght
Head of the molecular evolution group within the School of Genetics and Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin
Sometimes to understand where you are now you have to look back and see where you have been. This is the approach being taken by Prof Aoife McLysaght in her efforts to understand changes in our genes.
She and her team are studying how new genes can emerge and others are lost. Our genes are constantly copied and it is commonplace for a different number of copies of a gene to arise. “When you have that kind of variation lots of genes get copied,” she says. Yet inappropriate gene copying is linked to neurological disorders, autism and schizophrenia.
McLysaght is studying gene copying and deletion by looking back through evolutionary history to find the essential gene changes. “When you see genes that don’t deplete or patterns of balanced depletion these can be important,” she says. “We will look at depletions over evolutionary time.” This, she says, is comparative genomics, matching up the human genome against other primates, fish and invertebrates.
Prof Debra Laefer
Lecturer in University College Dublin’s School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Architecture, and principal investigator in the urban modelling group
For most of us, an underground tunnel is a horizontal hole in the ground. To an engineer, it is something quite different. “When you tunnel you move the ground and when you move the ground you move the buildings, and when you move the buildings you damage them,” Prof Debra Laefer explains.
This simple logic was not fully exploited when the Dublin Port Tunnel was bored. One in eight of the buildings above the tunnel excavation sustained damage that had to be fixed, a “pretty spectacular” example of what not to do, she says.
Her research aims to prevent this by developing a 3D modelling system that can predict what buildings are most likely to sustain damage during tunnelling. This means resources could be directed towards those most at risk.
The work involves the use of mathematical models along with aerial data to make these predictions, for use by engineers when planning a route.