April 2020
20

A few words from Paul Ross

We definitely live in very strange times at the moment. I think now, more than ever, everyone appreciates how much we live in a microbial world and how those microbes can a(in)ffect us. The current COVID-19 pandemic just emphasizes how vulnerable humans are as a species and just how limited our knowledge is about how we interact with our microbial world – how much we depend on it and are influenced by it. I would like to thank all those APC staff who have helped with the crisis particularly with the provision of reagents for the COVID-testing and I am heartened to see APC researchers submitting short term grants on Covid-19 related projects to both HRB and SFI research funding calls.

In this challenging period, APC Microbiome Ireland is committed to the health and wellbeing of all of our staff and students, who are working remotely during this period – we are all involved in regular virtual research meetings. Critical services and research infrastructure are also being maintained. APC’s Executive Management Group and Operations Team continue to meet weekly to ensure minimal disruption to APC business. We are also in contact with our industrial partners to ensure that there is limited disruption to ongoing collaborations. Indeed, we have a number of new major initiatives with industry just starting, including a major SFI Spoke with DUPONT on missing microbes in early life.

Since I became Director of the SFI Centre APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC on June 1st of last year we have begun to develop a new strategy that will ensure APC’s continued success as a leading Microbiome Centre continuing to excel in Science and be impactful in commercial terms. To this end a new Governance Committee and a new Scientific Advisory Board have been appointed which will ensure we get the best advice and direction as we develop in the next five years.

APC Microbiome Ireland and University College Cork are hiring a Professor of Microbiome & Health Science as part of the Irish Government’s strategic hiring of women into academic leadership roles. For full details of the position and application process see:
https://apc.ucc.ie/new-professorship-in-microbiome-and-health-science/ Closing date 31st May.

I hope you enjoy reading about our recent successes as highlighted in this newsletter. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families the very best during this time.

Prof Paul Ross,
Director

Latest News

Major Infant Health Collaboration Announced with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences

APC DuPont Collaboration Announced
Rebalancing babies’ gut bacteria, whether after antibiotic exposure or Caesarean-section birth, is the topic of a new collaborative research project between APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre and DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) announced recently in Washington D.C. where representatives from both organisations attended an event to celebrate US-Ireland research, develop collaborations, and to …

Now Recruiting Professor of Microbiome & Health Science

Now Recruiting Professor of Microbiome & Health Science
Would you like to join one of the world's leading microbiome centres? APC Microbiome Ireland and University College Cork are recruiting a new Professor of Microbiome & Health Science as part of the Irish Government's strategic hiring of women into academic leadership roles. The position will be academically based in both the Schools of Microbiology and Medicine. We …

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Gut Bacteria for ‘Healthy Ageing’

Mediterranean diet  linked to gut bacteria for ‘healthy ageing’
People are living longer than ever before so it’s important that we find ways of helping them live healthier for longer. While, exercise and diet are important for maintaining good health, recent research is beginning to look at the role our gut bacteria …

Irish Scientists Team up to Address COVID-19 Testing Shortage

Test, Test, Test
A team of Irish scientists, including Prof Paul Cotter, Dr John MacSharry and Paula O'Connor from APC Microbiome Ireland, have joined forces to formulate lysis buffer needed to test for COVID-19. The initiative was spearheaded by Dr Martina Scallan, School of Microbiology, University College Cork and Dr Brigid Lucey, CIT, …

Actifensin and Nisin J

Actifensin and Nisin J
Julie O’Sullivan and Ivan Sugrue in the Microbes to Molecules group led by Paul Ross and Colin Hill, have added to APC’s arsenal of new antimicrobials with discoveries of Nisin J, a new antimicrobial produced from staphylococcal bacteria found on human skin and in actifensins produced by Actinomycetes isolated from sheep faeces. …

On the Cover

Lancet Neurology cover 2020
The Gut-Brain axis research group recently published a review in The Lancet, Neurology, which looks at the current research landscape associating the microbiome as a possible key susceptibility factor for neurological disorders. Here they lay out the evidence, both pre-clinical and clinical, underscoring the importance of gut health. Over the past two decades, a revolution …

Ireland’s Cricket Team not Immune to Delhi Belly

Ireland’s Cricket team not immune to Delhi Belly
For athletes who travel internationally to compete, avoiding gut distress symptoms (aka Delhi Belly) is crucial to ensure top performance and this new study provides insight to identify approaches for athletes preparing for international sporting tournaments. In a new study which followed Irish cricket players as they prepared for the 2016 ICC Twenty20 …

APC Researchers Boost Catalog of ssRNA Viruses

Bacteria have virus problems too!
The first biological entity to have its genome fully sequenced (in 1976) was that of an RNA virus. Unlike recent RNA viruses that have been in the news, this virus infects and kills a bacterium. In the intervening four decades, while many thousands of additional viruses and bacteria have had their genomes sequenced, bacterial …

Prestigious Awards For Outstanding Young Microbiome Researchers

Prestigious Awards For Outstanding Young Microbiome Researchers
Six talented researchers at APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) SFI Research Centre in University College Cork have been awarded prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MCSA) and Irish Research Council (IRC) postdoctoral fellowships this year.

Engaging with Teachers

JCT Workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance
APC joined forces with the School of Pharmacy at UCC to facilitate a series of teacher-training workshops on AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR), which kicked off in January. The workshops are in partnership with JCT-STEAM who support training for teachers of Junior Cycle (12-16 years) across all subjects nationally. The driving concept this year was “Solution Generation” - a play …

Young Social Innovators

Young Social Innovators
A group of Transition Year Students at Mount Mercy College chose Gut Health as the topic for their Young Social Innovators (YSI) project this year. YSI is an initiative that puts young people in the driving seat. It challenges them to not only to become aware of societal issue around them but also …

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Selection

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Selection
Many congratulations to María Ángeles Núñez Sánchez on being selected out of over 20,000 applicants to attend the 2020 Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting this summer. This interdisciplinary event brings together the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines -- physiology and medicine, physics, and chemistry....

MSCA Individual Fellowship Call 2020 Now Open

MSCA 2020 IF
The Marie Curie Individual fellowship (MSCA-IF) call is open for application. APC offer some digital supports to help those interested in applying and you can sign up here. The main links are: EU website for grant: https://bit.ly/2020MSCA APC applicant supports: https://bit.ly/APCMSCA2020.

Upcoming Events

World Digestive Health Day 29th May
The World Gastroenterology Organisation global network of member societies, partners, and sponsors seeks to raise awareness of the role the gut microbiome in human health. WGO invites those who are interested in joining the World Digestive Health Day 2020 initiative to visit www.worldgastroenterology.org/wgo-foundation/wdhd/wdhd-2020, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @WorldGastroOrg.

World Microbiome Day 27th June
The 2020 World Microbiome Day theme is ‘Diversity’- celebrating diversity of microbes, microbiome habitats, diets to feed and fuel microbiomes and the diversity among microbiome researchers.

If you are planning an event, please keep in mind potential restrictions due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We encourage all of you to organise and join online activities on social media platforms should you be unable to organise an event in person. We still encourage you to celebrate WMD2020 in person at a time this year, when it is safe to do so. For 2020, the “Diversity” theme now includes a diversity of dates on which events can take place so that people can celebrate whenever it is safe to do so, to promote the amazingly diverse world of microbes.

Please share your event with us by registering at https://worldmicrobiomeday.com/events/. If you are having any trouble submitting your event details, please contact us at info@worldmicrobiomeday.com and we would be delighted to add your event to the map.

21
APC Microbiome Ireland,
BioSciences Building,
University College Cork,
Western Road, Cork T12 YT20, Ireland .
Email: apc@ucc.ie