A British charitable trust with strong links to Cambridge University is investing €750,000 in research into the role of nutrition in human health being spearheaded at Waterford Institute of Technology by Carrick-on-Suir born Prof. John Nolan.
The Howard Foundation and WIT have signed an agreement worth €750,000 establishing Prof. Nolan, Principal Investigator of the Institute’s Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) as the Howard Chair in Human Nutrition.
Prof. Nolan, a native of William St., Carrick, said the Chair empowered him to continue working in the area of nutrition for human health and to continue to conduct research with his specialised team at the very highest level.
“We have a lot of exciting projects planned for the future, and securing the Howard Chair is essential to realising these projects,” said the past student of Carrick CBS Secondary School.
As part of the agreement, the Foundation is funding a two-year Howard Fellowship for Dr. Alfonso Prado-Cabrero who will study the origins of the nutrients in the human eye that make up the protective eye pigments, known asmacular carotenoids.
Prof. Nolan and his team at MPRG are examining the role of nutritional supplements in visual performance and the the prevention fo Age Related Macular Degeneration, which can lead to blindness and affects up to 80,000 people in Ireland.
The research group’s work has also evolved to study the link between human nutrition and brain health and function.
Prof Nolan has successfully supervised 11 students to MSc, PhD and MD level, and is currently supervising six PhD candidates as part of ongoing projects at the MPRG.
Dr Alan Howard, Chair of the Howard Foundation’s board, said the Foundation had worked with the MPRG for over six years, and was impressed by the novelty and importance of their research involving macular carotenoids, and particularly the lead shown by Prof Nolan.
“We wish to ensure that this work continues on a permanent basis.”
WIT President Dr Ruaidhrí Neavyn said the establishment of the Howard Chair was a very important development for WIT and further strengthened the very fruitful relationship between the college and the Howard Foundation in Cambridge.