Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Researcher's work in advancing whooping cough vaccines for infants awarded Servier Scholarship

09 April 2010

Dr Bernard Mahon, Cellular Immunologist and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at NUI Maynooth was awarded the Dr. Jacques Servier Scholarship by the Institut Servier in conjunction with the Ireland Fund of France and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) at a special reception this evening in the French Embassy in Dublin. Dr. Mahon received the award in recognition for his work with Professor Camille Locht from the Institut Pasteur de Lille, France, on whooping cough vaccines for infants.


Pictured from (L- R) are Mr. Christian Bazantay, Secretary General of the Servier Group, Yvon Roe d'Albert,French Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Bernard Mahon, Cellular Immunologist and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, NUI Maynooth, Mr. Pierre Joannon, President d’Honneur of the Ireland Fund of France and Professor Brian Harvey, Director of Research, RCSI

The Dr Jacques Servier Scholarship is awarded to a researcher in Ireland who has collaborated with French researchers to advance Ireland – France Biomedical research collaboration. It promotes scientific exchange between the medical community, healthcare industry, universities and research organisations particularly in the field of therapeutic research.

Dr Mahon’s vaccine study on pathogen-host interactions during B. pertussis infection, the causative agent of whooping cough, has led to patents with new ways to make safer vaccines. Dr Mahon and Prof Locht are currently collaborating in an EU Framework 7 project ‘Child Innovac’ to bring a new whooping cough vaccine for infants to clinical trial.

Pictured are Dr. Janusz Gaudnik; General Manager of Servier Laboratories Ireland and Dr Marc Devocelle; School of Pharmacy; RCSI.

Dr Mahon’s and Prof Locht’s collaboration has advanced the understanding of B. pertussis, and has determined for the first time the role of the bacterial toxin DNT.  Additionally their collaborative research has developed a novel attenuated vaccine which will enter clinical trials later this year. 

Mr. Christian Bazantay, Secretary General of the Servier Group said “I would like to congratulate Dr Mahon on receiving the Servier Award and for the research he has carried out on whooping cough vaccines. We are delighted to recognise Dr Mahon for his contribution to fostering scientific collaborations between Ireland and France.”


Pictured from (L- R) are Professor Arthur Tanner, Director of Surgical Affairs, RCSI, Ms Emma Duignan, Mr Joe Duignan, Consultant Surgeon, St. Michael's Hospital and Annaik Genson, Assistante Scientifique, French Embassy in Ireland

Mr. Pierre Joannon, President d’Honneur of the Ireland Fund of France said “Since its inception five years ago, the Servier Award has greatly contributed to enhancing Franco-Irish relations, particularly in the area of medical and scientific research collaborations. I would like to congratulate Dr Mahon on receiving this award, and for the tremendous efforts and success that he has had in his field of research.”

Professor Brian Harvey, Director of Research at RCSI said “This award recognises not only Dr Mahon’s achievements in research and science, but also the importance of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and expertise between Ireland and France. I am delighted that Dr Mahon and his long-term collaboration with his French colleagues has been recognised in this way.”


Pictured from (L- R) are Marc Debels; David Redmond; Sean O'Riain and Rebeccca O'Riain

Prof John Hughes, President NUI Maynooth commented on the award “Dr Mahon is a highly valued member of the research community here at NUI Maynooth, and this award is a well deserved recognition of the high calibre of work undertaken by Dr Mahon.”