Dundalk-born scientist Dr Pearse Lyons has been awarded a St Patrick’s Day medal by the Taoiseach to recognise his contribution to science.
Dr Lyons was honoured by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a ceremony in Washington. The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) awards, now in their fourth year, mark the achievements of experts living and working in the US who have strong links to Ireland.
Born and raised in Dundalk, Dr Lyons graduated with a first class honours degree in Biochemistry. While at college, he worked in Harp Lager in Dundalk and later graduated with a Master of Science in Brewing Science, from the British School of Malting and Brewing (now the School of Biochemistry), University of Birmingham in 1968. He received a PhD in Biochemistry in 1971.
Dr Lyons' work led him to Kentucky in 1976, where in 1980 he founded scientific research company Alltech with the aim of improving the health and performance of people, animals and plants.
Dr Lyons was honoured along with Dublin born statistician, Professor Adrian Raftery, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. Mr Kenny said: "I am delighted to present the SFI St Patrick's Day Science Medal on behalf of Science Foundation Ireland, to these two exceptional leaders.
"Dr Lyons and Prof Raftery have both had a huge impact in their own areas of expertise and played pivotal roles in the development of researchers in Ireland.”
"They have demonstrated how academic and industry based scientific research can create jobs, tackle global problems and impact positively on people and society. These distinguished medal recipients are driving globally significant innovation in the areas of agriculture, food production, health, and population and weather forecasting, to name just a few."
Dr Lyons said he was "so proud" to accept the medal.
"While my business is global, my passion for biochemistry and entrepreneurship started at home in Ireland.
"As a company, we still have very close links to Ireland with one of our three biosciences research centres based in Dunboyne, Co Meath. Science and technology play a very important part in my company's success and all of the Alltech team work to innovate every day.
"We strive to put scientific research at the core of our business and to use that research to drive our success at home and abroad."