Dr Deirdre Gribbin, from Trinity Laban's Composition Department, has won a coveted Leverhulme Overseas Fellowship Award, as a direct result of her residency and work with geneticists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in 2012-13.
A pioneer in the field of collaborative music and science, Dr Gribbin will work with scientists at the University of Toronto who are developing strategies for using music for pain management with disabled children.
Dr Gribbin's recent string quartet Hearing your genes evolve was inspired by her son Ethan who has Down Syndrome. Understanding the science behind genetic anomalies and its effect on individuals is the catalyst for this current research, as Deirdre works to make the genetic underpinnings of Down Syndrome accessible to a lay audience through music. Hearing your genes evolve was premiered at the 2013 Royal Greenwich String Quartet Festival by the Smith Quartet; and it is featured by Ensemble Modern in a documentary produced by Film Tank Productions, to be released in cinemas worldwide in June 2014.
Dr Gribbin said: "I will be working with scientists and medical practitioners at the University of Toronto and with patient groups from the disabled community and those requiring long term hospital stays. Patients will take part in randomised controlled trials, which examine the effect certain types of music have on pain and anxiety in hospital situations. Using conclusive data from research outcomes I will write music that will be used in subsequent trials to monitor its effects on patients."
Dr Gribbin was also awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Medal for her work on advocacy in the arts for the disabled community on 28 May.
The Leverhulme Trust has supported Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance over several years. As well as providing funding for Trinity Laban's groundbreaking research into talent development and performance optimisation, they support the next generation of music and dance students through the Leverhulme Arts Scholarships, which Trinity Laban awards to highly gifted students who have the artistic flair and innate ability to benefit from specialist conservatoire training.
Photo - Dr Gribbin with her son Ethan Stein, who is presenting her with flowers on her piano concerto premiere.