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

PhD: Dr Stephen Keely - Targeting Bile Acids for the Treatment Intestinal Disease

This PhD project will elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved and to identify new targets for therapeutic development.

Project description

Bile acids, classically known for their roles in facilitating fat digestion and absorption, are now recognised as an important family of hormones that regulate many physiological processes both within and outside the intestine. Through complex interactions with the intestinal epithelium, alterations in the levels of colonic bile acids are closely associated with the development of common diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colorectal cancer (CRC), obesity, and diabetes. The primary goal of our research is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved and to identify new targets for therapeutic development.

The precise area of study for this project will be defined with the students input. Students will be based in the Molecular Medicine Department in RCSI and will be trained in electrophysiological, molecular (PCR, Western blotting, siRNA etc.), imaging (confocal microscopy) approaches, and biochemical assays (ELISA, Reverse Phase Protein Arrays) for elucidation of bile acid actions on intestinal epithelial function.

Through collaboration with our industrial partners and researchers at Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork, the student will have opportunities to carry out studies elucidating how bile acid-dependent signalling pathways can be manipulated, either through the use of pharmaceuticals, probiotics, or plant-derived extracts in order to deliver novel therapeutics for intestinal disease.

  • Research theme: Cancer and intestinal disease
  • Keyword: Bile acids, intestinal disease, novel therapeutics

Application process

Email Dr Stephen Keely for more details.

Mentors Dr Stephen Keely