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

Research news archive

06 July 2015

New RCSI-led WATERSPOUTT project to increase affordable access to safe drinking water

A major international research project led by Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology & Medical Physics) pictured, and researchers at RCSI are developing low-cost technologies to reduce the number of people worldwide who rely on unsafe drinking water. The WATERSPOUTT consortium has been awarded €3.6 million by the European Commission under the Horizon2020 programme to provide affordable access to safe drinking water in remote and vulnerable communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and other resource-poor countries. Read more.... (July 2016)

  

Two RCSI-led studies find doctor emigration remains a challenge for Irish Health Service

Foreign trained doctors experience slower career progression than doctors trained in Ireland and half of them plan to move on to a new country, as reported in two papers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), which were published in June in BMC Human Resources for Health. Read more.... (June 2016)

French-Irish scientific collaboration strengthened with new agreement signed at RCSI

Ambassador honours Professor Brian Harvey (pictured) with distinguished Academic Palm award

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the University of Montpellier signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), on Tuesday, 28th June 2016, to enhance their collaboration in health and medical sciences research and education. The agreement, which also incorporates the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), strengthens a long-standing collaboration between the institutions and builds on an initial agreement made in 2009 which has resulted in successful PhD co-supervision, staff exchanges, joint publications and research grants. Read more.... (June 2016)

 

 

 

RCSI wins national award for Knowledge Transfer Initiative of the Year

RCSI's Innovation team has won the Knowledge Transfer Initiative of the Year Impact Award at the national Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards 2016. The award was presented to the team by Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD for their initiative "Building a Culture of Knowledge Transfer" at a ceremony held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin last night.

Pictured (l-r) are Prof Raymond Stallings, Director of Research; RCSI; Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD; Dr Aoife Gallagher, Head of Innovation, RCSI; Dr Seamus Browne, Industry Liaison Manager, RCSI; Prof Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of Applied Research, RCSI.

The winning initiative was led by Dr Aoife Gallagher, Head of Innovation, RCSI and Dr Seamus Browne, Industry Liaison Manager, RCSI who have spearheaded the College's commercialisation and industry engagement functions since the launch of the new RCSI Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) in 2014. The goal of the team is to work with RCSI Principal Investigators (PIs) to ensure that RCSI research is given the best opportunity to make economic and societal impact through the provision of customer-orientated industry engagement and research commercialisation services to researchers and industry partners. In 2015, the team launched a new strategic initiative "Building a Culture of Knowledge Transfer at RCSI" to maximize researcher engagement in knowledge transfer activities to achieve this goal. Read more.... (June 2016)

RCSI School of Physiotherapy hosts Queensland University Professor

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland)'s School of Physiotherapy was delighted to host Professor Gwendolen Jull AO, MPhty, PhD, FACP, Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland from 17th-19th June.
 
Pictured (l-r) is Louise Keating, RCSI School of Physiotherapy, and Prof Gwen Jull
 
Professor Jull has published extensively in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy with over 270 publications, three books and 40 book chapters. She is also co-editor of the international journal, Manual Therapy, a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists and Founding Director of the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. Read more.... (June 2016)

  

RCSI hosts European MedTech Week event

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) in partnership with RCSI hosted the main national European MedTech Week event for Ireland in the College on Tuesday 14th June. Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD was the keynote speaker at the event which explored 'Industry-clinical collaboration for better patient outcomes'. MedTech Week, which took place from 13-17th June, brings companies and associations across Europe together to raise awareness about medtech. Read more.... (June 2016)

Bestselling author of Bad Science, Dr Ben Goldacre to speak at 3U Partnership public lecture in RCSI

Dr Ben Goldacre will unpick dodgy scientific claims, missing research results and badly designed clinical trials in his public lecture for 3U Partnership entitled "Bad Trials" taking place at 4:30pm today in RCSI. Dr Goldacre will speak to a capacity audience of staff and students from across the 3U Partner Institutions, DCU, Maynooth University and RCSI, as well as to a wider audience of interested stakeholders and the general public at the 3U Partnership sponsored event which will be held in RCSI's O'Flanagan Lecture Theatre, 123 St Stephen's Green, this afternoon. Read more.... (June 2016)

Phage treatment kills bacteria in CF lung.

An international team of scientists involving RCSI Researchers have published the first preclinical study demonstrating viral phage efficacy against bacterial infections in lung epithelia. The breakthrough was published this month in the Nature publication Scientific Reports. The research team involved microbiologists from the University of Wroclaw, Poland, led by Prof Zuzanna Drulis-Kawa, geneticists from the Laboratory of Gene Technology, KU Leuven, Belgium, led by Prof Rob Lavigne, and CF researchers from the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine and the National Children's Research Centre led by Prof Brian Harvey (pictured). The team developed and tested a virus-derived phage (KTN4) against the most common bacterial infection (Psudomonas aeruginosa) in CF lung epithelia. The lytic virus was shown to have a very strong bactericidal effect with broad spectrum of activity against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa strains, especially from cystic fibrosis patients. Prof Harvey whose team at RCSI carried out the functional studies in normal and CF lung epithelia said this study provides evidence that bacteriophages such as KTN4 have potential to efficiently fight the most common CF lung infections.

What this study adds to the field:
Chronic bacterial infections are the underlying cause of lung destruction (bronchiectasis) and morbidity in cystic fibrosis. CF lung disease involves chronic and virulent infection by Pseudomonas pathogens which produce a cycle of acute inflammatory responses necessitating repeated and long-term antibiotic treatments. The rise in antibiotic resistance genes among microbial pathogens poses an alarming threat to the efficacy of current antimicrobial therapy to treat severe bacterial infections in CF and in sepsis. Antibiotic resistance is reaching a crisis situation in some bacterial pathogens where few therapeutic alternatives remain and pan-resistant strains are becoming more prevalent. Moreover, there is a dearth of new antibiotics in the developmental pipeline. Non-antibiotic therapies to treat bacterial infections are now under serious consideration and one possible option is the therapeutic use of viral phage particles that can target specific bacterial pathogens. Phage therapy can be likened to a ‘guided missile' approach to lyse and kill selected bacteria in contrast to the ‘big hammer' effect of antibiotics which also wipe out beneficial gut bacteria leaving a niche for antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs'. A drawback in the application of phage therapy has been the lack of rigorous pre-clinical evaluation of phage efficacy in human disease models of infection such as CF. The study focused on preclinical approaches to assess bacteriophage efficacy against Pseudomonas biofilms and infections in CF lung epithelia. The significant bacterial killing effects observed in the study indicate that giant KTN4 phage is a suitable candidate for in vivo phage therapy evaluation for lung infection applications. 

Open access to the full article is available on the Nature website: nature.com/articles/srep28115 (June 2016)

RCSI hosts European MedTech Week event

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) in partnership with RCSI hosted the main national European MedTech Week event for Ireland in the College on the 14th June 2016. Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD was the keynote speaker at the event which explored 'Industry-clinical collaboration for better patient outcomes'. MedTech Week, which takes place this week from 13th-17th June, brings companies and associations across Europe together to raise awareness about medtech. (June 2016)

New Research on the Importance of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Dr Emer Reeves, Michelle White, Fatma Gargoum, Niall Browne and Killian Hurley, all of RCSI Department of Medicine, recently published a paper entitled "New Research on the Importance of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function for Optimal Neutrophil Activity". (May 2016)

Biomedical and Lifesciences Innovation Showcase

RCSI and TCD have held their first joint Biomedical and Lifesciences Innovation showcase on 17th May in the Science Gallery. This primarily industry facing event showcased RCSI research expertise and mechanisms of engagement to entrepreneurs and representatives from relevant companies. Examples of the next wave of Biomedical and Life Sciences research underway in both Institutions were given and the opportunities for collaboration outlined to participant companies. (May 2016)

New research shows cartilage repair technology helps injured thoroughbred horse ‘Beyoncé' return to competitive show-jumping

New research from RCSI and the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre, AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) published today in the Journal of Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine has found that a novel biomaterial that can repair damaged knee cartilage has led to an injured thoroughbred filly, Beyoncé returning to competitive show jumping following implantation of this biomaterial. Read more..... (May 2016)

Global Health Conference

RCSI hosted a two-day international global health conference to address the urgent health needs of low and middle income countries. At the meeting, researchers and medical practitioners discussed global health needs in light of the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and the world's commitment to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Delegates from a range of educational, training and research partnerships also shared experiences on key issues for improving global health at the conference. The conference had two keynote speakers; Professor Francis Omaswa from Uganda, who highlighted the importance of ownership and leadership in Africa, as well as Lord Nigel Crisp, who called for a new approach to global health. Theorganising committee included Mr James Geraghty (RCSI Council), Professor Ruairi Brugha (Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine) Professor Sam McConkey (International Health & Tropical Medicine), Avril Hutch, Eric O'Flynn (both COSECSA), Professor Sean Tierney (Surgical Affairs), David Weakliam (ESTHER Ireland) and Aoife Congdon (Conference & Events). (April 2016)

New synthetic compound restores airway cell function in CF lung

An international team of scientists involving RCSI Researchers have developed and tested a synthetic compound (QUB-TL1) which restores normal cell function in airway cells from cystic fibrosis lung. The breakthrough was published this month in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. The research team involved chemists at Queen’s University Belfast led by Prof Lorraine Martin who developed the compound and CF researchers from the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine led by Prof Brian Harvey (pictured) and the Cystic Fibrosis Center, University of North Carolina led by Prof Jack Stubbs. Prof Harvey whose team at RCSI carried out the functional studies said this study provides evidence that protease inhibitor compounds such as QUB-TL1 have potential to ameliorate CF lung disease and will move into clinical trials.

What this study adds to the field:

CF lung disease involves genetic mutations to a chloride ion channel (CFTR) and an over-activation of a sodium ion channel (ENaC) which result in poor hydration of the liquid layer overlying the lung epithelial cells, creating a viscous mucus and trap for invading bacteria with resulting lung destruction. Current research aims to finding molecules which restore CFTR function and/or inhibit the excessive sodium absorption using inhibitors of the ENaC sodium channel. Previous studies highlight that ENaC may be over-activated by proteases in CF airways and its blockade may offset the development of CF lung disease in a manner independent of CFTR mutation. ENaC inhibition therefore provides significant opportunity for a therapeutic strategy that would be suitable for all patients. This study reports a rationally designed novel compound (QUB-TL1), restricted to the extracellular surface of airway epithelial cells that selectively inhibits critical ENaC-activating proteases. QUB-TL1-mediated inhibition of protease-ENaC signaling in lung cells obtained from CF patients (F508del homozygotes) improves airway liquid dynamics and restores mucociliary function.

The paper is available to download at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27014936 (April 2016)

RCSI hosts All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Research Conference

Approximately 100 delegates attended the 38th All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Research Conference which was hosted by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) at the College on 21st and 22nd March. The attendees comprised postgraduate students and faculty from all five Schools of Pharmacy in Ireland; RCSI, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

A total of 75 abstracts were included in the conference programme, with 18 oral presentations from postgraduate students scheduled over the two days. This year's conference programme also included two keynote speakers; Dr Margaret Watson (University of Aberdeen) and Professor Robbert Jan Kok (Utrecht University). Dr Watson's keynote address focussed on the importance of pharmacy practice-based research in informing evidence-based pharmacy practice and policy. Professor Kok's keynote address outlined how the safety and efficacy of drugs could be improved through selective targeting and localised delivery.

The winner of the best oral presentation was David Walsh, PhD in RCSI's Anatomy Department, who presented his research on novel gene-activated scaffolds for application in tissue engineering. The winner of the best poster presentation was Marine Chalanqui of Queen's University, for her research on a biologically loaded, thermo-sensitive hydrogel for the treatment of bone metastases. (March 2016)

RCSI Ranked in Times Higher Education Best Universities in Europe

RCSI has been ranked in the 131 - 140 category of Top 200 European Universities by the Times Higher Education World (THE) University Rankings.  The Top 200 European Universities is a subset of the THE World University Rankings released in September 2015 and is based on the same dataset of 13 performance indicators, but limited to European Universities only.

Overall 22 countries are represented in the top 200 list, which draws upon data from the 800 universities from 70 countries in the overall THE World University Rankings. All universities in the ranking have had to demonstrate excellence across a range of measures, covering the teaching environment, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. View the full list of the top universities in Europe here (March 2016)

RCSI student Alice Fox receives prestigious achievement award

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) second year medical student Alice Fox has received an international award from the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS). The Society promotes professional growth and leadership for women interested in orthopaedics. 


Pictured (l-r) is RJOS President Dr Kristy Weber with Alice Fox at the RJOS/AAOS Meeting in Orlando, Florida. 

Alice was honoured with the Medical Student Achievement Award at the March 1st at the 2016 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in Orlando, Florida. The award honours achievements in academics, research, leadership, mentoring, athletics and community service.

Alice also received an Undergraduate Research Travel Award from RCSI to support travel costs for the meeting as well as allowing her to participate in the RJOS/Perry Initiative Outreach Workshop, which included lectures and hands-on skills modules. 

The Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS) is named after the first female orthopaedic surgeon in the United States and promotes professional growth and leadership for women interested in orthopaedics. (March 2016)

RCSI RESEARCH DAY 2016

  This years' RCSI Research Day took place on 25th February. The event, which showcases the most recent findings of research taking place at RCSI, was attended by more than 300 researchers throughout the day-long event. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences, healthcare delivery and health professions education were just some of the topics featured in studies presented.

This year's event was a tremendous success, and saw an unprecedentedly high level of undergraduate participation this year, emphasising the importance of research in the development and career progression of our students. The event was organised by Co-ordinators Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (Academic Co-ordinator), Stephanie O'Connor, John White, Cathy O'Byrne (Co-ordinators - Office of Research and Innovation), the organising committee of Dr Andrew Cameron (Anatomy), Amy Cole (MCT), Dr Mark McCormack (MCT), Sean Quinlan (Physiology & Medical Physics), Mary Elizabeth Walsh (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Cian O'Leary (School of Pharmacy) and Dr Hans-Georg Koenig (Physiology & Medical Physics).

 

Pictured: L to R: Dr Aoife Gallagher, RCSI Head of Innovation, Prof. Steve Jackson of University of Cambridge, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2016, and Prof. Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research.

Mid-day, Professor Prof. Steve Jackson of University of Cambridge delivered this year's John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture. Prof Jackson FRS, FMedSci is the University of Cambridge Frederick James Quick and Cancer Research UK Professor of Biology. He is also Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute, and an Associate Faculty member at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The talk title was: "Cellular responses to DNA damage:  from molecular insights to new cancer treatments."

Research Day Prizes

Research Day 2016 concluded with an evening awards ceremony which took place in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Academic Co-Ordinator, hosted the ceremony which saw awards being presented to winners across twelve categories.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery to Mr. Jahangir Sajjad (pictured), Research Registrar, Department of Neurosurgery, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork. The College medal, which is generously supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965, is awarded to a neurosurgery trainee in recognition of outstanding work and excellence in the field of neurosurgery. This is a prestigious award of RCSI and is run in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience. The prize pays special tribute to the memory of Mr Kamal Sayed, a graduate of RCSI (Class of 1960). The award was presented by Mr Amos Sayed, and also on behalf of his sisters Dr. Camilla Carroll (FRCSI and Class of 1985) and Dr Jacintha More O'Ferrall (Class of 1990).

RCSI Author Citations Prizes were awarded to Dr Annette T. Byrne, Dept. of Physiology & Medical Physics, jointly to Ciara M. Murphy, Matthew Haugh & Prof. Fergal J. O'Brien, Dept. of Anatomy, Dr. Mark McCormack, Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, and to Prof. Alice V. Stanton, Dept of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics.  These prizes were presented by Ms. Aoife Flanagan, Head of Institutional Research and Planning, RCSI.

Dr Niamh Connolly, RCSI School of Pharmacy, was announced as the winner of the Health Professions Education Award. The prize was awarded in the broad category of health professions education, acknowledging the centrality of a robust research and development approach to all RCSI's educational programmes.

Mr Eric Clarke, Health Informatics, Mrs Jane Burns, Health Professions Education Centre, and Dr Richard Arnette, Quality Enhancement Office, were presented with the prize for the front cover illustration of the RCSI Research Day abstract book for their outstanding image entitled ‘What #breastcancer looks like'.

Medical student Rena Al-Zubaidy was awarded the Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for the best undergraduate oral presentation. This category was open to all RCSI Research Summer Students who completed a research project in 2015. This medal award was created by Dr. Yacoob Kadwa, RCSI graduate (Class of 1965) to pay special tribute to the memory of Dr. Harry O'Flanagan, former Registrar of the RCSI. The undergraduate poster presentation prize was awarded to Pharmacy student Jennifer Toney.

In the postgraduate scholars - first year category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in first year of fulltime registration or equivalent, Edmund Gilbert, RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, was the recipient of Biosciences Limited and Cruinn Diagnostics Limited Prize for the best oral presentation. The poster presentation prize winner in the category was Emily Ryan, RCSI Department of Anatomy.

In the postgraduate scholars category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in second or later year of fulltime registration or equivalent, Claire Brougham, RCSI Department of Anatomy, was awarded the Roche Medal for the best oral presentation. The poster presentation prize winner in the category, which is sponsored by Fannin, was awarded to William Lackington, RCSI Department of Anatomy.

In the Early Career Investigators category which was open to all RCSI post-doctoral fellows, Dr Natalia Lajczak, RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine, was awarded the Barnes Medal for the best oral presentation. The award is named after Dr Joe Barnes, Professor Emeritus of Tropical Medicine in RCSI and was presented by his son Mr. Matthew Barnes. The poster prize winner in this category, was awarded to Dr Gillian Lavelle, RCSI Department of respiratory Medicine. The judges noted that the standard of science in this category was exceptionally high. (February 2016)

Human heart valve grown in lab among innovations presented at RCSI Research Day 2016

Picturered: Claire Brougham with supervisor Professor Fergal O'Brien

RCSI scientists have made a breakthrough in heart research by growing a fully functioning heart valve in the lab that has the potential to work effectively within a growing human body. This is the first time researchers have successfully made a valve capable of functioning for prolonged periods and adapting to the growing body. It will potentially eliminate the need for children with defective valves to undergo repeat surgeries. The research is among the innovations being presented at RCSI Research Day 2016, which takes place today at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The research was carried out by Claire Brougham, a PhD student at the Tissue Engineering Research Group in the Department of Anatomy at RCSI and Lecturer at DIT. Read more... (February 2016)

The Rise of Diabetes in Ireland to be explored at RCSI Public Health Lecture

The rise and rise of diabetes in Ireland will be the focus of a free RCSI MyHealth public health lecture in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, on Thursday, 3rd March 2016. Medical and research experts will discuss the rapid growth of diabetes to help people make informed health decisions about living with the condition. The lecture will be held from 18.30 - 20.30 at RCSI, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Read more... (February 2016)

RCSI Hosts fifth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The fifth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) will take place today and tomorrow at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). ICHAMS is a biomedical conference for undergraduate healthcare and medical students to present their research to peers and researchers from diverse fields of research. In addition to the high calibre of delegates at the conference, there are numerous workshops offered on a variety of topics, as well as the opportunity to network with delegates from all over the world.

More than 200 undergraduate healthcare students from Ireland, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will attend the conference to present oral and poster presentations on a wide variety of healthcare research. The theme of this year's event is ‘Connect. Collaborate. Differentiate'. Read More... (February 2016)

For further information on the conference programme visit the conference website ichams.org.

Dr Helen French  Appointed Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton

Dr Helen French, RCSI School of Physiotherapy has been appointed as Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton for a period of three years (2016-2019). This appointment will enhance research collaborations between RCSI School of Physiotherapy and the Health Sciences Centre, University of Southampton. (February 2016)

RCSI stroke study among seven projects to benefit from €4.5 million research investment

The Health Research Board (HRB) and the Atlantic Philanthropies recently announced the research arm of Ireland's first National Dementia Strategy. Seven new research projects have been funded to support the implementation of the strategy. Among the awards is a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Award which is being led by Professor Anne Hickey (pictured), Associate Professor Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). Professor Hickey will now lead the StrokeCog study, which involves modelling and modifying the consequences of stroke-related cognitive impairment through intervention both in the hospital and in the community. Read more... (February 2016)

RCSI Research Leader receives award for research in safe and quality prescribing

The Health Research Board (HRB) has appointed four new Research Leaders in the areas of suicide prevention, safe prescribing, dementia care and team leadership in the health services. These awards, worth a total of €5.7million, are designed to build capacity in areas of strategic importance for health delivery in Ireland. They will ensure senior people have dedicated time to generate relevant evidence to inform decision-making in these key areas. One of these leaders is Professor Kathleen Bennett (pictured), Associate Professor in Biostatistics at the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Division of Population Health Sciences, will now lead a research team to undertake a programme of research titled ‘Statistical epidemiology in Population Health and Health Services Research: Quality and Patient Safety in Medicines'. The programme will aim to provide detailed information and evidence about adverse drug events (ADE) in primary care and hospital settings with a view to devising an evidence-informed approach to reduce ADEs in the Irish healthcare setting, costs associated with ADEs and information on medication taking behaviour. Read more... (February 2016)

Adverse Events in Irish Hospitals - RCSI Publish First Ever Data

New research shows that one in eight patients admitted to hospital during 2009 experienced adverse events. This is the first time such research has been carried out in Ireland and the figures are broadly consistent with baseline studies conducted in other countries. 

The study, which was carried out by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) researchers Dr Natasha Rafter (Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine), Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine), Professor Anne Hickey (Psychology), and Professor Ronan Conroy (Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine), in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI), will be published today in the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal. It was funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Read more... (February 2016)

New test to improve treatment for patients at risk of heart attack to be developed by Irish research consortium and BD

Professor Dermot Kenny, Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Director of the Clinical Research Centre at RCSI

An Irish research consortium is embarking on a new project to make a test, which will lead to better treatment of cardiovascular disease, readily available to patients. Professor Dermot Kenny (RCSI, Principal Investigator, BDI) and Professor Antonio Ricco (Adjunct Professor, DCU, Principal Investigator, BDI) have developed a laboratory-based test, which has already been trialled on 400 patients, to identify those who may be at high risk of side effects from heart disease medication. Read more... (February 2016)

 

RCSI Professors Participate in International Study Published in Nature

Professor Kieran Murphy (Psychiatry) and Professor John Waddington (MCT) participated in an international study, the results of which were published in the journal Nature. The article, ‘Schizophrenia risk from complex variation of complement component 4', is the first to relate genetic variation associated with risk for schizophrenia to a molecular mechanism and to potential therapeutic targets. The study, which analyses DNA data from 28,799 schizophrenia cases and 35,986 control subjects, together with investigations in post-mortem human brain samples, involves a global collaborative network, the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which Kieran and John are members. (February 2016)

RCSI Professor awarded Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) James M. Flaherty visiting Professorship

Professor Tom Fahey, Head of the Department of General Practice and Principal Investigator of the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, has been awarded a James M. Flaherty visiting Professorship funded by the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF). These awards were established specifically to encourage and support academic links between Canada and Ireland. Professor Fahey will travel to Canada for a month and visit the Universities of Ottawa, Toronto and British Columbia. He will also visit the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Canada's principal general medical journal. (February 2016)

RCSI Researcher Clinical Cancer Research Publication

Dr Damir Vareslija (Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Surgery) has had a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, under the supervision of Professor Leonie Young and Professor Arnold Hill. The study, entitled ‘Adaptation to AI therapy in breast cancer can induce dynamic alterations in ER activity resulting in estrogen independent metastatic tumours', and used models of therapy resistance developed in the lab. The study highlights two important issues: firstly, the need for more efficient drugs to completely block hormone receptor signalling; and secondly, the need to reassess where possible, the hormone receptor status during disease progression, particularly at the metastatic stage, in order to select the most appropriate treatment. (February 2016)

Recently introduced UK healthcare policy unlikely to reduce emergency hospital admissions

A new study published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) from the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in collaboration with the University of Cambridge challenges recent UK healthcare policy which aims to reduce emergency hospital admissions and suggests alternative approaches to this problem are needed. Costly emergency admissions continue to rise and are of increasing interest to healthcare policymakers internationally. Read more... (January 2016)

TERG cleans up at 2016 Bioengineering in Ireland Conference 

Pictured (l-r) are the four prize winners from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) who won awards at the recent 2016 Bioengineering in Ireland Conference, William Whyte, Alan Ryan, Fionnuala O'Gorman and Claire Brougham, with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy).

 

The Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG), a cross departmental research group at RCSI that includes Anatomy, Molecular Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), Chemistry and the School of Pharmacy in addition to clinical departments in orthopaedics & ophthalmology, have reinforced their status as leaders in their field by presenting a series of studies and winning a number of significant awards at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Bioengineering in Ireland), which was held in Salthill Hotel, Galway, on the 22nd and 23rd of January. Read more... (January 2016)

RCSI led study explores factors related to return to work after stroke

A new study on stroke survivors, led by the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) School of Physiotherapy in conjunction with Irish Heart Foundation and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, explored the factors facilitating and impeding a return to work following a stroke in an Irish context using a mixed methods approach.  

Pictured (l-r) is Dr Frances Horgan, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI; Dr Eithne Fitzgerald (CEO, National Disability Authority), Colm Brannigan, Research Fellow, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI) and Mary Walsh (Research Fellow/PhD student, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI).

The research led to the publication of two reports: ‘Exploring the Factors Related to Return to Work after Stroke' and ‘Exploring the impact of fatigue on work ability of people with Rheumatic Diseases' which examined the factors associated with a return to work after a stroke and the in-work barriers that face someone with a rheumatic disease. Read more... (January 2016)

 

RCSI Alumnus & Fellow, Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC receives UK's highest honour

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC, an Alumnus of RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has recently been admitted to the UK's Order of Merit for outstanding contribution to medicine and global health. He was one of three new admissions to the Order, which were announced as part of the Queen's New Year's Honours 2016.  Read more... (January 2016)

 

 

 

Irish start-up to seek venture capital funding after EU approves innovative regenerative product for market

RCSI spin-off to employ 25 by 2019

RCSI co-founders of SurgaColl, Professor Fergal O'Brien, RCSI Anatomy and Dr John Gleeson, Honorary Research Fellow, have received EU certification to bring two products, HydroxyColl and ChondroColl to market. Both products are based on technology developed by the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI, which repair tissue via the recruitment of the body's own cells.

Surgacoll Technologies, a High Potential Start Up (HPSU) supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI), intends to raise venture capital in two rounds over the next three to four years. By 2019 they aim to be generating annual sales of more than €50m in the European and US markets, employing 15 people in Ireland by the end of 2016 and 25 by 2019. Read more...(December 2015)

 

New RCSI epilepsy research paving the way for transformation in epilepsy treatment

Professor David Henshall, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics

New research into the causes of epilepsy, led by scientists at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has identified new approaches to drug therapy that could potentially revolutionise how epilepsy is treated in the future. The study, published in the current edition of Scientific Reports, has identified a way to target the underlying cause of epilepsy, rather than masking the symptoms, and paves the way for the development of new drugs for the condition. 

 Dr Eva Jimenez, Research Fellow and Dr Tobias Engel, StAR Lecturer

The first author on the study is Dr Eva Jimenez, Research Fellow, who worked with joint senior authors Professor David Henshall and Dr Tobias Engel, StAR Lecturer, all based at the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics and numerous international collaborators. Read more... (December 2015)

RCSI Professor Deliverers GSK Prize Lecture

Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) delivered the GSK Prize lecture entitled "The Great ESCAPE- A Clinical Pharmacologist's journey in stroke research" at Pharmacology 2015, the annual scientific meeting of the British Pharmacology Society in December. This was awarded in recognition of Professor Williams contribution to Clinical Pharmacology Research. (December 2015)

RCSI Psychiatry Health Research Awards (HRA) and Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) Awards

The RCSI Department of Psychiatry has achieved a very high success rate in the recent rounds of Health Research Awards (HRA) and Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) Awards from the Health Research Board with a total of four HRA PI awards and two KEDS awards. Professor David Cotter was PI on a HRA entitled "An inflammatory biomarker study of psychosis: a longitudinal study in an at risk population" with Dr Melanie Föcking as co-applicant. Prof Cotter was also PI on two HRB KEDS awards entitled "Development of a young adult colouring book illustrating biological research on mental illness" and "Development and upgrading of the schizophrenia metabocard". Professor Mary Cannon was PI on a HRB HRA entitled "Early life stress and the pathogenesis of auditory hallucinations in young people" while Dr Mary Clarke received an award for her project, "The effects of maternal and foetal stress during pregnancy on adult mental health". Finally, Professor Kieran Murphy was co-applicant for a HRA entitled "Blood brain barrier dysfunction in schizophrenia; a molecular genetics based approach to prognosis". (December 2015)


Professor John Waddington (MCT) co-edited a book entitled ‘Modelling the Psychopathological Dimensions of Schizophrenia' which has been recently published. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive review of the new theoretical, clinical, and basic research framework that considers psychotic illness as a group of dimensional representations of psychopathology. (December 2015)

HR Strategy For Researchers (HRS4R) project

The RCSI Human Resources team were recently awarded the NSAI HR Excellence in People Development Award for the remarkable work they delivered with our research colleagues in the hugely successful HR Strategy For Researchers (HRS4R) project. The project was a review of all HR policies and practices in relation to our Research community which resulted in a multi-year action plan of initiatives aimed at giving RCSI Researchers the best working environment possible. (December 2015)

Boehringer Ingelheim Travelling Fellowship

Michelle White (RCSI Medicine) was awarded the runner-up prize of the Boehringer Ingelheim Travelling Fellowship for her poster presentation at the Irish Thoracic Society Annual meeting held in November 2016. Michelle was awarded the prize for her project titled "Alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation therapy corrects neutrophil membrane structure and cell activity". This project has been funded by Science Foundation Ireland and was jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney (RCSI Medicine). (December 2015)

New RCSI-led WATERSPOUTT project to increase affordable access to safe drinking water

A new project entitled WATERSPOUTT, which aims to design, develop and then pilot solar based technologies for treating drinking water at the point of use in developing countries, has been successful in getting funding by the European Commission. The EC will fund €3.1m of the project's total budget of €3.6m over four years. 3U Global Health is at the core of the proposal with RCSI (as the coordinating partner), Maynooth University and DCU who will receive approximately €750k (21% of the budget). The project will be piloted and assessed for their impact on waterborne disease in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa. WATERSPOUTT consists of 18 partners in 12 countries has been successful in getting funding by the European Commission. Congratulations to Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology & Medical Physics) and to all involved from the 3U Partnership on this fantastic achievement. (December 2015)

RCSI Professor Dean of the Faculty of Pathology at RCPI

Professor Hilary Humphreys (RCSI Microbiology) who has recently been nominated and ratified as the next Dean of the Faculty of Pathology at RCPI. The Faculty is the authoritative body for pathology in Ireland and aims to promote education, research, training standards in pathology. The role commences in February for a period of three years. (December 2015)

AACR Scholar-in-Training Award

Damir Vareslija, a post-doctoral researcher in Department of Surgery, has recently won an AACR Scholar-in-Training Award for his research abstract. The award will support his attendance at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), this month in San Antonio, Texas. (December 2015)

ASPIRE-S Stroke Study looks at Secondary Preventative Therapy

A new study, by Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) in association with Beaumont, Connolly and the Mater hospitals, found a high prevalence of risk factors for patients at six months post stroke, despite the widespread prescription of secondary preventative measures. The research, entitled ASPIRE-S and published in BioMedCentral Neurology, set out to assess whether patients who experience an ischaemic stroke (IS) receive the necessary secondary preventative therapy which aims to reduce the risk of future stroke following discharge from hospital. (December 2015)

Professor David Hoey Outstanding Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Fellow

Congratulations to Professor David Hoey (Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Trinity College Dublin) who was recently named as one of three outstanding Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Fellows. The prizes reward excellence in research by selecting the most promising scientists who received funding under the MSCA COFUND Schemes for their research project carried out between 2008-2015 and David, a former RCSI postdoc received this grant while registered through RCSI with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy) as PI. (December 2015)

 
RCSI Researchers Awarded Irish Research Council New Horizons Research Project Scheme

Dr Frank Doyle (Psychology) and Professor Ronan Conroy (Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine), in collaboration with Professor Richard Costello (Medicine), were awarded an Irish Research Council New Horizons Research Project Scheme (Strand Two), for their application entitled "Developing new analysis techniques for adherence to recommended behaviours using modern technology: Using the novel Inhaler Compliance Aid in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease".

Further, Dr Frank Doyle also won the best poster prize at the Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference, in collaboration with colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine and Universidad Eafit, Colombia, for their presentation "The Techniques for Overcoming Depression (TOD) Scale: Mokken Analysis, Reliability and Concurrent Validity". (December 2015)


TERG Student Awarded Best Student Oral Presentation at the Matrix Biology Ireland 2015 Conference

Rukmain Sridharan, PhD student within the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) and AMBER, was last week awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation at the Matrix Biology Ireland 2015 Conference, held in UCD. Her award-winning talk was entitled "The interplay of biomaterial stiffness and ligand presentation in directing macrophage polarization". (December 2015)

SurgaColl Technologies News

SurgaColl Technologies, a spinout company based around technology initially developed within the TERG, has recently reached an important milestone by securing exclusive distribution agreements for their HydroxyColl product in French and UK markets. This comes on the back of the bone defect scaffold receiving CE marking, making it market ready. Almost a decade of research and development has come to fruition for CEO, Dr John Gleeson (formally a TERG postdoc) and the rest of the SurgaColl team. In recognition of these fantastic achievements, SurgaColl Technologies were shortlisted as one of three finalists in the Medtech Excellence Awards 2015, under the Emerging Medtech Company category. (December 2015)

Taoiseach hosts first science celebration in Government buildings

Pictured An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. with RCSI Prof Fergal O'Brien in attendance

To mark the 20th annual Science Week (www.scienceweek.ie), which takes place next week from the 8th - 15th November, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. attended a showcase of Irish science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at Government Buildings. The event provided an insight into the inspirational and important scientific work being carried out across the country at all levels from primary schools to universities and leading companies such as Pfizer, EMC Ireland, IMB, MSD Ireland and Eli Lilly.  Read more.... (November 2015)

RCSI success in Irish Healthcare Awards 2015

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) had a very successful evening at the recent 2015 Irish Healthcare Awards with a number of staff, teams and graduates picking up prizes at the ceremony, held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, on the 5th November.

Pictured (l-r) is Professor Gerry McElvaney, Laura Fee (Alpha One Foundation), Dr Emer Reeves, Dr David Bergin, Kitty O'Connor (CEO, Alpha One Foundation) and Dr Tomás Carroll.
 
The Respiratory Research Division of the RCSI, Department of Medicine, based in the Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital have had a major success as their paper, The Circulating Proteinase Inhibitor a-1 Antitrypsin Regulates Neutrophil Degranulation and Autoimmunity, was awarded Research Paper of the Year. The team, led by Professor Gerry McElvaney, received their award at a ceremony. The paper, attached, was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine.
The research findings showed how the protein Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) plays an important role in controlling inflammation from white blood cells and its importance for good health. 

Congratulations to Professor McElvaney and to all involved in this important paper, particularly lead co-authors of the study, Dr Emer Reeves and Dr David Bergin, as well as RCSI PhD and medical undergraduate students Killian Hurley, Rebecca Wolfe, Ramia Jameel and Sean Fitzgerald. The research was supported by the Medical Research Charities Group / Health Research Board, the Alpha One Foundation (Ireland) and the Alpha-1 Foundation (USA). Read more.... (November 2015)

New research shows how to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing in older patients

Results from a new HRB-funded study, which aims to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people, reveal the potential for improved medication use, significant cost savings and reduced risk from side effects for patients on a common medication for gastric problems (proton pump inhibitors). The findings are published today (9 November) in Annals of Family Medicine, the highest impact journal in the primary health care field. Read more.... (November 2015)

Dr Sarah O'Neill and Billy Cahill Announced as Winners of 2015 Dean's Award

Dr Sarah O'Neill and Mr Billy Cahill have been named as this year's winners of the Dean's Award. The announcement was made at the annual Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Dinner, which took place on Friday, 16th October. Dr Sarah O'Neill, Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), received the Academic Award while Mr Billy Cahill, Estate and Support Services, was the recipient of the Support Award. Read more .... (Oct 2015)

Billy and Sarah are pictured above (l-r) with Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI. (Oct 2015)

First 100 cases of cutting-edge twin surgery in Ireland show world-class outcomes

A new study of the first 100 cases in Ireland of laser surgery for a life-threatening condition in unborn twins has shown outcomes as good as the world's other leading fetal medical centres. The study, led by RCSI together with the Retunda Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology. Read more.... (Oct 2015)

RCSI Professor Fergal Malone pictured.

  

 

New Irish study shows people are taking more prescription medication but finds improvement in prescribing quality

A new study from the RCSI Department of General Practice has found that people in Ireland are taking more prescribed medications now than they were 18 years ago. However, the research also revealed that despite this increase, the quality of prescribing medications in Ireland has improved with a marked 60% decreased risk associated with prescribing drugs in older people. Read more.... (Oct 2015) 

Pictured is the study's lead researcher, Frank Moriarty, HRB PhD Scholar in Health Services Research at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research in RCSI.

 

RCSI Leaps Up in Times Higher Education World University Rankings

RCSI has significantly improved its position in the 2015-2016 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. RCSI is now ranked in the #251 - 300 category, leaping forward from its 2014-2015 ranking of #389. 

THE World University Rankings employs 13 separate performance indicators to reflect strengths in five areas - teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook. RCSI has increased in its score in all of these areas this year.

RCSI has also increased in its top 50 position for ‘International Outlook' from 49th in the world in 2014-15 to 46th this year. The ‘International Outlook' sub-category gives credits for international students and staff and research publications with international partners. Read more.... (Oct 2015)

National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 Awards

Collaborative research between RCSI (PI - Dr Frances Horgan of the School of Physiotherapy) and the National Rehabilitation Hospital on Return to Work (RTW) after Stroke programme has been funded by the National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014. Findings of the study were presented at the NIMAST (Northern Ireland Multidisciplinary Association of Stroke teams) conference on May 20th 2015. Colm Brannigan, Research Fellow on the project, won the prize for best poster presentation 'Exploring the factors related to return to work after stroke in Ireland'.
 


Colm Brannigan (left) being presented with the best poster award at NIMAST by Dr. Michael McCormick. (June 2015)

RCSI supports Boots Ireland to assist patients through Alcohol Detox

Pictured (l-r) is Prof Paul Gallagher, Head of the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Susan O'Dwyer, Pharmacist, Boots Ireland

RCSI has announced that it is collaborating Boots Ireland in the ongoing development of the new Boots Alcohol Detox Service, the first alcohol detox programme available in pharmacies. The new service follows a pilot which involved pharmacists working with a multi-disciplinary team to support patients who are prescribed medication for detoxification. RCSI will manage an ongoing review of the Boots service which is aimed at advancing efforts to support patients in the community and offer an accessible avenue of treatment. Read more....  (June 2015)

TERG Student wins Donegan Medal

Hugh O'Neill, a final year BioAT PhD student in the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at RCSI, was awarded the Donegan Medal for the best oral presentation at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Section of Biomedical Sciences annual meeting held in RCSI on the 18th of June 2015.  Hugh received the award for his presentation entitled "TheraCardium: On-demand therapeutic delivery device for failing hearts".  Hugh carried out this research while on placement in the US at the Harvard Biodesign Lab headed by Prof. Conor Walsh (http://biodesign.seas.harvard.edu/). This placement was supported by a EMBO short term fellowship.  (June 2015)  

Trinity College Dublin and RCSI launch consortium partnership

Trinity College Dublin and RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) have today signed an agreement to create a consortium that will allow the institutions to collaborate closely to more effectively exploit research outcomes linked to health and clinical expertise. Read more.... (June 2015)  

 

 

RCSI investing €50m to expand its research activities in Ireland

 

Prof Ray Stallings, Director of Research and Prof of Cancer Genetics at RCSI

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is to invest €50 million in a major drive to expand its research activities. The five-year investment plan will create 100 research jobs, including 40 full-time academic posts, and will provide new laboratories and facilities to support their work.

Effectively, this will double the research capacity of the RCSI, the only private medical school in the State, says Director of Research, Professor Raymond Stallings. "It is an exciting time for research as we embark on this programme."

These plans include the establishment of 20 Research Lectureships and 20 Associate Professorships, along with additional methodological and biostatistical supports, PhD studentships and infrastructural developments. This significant investment in our people and our infrastructure supports the College's aims to deliver excellence in education for our students and to transfer research discoveries more quickly into clinical practice for the benefit of patients. Read more.... See www.rcsi.ie/star for further information on the application process. (June 2015)  

RCSI Research Summer School 2015

This year's RCSI Research Summer School (RSS), which began 2nd June and will run until 24th July, saw an unprecedented response with some 120 RCSI students finding research projects for the summer months. The programme revolves around the Skills Workshops and the Friday Discovery Series. The RSS is coordinated by Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT) and her team which includes Dr Martina Crehan, (HPEC); Dr Sally Doherty (Psychology); Dr Helen French (School of Physiotherapy); Louise Keating, (School of Physiotherapy); Dr Dara Meldrum (School of Physiotherapy); Dr Joan Ni Gabhann (MCT); Stephanie O'Connor (Office of Research & Innovation); Dr Declan Patton (School of Nursing); Dr Joanne Ramsey, (School of Pharmacy); Dr Zeibun Ramtoola (School of Pharmacy); Dr Emer Reeves (Medicine); Dr Siobhan Smith, (MCT) and Dr Niall Stevens (Microbiology). The RSS is an excellent  initiative where  RCSI students have the opportunity to be part of the diverse and rich research community in RCSI thus setting them on their paths as our future biomedical researchers.  See http://rss.rcsi.ie/ for further information. (June 2015) (June 2015)  

Inaugural International Research Summer School Begins at RCSI and Soochow University

The first International Research Summer School (IRSS) began this month at RCSI which saw students from the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Soochow University (SU), China, exchange with medicine and pharmacy students at RCSI in Dublin and one medical student from RCSI Bahrain. The students will undergo an eight-week research exchange programme and will be hosted in Dublin by Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy), Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), Dr Steven Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT), Dr Helena Kelly (School of Pharmacy) and Dr Cathal Kearney (Anatomy). Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Liam Burke (of the School of Pharmacy) and Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT & Director of RCSI's Research Summer School) led on the IRSS project. Read more.... See http://rss.rcsi.ie/ for further information. (June 2015)   
 

Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Keynote Address

Professor Marie Carney, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, recently gave the keynote presentation at the Jordanian Nursing Council's fifth International Nursing & Midwifery Conference held in Amman, Jordan in April. The talk, ‘Transforming Nursing Quality Care: Promise and Potential', was delivered to an audience including HRH Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan. Prof Carney also gave another keynote address. Titled ‘Nursing and Midwifery from Undergraduate to Advanced Practice: International Dimensions & Outcomes', at Croatian Nursing Council's International Nursing and Midwifery Conference, held in Zagreb. Prof Carney's talk was based on her research undertaken for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland from 2012-2014 and was delivered to an audience which included Croatian Minister of Health, Dr Sinisa Varga. (June 2015)  

RCSI wins Irish Neurological Society Prizes

Dr Mark McCormack (MCT) won the Kirker prize for Best Presentation on Epilepsy and Sinead Heavin (MCT) won the prize for Best Poster Presentation, at the recent meeting of the Irish Neurological Society. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT) and Professor Norman Delanty (Beaumont Hospital & MCT) where the respective supervisors. (June 2015)  

American Society of Clinical Oncology Awards

Yasir Elamin (Molecular Medicine), an MD student with Dr Bryan Hennessy, won two prestigious awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): a Merit Award and a Young Investigator Award. Both accolades, which were presented at a recent award ceremony in Chicago, were awarded for Yasir's work on PTPN11 gene mutations in lung cancer. (June 2015)  

RCSI wins 2015 Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Barcroft Medal

Dr Alice O'Farrell (Physiology & Medical Physics & Centre for Systems Medicine) who was awarded the 2015 Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Barcroft Medal at the Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Sciences Section, which was held at RCSI on June 18th. The Award was made for Alice's presentation entitled "Cardiac Metabolic Pathway Remodelling in Response to Sunitinib Malate: Potential Role for Positron Emission Tomography in the Cardio-Oncology Setting". (June 2015)  

Professor Brian Harvey gives Plenary Lecture at 9th International RRSH Meeting

Professor Brian Harvey (Molecular Medicine) who presented the Plenary Lecture on the topic of Estrogen Actions in Health and Disease at the 9th International RRSH (Rapid Responses to Steroid Hormones) Meeting held earlier this month at the National University Taipei, Taiwan. (June 2015)  

 

 

 

School Of Postgraduate Studies SFI ISCA Collaborative Research Visits

The awarding of SFI funded International Strategic Collaboration (ISCA) awards, coordinated by the RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, enabled three collaborative research visits to RCSI. ISCA China saw two researchers from China visit the College. Dr Pengyan Xia (Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) visited Dr Markus Rehm's (Physiology & Medical Physics) laboratory. Dr Xia was introduced to the research methodologies and strategies developed at RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine. Strategies for continued collaborative research activities were discussed and Dr Xia presented his recent research findings as part of the Centre for Systems Medicine seminar series.


Dr Dongya Zhan (Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen) visited Dr David Hughes's (Physiology & Medical Physics) laboratory. Dongya showcased his work in the bioinformatic analysis of metagenomic sequencing and metagenome-gene wide association studies of the microbiota for projects in cancer, arthritis, diabetes and obesity. (May 2015)

RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Attends European Wound Management Association Conference

The RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery was well represented at the recent European Wound Management Association conference in London which ran from 12th-15th May. Four staff from the school, Professor Zena Moore, Dr Tom O Connor, Dr Declan Patton and Julie Jordan O Brien; and one student, Maire O'Meara attended, presenting a total of seven papers and chairing five sessions. The papers delivered by RCSI staff all received positive feedback from attendees, of which there were over 4,000. A number of important side meetings with current and prospective industry partners also took place with a view to continuing the strong research developments within the school. (May 2015)

RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Reach Programme

The Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Reach Programme is a research capacity building programme for nurses and midwives in Dublin North Services. It is a clinical academic partnership between the Nursing Midwifery Planning & Development Unit, the HSE, Dublin North and RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. Dr Linda Nugent (Research Fellow) is responsible for the programmes implementation. The programme is supporting nurses and midwives research in clinical settings to develop eHealth solutions. Linda is also supporting the development of a Community Virtual Ward Model to support older people in the community who have complex medical and social needs. The REACH programme has also been accepted for an oral presentation at the third International APN and ANP congress to be held in Munich this September. (May 2015)

RCSI Success in New Clinical Trial Networks

Researchers and healthcare professionals from RCSI, involved in three new clinical trial networks will receive part of a new €10 million investment from the Health Research Board (HRB). The investment, which will span a total of four networks, will benefit stroke patients, mothers and babies, primary care and intensive care patients by addressing important research questions. The HRB Ireland Perinatal Clinical Trials Network is being co-led by Professor Fergal Malone (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) and Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) was a co-applicant to the HRB Irish Stroke Clinical Trials Network. Our Department of General Practice and the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research are both partners in the HRB Irish Primary Care Trials Network, being led by NUI Galway. Read more.... (May 2015)

RCSI wins DCU Presidents award for Innovation and DCU Invent Commercialisation Award

Professor Dermot Kenny (RCSI MCT) and Professor Elaine Kay (RCSI Pathology), research team won both the DCU Presidents award for Innovation and a DCU Invent Commercialisation Award for their project which focuses on biochip array assay for the detection of colorectal cancer antibodies. The research team received the award for an Innovation Partnership with Randox Teoranta. (May 2015)  

Public Epilepsy Research and Treatment Seminar

A public seminar took place in the College on the 23rd April which highlighted recent discoveries in epilepsy research and explored the future of epilepsy treatment. The event, attended by over 120 people, was jointly hosted by Epilepsy Ireland and RCSI. Epilepsy Ireland is a patient-support organisation that actively supports and funds epilepsy research in Ireland. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT), Professor David Henshall (Physiology & Medical Physics) and Professor Norman Delanty from RCSI all presented on the night. Dr Sinéad Heavin, a post-doctoral researcher (MCT) acted as coordinator for the event. The seminar was a great success, and received very positive feedback and the organisers plan to host similar events in the future. (May 2015) 

Schizophrenia Working Group Nature Genetics Publication

Professor Kieran Murphy, RCSI Psychiatry, and Professor John Waddington, RCSI Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, participated in an important international study, the results of which have just been published in the journal Nature Genetics (2015; 47: 291-295). This article ‘LD score regression distinguishes confounding from polygenicity in genome-wide association studies' dissociates, for the first time, polygenicity (many small genetic effects) from confounding biases such as unrecognised relatedness and genetic drift. The study involves a global collaborative network, including the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which both Professors are members. (May 2015) 

ASPIRE-S Study Publication

Dr Lisa Mellon, RCSI Psychology has recently had the first paper arising from the HRB-funded ASPIRE-S study, entitled ‘Cognitive impairment six months after ischaemic stroke: A profile from the ASPIRE-S study' published in BMC Neurology. (May 2015)

HRB Trials Methodology Research Network Writing Competition Winner

Frank Moriarty, a pharmacist undertaking a PhD through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research (now the SPHeRE programme) has won a national writing competition run by the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) in conjunction with Irish Times. The competition was to mark International Clinical Trials Day on 20th of May and Frank's winning article on ‘why clinical trials should not be random acts of research' was publishes in the Irish Times health supplement and on irishtimes.com.
Mr Moriarty is based at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and is researching potentially inappropriate prescribing and its clinical and economic impact. (May 2015)

Professor Magnus Ohman named as most highly cited researcher

RCSI alumnus, Professor Magnus Ohmanof the Class of 1981, is among the Thompson Reuters most Highly Cited Researchers 2014.

Prof Ohman joins Professor KK Teo (McMaster, Canada - Cardiovascular Epidemiology) and , Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI Department of Psychiatry on the list. Prof Ohman reflected on his time at the College and in Dublin by saying, "The days at RCSI and the Richmond Hospital were wonderful and both KK Teo and I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude towards John Horgan, as he really put us on the right academic track. It has been great journey and I look forward to visiting Dublin later in the year". (May 2015)

 

RCSI/DCU Study shows health professionals emigrate from Ireland to escape difficult working conditions

Doctors, nurses and midwives have been leaving Ireland in large numbers since 2008, and there are concerns that many will not return. A new study has found that difficult working conditions in the Irish health system form the main reason for them leaving.  The study, conducted by researchers from the RCSI and Dublin City University (DCU), was published today in BMC Human Resources for Health. 

"It is clear that unsatisfactory working conditions in the Irish health system are a major factor in their decision to emigrate and play a big role in whether or not they will return" said lead researcher, Dr. Niamh Humphries, Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI. Read more.... (May 2015) 

RCSI and AMBER Led EU Consortium Receives €8.9 Million Funding to Develop Materials and Cell Based Treatments for Diabetes

Programme of research will be a game-changer for people with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes

Major new EU funding for research into diabetes was announced, 19 May 2015, today by a group led by RCSI  and AMBER (Advanced Materials for Bioengineering Research). The DRIVE (Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy) consortium involves fourteen partners from seven European countries and has received €8.9 million funding as part of the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The DRIVE programme will create thirteen new jobs in Ireland and it will develop natural materials and new surgical devices to enhance the transplant and survival of insulin producing pancreatic islets for the treatment of diabetes. The DRIVE programme is co-ordinated by Dr Garry Duffy, Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group, RCSI and AMBER Investigator. In addition to the fourteen partners, the DRIVE consortium brings together internationally recognised academics, large medical devices industries and clinical experts in islet transplantation including Oxford University. Irish partners include Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Boston Scientific. Read more....

Pictured (l-r) are Dr Helena Kelly, (Deputy Co-ordinator of DRIVE), Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at RCSI and Dr Garry Duffy (Co-ordinator for DRIVE), Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI and AMBER Investigator

Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin to become associated teaching faculty partner to RCSI School of Pharmacy 

Staff from RCSI' s School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences pictured with staff from Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin at the signing of the partnership agreement

RCSI has signed a strategic partnership with Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin which will see the hospital becoming an associated teaching faculty partner to the RCSI School of Pharmacy. The aim of the partnership is to enhance paediatric care through the delivery of practice-based research. The research activity will include evaluation of services and initiatives to promote safe and effective use of medicines and ultimately to conduct clinical trials which will provide an evidence base for improved therapeutics and interventions in children. Read more.... (May 2015)

RCSI Research Informs Landmark Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report: Investment in Surgery Could Save Millions of Lives

Report finds over half of global population does not have access to surgical care

Two thirds of the world's population lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed, according to initial findings of a report carried out by the Lancet Commission with support from RCSI. Global Surgery 2030, the landmark initial report of The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, published its initial findings in a landmark study: Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare and economic development. A fifteen year programme to implement the proposals was launched in Boston on Wednesday, 6th May 2015. Read more.... (May 2015)

RCSI Announces €50 million Investment in Research

RCSI today, May 5, 2015, announced it is investing €50 million in the expansion of its research division over the next five years and the creation of 100 new jobs in the area. The newly created posts in academia and research will help to grow the College's international reputation in the areas of research and education.

Over the next five years, the College will appoint 20 new Research Lecturers, 20 associate professors, additional PhD and MD students, and support staff. Read more.... (May 2015)

Minister English announces €30 million SFI investment in scientific research

SFI Investigators Programme funding success for RCSI's Professor Jochen Prehn and Dr Markus Rehm

On 24th April 2015, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD announced more than €30 million of research funding to be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving more than 100 researchers with funding for each project will ranging from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

Among those awarded funding were RCSI co-applicants Professor Jochen Prehn and Dr Markus Rehm, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a colorectal cancer research project. The project entitled "Development of personalised medicine approaches for the clinical application of IAP antagonists in metastatic and high risk early stage colorectal cancer" will look at improving the treatment of colorectal cancer by using a new drug that selectively "kills" cancer. The team will maximise the clinical impact of these drugs by developing a way of identifying patients who will benefit most from this treatment. Experienced teams in Belfast and Dublin and commercial partners will work together to deliver these goals. Read more.... (April 2015)

Future of epilepsy research to be explored at Epilepsy Ireland/ RCSI public seminar

A public seminar which will explore cutting-edge epilepsy research entitled "Epilepsy Research Explained: Recent Discoveries and Future Directions" will take place in the RCSI, St Stephen's Green this evening. The event, which is jointly hosted by Epilepsy Ireland and RCSI is aimed at a public audience and will highlight recent discoveries in epilepsy and what the future of epilepsy treatment might hold. Due to unprecedented demand, the event is fully booked. Read more.... (April 2015)

Personalised multi-user games may help children with autism and intellectual disabilities to improve social skills

International DOCTRID IV intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders conference opens today

A two-day international conference which opens in Queen's University Belfast today will explore the challenges and future directions of research and policy in the fields of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders, including how technologies such as computer games may improve the lives of those with these conditions.

The 4th international DOCTRID Conference will bring leaders from academia, clinical practice and service providers together with families and carers of those with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. The DOCTRID Research Institute (DRI) is coordinated by Professor Brian Harvey, (pictured) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and has a strong research focus on the role which assistive technology can play in improving the lives of people with disability. Read more.... (April 2015)

 

RCSI Researchers Attend First Meeting of the Neutrophil Club in Paris, France

On the 10th of April, 2015, a very successful first meeting of the Neutrophil Club was held in, Paris, France. This meeting was organised by Dr Véronique Witko-Sarsat, Institut Cochin, in association with the French Society for Immunology to foster collaborations and to enhance the study of neutrophil function; from mechanisms to disease. Leaders in the field of neutrophil biology were invited to give key note talks on diverse areas. Dr. Emer Reeves (pictured) was an invited International speaker to present a talk on ‘Neutrophils in cystic fibrosis: the CFTR story'. In addition, a number of young investigators were provided with the opportunity to present their research and Dr. Ciara O' Dwyer delivered an oral presentation on her project titled ‘ The BLT1 antagonistic function of AAT augmentation therapy disrupts leukotriene B4 neutrophil signalling'. Michelle White, a SFI funded PhD student, presented her study in poster format titled ‘An inflammatory induced impairment affecting neutrophil lipid raft structure and cell adhesion in cystic fibrosis is corrected by CFTR potentiator therapy'. Both Ciara and Michelle were awarded travel grants to attend the meeting. (April 2015)  

RCSI's Professor Fergal Malone announced as new Master of the Rotunda Hospital

Professor Fergal Malone (pictured), Professor and Chairman of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Rotunda Hospital, has been appointed as the next Master and Chief Executive Officer of the Rotunda, for a seven year term.  Professor Malone, a Waterford native, will be the 39th consecutive Master of the Rotunda since its inception in 1745. Read more .... (April 2015)

 

 

RCSI graduate named ‘Innovator of the Year' by US Society of Interventional Radiology

Professor Kieran Murphy (Class of 1986), Professor of Radiology and Director of Clinical Faculty, Techna Research Institute, has been named as "Innovator of the Year" by the US Society of Interventional Radiology.

Kieran was presented with this award at the recent ceremony and you can watch his acceptance speech here (April 2015)  

 

 

Susan G. Komen Foundation Grant news

Dr Ann Hopkins (pictured) (RCSI Surgery) has been awarded a pilot grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the United States, along with Professor Saraswati Sukumar, a new collaborator who is co-director of the Breast Cancer Programme in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The grant was one of six competitively awarded to newly-formed consortia at a conference both Ann and Prof Sukumar were both speaking at, the 8th International Symposium on the Breast ‘Using Next Generation Science to Understand the Normal Breast and the Development of Breast Cancer'. (April 2015)
 

 

Professor Brian Harvey Appointed to Editorial Board of Journal Endocrinology

Professor Brian Harvey (pictured) (Molecular Medicine) has been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal Endocrinology, the main publication of the Endocrine Society and the highest impact factor journal in the field of endocrinology. (April 2015)

 

 

 

 

TERG  PhD student Awarded UKICRS Prize

Dr Caroline Herron, a final year PhD student from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) in the Department of Anatomy was awarded the Oral Presentation Prize at the 2015 United Kingdom and Ireland Controlled Release Society (UKICRS) for a talk entitled ‘A triggerable drug delivery system for the application of pro-angiogenic agents in critical limb ischaemia'. The UKICRS Workshop and Symposium was held on the 16-17th of April at the University of Nottinghman. Dr Herron is returning to clinical practice in St. Vincent's Hospital in July, where she will join a vascular surgical team as Registrar. (April 2015)

International Medical Commencement Programme (IMCP) Research Published

Dr Helen Kelly (Physiology & Medical Physics) has had a chapter published on the research she co-wrote with an IT Tralee based colleague, Dr Kristin Brogan which is based on their International Medical Commencement Programme (IMCP) research in the book "Foreign language learning as Intercultural experience - The subjective dimension". The paper discusses the influences of the Study Abroad period on learners' linguistic and intercultural development. The IMCP, a RCSI-IT Tralee collaboration, is an intensive course of study for students from the Gulf countries who intend to progress to the RCSI to study medicine, pharmacy or physiotherapy. (April 2015)

Professor Catherine Greene Publishes 3rd Edited Book

Professor Catherine Greene (Medicine) on the publication of her third edited book. This one is titled ‘MicroRNAs and Other Non-Coding RNAs in Inflammation' and is a comprehensive resource for those studying the role of non-coding RNAs in inflammation, human inflammatory diseases and innate immunity. You can find out more about Prof Greene's book here(April 2015)

Latest RCSIsmj researches ADHD, breast surgery and genetic testing for mental illness

Pictured (l-r) are Mohit Butaney, RCSIsmj Senior Editor; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Natalie Achamallah, RCSIsmj Editor in Chief; Professor Arnold Hill, Head of the School of Medicine, RCSI; and Melissa Schorr, RCSIsmj Director.

Students from RCSI have launched the 8th edition of the RCSI Student Medical Journal (RCSIsmj). RCSIsmj is produced entirely by RCSI students for students and staff. The journal aims to promote student authorship and to foster research, innovation and student participation in healthcare issues. This year's publication was led by a team of students headed by Natalie Achamallah, Editor-in-Chief of RCSIsmj, and Melissa Schorr, Director of RCSIsmj. The online version of the journal is published today and available to view on the RCSIsmj website. (April 2015)

RCSI signs first Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with a Chinese university

Pictured at the signing of the Memorandum of Academic Research and Understanding between Soochow University and RCSI is Dr Helena Kelly, RCSI School of Pharmacy; Professor Xuechu Zhen, Dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences Soochow University; Professor John Waddington, MCT and other members of faculty of Soochow University. Pictured (seated) is Professor Xinghong Jiang, Vice President International Affairs, Soochow University; and Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar, RCSI.

RCSI has signed a Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with Soochow University which will see both institutions promote academic collaboration for teaching, innovative scientific research, student training, and technology development over the next five years. This significant development is the first such collaboration agreement RCSI has signed with a Chinese university. The memorandum was signed in Soochow University on Thursday 9th April. Read more.... (April 2015)

RCSI Paper on Front Cover of Chemistry - A European Journal

An upcoming research paper from Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry) entitled ‘Stereoselective Peterson Olefinations from Bench-Stable Reagents and N-Phenyl Imines' has been chosen to appear on the front cover of an upcoming edition of Chemistry - A European Journal. The façade of RCSI was also used to feature Prof O'Shea's research on the journal's Facebook page. (April 2015)

RCSI Student MSc wins Prize at Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Conference

Mairead McDaid (MSc Neurology and Gerontology) won a poster prize for her research on 'Physiotherapy for people with neurological conditions in primary care; a qualitative study of physiotherapists' at the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Conference in March. Mairead was supervised by RCSI Dr Helen French. (March 2015)

Professor Mary Leader Becomes President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology

Professor Mary Leader, RCSI Department of Pathology, has become President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology. Mary will be President from November 2016 for two years. Read more.... (March 2015) 

RCSI Representation at Biennial International Congress on Schizophrenia Research

Professor Mary Cannon (Psychiatry, pictured) and Professor John Waddington (MCT) and were each invited to organise, chair and speak in symposia at the congress which was held in Colorado Springs; Dr Erik O'Hanlon, from Professor Mary Cannon's research group, also presented his work. (March 2015) 

 

 

€3 Million funding to enhance primary care delivery in Ireland

Safer use of medicines, improved diagnosis, and more effective delivery of primary care will result from a new €3 million award from the Health Research Board (HRB) to the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (CPCR), based at RCSI's (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Department of General Practice.

This award will be used to build on the significant progress the CPCR has already made in advancing the capacity and infrastructure for primary care research in Ireland. This new phase of funding will see the centre focus on areas such a Clinical Decision Support Systems, Clinical Prediction Rules and multimorbidity; topics that are of national and international importance for both policy and practice. Read more.... (March 2015)

Research Day 2015

Pictured are the coordinators of RCSI Research Day 2015 (l-r) Stephanie O'Connor, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (academic coordinator) and Cathy O’Byrne, with Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI.

   Pictured are the coordinators of RCSI Research Day 2015 (l-r) Stephanie O'Connor, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (academic coordinator) and Cathy O'Byrne, with Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI.

This years' RCSI Research Day took place on 12 March 2015. The event, which showcases the most recent findings of research taking place at RCSI, was attended by more than 300 researchers throughout the day-long event. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences, healthcare delivery and health professions education were just some of the topics featured in studies presented.

 

Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2015

 Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2015

Mid-day, Prof Gerry McElvaney, introduced Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered this year's John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture. The talk title was: ""Pharmacological correction of the cystic fibrosis basic defect: problems and opportunities", in which Professor Luis Galietta described how present scientific research efforts are directed towards the identification of drugs, known as correctors, which can lessen the effects of F508del mutation. Professor Galietta and his team are among those who have been researching effective correctors by various strategies, including screenings on cultured cells of large collections of chemical compounds looking for molecules that improve the stability and function of mutant CFTR protein. Read more....

Research Day 2015 concluded in the evening with an awards ceremony which took place in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Research Day 2015 Academic Co-Ordinator, hosted the ceremony which saw awards being presented to winners across twelve categories. Prize winners of Research Day 2015 include Dr Regien Biesma (Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine), William Arthur Lackington (Anatomy and TERG), Amenah Dhannoon, Karim Jundi, Caragh Stapleton (MCT), Mariana Alves (Physiology & Medical Physics), Michelle White (Medicine), Sergej Susdalzew (Physiology & Medical Physics), Dr Mark McCormack (MCT) and Dr David W Murray (Physiology & Medical Physics). Read more... (March 2015)

Nature Obesity Study Publication

Professor Alice Stanton (MCT) is a participant in an important study that was published recently in Nature. This study, 'Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology', provides strong support for a role of the central nervous system in obesity susceptibility and implicate new genes and pathways. (March 2015)  

Solar Energy Publication

Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology & Medical Physics) and Dr Michael Keogh (RCSI-Bahrain) have published a paper titled "Capability of 19-litre polycarbonate plastic water cooler containers for efficient solar water disinfection (SODIS): field case studies in India, Bahrain and Spain" in the journal Solar Energy. This publication is noteworthy as it is collaboration between researchers in Dublin and Bahrain (also including Yiyha Al-Eryani and Caro Joseph-Titus) and collaboration between 3U Global Health research partners in Maynooth University (Dr Chandana Mathur) and RCSI (Prof Kevin McGuigan). Finally in an unusual turn for a science journal, Solar Energy has approved the use of a cartoon in the graphical abstract. The cartoon which was drawn by one of Kevin's previous PhD students, Dr Maria Boyle is displayed above. (March 2015)  

Experts call for more sensible use of antibiotics to combat the rise of the superbugs

The rapid development of more and more effective antibiotics combined with their misuse has led the human body to become resistant to antibiotics. The overuse of such drugs means that bacteria can figure out how to protect themselves from antibiotics, which are designed to kill them. This has led to the rise of the ‘superbugs' and means we may be close returning to a time that simple infections are no longer treatable as the antibiotics may not work. The battle with antibiotic resistance and superbugs will be discussed at the final lectures of the 2014/2015 series of RCSI's MiniMed Lecture Series this evening (Wednesday 25th March). The event, entitled ‘Have the superbugs won or can we still preserve antibiotics for the next generation?' is open free of charge to the public, will be held from 7pm to 9pm at RCSI, 123 St. Stephen's Green. Read more.... (March 2015)

Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine Publication

RCSI Student Mr Emmet Power, has published an article in Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, volume 32, issue 01, pp. 155-160, entitled "The association between economic inactivity and mental health among young people: a longitudinal study of young adults who are not in employment, education or training" E. Power, M. Clarke, I. Kelleher, H. Coughlan, F. Lynch, D. Connor, C. Fitzpatrick, M. Harley and M. Cannon Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine / Volume 32 / Special Issue 01 / March 2015, pp 155 - 160 DOI: 10.1017/ipm.2014.85, Published online: 26 February 2015 Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0790966714000858 (March 2015)

First annual SPHeRE Spring Seminar takes place at RCSI

Professor Nick Black of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine explores quality assessments in the health service

SPHeRE, the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education programme, held its first annual Spring Seminar in the Albert Lecture Theatre, RCSI on 10th March 2015. Read more.... (March 2015)

Youth mental health - new evidence highlights need for early intervention

According to research, over half of young Irish people will meet the criteria for a mental health disorder at some point before 25 years of age. 

This is according to an Irish study, known as The Challenging Times, the findings from which are featured in the recent Special Youth themed Edition of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. The papers published from this study reveal, not only high rates of mental ill-health during adolescence and into young adulthood, but also the serious risks for young people who experience mental health difficulties during adolescence, including higher rates of unemployment during their young adult years. The study involved detailed clinical interviews with young Irish people from a representative sample of schools in North Dublin, first at age 12-15 years and later when they were aged 19-24 years.

The findings reinforce the importance of early intervention in order to maximise the functional outcomes for adolescents with mental disorders to give young people the best chance to get well and get on with having full, productive and normal lives. A case made by leading advocates in the youth mental health movement in a number of editorials in the special edition of the journal. Read more.... (March 2015)

RCSI participates in 1st Brazil- Ireland Science Week

Pictured (l-r) at Dublin Castle are Professor David Henshall, CSND, RCSI; Dr Cecilia Hedin-Pereira, UFRJ; Professor Jochen Prehn, Chair, CSND, RCSI; Professor Sergio Ferreira, UFRJ; Professor David Finn, NUIG; Dr Hans Georg Konig, CSND RCSI

As part of the 1st Brazil-Ireland Science Week RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, in collaboration with the Tissue Engineering Group (TERG); RCSI Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry; the 3U-Centre of Excellence in the Neuroscience (COEN); and the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics hosted a symposium to showcase research conducted in RCSI.

The day-long symposium which took place in RCSI on Thursday 26th February was part of a series of events to mark Brazil-Ireland Science Week, in tandem with a major conference, Collaborative Research for a Better Future, which took place in Dublin Castle. Read more.... (February 2015)

New stroke therapy to remove clots shows major benefits for patients

RCSI and Beaumont Hospital contribute to landmark study which will transform stroke treatment worldwide

Researchers from RCSI and Beaumont Hospital have taken part in a major international study which is set to revolutionise the treatment of stroke. The study has shown that a clot retrieval procedure, known as endovascular treatment (ET) results in a dramatic improvement in patient outcomes and a reduction in disability and deaths from stroke. The results of this study are published in the online edition of the New England Journal of MedicineRead more....(February 2015)

 

New insights into brain development

One of the greatest mysteries in science is the basis of brain development. Prof. Norman Delanty and Drs. Christopher Whelan, Saud Alhusaini and Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT) have participated in an important study, ‘Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures', that has just been published in Nature. This study identifies genetic variants that provide insight into the causes of variability in human brain development and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction. (February 2015)

Paternal postnatal depression found to affect 12 per cent of fathers RCSI Nursing and Midwifery Conference hears

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar addresses the international conference on advancing nursing and midwifery practice

Postnatal depression in fathers and community-based nursing cancer care are among the topics being explored at the RCSI 34th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Research and Education Conference, which takes place today. Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD, is among those who will address the conference on the theme ‘Advancing Nursing & Midwifery Practice: Linking National & International Perspectives'. Read more.... (February 2015)

RCSI investigator returns from lecture tour of Japan

From a base with research collaborators at Nihon University, Tokyo, Prof. John Waddington (MCT) has returned from a 3-week lecture tour of Japan. He also delivered lectures at Hoshi University, Tokyo, Nihon University at Matsudo, Chiba, and at a joint meeting of Nagoya University and Fujita Health University, Nagoya. In addition, he was able to arrange a Student Selected Component in Japan for an Intermediate Cycle student and the first visit to RCSI from a Japanese scientist under the College's International Strategic Collaboration Award - Japan. (February 2015)

 

Research into refractory hypertension achieves double recognition

When hypertension is uncontrolled or occurs in problematic circumstances, new approaches are needed. Prof. Alice Stanton (MCT) has participated in two international collaborative trials that have been published in the most prestigious journals: the first, ‘Follow-up of blood-pressure lowering and glucose control in type 2 diabetes' has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the second, ‘Central arteriovenous anastamosis for the treatment of patients with uncontrolled hypertension (the ROX CONTROL HTN study): a randomised controlled trial', has been published in the Lancet. These studies provide important new information on the control of hypertension. (February 2015)

 

RCSI researcher receives SFI Career Development Award

In the latest round of awards, Dr. Steve Kerrigan (MCT and School of Pharmacy) has received an SFI Career Development award of €593,138 for 'Endothelial dysfunction in severe bloodstream infection'. This substantive award will allow Steve to both broaden and deepen his research programme, in collaboration with colleagues in RCSI and both national and international groups. (February 2015)

 

New insights into the genomic architecture of human height

While for most of us our height is a basic personal measure, we know little of its determinants. Prof. Alice Stanton (MCT) has participated in an important international collaborative study, the results of which have been published in Nature Genetics. This article, ‘Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height', used genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals. The results indicate a genetic architecture for this fundamental human anthropometric that is characterised by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants. (February 2015)

Fennessy Hogan Medal for Best Research Project in the Intermediate Cycle SSC

3rd-Year medical student Scott Moses carried out his 6-week Student-Selected Component (SSC) project with Dr. Marian Brennan (MCT), using chemoinformatics to explore the differences between human and Plasmodium falciparum HSP90. Many congratulations to Scott who was awarded the Fennessy Hogan Medal for the Best Research Project in the Intermediate Cycle SSC. This is a very competitive award and a testament to Scott's hard work and commitment to the project. (February 2015)

RCSI signs up to Athena Swan Gender Equality Charter

RCSI together with seven universities and 14 Institutes of Technology, have signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter. RCSI has committed to working towards the achievement of the Athena SWAN Charter's aims: the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research, and the achievement of a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts. (February 2015)
 

Fulbright Scholar commences three month RCSI post

Professor Clarence Kreiter will take up the position of Fulbright Scholar in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) on 2nd February for a 3 month period. Professor Kreiter is currently a Professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He works primarily within the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education (OCRME) which involves a wide range of research consultation and performs many education functions at the medical college. Read more.... (February 2015)
 

RCSI Neuroscientists make breakthrough in understanding gene activity in epilepsy

Neuroscientists from RCSI have made a breakthrough in understanding what controls gene activity in epilepsy, a disease associated with excessive electrical activity in the brain that gives rise to seizures. The findings may also help explain why epileptic states can be so persistent. The research will be published in the March edition of the leading neurology journal Brain. Today marks International Epilepsy Awareness Day, to raise awareness of this condition that affects approximately 37,000 people in Ireland. Read More... (February 2015)

New RCSI research to guide GP management for patients with multiple chronic illnesses

Multimorbidity study to impact on one-in-three GP consultations

Lead researcher, Dr Emma Wallace pictured

A new clinical review that provides guidance for doctors on how to best organise and prioritise care for patients who suffer from multiple chronic medical conditions (multimorbidity) has been conducted by researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The study was carried out by the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI's Department of General Practice, RCSI in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom. The study was published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).  Read more.... (February 2015)

Professor Celine Marmion (Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and co-opted onto the institutes Council in February of this year. (February 2015) 
   

 

RCSI School of Pharmacy success at Helix Health Awards

Pictured (l-r) are Mr Rory O'Donnell, President of The Pharmacy Benevolent Fund; Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, Professional Excellence Award Winner; Mr Paul Neill,  KrKa; Ms Jennifer Hughes, Director of Marketing, Helix Health

Professor Sally-Ann Cryan from the RCSI School of Pharmacy and RCSI alumnus, and Jonathon Morrissey were among those who were honoured at the 10th annual Helix Health Pharmacist Awards which took place recently in the Mansion House, Dublin. The awards recognise Ireland's most accomplished pharmacists and celebrate excellence across all disciplines of the pharmacy profession. Read more.... (February 2015)

 

Professor Brian Harvey New Appointments

Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI Molecular Medicine has been appointed, by the President of the European Research Council, to the Horizon 2020 ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Awards Life Sciences Panel. Prof Harvey has also been recently appointed as the President of the Life Sciences Council of the French National Research Agency, ANR. In this role as president, Prof Harvey will chair the expert review panels, oversee the proper review and awards of research grants, and advise the ANR on strategic research areas and collaborations for targeted investment. The ANR National Research Agency is the principal agency for publicly funded research projects and research partnerships in France. (February 2015)

SODIS Workshops in Ethiopia

Professor Kevin McGuigan, RCSI Physiology and Medical Physics, has recently returned from a week-long visit to Mekelle in the Tigray province of Northern Ethiopia where he ran a workshop on Solar Disinfection (SODIS) for more than 200 directors of health centres from all over the Tigray region. Each director is responsible for four to five health centres, with each centre servicing up to 25,000 citizens. This equates to about 20 million people in a rural area about the size of Ireland. The workshop was hosted by the Tigray Bureau of Health and funded by philanthropic donations from SODIS Australia and the Princess Haya Foundation. (February 2015)


RCSI Receive INMED Educational Research Grant

Dr Martina Crehan (HPEC) has been awarded funding under the 2014/2015 INMED Educational Research Grant Scheme to initiate research on transitions in Health Professions Education. Her initial research will focus on the experiences of students transitioning from second level education to RCSI and will focus on how students narrate their decisions about participating in medical education. Best of luck to Martina on this project. (February 2015)

Neuroscience Ireland Positions

Professor David Henshall (Physiology & Medical Physics) has been named as the incoming president of Neuroscience Ireland and to Dr Mary Clarke (Psychology & Psychiatry), who also joins the Neuroscience Ireland board as its new Vice President. (February 2015)

Prof Fergal O'Brien Presented with Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year Award

Prof Fergal O'Brien for being presented with the Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year Award at the AGM in the University of Birmingham by Professor Clive Lee, President of the Anatomical Society. This award is made to the Fellow of the Anatomical Society who has demonstrated the most significant accomplishments relative to their career stage.(February 2015)

 

 

RCSI and AMBER success in EU funding to grow potential spin out companies

Professor Fergal O'Brien awarded €150,000 in funding through ERC Proof of Concept grant

Professor Fergal O'Brien, Head of the Tissue Engineering Research Group, Deputy Director of Applied Research at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Deputy Director of AMBER, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) "Proof of Concept" grant. This funding will provide Professor O'Brien with up to €150,000 in funding over 18 months to help bridge the gap between his existing frontier research and its commercial applications. 260 applicants from across Europe had applied for the first round of funding through the grant. Read more.... (February 2015)

Professor Aidan Bradford Doctor of Science Award

Professor Aidan Bradford, RCSI Physiology & Medical Physics, has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) by the National University of Ireland. The D.Sc. is the highest academic qualification that can be awarded by an Irish university. It is based on submitted published work and is awarded to scholars who have, over a sustained period, published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a field of specialisation and who have achieved outstanding distinction internationally in that field. (February 2015)

 

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Funding Awarded to Promote Science to the general public

Dr Maria Morgan, pictured, (RCSI MCT) and Maria Kelly (REACH RCSI) have received funding from SFI for the Debating Science Issues Competition 2015. This is an important and high-quality, schools' public engagement project that seeks to encourage the young scientists of the future - and the young scientists of the future are our future. (February 2015)

 


Funding Award for National Research Project on Learning Resources and Open Access

Catherine Bruen (HPEC) is part of a group which has been successful in obtaining funding for a national research project, Learning Resources and Open Access, funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The proposal is led by University of Limerick in partnership with RCSI, Mary Immaculate College, Dublin Institute of Technology, and National University of Ireland, Galway. This project will investigate how digital learning resources can be utilised, maintained and developed in an open access environment in order to enhance teaching and learning in Irish Higher Education. It will also explore different models for the reuse of learning objects. (February 2015)


Dr Cathal Kearney Awarded H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

Dr Cathal Kearney (RCSI Anatomy and TERG) was recently awarded a prestigious H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission totalling €185,000 for a period of 24 months, with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy and TERG) serving as his mentor. The project, entitled "Temporally controlled delivery of vascular therapeutics from a regenerative template for diabetic wound healing", aims to integrate tools developed during Dr Kearney 's previous work on temporally-controlled drug delivery with existing collagen-based scaffold technology developed in TERG. The target pathology is diabetic wound healing through enhanced stimulation of vascularisation. (February 2015)

 

SPHeRE Conference Success

SPHeRE is the national population health and health services research structured PhD Programme currently run through Population Health Sciences in RCSI. Its director is Professor Anne Hickey from the Department of Psychology. SPHeRE's first Conference ‘Health Research Policy & Practice: Creating links for effective collaboration' was held at the College on the 9th of January. The conference was a great success, with over 150 registrants representing research, policy and service delivery, and attended by both the Chief Executive and Chair of the HRB. A total of 93 scholars have registered for PhDs across participating institutions since the structured programmes commenced in 2007. 


Pictured (l-r) at the SPHeRE conference is Prof Naomi Fulop (UCL), Prof Steve Thomas (TCD), Prof Bernie Hannigan (Public Health England), Prof John Browne (UCC), Prof Hannah McGee (RCSI), Dr Graham Love (Chief Executive of HRB), Prof Anne Hickey (RCSI), Prof Charles Normand (TCD), Dr Declan Bedford (Chairman of HRB).

 

Launch of World First Bone Repair Technology Marks Successful First Year for Amber

AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has today unveiled a new bone repair technology, which has led to an injured racehorse returning to winning ways after successful jaw reconstruction. The announcement was made at AMBER's Industry Day, held to mark its first anniversary, which was officially opened by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. and which brought together a number of AMBER's industry partners. Read More... (January 2015)

Pictured (l-r): Pictured at the stables of thoroughbred 'Annagh Haven' in Oristown, Co Meath is Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Damien English T.D., Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER and Head of the Tissue Engineering Research Group in RCSI and Laurence Mulvany owner of the filly 'Annagh Haven'.

 

RCSI Ranked 49th in Times Higher Education World University Rankings for International Outlook

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings announced the top 100 institutions by ‘International Outlook. RCSI was ranked as number 49 in the world. The announcement was made following on from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in October 2014 which listed RCSI in the top 400 institutions in the world for the first time.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 lists the best global universities and are the only international university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.
The week the Times Higher Education produced further data that analysed the ‘International Outlook' sub-category for the first time. ‘International Outlook' gives credits to universities for international students and staff as well as research publications with international partners.  Read more.... (January 2015)

RCSI study finds many over the counter cough medicines have limited effectiveness in treating coughs

A study carried out by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has found that there is no substantial evidence that over-the-counter medicines are effective in treating short-term coughs in children and adults. The research which was carried out by the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research, Department of General Practice, RCSI has been published in The Cochrane Library. Read more.... (January 2015)

World-leading diabetes expert to speak about prevention of type 1 diabetes in childhood at 3U Diabetes Conference

Type 1 diabetes in children is increasing in Ireland 

The commonest form of diabetes in children, type 1 diabetes, is increasing in prevalence in Ireland and in most countries around the world. Renowned diabetes expert, Professor Mikael Knip from the University of Helsinki in Finland, the country with the highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes in the world, will address this issue at the Third Annual 3U Partnership International Diabetes Conference entitled ‘Current Challenges in Diabetes Research' which takes place at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in Dublin today. The conference will hear about potential factors, including certain viruses and altered intestinal gut bacteria, which may trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes. Read more.... (January 2015)

TERG researchers sweep up accolades at Bioengineering conference

The 21st Annual Conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland BINI 2015 turned out to be a big success for the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) based Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) as its members won a number of awards for their research. This conference took place in the Carton House Hotel, Maynooth in Co. Kildare from 16th-17th January. Dr Cathal Kearney (Anatomy and senior TERG researcher) won the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Division Bronze Medal, awarded for the best overall presentation (called "Switchable Release of Entrapped Nanoparticles from Alginate Hydrogels"). Dr Kearney has also been selected from a pool of over 450 international candidates to sit on the 2015 Tissue Engineering Young Investigator Council. David Walsh (TERG PhD student) was awarded second prize in the Early Researcher category for his presentation ("Synthesis and Formulation of Star Shaped Polypeptides as Non-Viral Vectors to Produce Gene Activated Matrices for Bone Tissue Engineering") which was supervised by Professor Sally Ann Cryan (School of Pharmacy). Darina Gilroy (MSc research student) was awarded first prize in the Research Student category for her presentation entitled "Magnetically Responsive Biomaterials for Stem Cell Activation". Finally, Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy) was announced as the incoming President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Division. Read more.... (January 2015)

Transition year students witness live Caesarean section and live laparoscopic surgery at RCSI TY MiniMed programme

Pictured: The TY MiniMed 2015 group

Approximately 190 Transition Year (TY) students from 90 schools across Ireland have been taking part in a week long TY MiniMed training programme this week at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital. The week long interactive programme, which is running from 12th-16th January, gives Transition Year students the opportunity to step out of their usual classroom setting and experience what it is like to train and work as a doctor in the setting of a real hospital and gain an insight into prospective careers in medicine, science and research. Read More... (January 2015)

First annual SPHeRE conference to build links for health research, policy and practice

SPHeRE, the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education programme, will hold its first annual conference today in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The theme of the conference is ‘Health Research, Policy and Practice - Creating links for effective collaboration'. Read More... (January 2015) 

Malaria vaccine tested at RCSI proves successful in first human trial

Two new malaria vaccines which have undergone a clinical trial in humans, carried out by researchers at RCSI in Dublin, have been proven to be well tolerated and produce a strong immune response. The results of the clinical trial are published in the current issue of the journal PLOS ONE. The clinical trial was conducted by researchers at RCSI's Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine at the RCSI Clinical Research Centre in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, in collaboration with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford. The project is funded by the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) with the support of Irish Aid. Read more... (December 2014)

RCSI success in SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award

Professor Jochen Prehn receives funding for Motor Neurone Disease research

17th December 2014: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced funding of €1.9 million in a partnership with leading international pharmaceutical company Pfizer to encourage new biotherapeutic research in Ireland. Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI), the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme provides qualified academic researchers with an opportunity to deliver important potential discoveries in the areas of immunology and rare diseases. Five proposals in four academic institutions in Ireland have been identified to receive funding as part of the programme.

Professor Jochen Prehn, Head of the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI was awarded funding to carry out research into Motor Neurone Disease, the devastating and fatal neurological condition with no cure. Professor Prehn's research will focus on developing a new therapy that it is hoped will increase patients' lifespan and motor function, leading to an increase in quality of life.  Read more...  (December 2014)

RCSI Researcher First Runner up of the Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Innovation Award

Dr Aamir Hameed, RCSI Department of Anatomy, and clinical researcher on the AMCARE project, who was named as first runner up of the Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Innovation Award at the IMDA/EI/IDA CEO Forum Awards 2014 that took place on Thursday 11th December. Aamir was recognised for a project submitted on a novel method to protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy. (December 2014)

The Science Squad' to sign off series by honing in on RCSI research into lung disease

This third series of RTE's The Science Squad concludes December 1st on RTE One from 8.30pm. This final episode is the third in the series to feature research from RCSI. The work of Professor Gerry McElvaney (pictured), Department of Medicine, and his team into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be explored by the Science Squad.

Episode 6 - Lung Health - Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI's Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team's research into COPD. COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could be linked to a genetic lung condition (Alpha-1) which affects 1 in 24 Irish people, 90% of which are undiagnosed. Jonathon also meets two people who were diagnosed with Alpha-1 to find out how the disease has impacted their lives.

Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm. This is the third episode in the third series of this programme. Read more (December 2014)

TERG Transition Year Initiative

TERG (Tissue Engineering Research Group) recently held its transition year initiative, "Exploring Materials". 16 TY students engrossed themselves in learning all about TERG's current work and research projects on regenerative therapies. The group is pictured with the staff and volunteers who helped throughout the programme. (November 2014)

 

RCSI MiniMed lectures to discuss game changing innovation in pregnancy screening and Breast Cancer

The latest cutting-edge technologies and innovations in screening during pregnancy and treatment of breast cancer will be on the agenda for the latest instalment of the RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series 2014/2015 this evening, Wednesday 26th November. These talks, free of charge to the public, will take place from 7pm to 9pm at the College at 123 St. Stephen's Green.

Professor and Chairman of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Rotunda Hospital, Professor Fergal Malone (pictured), in a lecture called ‘Screening in Pregnancy - Is my baby normal?', will speak on the options open to the Irish public for screening pregnancies for fetal abnormalities and update attendees on recent innovations in screening technology. Prof Malone will outline the options for actual invasive prenatal diagnosis as well as the subsequent options open to people, in terms of surgery and medical treatment, if any fetal problems are found. He will also discuss the decision-making process around pregnancy termination once a significant fetal abnormality is diagnosed.

Speaking ahead of his lecture, Prof Malone said, ‘There have been a number of remarkable advances in the technology used during the pregnancy screening process such as using the mother's blood for fetal DNA testing. Given that there is no separate state funding behind screening in Ireland, I will outline the access issues as well as some recent controversies in accessing pregnancy termination'. (November 2014)

The RCSI MiniMed Open Lecture Series is free of charge; however registration is essential in order to guarantee a place. Previous lecture series have attracted widespread public interest with demand for places far outstripping availability. Register online at www.rcsi.ie/minimed and you can join the conversation online, on the night, on Twitter at #RCSIMiniMed. To view previous RCSI MiniMed lectures from the last series on the RCSI YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/TheRCSI123.  

Read more details on the talks see 2014/2015 RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series

New innovative mobile app to improve antibiotic prescribing in RCSI Hospitals Group 

A new smartphone app has been developed by the RCSI Hospitals Group, in association with the Dublin North East Healthcare-Associated Infection (HCAI) Committee, which will provide healthcare professionals in hospitals within the RCSI Hospitals Group with immediate access to guidelines for antimicrobial prescribing. These guidelines, which vary by individual hospital, will help to ensure appropriate antibiotic prescribing and improved patient outcomes as well as helping to combat the ongoing threat of antibiotic resistance. Read more... (November 2014)

RCSI PhD receives prestigious engineering scholarship

Alan Ryan (pictured), PhD student at RCSI, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from one of the world's largest professional bodies for engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Alan is a student working with Prof Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre. Read more... (November 2014)

 

 

RCSI supports European Antibiotic Awareness Day events

‘Saving antibiotics is everyone's responsibility'

Doctors are being urged to take a more critical look before prescribing antibiotics as antibiotic resistance remains one of the biggest global threats to public health, an event taking place today to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2014 will hear.  Leaders from medical, veterinary and pharmaceutical professions are gathering today for the fourth annual antibiotic awareness event, aimed at driving further change in both public and professional behaviours and norms around antibiotic consumption. Read more... (November 2014)

Minister for Health announces €850,000 investment for research into rare diseases

HRB and Alpha One Foundation to fund RCSI Alpha-1 research

Friday, 14th November: Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, has announced that five charities will share €850,000 in State funding to take part in international research into rare medical conditions, including respiratory infections and retinal blindness. The five charities taking part are Alpha One Foundation, Cystinosis Ireland, Fighting Blindness, the Irish Thoracic Society, and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Research Foundation.

The Health Research Board (HRB) and the Alpha One Foundation will fund RCSI researchers to carry out two innovative projects.  Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency (AATD) is hereditary disorder that can cause lung disease. In the first project Dr. Emer Reeves (pictured), RCSI, will look at the role white blood cells play in AATD and compare differences between white blood cells in individuals with and without AATD. In the second project Professor Gerry McElvaney, RCSI, will look at how the quantity and quality of Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) in blood can determine the predisposition to lung disease and other inflammatory processes.

The Government is investing €850,000 through the HRB with matching funding provided by the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG), bringing the total investment to €1.9 million. A total of eight projects will be supported over the next three years, bringing to 95 the projects supported through this particular scheme over the past eight years.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar commented: "This funding allows the charities to take their research activities up a level. They will be able to participate in international research projects, or fund projects which are being led from outside Ireland. It's a practical example of collaboration between the State and the charity sector. Hopefully, the research will bring real benefits to patients in Ireland and around the world."

To date results from projects completed under this scheme include 13 healthcare innovations, 23 policy and practice influences, two patents, and more than 120 peer-reviewed academic papers. Examples include a new immune therapy for cancer, potential new drugs to treat conditions such as cystic fibrosis and nephropathic cystinosis, and an effective exercise programme to improve outcomes for acute stroke survivors and their families. (November 2014)

Irish Research Nurses Network

The 7th Annual Irish Research Nurses Network (IRNN) Conference took place on 12th November at RCSI. The meeting focused on the theme of "The Power of Data" and emphasised the huge potential research has in improving healthcare outcomes and the importance of well-designed and properly conducted clinical research projects in proving the benefits of new treatments which may dramatically improve the lives of patients. Ms Deirdre Hyland and Ms Carole Schilling (both of Clinical Research Centre) and all involved in organising and overseeing this event. (November 2014)

RCSI Launches New Research Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research

Pictured (l-r) is Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research and Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today at the launch of RCSI's new research strategy 'Improving Human Health – RCSI’s Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 – 2020'.
 

 

 Pictured (l-r) is Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research and Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today at the launch of RCSI's new research strategy 'Improving Human Health - RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020'.

5th November 2014: Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today launched RCSI's new research strategy Improving Human Health - RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020. The strategy will focus on innovative research that leads to better diagnostics, therapeutics and devices. It will also tackle important healthcare delivery issues, inform policy and clinical practice and enhance the quality of education of healthcare professionals.

Speaking at the launch Minister Damien English T.D. said "Ireland's position in the global research community continues to grow and it is an exciting time for research here. Together with my Government colleagues, we have an ambitious agenda for Ireland to become the best small country in the world in which to do business. This requires transformation in many sectors of our society and prioritised research areas have a key role to play in this change. RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research supports the research priorities identified in the Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group, and is in alignment with both national and European research funding strategies."

The plans for developing research and innovation at RCSI are based on RCSI's current strategic roadmap ‘Growth & Excellence 2013 - 2017'. As an exclusively health sciences focused institution with strong links to acute hospitals and institutions that reflect the wide diversity of healthcare facilities and needs, RCSI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance translational research for the benefit of patients and the healthcare system.

Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI said "In alignment with RCSI's strategic roadmap and current national research funding strategies, our research strategy ‘Excellence in Translational Research' is aimed at bringing RCSI research closer to applications for the benefit of patients, the healthcare system and populations and to succeed in our mission to improve human health".

RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020 priorities:

* Build capacity in translational research

* Promote applied research and knowledge transfer

* Promote population health and health services research

* Strengthen the intersection of research and education

* Develop human resources strategy for researchers

* Enhance research governance

* Deliver and disseminate impactful research

It was also announced today that a newly formed Office of Research and Innovation will provide an integrated service to researchers ranging from translational biomedical research to the commercialisation of research for the benefit of society.

RCSI Publication in top 10% of articles published in the Journal of Immunology

A study carried out by Dr Killian Hurley, RCSI Department Medicine, has been published in the Journal of Immunology and was featured by the "In This Issue" which includes the top 10% of articles published in the journal. The title of the publication is "Alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation therapy corrects accelerated neutrophil apoptosis in deficient individuals". The project was supported by the MRCG/HRB scheme and was co-funded by the HRB and the Alpha One Foundation Ireland (grant # MRCG/2008/2) and was jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney. For more information see the "In This Issue" feature highlighting the article. (October 2014)

 

Four RCSI researchers among 36 awarded HRB funding

The Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar TD has announced the award of funding of €13.5 million to support thirty-six new health research projects over the next three to five years. Projects from RCSI researchers Professor Richard Costello, Professor Jochen Prehn, Professor Fergal O'Brien and Dr Ann Hopkins were among those who were awarded funding provided by the Health Research Board (HRB). Read more... (October 2014)

RCSI research features on RTE ‘Science Squad'

The third series of RTE's The Science Squad returned to our screens this week and will feature innovative research from RCSI including SODIS water, surgical technologies and lung research throughout the series.

Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm.

Episode 1 - Saving Lives with Sunlight - Monday 27th October  click here to view
Aoibhinn and the team, along with Professor Kevin McGuigan, Associate Professor of Medical Physics in the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics visit the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) project in Uganda. Prof McGuigan has been working on this technique for the past 20 years, which involves exposing transparent plastic or glass containers filled with water to direct sunlight for six to 48 hours. This has a germicidal effect which is based on the combined effect of thermal heating of solar light and UV radiation, thus kills bacteria and disease-causing pathogens and disinfecting the water. This water purification project could save the lives of millions.

Aoibhinn also visits Kevin's PhD student Jacent Asiimwe in Uganda to find out about the science behind the process, and the team meets with lots of Ugandan schoolchildren who will directly benefit from the technology.

Speaking ahead of the airing of the programme, Prof McGuigan said, ‘It was fantastic for Jacent and I to be able to bring Aoibhinn and the crew out to Uganda and show them our research and work on the SODIS project. An important aspect on the future direction of SODIS is to get word on this out to wider audiences and it was great to see the warm welcome the local people and school children gave to the visiting crew.'

Episode 3 - Innovative Surgical Technologies Saving Lives - Monday 10th November
In this programme, Aoibhinn meets Dr Peter Naughton, Consultant General / Vascular Surgeon, and his RCSI team to learn about abdominal aortic aneurysms and how recent innovations in surgery in the form of a new procedure, Endovascular Aneurysm Repair, (EVAR) has drastically reduced mortality rates. The team run through preparations ahead of one of these EVAR operations. Aoibhinn meets one of Peter's former patients who underwent the successful surgery to find out how it saved his life.

Episode 6 - Lung Health - Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI's Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team's research into Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could

These episodes will be available to view after broadcast via the Science Squad website.

5 RCSI researchers participate in new SFI Research Centre, CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

RCSI welcomed the announcement that five new world-class SFI Research Centres are to be established on the back of a €245 million funding windfall from government and industry. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, announced the funding on Oct 20th.

RCSI are partners in CÚRAM, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, led by colleagues in NUI Galway. The prime objective for CÚRAM is to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs and includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The multidisciplinary and translational nature of the work supported by CÚRAM is exemplified by the RCSI's contribution to and participation in the Centre, led by Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan, pictured, (School of Pharmacy) that includes four additional senior researchers from across Departments in RCSI; Prof. Fergal O'Brien & Dr. Garry Duffy (Dept of Anatomy), Prof. Gerry McElvaney (Dept of Medicine) and Prof. Marc Devocelle (Dept of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) who will work on a range of projects within the Centre. These projects will see CURAM linking with the existing SFI Centre, AMBER, through the RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering. Read more... (October 2014)

RCSI hosts fourth Annual International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The fourth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) took place on 24th - 25th October the RCSI.  ICHAMS is a biomedical conference, aimed at students and run by students, that gives undergraduates an insight into the translation of research from bench to bedside. More than 100 undergraduate healthcare students from Ireland, the United Kingdom and as far as Russia, USA, The Netherlands and Poland, attended the conference to present oral and poster presentations on a wide variety of healthcare research.

Building on the outstanding success of the 2013 conference which was Winner of the Student Project of the Year category in last year's Irish Healthcare Awards, this year the conference was expanding to integrate the RCSI Schools of Pharmacy and Physiotherapy to deliver a wider multidisciplinary conference.  The theme of this year's event was ‘Advancing Biomedical Research: Passion for Progress'.

Dr Sarah O'Neill, Chair of the Scientific Committee said: ‘I am proud that the ICHAMS Conference is entering its fourth year which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our student organising committee.   By providing healthcare students with the opportunity to develop their research skills and interests at an early stage in their career, it gives students an insight into the world of scientific research and a better understanding of how research can be translated from the bench to the patients' bedside.'

The keynote speakers at the event were Mary Aiken, Director, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre and Professor Kieran Murphy, Director, University of Toronto Medical Imaging Research.

For further information visit the conference website ichams.org (October 2014)

RCSI Researchers Discover Clues to New Pathways for Treatment of Schizophrenia

In the brain's communication system, nerve cells transmit messages across the synapse, the minute gap between cells. On the receiving end, the postsynaptic density (PSD) is a network of proteins suspected of playing a role in causing psychosis and mood disorders. Melanie Föcking, Ph.D. & RCSI Lecturer in Psychiatric Neuroscience, pictured, led the first research to identify specific PSD-associated genes and proteins linked to schizophrenia. The study was published in the journal Molecular PsychiatryProfessor David Cotter was the senior author on the paper and Health Research Board grant PI. Additional authors on the paper were Dr Lorna Lopez, Dr Jane English, Annemarie Wolff, Elizabeth Brindley and Mr Patrick Dicker along with colleagues from UCD. Read more... (October 2014)

 

Official opening of the 3U Partnership's China Office

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ms Jan O'Sullivan T.D., officially opened 3U Partnership's China Office in Beijing's award winning Galaxy SOHO urban complex on Sunday 26 October 2014.  The event coincides with the Education in Ireland mission to China, organised by Enterprise Ireland and led by Minister O'Sullivan.

The 3U Partnership combines the complementary strengths of Dublin City University (DCU), Maynooth University and RCSI.

In keeping with the Irish Government's policy to encourage shared services, the 3U China Office brings these three distinctive and leading higher education institutions together to promote world-class education and research opportunities in Ireland to Chinese students. For further details on 3U Partnership see http://www.3u.ie/ (October 2014)

Breakthrough In Understanding of Impaired Bacterial Killing By Neutrophils In Cystic Fibrosis.

A study carried out by Professor Gerry McElvaney's research group has led to a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms behind impaired bacterial killing by neutrophils in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). The research was carried out by the lead author on the study Dr Kerstin Pohl (Medicine), with collaborators based at the NICB in Dublin City University and King's College London and was published in the journal BLOOD. (September 2014)
 

 

 

RCSI Researcher Receives European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell Training Award

Dr Cormac McCarthy (CLAT) received the European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell Training Award (eALTA) at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Munich, Germany, on September 7th, 2014. Cormac's project is entitled 'Glycosylation modifies the anti-inflammatory effect of alpha-1 antitrypsin' and is currently being carried out in the Department of Medicine, under the supervision of Prof Gerry McElvaney and Dr Emer Reeves. (September 2014)
 

 

 

Cystic Fibrosis COST ACTION Training School

The Dept of Molecular Medicine hosted the Cystic Fibrosis COST ACTION Training School in the RCSI Education & Research Centre, September 2014. The training school, jointly by the Irish CF COST partners RCSI and ITT Tallaght, was aimed at early stage researchers with 50 participants from seven EU Countries and trainers from Beaumont Hospital, St James's Hospital and Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin (OLHSC). The school provided PhDs and post-docs with training through lectures and hands-on practical's in the latest advances of research into ion transport, air liquid dynamics and host-pathogen interactions in CF lung disease. Professor Brian Harvey, pictured, was course director. (September 2014)

 

 

Awards and Achievements Attained by the Staff of RCSI Molecular and Cellular Genetics - Update September 2014

Ms Amy Cole and Dr Mark McCormack pictured, respectively, received the prizes for Best Postgraduate Presentation and Best Postdoctoral Poster at the recent meeting of the Irish Society of Human Genetics.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Maria Morgan has been awarded a PhD Studentship from Breast Cancer Campaign UK to the value of  €104,962 over 3 years for her work 'Microcalcification in breast cancer: novel insights into molecular mechanisms and functional consequences'

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Dermot Cox has received an SFI Technology Innovation Development Award, €100,000, for his work 'Development of a proof-of-concept animal model for novel Fc?RIIa antagonists'.

 

 

Dr Siobhan Smith has received the award of a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, €91,790 over 2 years, for 'Investigation into the role of estrogen-regulated microRNAs in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus'.

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Conor Murphy pictured, (Ophthalmology) and Dr Joan Ní Gabhann (MCT) received an award under the HRB-MRCG Joint Funding Scheme, €40,000 over 15 months, for 'Restoring immune balance in patients with primary Sjogren's Syndrome (pSS) by modulating microRNA expression'.

 

 

 

 

Professors Kieran Murphy, (Psychiatry), pictured, and John Waddington (MCT) participated in an international study on the genetics of schizophrenia, the results of which have just been published in Nature under the auspices of the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which Kieran and John are members. This article, 'Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci', involves a global collaborative network that has conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study of ultimately 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls; it is the largest molecular genetic study of schizophrenia (or indeed of any neuropsychiatric disorder) ever conducted to date.

Professor John Waddington was invited to speak in a symposium at the Society of Biological Psychiatry in New York and to deliver a Keynote Lecture to the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in Las Vegas. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RCSI PhD Student wins Young Investigators Award

Michelle White, a PhD student in the Respiratory Research Division, RCSI Department of Medicine, was awarded the distinguished Young Investigators Award at the 3U Conference, Applications of Proteomics in Human and Infectious Disease. This event took place on the 16th September, 2014, in The Helix, Dublin City University. Michelle's winning oral presentation was entitled "Inflammatory induced plasma membrane alterations in neutrophils of individuals with cystic fibrosis corrected by CFTR potentiator therapy". This project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (11/RFP/BMT/3094) and is jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney. (September 2014)

  

Discover Research Dublin to Illuminate the Fascinating World of Research & Researchers

Trinity College Dublin and the RCSI will offer the public a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the world of research - and researchers - at Discover Research Dublin on Friday, September 26th. This event, featuring more than 50 free and exciting interactive events and demonstrations will take place on Trinity College Dublin's campuses. Read more... (September 2014)

 

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Advance Award

Dr Catherine Mooney was announced as a recipient of the new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Advance award. This programme was introduced specifically to support female researchers and to enhance training where there was substantial industrial relevance.

Dr Mooney is a bioinformaticist who recently joined Prof David Henshall's epilepsy research group in the Department of Physiology & Medical Physics at RCSI. Her award will see further collaboration with Professor Geraldine Boylan's team in the SFI funded research Centre INFANT who are working on neonatal seizures. The 2 year project will focus on identifying disease markers in biofluids from babies at risk of seizures and aims to develop new computer algorithms that better incorporate very large datasets of molecules such as microRNA in blood. The programme features an industry mentorship with EKF Diagnostics which ultimately aims to apply these discoveries towards point-of-care and lab-on-a-chip diagnostics. (September 2014)

Early Career Investigator Prize at Annual Neuroscience Ireland Meeting

Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos, RCSI epilepsy research group in the Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, was awarded the Early Career Investigator prize at the annual Neuroscience Ireland meeting, which was held at Trinity College Dublin at the weekend. (September 2014)

 

 

RCSI researchers define and review Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) to improve patient care

A new study from RCSI has defined an international register of clinical prediction rules (CPRs) for clinician use in a primary care setting. These CPRs will help inform clinicians in making decisions regarding diagnosis, management and prognosis of specific conditions in patients. In a separate study, RCSI researchers have also reviewed how such CPRs are being used in clinical guidelines and by general practitioners (GPs) in the United Kingdom (UK). These studies were conducted by researchers based at the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI. Read more... (September 2014)

PNAS Publication on Drug Delivery

Dr Cathal Kearney, RCSI Department of Anatomy, co-authored a recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS). The paper describes a novel strategy for refilling drug delivery devices through the bloodstream by tagging the device at the treatment site (e.g., tumours) and the reloading drug with complimentary DNA so that the reloading drug can hone to the drug delivery depot. The research was carried out in collaboration with Harvard School of Engineering and the Wyss Institute in Boston, USA.  (September 2014)

Cystic fibrosis Paper Editor's Choice Article in the Journal Physiological Reports August Issue

 A paper describing the restoration of function in cystic fibrosis airway was selected as the Editor's choice article in the Journal Physiological Reports August issue. The research was carried out under the supervision of Professor Brian Harvey (pictured) by researchers in the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine in collaboration with Professor Richard Costello, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Beaumont Hospital and Dr Paul McNally at the National Children's Research Centre, OLHSC Crumlin Hospital. The paper arose from work of PhD student Dr Mazen Al-Alawi, a recipient of a HRB Molecular Medicine Ireland clinician-scientist award. (September 2014)

  


RCSI Researchers Play Key Role in International Collaboration to Uncover the Genetic Mysteries of Epilepsy

RCSI researchers played a leading role in a study recently published in Lancet Neurology that has made an important step in discovering that whether we develop epilepsy or not may be determined by the combination of genes we inherit. More than 34,000 people were involved in this genetic study, of which more than 8,000 had epilepsy. The study participants were of European, Asian and African ancestry. Read more...

 Read the study here (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(14)70171-1/fulltext ) (September 2014)

 

RCSI study reveals 15% of older Irish people prescribed ‘inappropriate' medication

Lead researcher of the study, RCSI, Dr Rose GalvinResearch also discovered high levels of omission in patient prescriptions

A new study from RCSI and Trinity College Dublin, which examined the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and prescribing omissions in older Irish adults, has found that 14% of people over the age of 65 has been prescribed at least one inappropriate form of medication in their lives and 30% have not been prescribed clinically indicated medications, at least once in their lives. The research was carried out by RCSI's Department of General Practice, the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research and Trinity College Dublin, using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), and was recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Lead researcher of the study, RCSI Dr Rose Galvin pictured. Read more.... (July 2014)

  

Advanced Online Publication in Molecular Psychiatry

Dr Melanie Focking (pictured), RCSI Department of Psychiatry, is primary author in the article "Proteomic and genomic evidence implicates the postsynaptic density in schizophrenia." which has been published in an advanced online publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the highest impact journal in Psychiatry.

To view please go to http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/mp201463a.pdf (July 2014)

  

RCSI Research Nominated for Academic Researcher of the Year Award 2014

Professor David Cotter, RCSI Department of Psychiatry, has been shortlisted for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Academic Researcher of the Year Award 2014. This is a prestigious and competitive award covering psychiatrists in UK and Ireland. (July 2014)

 

 

 

RCSI researchers awarded commercialisation funding from Enterprise Ireland

Three researchers from RCSI have been successful in receiving grants aimed at helping to commercialise four research projects being undertaken at the College. Professor Fergal O'Brien, Professor Mauro Adamo and Professor Caroline Jefferies have all received grants from Enterprise Ireland's Commercialisation Fund Programme.
 
Professor Fergal O'Brien (pictured left), Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine in RCSI's Department of Anatomy, has received funding for two separate research projects, one is for the development of a new collagen-based film for ocular repair, called OcularColl (for which he has been awarded €222,705). The second grant, for an amount of €554,264, will go towards his research on PanaColl, a Collagen-Scaffold Based Systems for the Delivery of Antibiotics for the Treatment of Microbial Infections & Enhancement of Tissue Regeneration.

Professor Mauro Adamo (pictured left), Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry in RCSI's Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry received a grant totalling €193,310 for the development and scale-up of licensable processes to make Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).

 

Professor Caroline Jefferies (pictured left), Associate Professor and Head of Biochemistry in RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) was awarded €324,810 for her research on TIL3A-100 as a novel therapeutic in SLE (lupus).

 

 

 

The Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Programme aims to convert the outputs of state funded research into innovative new products, services and companies. The Programme supports researchers in Higher Education Institutions and Research Performing Organisations to undertake research that has the potential to result in the commercialisation of new innovations by way of licenses to improve the competitiveness of Irish Industry or through the spin out of new start-up ventures. (July 2014)

RCSI welcomes SFI funding to support early career researchers

On 7th July 2014, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland's most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. The funding is being awarded through Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes.

 

Pictured at the announcement are (l-r) Professor David Henshall, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Professor Mark Ferguson (Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government) Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel

Four RCSI researchers were among those to be awarded funding. Two senior post-doctoral researchers from RCSI were recipients of the Starting Investigator Grants: Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel. Both work in the epilepsy research laboratory in the Physiology Department at the RCSI and are mentored by Professor David Henshall. Both projects focus on molecules called microRNAs which work to control of protein levels in cells.

Career Development Awards were announced for two RCSI Senior Lecturers: Dr Annette Byrne, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a project on metastatic colorectal cancer; and Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), for research into genetic biomarkers for epilepsy. Read more.... (July 2014)
 

RCSI Scientist in Top World Rankings

Professor Mary Cannon will appear in the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers website and 2014 World's Most Influential Scientific Minds report which has been recently launched.


A total of 11 Irish researchers, including RCSI Professor Mary Cannon (pictured), Department of Psychiatry and Beaumont Hospital, have featured in the World's most influential scientific minds and  have been ranked among the world's top 3,000 by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means the person's research is listed in the top 1 per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists.

All were gauged to be "highly cited researchers" who had had an "exceptional impact", Thompson Reuters said.

Their work "has consistently been judged by peers to be of particular significance and utility", the company said when releasing the list on the website highlycited.com.

Those selected will also be published in book form, the Thompson Reuters 2014 World's Most Influential Scientific Minds.  

Not only is Professor Cannon just one of 11 Irish academics to make this outstanding achievement, she is the only woman in Ireland to achieve this. About Professor Mary Cannon

Read more...

http://thomsonreuters.com/press-releases/062014/Scientific-Minds-2014

(July 2014)

New Irish study shows high alcohol consumption in older population on prescribed medication

Researcher warns of future increase in risk of alcohol related adverse drug events

Over half of all older Irish adults prescribed medications which have the potential to interact with alcohol, still regularly consume alcohol during the course of their prescription, a new study from RCSI's School of Pharmacy has found. Alcohol can interact harmfully with certain prescription medications, which are known as alcohol interactive (AI medicines).The research, developed in conjunction with the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has recently been published in the journal BMC Geriatrics. This study is based on data from The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

The study, led by Dr Gráinne Cousins (pictured), Lecturer in RCSI's School of Pharmacy, found that 72% of adults over the age of 60 residing in Ireland are prescribed AI medications. Of this figure, 60% of people reported consuming alcohol during the course of their prescriptions. Almost one in five older adults combined heavy drinking with cardiovascular agents and anti-diabetic agents, with 16% of the sample combining heavy drinking with central nervous system (CNS) agents. Read more.... (July 2014)

Expert group on Internet Content Governance publishes report

Group, including Director of RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre Mary Aiken, make recommendations to Minister for Communications

Ms Mary Aiken (pictured), Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre based in the RCSI Institute of Leadership, is part of the government Internet Content Governance Advisory (ICGA) Group which has produced 30 recommendations to be followed up by a team from five Government Departments. Minister for Communications Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D recently launched this report, which will act as a new framework for the oversight of internet content. Read more... (July 2014)

 

 

New leukaemia drug boosts survival rate to 90% and could eventually replace invasive chemical treatment

Patients in Ireland have been involved in a breakthrough international trial of a new cancer drug which has given researchers renewed hope in the fight against leukaemia.  Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found Ibrutinib, an inhibitor of Bruton's Kinase, to have better rates of survival for patients with the commonest form of leukaemia than conventional therapy and is a breakthrough for people with resistance to chemotherapy.

The results of a trial on 391 patients showed the drug Ibrutinib gave patients fighting a type of slow growing blood cancer called Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) a 90 per cent chance of survival, compared to 81 per cent who survive on more conventional treatment. Read more.... (June 2014)

New Irish research affirms safety of flu vaccine in pregnancy and reveals uptake patterns in Irish population

A new study which examined Irish maternity hospital data during the recent flu pandemic has affirmed that the seasonal influenza vaccine is safe at any stage during pregnancy. The research, which was led by RCSI's School of Pharmacy and the Rotunda Hospital, also showed that vaccination uptake was influenced by sociodemographic factors such as age and country of origin of the mother. The research has been published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive BiologyLead researcher of the study, Prof Brian Cleary pictured. Read more... (June 2014)

 

 

RCSI Researchers Awarded Funding for SFI Industry Fellowship Programme

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD has announced the award of funding of over €1.7 million to support twenty new industry-academia partnerships through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Industry Fellowship Programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI.

RCSI researchers Dr Annette Byrne (right) and Professor Caroline Jeffries (left) were among those who were awarded funding through the programme. Dr Annette Byrne, Senior Lecturer, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, received funding for a project in partnership with Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals for research on cancer biomarkers. Professor Caroline Jeffries, Associate Professor and Head of Biochemistry, RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), was awarded funding for research in partnership with AMGEN on biomarkers in lupus (SLE).

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme provides researchers from academic institutions with the opportunity to gain important first-hand experience in a commercial research environment, while also providing industry with access to highly specialised trained researchers from academic institutions. The aim of the programme is to increase levels of collaboration between industry and academia.

These are the first twenty awards approved for funding under this new programme and involve research in key sectors such as animal health, smart grid, marine, solar energy, transport and mobility studies, and diagnostics in oncology with both multinational companies and SMEs participating. Read more.... (June 2014)

Waterford nurse wins CJ Coleman Award with research on Irish hip fracture care

 Louise Brent, RCSI Trauma and Orthopaedic Clinical Programme, (pictured 2nd from left) was awarded this year's CJ Coleman award. The title of her research project was ‘Improving Hip Fracture Care in Ireland: The collaboration of the Irish Hip Fracture Database (IHFD) and the Development of a National Integrated Care Pathway for hip fracture'. Read more.... (June 2014)

 

National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 Awards

Dr Frances Horgan (School of Physiotherapy) and Dr Rose Galvin (HRB Centre for Primary Care Research) have received a grant from the National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 to explore the factors related to return to work after stroke. The study will involve collaboration with the National Rehabilitation Hospital Vocational Training Unit, Baggot Street Community Stroke Unit and the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Support group network. The study findings will be reported in Spring 2015. (June 2014)

Delivering drugs on cue

A new study from Harvard's University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has challenged current drug-delivery systems used to administer chemotherapy to cancer patients. These systems typically release a constant dose of the drug over a period of time. The new study challenges this "slow and steady" approach and offers a novel way to locally deliver the drugs "on demand," as reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A co-lead author of this research is Cathal Kearney, Senior Research Fellow, RCSI Department of Anatomy. Read more... (June 2014)

Pfizer Prize for Best Oral Presentation

Ms Natalia Lajczak, PhD student in the Department of Molecular Medicine, won the Pfizer Prize for best oral presentation by a young researcher at the Annual Meeting of the Physiological Society, London on 1st June 2014. Natalia presented her PhD research on Protective anti-inflammatory effects of bile acids in colonic epithelia. (June 2014)

 

 

Alan Ryan wins Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher & TERMIS EU Young Investigator Award

Alan Ryan, a PhD student in the Department of Anatomy, Tissue Engineering Research Group and AMBER, was awarded two distinguished awards. The first was the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher. The Scholarship aims to help researchers to share advancing knowledge throughout the global Science, Engineering and Technology community to enhance people's lives around the world. The second, at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) - European Conference, held in Genoa Italy in June 2014, Mr Ryan (pictured) beat over 500 other entrants to take out the TERMIS EU Young Investigator Award for Best Poster Presentation. Mr Ryan's prize winning poster was entitled ""A biomimetic tissue engineered vascular graft fabricated from collagen and elastin". (June 2014)

School of Physiotherapy - HRB Research Training Fellowships Success

Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals 2014 awards were awarded to Rory O'Sullivan to conduct a study on ‘The Progression of Crouch Gait in Diplegic Cerebral Palsy'. Rory will be supervised by Dr Frances Horgan and Dr Helen French as well as Professor Tim O'Brien from the Central Remedial Clinic during the research. Paul Kirwan, based in Connolly Hospital, was also awarded a fellowship for his study entitled ‘The use of eccentric exercises and topical glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) in the treatment of mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised placebo controlled trial'. (May 2014)


CSI: CYBER

American television network, CBS, has commissioned a primetime TV series CSI: Cyber, a programme based on RCSI Mary Aiken's work as a cyberpsychologist. Mary who is Director of RCSI's CyberPsychology Research Centre, will be a producer and consultant to the show, as well as heading up the RCSI CyPsy Research Centre in RCSI Institute of Leadership, Sandyford. (May 2014)

 

ENCALS Conference

Sinéad Kinsella was awarded the prize for Best Poster Presentation in the basic science research category at the ENCALS (European Network for the Cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) annual conference, held at the University of Leuven, Belgium May 22-24th 2014. Sinéad Kinsella and Dr. Hans-Georg König, both with the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, examined the role of the Bcl-2 protein Bid in Toll-like Receptor signalling (TLR). Mutant SOD1 protein, previously shown to be secreted and to induce TLR-signalling, is one of the pathogenic drivers that is characteristic of an inherited form of the devastating motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The data presented on the prestigious international conference showed that deletion of the intracellular protein Bid in microglia attenuated activation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by these immune cells when exposed to the mutant SOD1 protein. These pathways may show new avenues for drug discovery aiming to abate the deleterious neuroinflammation in ALS. Sinéad is a BioAT PhD student under the guidance of Prof. Jochen Prehn at the Dept. of Physiology and Medical Physics. (May 2014)

EU Researchers Night

RCSI in conjunction with TCD have been selected by the EU Commission to host a European initiative called ‘Discover Research'. The Discover Research Night will take place on 26th September 2014 & 25th September 2015 and is open free of charge to the general public. The objective of the night, which will be hosted in cities across Europe, is open research up to the general public; to promote research as an exciting career option, to demonstrate creativity and innovation and to show how research can contribute to society. Researchers from RCSI will showcase research initiatives that have been developed in partnership with TCD. This includes work from the Tissue Engineering Research Group being carried out through partnerships, such as the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre and FP7-funded Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration (AMCARE) project and teaching initiatives such as Anatomy from the Outside In. (May 2014)


New European study aims to better understand child abuse online

Researchers from RCSI will undertake a new study which aims to achieve a better understanding of online child abuse, thereby preventing this abuse while identifying new strategies for law enforcement. This study will be run in collaboration with other institutes in the UK, Italy, and the Netherlands and is funded by the European Commission.

This project, entitled 'Developing research informed good practice policing and industry collaborative models in preventing online child abuse and profiling child victims', will use existing evidence of the online behaviour of perpetrators of crimes such as online grooming and accessing indecent child images which will inform policing and industry best practice in prevention of such crime. It will publish a set of good practice models and guidelines which will help in identifying potential child victims of grooming, while creating a safer online environment for children and young people.

The study is being undertaken by the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, Tilburg University (Netherlands); Kore University of Enna in Sicily and is being led by Middlesex University, the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS).

Speaking on this cross-EU study, Mary Aiken (pictured), Director of RCSI's CyberPsychology Research Centre said, ‘Keeping vulnerable children and young people safe when online is a priority for our work. This new study will help us to further understand those who are preying on children across the globe. This is an issue that crosses borders and these findings will resonate across the globe. From our launch symposium last October, a central part of our vision for the CyberPsychology Research Centre has been to become an academic resource for law enforcement across the world and we are delighted to work with CATS and our EU partners in furthering that vision'.

Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Co-Ordinator at the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre added, ‘This is an important first step in the growth and expansion of the Research Centre, not only with regard to strengthening existing collaborative relationships and developing new academic partnerships, but also in terms of adding high quality researchers to our team'. (May 2014)

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn launches €9 million EU and Irish funded Assistive Technologies research project

RCSI co-ordinated research project into technologies for people with autism and intellectual disability

European Union Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has launched a major Irish-led EU research programme in autism and intellectual disability. The research is co-funded (€9 million in total) by the EU Marie Curie ASSISTID Cofund and the Irish charity RESPECT. This wide ranging research project in this specific field is the first of its kind in Europe. Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of Research DOCTRID, (pictured right) will lead the research on behalf of the DOCTRID Research Institute, which includes the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, all of the universities on the island of Ireland, RCSI, Dublin and Tralee Institute of Technology - and the US universities Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts.

The programme will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, their carers and families. Read more.... (May 2014)


International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme

Dr Rose Galvin, Department of General Practice & HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, had be awarded a placement on the prestigious International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme 2014. This programme is hosted by the Nuttfield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford and is designed to develop future leaders in primary care research and assist participants in exploring different aspects of leadership in primary care research. (May 2014)

 

Doctor Emigration Project Survey

RCSI Professor Ruairi Brugha (pictured) and Dr Niamh Humphries, Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, have recently begun a HRB-funded research project into the emigration of doctors from Ireland, which will run until 2016. This study aims to improve our understanding of emigration, retention and the motivations of Ireland's doctors and will be used by other stakeholders to formulate strategies to improve the retention of doctors in the Irish health system and to attract back those who have left. (May 2014)

 

RCSI welcomes major Government investment in Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD have announced €47 million in funding for pioneering research initiatives, delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. Three RCSI projects were among those announced as recipients of the funding to carry out research in the areas of epilepsy, colorectal cancer and medical devices.

The Programme will provide funding over a three to five year period, for a total of 36 research projects involving over 200 researchers. The projects were selected by competitive peer review by 400 international scientists, focusing on excellent research with potential impact.

Professor Jochen Prehn, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €2.2 million for his project ‘BCL-2 family proteins and cellular bioenergetics in the control of cell survival: Towards novel predictive and prognostic markers for disease progression and therapy responses in colorectal cancer patients'. Professor David Henshall, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €0.9million for research into ‘MicroRNA biofluid profiles as molecular diagnostics for epilepsy'. Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, RCSI School of Pharmacy, was jointly awarded €1.9 million for a collaborative project with Dr Andreas Heise, DCU entitled ‘Functional polymers for (nano)medical devices'.
 


Prof David Henshall

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: "RCSI welcomes the announcement to provide major funding to three RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. I congratulate the RCSI researchers involved; their success is a testament to the world-class, high-impact biomedical translational research being carried out here in the College which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and treatments for the benefit of patients and the community." 
 


Prof Sally-Ann Cryan

A fourth RCSI project proposed by Dr Ann Hopkins, RCSI Department of Surgery, for research into breast cancer, was deemed scientifically excellent and impactful by the International Review Panel and is on a reserve list to be funded in the future.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: "This investment through SFI helps to develop Ireland's international reputation for excellent research with impact. This allows us to continue to attract foreign-direct investment, as well as to support Irish companies, long-term economic competitiveness and most importantly ultimately job-creation."

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD said: "This major investment will support world-class research in key priority areas that support economic and social development in Ireland. By concentrating on sectors of strength, the SFI Investigators Programme aligns funding to areas of increasing national and international importance. This will create many opportunities for successful collaboration between industry and Ireland's science ecosystem."

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: "The Investigators Programme will support Ireland's research community in developing projects that can lead and win in Horizon 2020. Not only will it provide direct support for over 200 researchers, the programme will also have an indirect impact on many other research programmes by allowing for the development of further research links with industry in Ireland and internationally." (May 2014)

RCSI Awarded Health Research Board (HRB) Student Summer Fellowships 2014

The Health Research Board (HRB) has awarded RCSI with 11 Student Summer Fellowships for summer 2014. The sucessful students are Yvonne Sweeney, Anthony Sharkey, Hannah Dunne, Caoimhe Gilmore, Nessa Walsh, Emmet Power, Nabila Boksmati, Ryan Fagan, Jane Marron, John Flanagan and Lorna Cummins. A special mention also goes to their respective sponsors: Professor Sally-Ann Cryan (School of Pharmacy), Dr Garry Duffy (Anatomy), Professor Dermot Kenny (MCT), Dr Frances Horgan (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Joanne Ramsey (School of Pharmacy), Professor Mary Cannon (Psychiatry), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT), Dr Helen French (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Brian Cleary (School of Pharmacy), Professor Peter Conlon (Beaumont), Dara Meldrum (School of Physiotherapy). (April 2014)

 From RCSI to CSI - exciting news for Cyberpsychology

Mary Aiken, Director CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is part of the RCSI Institute of Leadership, has been working with CBS on a 'CSI Cyber' pilot series.

The promo clip for the pilot episode, now on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK5Lfs0lDkM, airs on Wednesday, 30th April 2014, on CBS 10pm EST.

The CSI Cyber pilot series will explore technology and human behaviour. Actor Patricia Arquette's  character, Avery Ryan, plays Mary Aiken (inspired by Aiken, who is a producer on the show), a special agent in charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI.

Aiken is a cyberpsychologist and research fellow at RCSI's Institute of Leadership and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre. Her research looks at the impact of emerging technology on human behaviour, including the negative aspects such as cyberbullying, criminal activities and anxiety. Her work has explored areas such as human trafficking, cybersecurity and online profiling.

It's not Aiken's first time to be involved in a TV series - she was a featured expert, writer and researcher on the TV3 series Crime in Mind.

Commenting on this exciting project Mary said "The US LE agencies that I work with are delighted with this opportunity as primetime television is a very important platform to provide cyber security and safety messaging to the general public". (April 2014)

 

 RCSI Malaria vaccine undergoes first human trial

European Vaccine Initiative to meet to mark World Malaria Day

A malaria vaccine developed by researchers at RCSI's Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, has recently undergone its first human trials. The clinical and immunological responses to 24 volunteers have proved the vaccine safe, well tolerated and the immunology results are very promising. To coincide with World Malaria Day (Friday 25th April), scientific leaders in vaccine development from academia, industry and the public sector will meet at RCSI for the first meeting in Dublin of the board and scientific advisory committee of the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) where they will plan future funding and further research into the area of vaccine research.

This malaria vaccine is envisaged as a valuable addition to malaria control and forms part of the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s malaria control roadmap. During these trials, funded by the EVI, volunteers are exposed to malaria after vaccination to assess vaccine effectiveness. Combining this vaccine with others in development may lead to a vaccine that could prevent malaria, which will have a huge impact on human health as a result. The vaccine will now progress to phase two trials at the University of Oxford.

The WHO estimates that 207 million cases of malaria occurred globally in 2012 and 627,000 malaria deaths. Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) occurred in Africa and most deaths (77%) were in children under five years of age. (i)

The EVI Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) will convene on Monday 28th April. This committee makes recommendations to the EVI Board on scientific direction and technologies as well as on the choice of vaccines candidates for funding. The EVI Board will subsequently hold their meeting on Tuesday 29th April. Both are being held at the RCSI campus on St. Stephen's Green.

Speaking about these meetings, Professor Sam McConkey, Head of the RCSI Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine and member of the EVI SAC (pictured) said, ‘These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss current and future orientations for translational research, getting new ideas in a laboratory to safe effective products in human clinical trials, the core area that EVI works in, while making important strategic decisions on planning for funding. It will be a pleasure to welcome our European colleagues both to Dublin and to the College for this milestone event.'

Dr Odile Leroy, Executive Director of EVI, says ‘Nothing would have been possible without the support of Irish Aid. Since its inception EVI has contributed to the development of 32 malaria vaccine candidate formulations with 16 vaccine candidates being advanced into phase I clinical trials, three of which have been transitioned for further clinical development in sub-Saharan Africa.'

EVI was initially established in 1998 with seed funding from the European Commission and focused exclusively on malaria. Over the years EVI´s mandate has grown and has the principal objective to develop effective, accessible, and affordable vaccines against malaria and other diseases of poverty. EVI's vision is 'a world free of the intolerable burden of diseases of poverty within the coming decades'. RCSI is a constituent member of this organisation which is funded also by Irish Aid. Irish Aid is the Irish Government's programme for overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (April 2014)

References:

(i) World Health Organisation (WHO) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/ 

Dr Lorna Lopez Awarded First Prize From the Schizophrenia International Research Society

Dr Lorna Lopez from Professor David Cotter's group in the Department of Psychiatry was awarded first prize from the Schizophrenia International Research Society for her poster at the 4th Biennial Schizophrenia International Research Conference held in Florence, Italy, early in April 2014.  This was an internationally renowned conference with over 1,700 delegates and 800 posters. Lorna was awarded 1st prize winner for her presentation of her work on "Integrated genomic and proteomic evidence for the postsynaptic density in schizophrenia" with the Cotter team including Melanie Focking, Jane English, Patrick Dicker, Annemarie Wolff, Elizabeth Brindley, Kieran Wynne and Gerard Cagney. Also from Professor Cotter's team, Dr Melanie Focking and PhD students Lorna Farrelly and Elizabeth Brindley presented posters and Dr Jane English presented exciting new findings implicating protein translation in schizophrenia in a symposium on stem cell biology in schizophrenia chaired and organised by Professor Cotter. (April 2014)

 

National Survey of Stroke Survivors in Ireland Report launched

Pictured at the launch are (l-r) Dr Rose Galvin, Dr Frances Horgan and Mary Walsh.

The National Survey of Stroke Survivors in Ireland Report was launched on 7 April at the National Disability Authority. The study was led by RCSI researchers Dr Frances Horgan and Mary Walsh, RCSI School of Physiotherapy, Dr Rose Galvin, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research and Chris Macey and Cliona Loughnane from the Irish Heart Foundation.

Approximately 11,000 people experience a stroke each year in the Republic of Ireland (Irish Heart Foundation, 2012). This research project aimed to describe the experiences and needs of people who have returned to live in the community after experiencing a stroke. The research was funded under the National Disability Authority's Research Promotion Grant Scheme. Almost 200 people responded to the survey.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Frances Horgan (PI) highlighted that ‘Stroke was found to have a personal, social and economic impact, and there were challenges that affected return to independence'.

The launch coincides with the start of Stroke Awareness Week, April 7th-11th 2014. For more information go to http://www.rcsi.ie/index.jsp?p=100&n=110&a=4470 (April 2014)

 

RCSI Researcher Council Member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research

Dr. Olga Piskareva (Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics) has been elected as council member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research at the annual IACR meeting's AGM in Galway. Olga will serve a three year term and is the fourth RCSI member on the council. The Irish Association for Cancer Research is an All-Ireland non-profit organisation for cancer researchers in the Irish biomedical community. (April 2014)

 

 

Research May Lead to a New Bowel Cancer Detection Method

New evidence that a common gut bacterium is involved in bowel cancer has been discovered by researchers from the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics in RCSI. The research is published in the April edition of the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.

The HRB funded research, led by Dr David Hughes at the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI found a significantly increased presence of a common microbe Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) in tissue and stool samples of patients with colorectal cancers and colorectal benign tumours. Additionally Fn infection levels were related with benign tumour progression from early to advanced stages and the transition from a benign tumour to cancer.

Commenting on the research, Dr David Hughes, said "Our research found that cancer patients with low bacterial levels had significantly longer survival times than patients with moderate and high levels of the bacterium.  Also, for patients with a benign tumour, we found that the presence of Fn may be a risk factor for disease progression from tumour to cancer. This is a significant finding because it highlights the potential of Fn detection as a possible indicator of colorectal cancers."

The research highlights that screening for Fn levels may be used as a new bowel cancer detection method or to further inform existing screening strategies. Efforts to combat Fn infection could be considered for colorectal cancers patients with high levels of the bacterium to improve the survival prospects for these patients.

For patients with benign tumours, Fn levels may be used to classify the tumours that may have a higher risk of disease progression to colorectal cancers with implications for increasing follow-up and at the possible use of anti-microbial treatments.

Dr Hughes continued "Potentially, any impact of Fn infection on benign tumour development and progression to more serious stages will be considerable, because 95% of all bowel cancers arise from benign tumours, but only a small number of them become cancerous. Currently, there are no reliable predictive markers of whether a benign tumour will advance to cancer." (April 2014)

 

Epilepsy Research Publication in Nature Genetics

RCSI researchers have published a study on epilepsy in the journal Nature Genetics. The study, entitled ‘TDP2 protects transcription from abortive topoisomerase activity and is required for normal neural function' (NG 2014, doi:10.1038/ng.2929) has identified a novel gene for epilepsy and links a novel biological pathway to the condition, was co-authored by Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (pictured), Dr Mark McCormack and Professor Norman Delanty (all of MCT). (March 2014)

 

Professor Brian Harvey Keynote Speaker at West Coast Salt & Water Club

Professor Brian Harvey (Molecular Medicine) delivered the Keynote Lecture on ‘Estrogen regulation of epithelial ion transporters in health and disease' at the 33rd annual meeting of the West Coast Salt and Water Club (WCSWC) held at Avila Beach, California in March this year. The WCSWC is an elite group of US scientists and physicians who share common interests in ion and solute transport, epithelial cell biology, and cellular regulatory mechanisms in a variety of systems. (March 2014)

 

Professor David Henshall Presented with Robert Bentley Todd Silver Medal

Professor David Henshall (Physiology and Medical Physics) was presented with the Robert Bentley Todd Silver Medal by the RCSI Neuroscience Society, in recognition of his contributions to teaching and research in neuroscience. This award was made during an undergraduate-hosted evening that focused on basic research and clinical aspects of epilepsy, held at RCSI on March 6th. (March 2014)

 

Perinatal Ireland Study Day

Professor Fergal Malone (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Dr Elizabeth Tully (Perinatal Ireland) and Dr Julia Unterscheider (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) hosted the first Perinatal Ireland Study Day which took place on Thursday March 6th 2014 in the Rotunda Hospital. This open meeting was attended by clinicians, allied health professionals and members of the public and it showcased research in the areas of Multiple Pregnancy and Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). (March 2014)

 

SODIS Project

The SODIS Project , which is the work of Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology and Medical Physics) and his team has received renewed and increased their funding through the Princess Haya Foundation for this initiative. This important award will fund the installation of harvested rainwater tanks in rural primary schools in Makondo in South Western Uganda as well as postgraduate research in the area. (March 2014)

RESEARCH DAY 2014
On 20th March 2014, the annual RCSI Research Day took place, showcasing the most recent, cutting-edge research findings across the College and emphasising the importance of research within the RCSI, particularly amongst early career researchers. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences and healthcare delivery were just some of the topics featured on the day.  This occasion was attended by more than 300 researchers.

The Annual John J Ryan Distinguished Guest Lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly who spoke of "Human metabolic disease: lessons from the extremes", in a fascinating lecture exploring his research into the genetic causes of extreme obesity and insulin resistance which have provided new insights into the physiology of energy balance and metabolism. A native of Dublin, Professor O'Rahilly is Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine the University of Cambridge. He is the Co-Director of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and Director of the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit.

Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly delivers the Annual John J Ryan Distinguished Guest Lecture

RESEARCH DAY PRIZE WINNERS

 

Pictured (l-r) are Bojana Mirkovic (Early Career Investigators Oral Research - The Barnes Medal); Tristram Hills (Undergraduate Poster); Natalia Rodriguez Alavarez (PhD Scholars Poster); Aoife McKeon (Front Cover Illustration Abstract Book); Prof Kevin McGuigan, Research Day Academic Coordinator; Yuan-Hsun Chang (Undergraduate Oral Research - The Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize), Mary Elizabeth Walsh (Post-graduate Oral Research - The Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals Prize); Ashwanth Ramesh (Post-graduate Poster), Ciara A. O'Dwyer (PhD Scholars Oral Research - The Roche Gold Medal); and Dr Alice Garvey (Health Professions Education Award)

Additional prize winners included Ian Miller (Early Career Investigators) and Dr. Kieran Sweeney was the recipient of the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery.


Pictured (l-r) are Dr Camilla Carroll, daughter of Mr Kamal Sayed and graduate of RCSI who presented the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery (Generously supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965) which was awarded to Dr. Kieran Sweeney; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Dr Safia Sayed; and Dr Jacintha More O'Ferrall.


The successful event was organised by Co-ordinators Professor Kevin McGuigan (Academic Co-ordinator); Stephanie O'Connor and Cathy Priestley (Research Office Co-ordinators). (March 2014)

  

New Review Article from RCSI

Prof Kevin McGuigan in collaboration with researchers in I.T. Sligo, UCC, University of Ulster, Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain, University of Cyprus, Florida International University and University of Cincinnati published a new review article on Solar photocatalysis for water disinfection: Materials and reactor design in the RSC journal Catalysis Science & Technology. This review addresses the fundamental reaction mechanism, advances in materials synthesis and selection and recent developments in the reactor design for solar energy driven photocatalysis using titanium dioxide. The major advantage of using photo-reactors is that they enhance disinfection by increasing photon flux into the photocatalyst. Other major factors affecting such efficiency of solar-based photocatalysis such as the illuminated volume/total volume ratio, catalyst load and flow rate, are discussed in detail. The article is available to download at http://xlink.rsc.org/?doi=C4CY00006D (March 2014)

 

RCSI Prize-winners at the Young Life Scientists Ireland 2014 symposium

RCSI had great success at the recent Young Life Scientists Ireland 2014 symposium, which was held at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Trinity College Dublin on the 1st of March. Naadiya Carrim (MCT) and Cormac McDonnell (School of Pharmacy & MCT) were awarded first and second prizes, respectively, for Best Oral Presentation in the Cardiovascular Biology section. Nicola Kavanagh (School of Pharmacy & MCT) received second prize in the general poster category for her presentation. Three PhD students from the TERG were also awarded with prizes. Mr Alan Ryan was awarded 1st prize in the Regenerative Medicine category of the oral presentations with his talk entitled "Generating Viable Tissue Engineered Vascular Grafts from Natural Polymers", while Mr Cian O'Leary received 2nd prize in the same category for his talk entitled "A Tissue-Engineering Approach to Improve Airway In Vitro Models: The Development of a Bilayered Collagen-GAG Scaffold". Ms Nicola Kavanagh, a recently appointed PhD student in the TERG, received a runner up prize for her poster presentation entitled "Development of a 3D Scaffold Based Model System for the Study of Bone Infection". (March 2014)

 

Professor Seamus Cowman Appointed to UK's Lancet Nursing Commission

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the School of Nursing & Midwifery is set to play a major role in deciding the future of nursing in the United Kingdom after he was appointed to the Lancet Commission in Britain.

The Commission plans to review the education, workforce, practice, image and future of UK nursing and to provide recommendations on each to the profession, the public and key decision-makers.

Taking into account international comparators, the Commission will then produce a report on its deliberations and proposals, which will be published both in The Lancet and as a separate booklet. (March 2014)

 

Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Article Highly Cited

Dr. Marcus Rehm (pictured) and Dr. Christian T. Hellwig are corresponding authors for the article, TRAIL Signaling and Synergy Mechanisms Used in TRAIL-Based Combination Therapies. Mol Cancer Ther. January 2012: 11:3-13 which was one of the most highly-cited Molecular Cancer Therapeutics articles published in 2012. (February 2014)

 

 

Perinatal Ireland

A delegation from the RCSI Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and the Perinatal Ireland Research Consortium recently participated in the 'Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine: 34th Annual Pregnancy Meeting' in New Orleans. Data and results from the recently completely PORTO study on the management of pregnancies affected by growth restriction were presented in both oral and poster format. In total, three oral presentations and 12 posters were presented by Professor Fergal Malone and his team.  The first ‘Perinatal Ireland Study Day' will take place on Thursday March 6th 2014 in the Rotunda Hospital. This is an open meeting for clinicians, allied health professionals and the public and will showcase the results of the ‘ESPRiT National Twin Study' and the ‘PORTO Study on the Management of IUGR pregnancies'. (February 2014) 
  
  


COPD Research

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine, and his team of researchers from RCSI, the Alpha One Foundation and Harvard University have made a major breakthrough in identifying a significant proportion of the population who have an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to a combination of inherited genes and exposure to cigarette smoke. Their paper is entitled ‘Clari?cation of the Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in a1-Antitrypsin De?ciency PiMZ Heterozygotes' (Vol 189, No 4 / Feb 15 2014) had been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and has  attracted widespread media attention in Ireland. (February 2014) 

 

RCSI's ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' initiative launched as part of Safer Internet Day 2014

The RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is part of the RCSI Institute of Leadership, launched its ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' initiative as part of the Centre's participation in Safer Internet Day 2014 on 11th February 2014.  The 'Cyber Pal' concept, which is based on solid and established cyberpsychological research findings, is in line with the theme of Safer Internet Day 2014, ‘Creating a Better Internet Together' and aims to improve behaviour online, particularly amongst children and young people.

‘Be a Cyber Pal!' encourages young people to follow seven steps to improve safety online including: ‘Don't be a bystander: be a Cyber Pal' and ‘Reach out to a trusted Cyber Pal when feeling lonely or down.' The initiative was developed by Mary Aiken, Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre (pictured) and Dr. Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Coordinator, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.

Safer Internet Day which was launched by Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills, is part of a global drive to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. The event is organised in Ireland by Webwise and aims to educate and raise awareness about protecting children online, so that they can responsibly enjoy the benefits of the internet, without compromising their safety and privacy.  The focus of Safer Internet Day 2014 is to reach out to young people and encourage them to address the issue of cyber bullying themselves by leading awareness raising campaigns in their clubs, schools, and communities.

Mary Aiken Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre said: ‘Youth empowerment and positive action lie at the centre of the ‘"Be a Cyber Pal!" protocol which aims to support the overall messaging of Safer Internet Day 2014 which is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.'

‘The RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre is delighted to partner with the Irish Safer Internet Day 2014 team to produce anti-cyberbullying messaging that is targeted, appropriate, empowering and most importantly academically grounded,' Mary concluded. 

‘Being part of this initiative reflects a central aim of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is to produce evidence-based insight and advice in a fast-changing environment', added Dr. Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Coordinator, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.

At the launch event for Safer Internet Day 2014 Minister Quinn also unveiled a new anti-cyber bullying school's kit, the #UP2US Anti-Bullying Kit, containing awareness raising material, a new teaching resource for dealing with the issue of cyber bullying through the curriculum in post primary schools and an innovative interactive poster initiative. The pack will challenge young people to find new ways to use the internet and social media to stand up to bullying and show solidarity with victims.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Quinn said, ‘This innovative education resource will support the efforts of schools to prevent bullying behaviour through the fostering and development of a positive culture and climate that is based on inclusivity and respect both in schools and in the online communities where children spend time. Effective practice includes prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.'

The ‘Net Children Go Mobile' report also released at the event has revealed that increased use of mobile devices have created new areas of risks such as increased levels of bullying and exposure to potentially harmful Internet content. The report showed that girls are more likely to be bullied online than boys and that new strategies are needed to ensure young people's safety and welfare in a post-desktop internet environment.

Further information on ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' can be found at: http://webwise.ie/CyberPals.shtm (February 2014)


Human Disease Mapping Conference
PhD students Christopher Whelan and Annachiara Mitrugno (MCT) were Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the recent successful conference on Human Disease Mapping. This conference was organised by Christopher and Annachiara along with their postgraduate student colleagues in RCSI, under HRB support, for postgraduate students and postdocs nationally and internationally. Naadiya Carrim (MCT) received the prize for Best Oral Presentation.   (February 2014)

 

International Diabetes Federation Grantee
A study which examined the co-existence of two common diseases in Bahrain, diabetes and sickle cell, by Dr Ali Abdulnabi Mohamed in RCSI Bahrain, has been selected as one of 15 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Grantees for the World Diabetes Congress (WDC) 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. The research was under the supervision of Professor David Whitford, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and now Head of School of Postgraduate Studies and Research. (February 2014)

 

RCSI Cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken inspires latest CSI TV spin-off

From RCSI to CSI - a potential new spin-off from the TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been inspired by the work of Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken at the RCSI.

The planned spin-off will explore technology and human behaviour and will revolve around the character of Avery Ryan (inspired by Aiken, who is a producer on the show), a special agent in charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI.

Aiken is a cyberpsychologist and research fellow at RCSI's Institute of Leadership and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre. Her research looks at the impact of emerging technology on human behaviour, including the negative aspects such as cyberbullying, criminal activities and anxiety. Her work has explored areas such as human trafficking, cybersecurity and online profiling.

It's not Aiken's first time to be involved in a TV series - she was a featured expert, writer and researcher on the TV3 series Crime in Mind. The pilot for the potential new series will air as a CSI episode in America this spring on CBS.

Commenting on this exciting project Mary said "I think it's a great opportunity to raise money for badly needed research into the impact of technology on child development, and to embed safety and educational messaging into a mass communication forum."

Reference and further information:

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/innovation/item/35864--wit2013/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/02/18/csi-spinoff-cbs/5583093/

(February 2014)

 

Endovascular treatment for Stroke patients.

The first European patient has been enrolled in the ESCAPE trial by the Neuroradiology team in Beaumont Hospital and the Mater Hospital Stroke service. The Principal Investigators for this study are Beaumont Hospital based Consultants, Prof David Williams Consultant Stroke Physician (pictured), and Dr John Thornton Consultant Neuroradiologist. They are working in collaboration with stroke services throughout the region in identifying eligible patients and offering participation in the trial.

This study compares standard thrombolysis therapy with thrombectomy, in patients with proximal vessel occlusion stroke. Its outcome has the potential to revolutionize the future management of stroke patients. The trial is sponsored by the University of Calgary, Canada and is being conducted across Canada, USA and more recently Europe. It is being coordinated by research nurses from the RCSI Clinical Research Centre. (February 2014)

 

Biostatistical Consulting And Support Service
A Biostatistical Consulting and Support Service (BCSS) is now available at RCSI. The service is funded by the College and aims to provide biostatistical support to researchers during the preparation and the implementation of project proposals. The introduction of this support will contribute to delivering a high quality of quantitative research and improve the statistical skills of researchers at RCSI. The BCSS is being rolled out across the college in phases. Initially it will be available to all Principal Investigators in RCSI and in the RCSI-affiliated Academic Group of Hospitals only. The team involved in implementing this service consists of Professor Ronán Conroy and Dr Patrick Dicker, of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine, and Dr Fiona Boland, General Practice (pictured). (February 2014)

RCSI Library
Kate Kelly, Mercer Library, has been named as the incoming Chair of the Irish Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL) for 2014-2016. CONUL is a consortium of Ireland's main research libraries. (February 2014)

  

Launch of SPHeRE Programme heralds exciting era for Population Health Research
The Structured Population and Health-services Research Education (SPHeRE) programme was launched in RCSI in January 2014. Speaking at this well-attended event, Professor Anne Hickey (Director of SPHeRE and Associate Professor of Psychology at RCSI) highlighted that the objective of the programme is to 'create a network of highly trained researchers who can competently research aspects of the current Irish health system, making recommendations to inform policy and implement changes in practice, with the aim of improving population health and health service delivery for the people of Ireland'.



Pictured (l-r) is Mr. Enda Connolly, CEO, HRB; Prof. Reinhard Busse, Technical University of Berlin; Prof. Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Prof Patricia Kearney, UCC; Professor Anne Hickey, RCSI and Director of SPHeRE; Mr. Tony O'Brien, Director General of the Health Service; and Prof. Steve Thomas, Trinity College and Co-Director of SPHeRE

The SPHeRE Programme is a partnership between RCSI, University College Cork (UCC) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), expanding on the well-established and successful HRB structured PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research which commenced in 2007. The Programme aims to produce a national integrated faculty that meets the growing demand for high quality graduates in PHHSR and improves the quality and relevance of such research in Ireland by:
  • Expanding to a national programme, incorporating HEIs beyond the founding institutions (RCSI, TCD, UCC);
  • Encompassing population health research alongside health services research, through the expansion of current taught input and thesis topics;
  • Building a national knowledge translation network for better capacity and inter-connectivity;
  • Upgrading the national skills base, for example, through new initiatives in providing access to taught modules.

Supported by a €6.3 million investment from the Health Research Board (HRB), the new programme will provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017). Dr Teresa Maguire (Head of Population Health and Health Services Research at the Health Research Board) noted: ‘The HRB has funded this programme because it directly supports our strategic objectives to build capacity in population health and health services research and develop strong evidence to drive positive changes in people's health, patient care, health policy and health service delivery'.

Other speakers at the launch included Mr Tony O'Brien (Director General of the Health Service), Prof Steve Thomas (Co-Director of SPHeRE and Associate Professor in Health Policy and Management, TCD), Prof Patricia Kearney (Research Professor, UCC), and Prof John Browne (Deputy Director of SPHeRE and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC). A keynote address on the topic of Universal Health Insurance (UHI) entitled: ‘Implementing competitive UHI: benefit basket, pooling, risk-related allocation and other important considerations', was delivered by Professor Reinhard Busse, Technical University of Berlin and European Observatory on Health Systems.

Applications for the next intake of scholars open at the end of February 2014. For more information about the Programme and details of the application process, please go to the SPHeRE Programme website at: http://www.sphereprogramme.ie/ (January 2014)

24th Sheppard Prize Winners
The RCSI Department of Pathology has announced the winners of the 24th Sheppard Prize, which is awarded to RCSI MDs and PhDs who have achieved excellence in research in their respective fields. This year's award winners were Dr Emmet O'Brien, who won the MD oral presentation prize; Dr Michelle White, who won the PhD oral presentation prize; Dr Colin Davenport, the winner of the PhD poster prize; and Dr Eoghan McCarthy who won the MD poster prize. Judging panel included a number of consultants as well as Professor Arnie Hill, Head of the School of Medicine & Chair of Surgery, RCSI and Professor Seamus Sreenan, Director of the Graduate Entry Medical Programme, RCSI.


Pictured (l-r) is Barry Morris, AstraZeneca Ireland; Dr. Colin Davenport, 1st place in PhD Poster Prize; Michelle White, 1st place in PhD Oral Prize; Dr. Emmet O'Brien, 1st MD Oral Prize; and Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine at RCSI, Beaumont Hospital. (January 2014)

 

TERG Researchers Win Awards

Researchers from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) were awarded top prizes at the inaugural ‘Human Disease Mapping' conference held in RCSI late last month. Alan Ryan was awarded first place in the Student Oral category, Erica Tierney was awarded top place in the Post-Doctoral Researcher Oral category and Elaine Quinlan was awarded 2nd place in the student poster category. (January 2014)

 

RCSI attends ISCP-China

Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri and Professor John Waddington (MCT) have recently returned from representing RCSI and speaking at the SFI International Strategic Collaboration Programme (ISCP)-China Biomedical Workshop in Beijing, together with 3U colleagues from DCU and NUIM and additional colleagues from TCD. ISCP-China supports the development of new and existing collaborative research opportunities between Irish universities and partner organisations in China. The attached group photo shows the Irish and Chinese participants outside the Yingjie Exchange Center at Peking University; in the centre is the Irish Ambassador to China, Mr. Paul Kavanagh.

Also attached are photos of Gianpiero and John in discussions with Chinese colleagues. The hope is that these interactions will lead to new opportunities for research collaboration and enhance the attractiveness of grant applications to both national and international agencies. (January 2014)

 

 

 

ISFI ISCA-Japan

In relation to the successful SFI ISCA-Japan award, John Waddington (MCT) recently laid some 'groundwork' for research collaborations with Japanese investigators via visits to the Department of Pharmacology, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, the Department of Psychiatry, Hamamatsu University, and the Department of Psychiatry, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine. The attached photo shows John with [left] Prof. Masatoshi Takeda, Osaka University, and [right] Prof. Noriaki Koshikawa, Nihon University, Tokyo. (January 2014)

 

Subsequently, Prof. Koshikawa and his colleague, Dr. Katsunori Tomiyama [left/right in the attached photo] attended the reception in Tokyo at which An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, during his recent visit to Japan, announced the ICSA-Japan award; as shown in the attached photo, Prof. Koshikawa toasted RCSI's success with a pint of Guinness! (January 2014)

 

 

RCSI Research Breakthrough in Understanding Hereditary Emphysema

13th January 2014: Researchers from RCSI and Beaumont Hospital have made an important breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of hereditary emphysema.  Their research findings were published in this month's edition of Science Translational Medicine, a prestigious journal that highlights medical advances resulting from scientific research, thus bridging the research-to-treatment gap. Their exciting findings show how the protein Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) plays an important role in controlling inflammation from white blood cells and its importance for good health.

The research found that Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is an important protein produced by the liver which, when released into the bloodstream travels to the lungs to protect the lung tissue from disease. Patients deficient in AAT suffer from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1); a hereditary disorder that leads to the most severe form of hereditary emphysema.

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine at RCSI and senior author on the study commented: "Our study is the first to reveal the mechanisms by which a lack of the Alpha-1 protein causes an increase in the release of white blood cell proteins into the blood stream. This leads to an autoimmune process in the body that mistakenly recognises these proteins as foreign and activates its own white blood cells to produce harmful oxidants"

"Our research also reveals how a treatment known as augmentation therapy, where Alpha-1 protein purified from blood, is given intravenously, leading to a decrease in the abnormal protein release thereby alleviating the disease associated autoimmunity. This research gives new hope for a better quality of life for sufferers of this chronic condition and may also be applied to other autoimmune associated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Prof McElvaney continued.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein produced by the liver which, when released into the bloodstream travels to the lungs to protect the lung tissue from disease. Patients deficient in AAT suffer from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1); a hereditary disorder that leads to severe emphysema. Emphysema (otherwise known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) is caused by inflammation of the alveoli, the sponge-like tissues that take oxygen into the lungs. The disease causes shortness of breath in its mildest form and in its severest form, patients must use an oxygen mask and may need a lung transplant. The first single lung and first double lung transplant recipients in Ireland were people with Alpha-1. 

Alpha-1 is much more common in Ireland than in most other countries. After cystic fibrosis, it is the most common fatal inherited lung condition in Ireland (1). Alpha-1 is estimated to affect more than 12,000 people nationally in its most severe form and the less severe form may affect as many as 200,000 individuals in Ireland. 1 in 25 Irish individuals carry the gene for the disease. (1).

In 2004, the Alpha One Foundation initiated the first national screening programme for Alpha-1. To date, more than 11,000 individuals have been tested and 28% were found to be at risk from the disease (1). The World Health Organisation recommends that everyone with COPD or emphysema should be tested for Alpha-1. For more information on how to get tested for Alpha-1, see http://www.alpha1.ie/ or contact the National Centre for Alpha-1 at Beaumont Hospital (alpha1@rcsi.ie).

The joint lead authors on the research are Dr David Bergin and Dr Emer Reeves from the Respiratory Research Division of RCSI's Department of Medicine based in the Education and Research Centre at Beaumont Hospital. The research was supported by the Medical Research Charities Group/ Health Research Board, the Alpha One Foundation (Ireland) and the Alpha-1 Foundation (USA). 

Editors Notes

  • (1) Carroll, T. P., C. A. O'Connor, O. Floyd, J. McPartlin, D. P. Kelleher, G. O'Brien, B. D. Dimitrov, V. B. Morris, C. C. Taggart, and N. G. McElvaney. 2011. The prevalence of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in Ireland. Respir Res 12:91.

(January 2014) 

Anatomical Society honours two RCSI Staff

The Anatomical Society has honoured two members of RCSI Staff. Pictured (l-r) is Dr Garry Duffy and Prof Clive Lee. Based in London, the Anatomical Society promotes, develops and advances research and education in anatomy. At its AGM in Newcastle in December, Professor Clive Lee was elected President of the Anatomical Society for a three year term. He is the fourth Irish person to be elected President in the 127 year history of the Society. Each year, the Society awards four PhD studentships and, this year, Dr Garry Duffy received one for his project ‘Decoding the extrinsic regulation of cardiac stem cell fate in cardiovascular disease'. (January 2014)

 

RCSI Research Day 2014 Our Annual showcase event for all of our researchers to give oral presentations and exhibit posters of their work will take place on Thursday March 20th 2014. Read more about our research day »

 

 

3U Partnership conference held to advance teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering & mathematics

A conference was held in RCSI, 13th December 2013, to showcase the joint research projects from the 3U N-STEP initiative. The 3U N-STEP is a national initiative established by the 3U Partnership between DCU, NUI Maynooth and RCSI to advance teaching and learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The aim of the first strand of the 3U N-STEP initiative is to support research into teaching and learning practices of STEM subjects at university level. The collaborative research projects, which were supported by the 3U Partnership, were showcased in RCSI today.

Eight research projects were undertaken, involving 25 researchers from across the three partner institutions: Dublin City University, NUI Maynooth and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Each successful project involves researchers from at least two of the partner institutions.

Speaking at the conference Dr Ruth Davis, Director of the 3U Partnership, said "The 3U N-STEP initiative goes to the heart of what our three Partner Institutions are about - educating students. Through the 3U Partnership, we are seeking to be the very best at educating all of the students that come through the doors of each of our institutions."

The diverse range of research across the 3U N-STEP projects includes interdisciplinary communication, cultural intelligence, attendance, opportunities for creative reasoning, building mathematical knowledge for teaching, exploring student expectations, the use of smart devices, and the role of metacognition in mathematical problem solving.

Prof Teresa Pawlikowska, Professor of Health Professions Education RCSI, gave the keynote address at the conference, highlighting the potential benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration in research.

Further information is available at http://www.3upartnership.ie/education/3u-n-step

 

RCSI hosts International Conference on Epithelia and Smooth Muscle Interactions in Health and Disease Dublin Convention Centre, 11-13 December 2013

A Joint Meeting of The Physiological Society and RCSI has brought together scientists and clinicians from USA, Canada, Chile and Europe to discuss recent advances in epithelia and smooth muscle interactions in health and disease. Conference organiser, Professor Brian Harvey, Department of Molecular Medicine RCSI, said the focus on Epithelia and Vascular diseases which affect both epithelial ion transport and smooth muscle contractility is unique in the international conference circuit and will shed new insights into understanding common mechanisms of diseases and their relevance in co-morbidities. Disease areas covered in the conference are Cystic Fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, COPD and arterial hypertension. (December 2013)

 

New Gastroenterology Research Uncovers New Route for the Development of Anti-diarrhoeal Drugs

New gastroenterology research carried out by the RCSI in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland has uncovered a new route for the development of anti-diarrhoeal drugs. The new route directly targets cells and molecular processes that control water movement into the intestine and may help with the development of a new class of anti-diarrhoeal medication.

The research found that drugs which act on a protein called Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) in the tissue of the intestine can stop water moving in to the gut. By switching off the water movement in to the gut, this can prevent diarrhoea occurring.

Dr Stephen Keely (pictured), Associate Director of Molecular Medicine, RCSI and lead researcher, said ‘Diarrhoeal diseases are common and debilitating but safe and effective drugs for their treatment are still lacking. Our research has found that FXR is an important regulator of intestinal function and has excellent potential for the development of a new class of anti-diarrhoeal drugs."

In Ireland, diarrhoea is the main reason for approximately 40,000 visits to gastroenterology clinics annually. Epidemics of acute infectious diarrhoea are common, and many illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease, digestive disorders and irritable bowel syndrome cause disruptions to the normal functioning of the intestine and lead to diarrhoea. These conditions have a large financial burden to society both in terms of healthcare and lost hours of work.

The research found that drugs which target the FXR protein, target the cells lining the intestine, and because of this they may have broader efficacy and fewer side effects than many anti-diarrhoeals currently available on the market.

The research was published in Gut, a leading international journal in gastroenterology. These findings support an RCSI patent for treating diarrhoeal diseases recently granted by the European Patent Office. The research was a collaborative research project between the Department of Molecular Medicine, RCSI; the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. (December 2013).

RCSI led EU consortium receives €8.7 million funding to develop materials to regenerate cardiac tissue following heart attacks

Irish led Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration (AMCARE) brings together ten European industry and academic partners to tackle the number one cause of death globally

 

Pictured are the RCSI and 3U AMCARE team (l-r) Dr. Tom Farrell, Dr. Andreas Heise, Dr. Conn Hastings, Prof. Sally Ann Cryan, Dr. Janice O'Sullivan, Dr. Helena Kelly, (Deputy Coordinator), Dr. Garry Duffy (Coordinator AMCARE) and Ms. Laura Gallagher. (Dec 2013)

Wednesday, 4th December: Major new EU funding for research into heart disease was announced by a group led by RCSI and AMBER. The AMCARE (Advanced Materials for CArdiac REgeneration) consortium involves ten partners from five European countries and has received €8.7 million funding (€6.8 million EU contribution) as part of the European Union's Framework Programme 7, Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.

AMCARE is co-ordinated by Dr. Garry Duffy, Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group, RCSI and AMBER Investigator. AMBER (Advanced Materials for Bioengineering Research), the newly established Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre will lead specific tasks in the consortium, tackling surgical device design, nanotechnology safety and drug delivery.

The AMCARE programme, which will create ten new positions, will carry out research to develop natural materials and new surgical devices to enhance the delivery of the body's own stem cells to the heart to promote healing after a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and prevent premature death. The therapies being developed will replace heart cells that die due to the reduced blood flow that occurs during a heart attack, with new healthy cells derived from stem cells that come from the patient's own bone marrow.

The European Society of Cardiology estimates that one in every six men and one in every seven women in Europe will die from a myocardial infarction and according to the Irish Heart Foundation, approximately 10,000 people die in Ireland every year from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases. The most common cause of death in Ireland (33%), CVD is the number one cause of death globally, killing an estimated 17 million people each year according to World Health Organisation.

Dr. Garry Duffy commented on the research funding: ‘We are delighted to lead the AMCARE programme and to translate new collaborative research for the benefit of patients with heart disease. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of patients who have suffered a heart attack, and through AMCARE we will develop new technologies to enhance stem cell therapies for these patients by increasing targeting and ease of delivery using advanced biomaterials.'

The AMCARE Consortium represents a major interdisciplinary effort between stem cell biologists, experts in advanced drug delivery, research scientists, clinicians and research-active companies working together to develop novel therapeutics to address the challenges of treating acute heart disease. The researchers will optimise adult stem cell therapy using smart biomaterials and advanced drug delivery, and couple these therapeutics with minimally-invasive surgical devices.

RCSI researchers involved in the consortium include Dr Helena Kelly (Deputy Co-ordinator) and Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, RCSI School of Pharmacy and will work with Drs Garry Duffy, Bruce Murphy and Adriele Prina-Mello from AMBER.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research at RCSI said: ‘RCSI's leadership of the AMCARE consortium builds on the College's expertise in regenerative medicine and industrial collaboration. This new programme will help accelerate the development of new treatments for the benefit of patients, in keeping with our strategy of bench to bedside translational research.'

Dr Sergio F. Ceballos, National Contact Point for FP7 NMP in Enterprise Ireland commented: 'The 'AMCARE' project represents one of Irelands biggest successes for the NMP FP7 programme. The EU funding intake for Ireland Inc. represents over €2.3M and the research plans to deliver medical solutions to cardiovascular diseases, identified as one of the main causes of death across the EU. It was the first time Dr Duffy applied to European Research & Development Programmes and this achievement underlines the quality of research carried out in Ireland. We hope more applicants will be encouraged to apply under the new Horizon 2020 Framework programme which will replace FP7.'

The programme is an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) targeted collaborative project and the consortium members include a number of European SMEs; AdjuCor GmbH (Germany), Cardio3Biosciences (Belgium), Contipro (Czech Republic), Explora BioTech (Italy), INNOVA (Italy). In addition the consortium includes a number of other leading academic institutions; Trinity College Dublin, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and the Eberhard Karls Universitat Tübingen in Germany and the multinational company Boston Scientific based in Galway, Ireland.

The project is funded by the European Union's ‘Seventh Framework' Programme (FP7/ http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html) under Grant Agreement n° NMP3-SME-2013-604531 from November 2013 to October 2018.

For further information about AMBER see http://www.ambercentre.ie/ (December 2013)

 

Dr Karen Morgan, PU-RCSI (Perdana University-RCSI), Psychology, has been awarded 46,534 USD as part of a 5 country HPV Vaccine Acceptability Study led by University of North Carolina and funded by GSK. The Malaysia team also includes Anne Jamaludin (Epidemiology and Public Health) and Amuthan Ganesh (Pharmacology). (December 2013)

 

 

 

Irish Cancer Society Research Fellowship for RCSI Dr. Amanda Tivnan

Dr. Amanda Tivnan has recently accepted the Irish Cancer Society Research Fellowship for work which she will be carrying out in RCSI with Professor Jochen Prehn (Dept Physiology and Medical Physics). Dr. Tivnan's research will be on a form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

For further information on the work which Dr Tivnan will be undertaking see http://www.cancer.ie/content/women-race-pay-tribute-friend-who-died-brain-cancer-and-raise-almost-%E2%82%AC30k-irish-cancer (November 2013)

 

 

PIP Meeting 2013

The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (http://www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie/) hosted an international collaborative Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination meeting on: "Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing: Epidemiology, Interventions and Policy Implications" on Tuesday 26th November in RCSI. The meeting summarised recent activities in the area of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and consisted on a number of focussed presentations from researchers at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, Queen's University Belfast and the Universities of Nottingham, Manchester and Dundee. These talks related to the development of prescribing indicators to enhance quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of prescribing, practice based interventions including academic detailing and decision support for clinicians, and health policy implementations to reduce PIP. The meeting was attended by national and international academics, clinicians and policy makers with an interest in effective medicines monitoring.

Speakers at Tuesday's meeting on potentially inappropriate prescribing, hosted by the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research.

Left to right: Professor Tony Avery, Head of School of Community Health Sciences, Division of General Practice, University of Nottingham. Professor Carmel Hughes, Professor of Primary Care Pharmacy, Queens University Belfast. Professor Bruce Guthrie, Professor of Primary Care Medicine, University of Dundee. Professor Susan Smith, Associate Professor of General Practice, RCSI. Professor Tom Fahey, Professor of General Practice RCSI and Principal Investigator for the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research.

 

Front Row: Professor Tony Avery, Head of School of Community Health Sciences, Division of General Practice, University of Nottingham. Dr. Ronan Mc Donnell, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research RCSI. Professor Rachel A Elliott, Lord Trent Professor of Medicines and Health, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. Dr. Rachel Spencer, Academic GP, PhD Candidate in the Primary Care at the University of Nottingham, Professor Carmel Hughes, Professor of Primary Care Pharmacy, Queens University Belfast. Professor Susan Smith, Associate Professor of General Practice, RCSI. Dr. Janine Cooper, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast. Barbara Clyde, PhD Scholar in Health Services Research, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research RCSI. Dr. Dan Morales, CSO Clinical Academic Fellow, University of Dundee.

Back Row: Xinyu Zhang, PhD Student, University of Dundee, Ning Yu, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Dundee. Professor Tom Fahey, Professor of General Practice RCSI and Principal Investigator for the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. Dr. Tobias Dreischutle, Research Fellow(Pharmacy), University of Dundee. Professor Bruce Guthrie, Professor of Primary Care Medicine, University of Dundee. Dr. Sarah Rodgers, Senior Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. Dr. Patrick Redmond, General Practicitioner, Lecturer & PhD Scholar in Health Services Research, HRB Centre for Primary Care, RCSI.

 

 

Front Row: Professor Tony Avery, Head of School of Community Health Sciences, Division of General Practice, University of Nottingham. Dr. Ronan Mc Donnell, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research RCSI. Professor Rachel A Elliott, Lord Trent Professor of Medicines and Health, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. Dr. Rachel Spencer, Academic GP, PhD Candidate in the Primary Care at the University of Nottingham, Professor Carmel Hughes, Professor of Primary Care Pharmacy, Queens University Belfast. Professor Susan Smith, Associate Professor of General Practice, RCSI. Dr. Janine Cooper, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast. Barbara Clyde, PhD Scholar in Health Services Research, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research RCSI. Dr. Dan Morales, CSO Clinical Academic Fellow, University of Dundee.

Back Row: Xinyu Zhang, PhD Student, University of Dundee, Ning Yu, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Dundee. Professor Tom Fahey, Professor of General Practice RCSI and Principal Investigator for the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. Dr. Tobias Dreischutle, Research Fellow(Pharmacy), University of Dundee. Professor Bruce Guthrie, Professor of Primary Care Medicine, University of Dundee. Dr. Sarah Rodgers, Senior Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. Dr. Patrick Redmond, General Practicitioner, Lecturer & PhD Scholar in Health Services Research, HRB Centre for Primary Care, RCSI.

No Rebound Effect after Clopidogrel Cessation in Stable Patients

After planned clopidogrel cessation, platelet reactivity soon returns to baseline levels, showing no evidence of a rebound effect in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a study published online November 6, 2013, ahead of print in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

RCSI Professor David Williams (Consultant Stroke Physician, Beaumont Hospital) participated in this important study, with colleagues of the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry (Aberdeen, Scotland), before joining RCSI.

For further information, see Ford I, Scott NW, Herd V, Mitchell LR, Williams DJ, Brittenden J. A randomised controlled trial of platelet activity before and after cessation of clopidogrel therapy in patients with stable cardiovascular disease. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Oct 22. Doi:Pii:S0735-1(13) 05754-9.10.1016/j.jacc.2013.10.018 [Epub ahead of print] (November 2013)

School of Postgraduate Studies Host Prof Vanessa Abilio's (Federal University of São Paulo, UNIFESP) visit to Ireland

The RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies hosted Prof Vanessa Abilio's (Federal University of São Paulo, UNIFESP) visit to Ireland in November 2013. The visit, sponsored by Research Brazil Ireland (RBI), an International Strategic award funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), will explore new opportunities for scientific research collaborations.

Photo L-R Prof Niamh Moran, RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, Ms Tatiane Eufrásio, RCSI Postgraduate student, Prof Vanessa Abilio, UNIFESP, Brazilian Ambassador in Ireland Mr Pedro Fernando Brêtas Bastos, Prof John Waddington, RCSI Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, Prof Fergal O'Brien, RCSI Anatomy) (November 2013)

 

Irish Institute of Metal-Based Drugs

Professor Celine Marmion, Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry, hosted the 6th Meeting of the Irish Institute of Metal-Based Drugs in RCSI on Friday, 1st November. This brought together delegates from RCSI and our 3U Partners, NUI Maynooth and DCU, as well as from UCD, NUI Galway, DIT, ITT Dublin and the University of Reading, UK in which they presented their research in the exciting field of metallodrug design and action.

Photo of some of the speakers attached. (November 2013)

 

RCSI Student wins top Undergraduate Award in Medical Sciences

Joseph Sweeney, RCSI BSc in Pharmacy graduate, has been awarded the winning prize in the 2013 Undergraduate Awards Medical Sciences category. Pictured (l-r) is Prof Fergal O'Brien, Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine; Joseph; and Dr Orlaith Brennan, Lecturer in Physics. Orlaith and Prof O'Brien supervised Joseph in his research. The Undergraduate Awards are an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research. (November 2013)

ICGP, Research and Education Grant 2013

An ICGP, Research and Education Grant 2013 of €10,000 for work in General Practice in Disadvantaged Areas in Ireland, was awarded to Professor Susan Smith, Department of General Practice and HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. (November 2013)

 

 

HRB Cochrane Fellowship 2013

A HRB Cochrane Fellowship of €90,000 for Antiviral therapy for infectious mononucleosis was awarded to Dr Muireann de Paor, Department of General Practice and HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. (November 2013)

 
Molecular Medicine Success at 6th Annual IEPG Meeting

Natalia Lajczak (Dept. of Molecular Medicine, RCSI) won Joint 1st Prize presentation at the 6th annual Irish Epithelial Physiology Group (IEPG) Meeting which took place at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny on October 24th-25th 2013.

 

Pictured left to right: Keynote speaker, Jonathan Kaunitz, presenting the winners, Jerzy Woznicki (Alimentary Pharmacobiotic Centre, UCC) and Natalia Lajczak (Dept. of Molecular Medicine, RCSI), with their prizes.

 

Pictured Left to right: prizewinners with their Principal Investigators, Ken Nally, Jonathan Kaunitz (UCC), Natalia Lajczak and Stephen Keely (RCSI). (October 2013)

  

Minister Bruton launches new €58 Million SFI Research Centre- AMBER

Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre positions Ireland as a global leader in the areas of materials and medical device development for industry

Thursday 24th October, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, launched the Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research Centre (AMBER).

The Centre is funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in the amount of €35million. This funding is leveraged with an additional €23million from 18 industry partners. AMBER will directly support 99 jobs and there is potential for further job creation.

The AMBER Research Centre is led by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with University College Cork and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Bruton said: "Almost 50% of IDA jobs wins are connected to SFI research projects - that's almost 6000 jobs per year over recent years. Therefore, if we are to achieve the level of job-creation we need, we must ensure that our science and research spending is properly targeted at employment opportunities. As part of the Action Plan for Jobs we are making a series of changes to achieve this, including the new SFI centres programme which will focus our spending in this area on 7 large-scale research centres which can attract industry funding and compete with the best in the world.

"The establishment of AMBER is a key part of this plan. Nanoscience and materials science are areas where we rank well inside the top ten internationally for research. The scale and ambition of this centre means that we can attract 18 industry partners and leading international researchers who can turn these good ideas into good jobs. I commend all involved and wish them every success with this crucial project".

Minister Sherlock stated that, "With nanoscience linked to €15 billion or 10% of Irish exports and 250,000 jobs in sectors like technology, biomedicine, pharmaceuticals, energy and more, the importance of AMBER as a driver of future materials science research is clear. As a national centre, AMBER will play a key role in growing and retaining existing companies, providing world-leading research, increasing the level of foreign direct investment and enabling job creation in Ireland."

AMBER will work to translate science into new discoveries and devices for a range of sectors, particularly ICT, medical devices and industrial technologies. It is an academia-industry research consortium dedicated to developing new materials and medical devices which includes the development of novel silicon and magnetic memory devices which will impact communication devices like mobile phones; medical implant coatings which will improve patient care, for example hip implants and other products such as thermoelectric devices.

Professor Fergal O'Brien, Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine in RCSI and Deputy Director of AMBER said "AMBER presents a unique opportunity to develop advanced next generation materials and medical devices. It brings together world class scientists in bioengineering and nanotechnology in addition to the Tissue Engineering Research Group and clinicians based at RCSI thus ensuring that the biomaterials and medical devices developed are informed by clinical need. The level of investment is at a scale comparable to leading research centres worldwide and will ensure Ireland is a global leader in materials science and medical device technologies"

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI said, "The SFI Research Centres Programme represents the largest ever state industry co-funded research investment of its kind in Ireland. The programme will see €200 million of Irish exchequer funding matched by €100 million in support from industry invested in seven world class research centres of scale, one of which is AMBER. AMBER has the potential to impact positively on Ireland's future, not only in terms of the research outputs and resulting economic gain, but also in terms of creating and maintaining a strong pool of excellent talent within our shores. The foundation of AMBER has already delivered tangible economic benefits that include productive engagement with industry collaborators and the creation of new jobs."

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research at RCSI said "We are delighted with the launch of AMBER, which will help accelerate the development of new materials for the benefit of patients, in keeping with our strategy of bench to bedside translational research. " (October 2013)

 

2013 RCSI Seed Funding

The successful candidates to the RCSI Seed Funding 2013 Call where as follows:

Dr Niamh Humphries: Project Title: Failure to Retain: The health workforce implications of the emigration of Irish trained doctors and nurses 2008-2012 (F2R Project)

Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney: Project Title: Elucidating the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers of multi-drug resistance in neuroblastoma - towards the development of a sensor platform capable of identifying patients at risk.

Dr Frank Doyle: Project Title: Determining rates of smoking cessation advice delivered during hospitalisation and smoking cessation rates 3-months post discharge: a two-hospital pilot survey

Dr Markus Rehm: Project Title: Development of a systems medicine platform to predict therapy responsiveness of colorectal cancer patients from quantitative histopathological immunofluorescence data

Dr Alex Eustace: Project Title: Novel Kinome Aberrations in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Therapy Resistance

Dr Annette Byrne: Project Title: ‘TKI Colo-Predict': Validation of a Patient Derived Colorectal Cancer Xenograft ‘Avatar' Discovery Platform for the Integrated Systems Based Identification of Predictive Biomarker Sigantures for a Lead Optimised Panel of Targeted Therapies.

Dr Orlaith Brennan: Project Title: Investigation of the influence of a natural marine derived calcium supplement and vitamin D on the prevention of bone loss following estrogen deficiency in a rat ovariectomy model of osteoporosis

(October 2013)

 

Prof Dermot Kenny Wins Innovation Award

Prof Dermot Kenny, Professor of Cardiovascular Biology, Beaumont Hospital and RCSI, won an Enterprise Ireland Med In Ireland Award for his work to develop a diagnostic for Cardiovascular disease using platelet stickiness. Prof Kenny will receive Feasibility funding from Enterprise Ireland to investigate the commercial potential of this idea. (October 2013)

 

 

 

Junior Investigators Award at 2013 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference

Dr. Kerstin Pohl from the Dept. of Medicine won the Junior Investigators Best Abstract in Basic Science Award at the 2013 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Utah. The study, led by Dr. Emer Reeves and Prof. Gerry McElvaney, was carried out in collaboration with researchers from Dublin City University and King's College London and examined the effect of ivacaftor treatment on neutrophil function in individuals with cystic fibrosis. (October 2013)

 

Ciara O'Dwyer from the Dept. of Medicine was awarded a travel grant from the US Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for attendance at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (NACFC) held in October (16th-19th) 2013 at Salt Lake City, Utah. Ciara is in the third year of her PhD studies and she presented her results on the effect of alpha-1 antitrypsin on leukotriene B4 associated pulmonary disease. Ciara's project is funded by the US Alpha-1 Foundation and is jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney. (October 2013)

 

  

Dean's Award winners 2013

The annual Dean’s Awards were announced at the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences on Friday 18th October, 2013. The winners are staff proposed by colleagues for their ongoing contribution to the core values of RCSI - Respect, Collegiality, Scholarship and Innovation. (October 2013)

Aidan Bradford, Associate Professor from the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was the Academic recipient of the 2013 Dean’s Award.

Highly valued by students, Prof Bradford, who has recently returned from Perdana University as the Foundation Lead in Physiology in the RCSI programme and the most senior of the RCSI discipline leads in the Junior Cycle curriculum, is seen as both a committed teacher and researcher. (October 2013)

 

 

Deirdre Hyland, Senior Research Nurse/Director of Research Nurse Education at RCSI’s Clinical Research Centre in Beaumont Hospital, is the administrative Dean’s Award winner for 2013. Deirdre is responsible for the standard operating processes in clinical studies conducted in the CRC; standards that are highly praised at regulator visits such as those of the Irish Medicines Board. In addition to this service, to our researchers and through them to the public and patients who participate in research for RCSI, Deirdre has innovated educationally. She has developed a postgraduate certificate in clinical research nursing for RCSI. Five cohorts have now completed this NUI registered certificate course in association with our School of Nursing at RCSI. These nurses comprise the leadership in clinical trials management in the CRC networks across the country, and increase our national capacity to run good clinical trials. Her work brings great credit to the RCSI research and nursing communities. (October 2013)

Pictured above (l-r) is Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO; Ms Deirdre Hyland, Dean's Award winner; Prof. Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; and Professor Patrick Broe, President.

 

Launch of DOCTRID Conference in Assistive Technologies for people with Autism and Intellectual Disability

The first structured research programme in Europe to develop Assistive Technologies for People with Autism and Intellectual Disability was launched in Dublin on the 15th October 2013. The ASSISTID EU Marie Curie COFUND programme will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies for the practical benefit of carers and individuals to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities.

The National Disability Authority Ireland (NDA) published a recent report which stated ‘Assistive Technologies is centrally important for disability policy as it is one of the more concrete ways that the barriers to participation in society can be overcome for people with disabilities'

The ASSISTID programme will be supported by the EU and the charity RESPECT Ireland and coordinated by the DOCTRID Research Institute which was established by The Daughters of Charity Service (DOC) in 2010. The DOC provides daily support to over 2,500 people with an intellectual disability both in specialist centres and full time care in Ireland. The DOCTRID Research Institute is a collaborative research partnership of all the universities on the island of Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), and US universities including Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School together with associated partners in Europe, Japan, Canada and South America.

At the conference, Professor Brian Harvey from RCSI and Director of Research for DOCTRID highlighted the importance of the research, "DOCTRID and ASSISTID are positioned in a unique place and time-frame to undertake and support research and technologies to address critical needs in the area of autism, intellectual and other neurodevelopmental disabilities in order to make important, meaningful and sustainable impact on the quality of life of individuals with these disabilities on a global basis" (October 2013)

 

Infant Centre Launch

The launch of the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) has taken place, of which Professor David Henshall, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, is a co-Principle Investigator. The new €13.6 million research centre, based at Cork University Maternity Hospital, will aim to improve treatment and care for pregnant mothers and new-born babies. (October 2013)

 

A tool for predicting drug-specific cell death responses in melanoma

Dr Markus Rehm and his team published a new study in the Journal "Cell Death and Differentiation" (Cell Death Differ. 2013 Nov;20(11):1521-1531). In this study, they were successful in predicting the best treatment option for individual melanoma cell lines by using a novel systems modelling approach. The elimination of cancer cells by a process called Apoptosis is a mainstay of anti-cancer chemotherapies. Markus Rehm and his team used quantitative data of proteins that regulate this cell death mechanism together with information on their interactions and regulatory functions to predict the treatment outcome for individual cell lines to different apoptosis-inducing drugs. Using these information they were able to select the best treatment option in up to 91% of the cases. Additionally, the investigators could identify optimal co-treatment strategies to overcome resistance in melanoma cells. Their novel approach may contribute to the development of personalized cancer treatments in the future.

The systems model was co-developed and implemented by Dr Maximilian Würstle, a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Dr Rehm. A poster designed by Dr Würstle won the "best poster" price at the European Cell Death Organisation annual conference in Paris in late September. Oral presentations of the study results were given in guest seminars and conference talks in recent months (Dermatology Clinics, University of Dresden; Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York; 3U Cancer Conference, Dublin; CSHL Cell Death meeting, Cold Spring Harbor). (October 2013)

In further news from this group:

Insight into intracellular protease activities during cancer cell death

Caspases are proteases crucial for the elimination of cancer cells by apoptotic cell death. Eugenia Delgado, a PhD student in the team of Dr Markus Rehm, has now published the first study in which the contribution of caspase-2 to apoptosis initiation and execution was analysed inside individual living cells by highly sensitive biophysical FRET reporter assays (Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Oct;1833(10):2279-92). So far, approaches towards measuring caspase-2 activity were restricted to analyses in cell homogenates and extracts, yielded inconsistent results, and were often limited in sensitivity, thereby contributing to controversies regarding the role of caspase-2 during apoptosis. Furthermore, caspases overlap in substrate specificities, and caspase-8 as well as effector caspases may cleave optimal caspase-2 recognition motifs. The study found that limited proteolysis of caspase-2 substrates during extrinsic apoptosis initiation was attributable to caspase-8 rather than caspase-2. The contribution of caspase-2 to proteolytic activities during apoptosis execution was insignificant. In contrast to several previous studies, the authors demonstrate that caspase-2 substrate is predominantly cleaved by caspase-8 and effector caspases during canonical apoptosis signalling. (October 2013)

  

RCSI hosts third Annual International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The third International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) took place at RCSI last week. This conference was attended by more than 100 undergraduate students from Ireland, UK, USA, Middle-East and South-East Asia. The event also saw 90 students present on a variety of topics of healthcare research.

The conference was organised by RCSI undergraduate medical and healthcare students for students worldwide: ‘A conference for students by students'. This year's tag line was Explore, Evolve, Excel - Advancing Biomedical Research, seeking to provide opportunities to further develop the biomedical research skills of undergraduate students.

Dr Sarah O'Neill, MCT, Chair of the Scientific Committee said ‘I am proud that the ICHAMS Conference is entering its third year which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our student organising committee. By providing healthcare students with the opportunity to develop their research skills and interests at an early stage in their career, it gives students an insight into the world of scientific research and a better understanding of how research can be translated from the bench to the patients' bedside.'

Professor Graham McMahon, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Orina Belton, lecturer at UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, give the keynote addresses at the conference. (October 2013)

 

ERS Funding

Dr Catherine Greene from the Department of Medicine in ERC Beaumont has recently been awarded €10,800 award from the European Respiratory Society (ERS) for her research in the area of rare pulmonary diseases. This funding will support further research in this field. (October 2013)

 

 

 

European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell's Training Award (eALTA)

Dr. Emmet O'Brien was the successful recipient of the European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell's Training Award (eALTA), received at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Barcelona in September 2013. The eALTA is a European research initiative coordinated by Grifols and the primary goal of the eALTA program is to identify research projects aimed at enhancing the understanding of disease mechanisms of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and associated disorders.

Emmet's project aims to fully characterise the effect of alpha-1 antitrypsin (alpha-1) on neutrophil function within the circulation. The potential benefits to patients include an investigation into whether alpha-1 augmentation therapy corrects the accelerated rate of neutrophil activity in deficient individuals. The long-term objective of this research is to develop the means to control lung disease associated with alpha-1 deficiency and the potential ramifications of alpha-1 as a modulator of neutrophil function will add a new dimension to its role in health and disease.

Emmet's project is entitled ‘Neutrophil degranulation in individuals with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency' and is currently being carried out in the Department of Medicine, under the supervision of Prof Gerry McElvaney, Dr Emer Reeves and Dr David Bergin. (October 2013)

 

Tokyo Invitation Fellowship

Professor John Waddington, MCT, received a second invitation Fellowship by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to visit and lecture at Japanese Universities. John will visit Osaka University and Nihon University in Tokyo on the 16th of October. (October 2013)

In further news:

Schizophrenia Bulletin
Professor John Waddington has also been invited by Schizophrenia Bulletin to co-edit a theme section on Psychotic depression: an under-appreciated window to explore the dimensionality and pathobiology of psychosis. In the most recent issue of this publication, Olabisi Owoeye, MCT, contributed an article based on work undertaken in collaboration with Cavan-Monaghan Mental Health Service. (October 2013)

 

Irish Society Of Immunology

Siobhan Smith, MCT, was awarded the prize for Best Postgraduate Poster Presentation at the recent Annual Meeting of the Irish Society of Immunology, on the role of estrogen in regulating TRIM21 expression and its implications for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). (October 2013)

 

One in Five young people in ireland IS experiencing A mental disorder: RCSI PERL Group Mental Health Report

According to research published by RCSI in October 2013, one in five young Irish adults aged 19-24 and one in 6 young people aged 11-13 were experiencing mental disorder at the time they took part in two HRB-funded studies on mental disorders among Irish youth. The research also found that experiencing mental ill-health in early life places young people at increased risk of further episodes of mental ill-health during their adult years.

‘The Mental Health Of Young People in Ireland' report prepared by the RCSI Psychiatric Epidemiology Research across the Lifespan (PERL) Group was launched in October by Kathleen Lynch, TD, Minister of State, Department of Health and Department of Justice, Equality & Defence with responsibility for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health and provides valuable, clinically-validated, data on the rates of mental disorder among Irish youth and factors contributing to mental-health. This is the first time such comprehensive, longitudinal data about mental health disorders among young people in Ireland have been published.

The PERL Group research findings combine two research studies carried out with young people in Ireland - the Adolescent Brain Development Study and the Challenging Times Two Study. The research, involved surveying and interviewing more than 400 young people between the ages of 11 and 24 to assess them for the presence of mental disorders and to examine their overall level of functioning.

Commenting on the report Professor Mary Cannon, PERL Group Leader & Associate Professor, RCSI, said: "Our research shows that high numbers of teenagers and young adults in Ireland are experiencing mental ill-health at any given time. For the first time in Ireland, we have evidence showing that young people who experience mental ill-health during adolescence have higher rates of mental disorders and substance misuse during their young adult years and are three times more likely to be unemployed than young adults who did not experience mental ill-health during their adolescence. Compared to similar international studies, the findings suggest that Irish youth may have higher rates of disorder than their peers in Europe and the USA."

The findings of the report also indicate that high numbers of young adults aged 19-24 are engaged in the misuse of alcohol and drugs. Over 1 in 5 met criteria for a diagnosable substance use disorder over the course of their lives and 1 in 20 met criteria for an alcohol use disorder at the time of the study. Of particular concern is that 3 out of 4 young adults (75%) met lifetime criteria for binge drinking. The research also reveals that almost 1 in 5 (19%) had thought about suicide.

Speaking at the event, The Minister of State at the Department of Health & Department of Justice, Equality & Defence, Ms Kathleen Lynch T.D. said: "We, as a society, have a collective duty to foster a culture whereby all those in difficulty, and young people in particular, do not hesitate to seek help when needed. We should, for example, be alert to the signs and signals of distress, promote good coping skills, embrace difference and exclude stigma. The fundamental solution to meeting mental health needs, regardless of age, lies in effective partnerships where professionals, service users, families and the wider community work together. Obviously, the Government will continue to play its part in terms of promoting policies, services and investment for this important sector. Above all, no one should have to suffer a mental illness alone. I would appeal to any young person who thinks they may have a mental health issue not to suffer in silence and to seek help from the many sources available."

Speaking at the conference guest lecturer Professor Pat McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne warned: "This research should be the only wake up call that people need. This research tells us very clearly that there is an urgent need to enhance the services, supports and policies which underpin the mental health services available to young people in Ireland. There is a need for specialist mental health services catering to young people between the ages of 15 and 25. These young people do not fit well into the current adult services. Without access to appropriate support services at the right time, a young person's chances of operating and functioning well in society as adults are severely limited."

This report and fact sheets are available for download on www.rcsi.ie/perl. The preparation of the Report and Fact sheets were funded by a Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award from the Health Research Board (HRB). (October 2013)

 

RCSI launches CyberPsychology Research Centre

The RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre was launched by the RCSI Institute of Leadership on October 3rd. Coinciding with the European Union's Cyber Security Month (ECSM), the new centre will focus on the key areas of child safety online, cyberbullying, and human trafficking & technology. The Centre will also investigate the impact of technology on leadership, while developing national and international partnerships between academia, government, law enforcement and industry and will serve as an Irish centre of excellence for cyberpsychology research.

Speaking at the launch, Michael Moran, Assistant Director of INTERPOL said that ‘Robust law enforcement is informed by robust research; effective partnership between frontline police investigators and academics can only be a positive thing. This centre is welcomed by global law enforcement agencies as a resource to aid appropriate and informed policy development, training and response. The launch of the centre formalises a productive partnership that will undoubtedly continue to grow and deliver results.'

Through international collaborations, the CyberPsychology Centre has already developed a substantial research network. As well as liaising with the European Commission and the White House, research collaboration has been established with institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Columbia Universities, INTERPOL, the Garda Síochána, Metropolitan Police Service of London, Los Angeles Police Department, the Australian Federal Police,

Speaking at the launch Professor Ciarán O'Boyle, Director of the RCSI Institute of Leadership, said: ‘The CyberPsychology Research Centre has been established to provide analysis, insight and leadership in understanding the benefits, risks and applications of current and emerging human-technology interfaces.'

Also speaking at the launch was Mary Aiken (pictured), RCSI Research Fellow and Centre Director who said: ‘Our vision is that the Research Centre will become a global leader in producing research and supporting education and intervention at the intersection of psychology and technology.'

For further information on the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre visit: http://www.cypsy.com/ (October 2013)

RCSI led consortium receives €11.5 million funding by EU to uncover effects of microRNA in epilepsy

Major new funding for research into epilepsy was announced in September 2013 by a group led from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The EpimiRNA Consortium, which is co-ordinated by Professor David Henshall (pictured), Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, RCSI, involves 16 partners from eight European countries, the USA and Brazil has received €11.5 million funding from the European Union's Framework Programme 7 to investigate molecular mechanisms, diagnostics and treatments for epilepsy.

Over 50 million people across the world suffer from epilepsy, making it the most common serious neurological disorder for which there is no cure. The causes for epilepsy are insufficiently understood with currently available treatments being sub-optimal and with a significant proportion of patients not responding. Recent discoveries have identified a new type of molecule in cells called microRNA which may be critical to controlling the changes in brain chemistry that accompany the development and course of epilepsy. The EpimiRNA Consortium represents a major interdisciplinary effort between epilepsy researchers, geneticists, clinicians, experts in advanced molecular sciences and research-active companies working together to understand molecular mechanisms, diagnostics and developing novel microRNA-based therapeutics to prevent the development of epilepsy, the occurrence of seizures or reverse epilepsy once established.

Co-ordinator of the EpimiRNA consortium, Professor David Henshall commented on the research funding, ‘Improved understanding of the causes of epilepsy is critical to the development of more effective treatments and, hopefully, a cure. The EpimiRNA consortium will build on recent scientific breakthroughs that identified a new family of molecules controlling brain cell structure and function - microRNAs. We will now take the first ever large-scale international effort to uncover the complete spectrum of effects of microRNA in epilepsy, from designing drugs of the future to genetic tests and diagnostics.'

The consortium features a number of RCSI researchers as it is coordinated by Professor David Henshall and consists of, academic partners, Professor Jochen Prehn, Head of the Department of Physiology & Medical Physics; Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos (Physiology & Medical Physics); Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics Department); and consultant neurologist at Beaumont Hospital, Professor Norman Delanty.

The consortium is also accompanied by experienced companies: DIXI Microtechniques (France), Cerbomed GmbH (Germany), InteRNA Technologies (Netherlands), Bicoll GmbH (Germany-China), BC Platforms (Finland) and GABO:mi (Germany).

The project is funded by the European Union's ‘Seventh Framework' Programme (FP7/ http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html) under Grant Agreement n°602130 from September 2013 to August 2018.

For a more detailed description of the project see: http://www.epimirna.eu/.

 

Cardiology Study Publication in Nature Genetics

Professor Alice Stanton (MCT) participated in an important international collaborative study genome-wide study, the results of which have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics. In the research, 268 researchers from 211 institutions joined forces, allowing data from 181,171 participants to be studied. In all 14 new gene variations were found to be associated with heart rate. Since heart rate is a marker of cardiovascular health, it is anticipated that these discoveries will lead to new drugs for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders, and other forms of cardiovascular disease. (September 2013)

 

Nature Publication for Professor Norman Delanty

Professor Norman Delanty, Department of Neurology, RCSI and Beaumont Hospital, was co-author on a paper published in Nature in August 2013. The study looked at role of genetic mutations in severe childhood epilepsy disorders. The research was carried out in conjunction with a team of international collaborators from the US, UK, Canada and Austria. (September 2013)

 

Multi-drug Pills Help People Stick to Heart Disease Prevention Regimens

People are much more likely to take preventive medicines if they are combined in one pill, an international study has found. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association September 2013. In the first study to test the impact of a fixed-dose combination pill - called a polypill - in people with cardiovascular disease, 2,004 participants in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands and India were randomly assigned either the polypill, or their normal combination of medicines. After an average of 15 months' follow-up, the proportion of participants in the polypill group who were taking medications regularly was a third higher than in the group receiving usual care. The polypill group also had lower blood pressure and cholesterol measurements.

Irish author Professor Alice Stanton from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Beaumont Hospital Dublin, said: "We know that the majority of people who suffer a heart attack or stroke, either never take the correct protective medications, or stop taking them within a year of the event. The findings of this study suggest that providing the four drugs in a single pill is a very helpful preventive step."

The study was funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research. (September 2013)

 

World Congress of Biological Psychiatry

Professor John Waddington (MCT) spoke at the recent World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Kyoto, Japan, on studies undertaken in collaboration with the Cavan-Monaghan Mental Health Service. These collaborative studies on psychotic illness are now cemented within the recently formed Dublin North East Hospital Group, in which RCSI is the academic partner. (September 2013)

 

 

IUPS Award

Dr. Joseph Ward, Molecular Medicine, won the postgraduate Epethilia & Membrane Transport theme at the Physiological Society Poster Competition at IUPS (International Union of Physiological Sciences) 2013 held in July in Birmingham, UK. (September 2013)

 

 

RCSI/IT Tralee IMCP Research Project Publication

Ms. Helen Kelly, RCSI Lecturer in Communications, and colleagues from the Institute of Technology in Tralee; Kristin Brogan & Prof Muiris O’Laoire, have published findings from their educational research study on the joint RCSI/IT Tralee IMCP (International Medical Commencement Programme). The article is entitled ‘Intercultural Awareness and Sociolinguistic Competence and Their Impact on Students‘ Second Language Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context’ and was published in July 2013. (September 2013)

 

3U Recognition

The 3U Partnership (between RCSI, DCU and NUI Maynooth) has been recognised as a ‘centre of excellence' in Neurodegeneration as part of the CoEN initiative (Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease). Professor Jochen Prehn, Physiology, has received funding for the NEURO-MIR project under this scheme, with partners in Belgium, Germany and Spain. This project is being funded under the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) aligned CoEN initiative (Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease). (September 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

RCSI contributes to the autumn series of RTE’s ‘The Science Squad’

Showcasing the excellent research at RCSI, the series will air on Friday 6th September at 7.30pm, and thereafter weekly for 7 weeks. Below are details of the programmes which feature the RCSI teams:

 

PROGRAMME 2 - Growing Bones - Friday 13th September

An Irish team of researchers led by Prof Fergal O'Brien at RCSI, have made an exciting breakthrough, having developed a new organic material which harnesses the body's own regenerative power to repair damaged bones and cartilage. Fergal's company Surgacoll can demonstrate some great advances in both animal and human health care, and we will also meet Ireland and Leinster rugby star Gordon Darcy who discusses the potential impact of this ground-breaking research in elite sports.

PROGRAMME 4 - Do you have what it takes to be a top surgeon? - Friday 27th September

It has been acknowledged that certain natural abilities and personality characteristics can influence surgeons' performance. At the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, new technologies have allowed for a move towards more skills lab training involving simulators, where students can learn skills in a controlled environment, allowing for safer and accelerated learning. We test our presenter Jonathan's natural suitability to a surgical profession, highlighting both the new technology being used in skills labs and the human factors modules that are transforming surgical training. Does Jonathon have the natural physical and cognitive skills suited to a career in surgery?

PROGRAMME 7 - Malaria - Friday October 18th

Malaria is a huge global public health problem, killing over 1 million people each year. Recent attempts at a new vaccine, including Bill Gates and GlaxoSmithKline world's largest malaria vaccine trial, have proven unsuccessful. However, all is not lost, as a new vaccine developed in Ireland is now undergoing clinical trials. Kathriona meets Prof Sam McConkey, Head of International Health and Tropical Medicine at RCSI and a Principal Investigator on the trial to find out about the development of this potential vaccine, and speaks to some of the volunteers who are involved in the clinical trials. In Oxford, Kathriona meets Irish researcher Adrian Hill who is conducting Phase II of the trial which will test whether the vaccine(now proven safe in Phase I) produces an immunological response to Malaria in the body...

  

JNPD success (a European-wide consortium to combat neurodegenerative diseases) and first success of 3U-COEN (Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease)

The Health Research Board, in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland, is leading Ireland's involvement in the Joint Programming initiative on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND) which aims to increase coordination of European research efforts in this area. To date Irish researchers are now leading, or involved in, projects worth more than €16 million in total through JPND initiatives.

Under this scheme, Professor Jochen Prehn, Chairman of the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI, is coordinating the NEURO-MIR project, with partners in Belgium, Germany and Spain. NEURO-MIR is taking a 'high-risk, high-pay-off' approach to developing new therapeutic approaches to a number of neurodegenerative diseases.

Prof Jochen Prehn, is one of five new innovative pathfinder projects being funded under the JPND-aligned CoEN initiative for the project ‘microRNA as novel therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers in Alzheimer's Disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (NEURO-MIR)' Jochen Prehn (Ireland), Andre Fischer (Germany), Pierre Lau (Flanders), Jose Lucas (Spain). Other RCSI funded investigators include Dr Tobias Engel, Prof Michael Farrell, and Prof David Henshall.

The Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease (CoEN) initiative, launched in 2010, is an international initiative which funds collaborative research in the field of neurodegenerative disease, spanning disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neurone Disease. (August 2013)

For further information please visit the links below:

http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/news-events/general-news-events/news-article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=186&cHash=8f836540873f13856b5018cc877717ff

http://www.hrb.ie/about/in-the-news/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=261&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=19&cHash=317483598b7854c6db1d2bd15ac26307

RCSI achieves major funding success in HRB Health Research Awards

RCSI has achieved major funding success in the latest round of Health Research Awards announced by the Health Research Board (HRB) August 2013. The eight successful RCSI projects will examine a range of health issues including doctor emigration, psychotic illness, link between blood group and risk of heart attacks, epilepsy, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma and Motor Neuron Disease. Today’s announcement represents a €12.3 million investment by the HRB across 40 projects.

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: ‘RCSI welcomes the announcement made by the HRB to fund eight of RCSI’s research projects as part of the Health Research Awards. I congratulate the Principal Investigators on their awards, which are major accomplishments in this era of reduced public research funding, and wish them the best of luck as they undertake their new projects. Today’s announcement supports RCSI’s commitment to world-class research to improve human health through clinical and laboratory-based research informed by bedside problems, societal and global health challenges’.

The successful RCSI Principal Investigators and projects are:

  • Professor Ruairi Brugha: Doctor Emigration Project
  • Professor David Cotter: A metabolomic study of subjects in the at risk mental state; a longitudinal biomarker study with discovery and validation components
  • Professor David Henshall: MicroRNA-134 as a target for the prevention and treatment of epilepsy
  • Dr David Hughes: The influence of interactions between selenium supply biomarkers and genetic variation and gene expression in the selenium pathway on CRC risk and survival
  • Professor Dermot Kenny: Why is blood group a risk marker for myocardial infarction? (investigating the role of blood groups as a risk for heart attack.)
  • Dr Marie McIlroy: An investigation into the utility of prosaposin as a marker of PI3K inhibitor responsiveness in aromatase inhibitor resistant breast cancer.
  • Professor Jochen Prehn: Angiogenin as a therapeutic for the treatment of ALS (Motor Neuron Disease)
  • Dr Markus Rehm: A translational systems medicine approach to provide predictive capacity for DTIC-based chemotherapy responsiveness in metastatic malignant melanoma

A total of 40 projects were selected from 209 applications. These were assessed by international peer review panels who believed the nature, scope and relevance of the proposals demonstrated great ambition and innovation that would lead to results that are relevant both nationally and internationally.

'This funding will address a wide range of subjects, including mental health, cancer, diabetes and arthritis, says Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB. 'It will support health professionals and researchers to examine pressing research questions that will deliver strong evidence to enhance patient care, improve people's health or lifestyle and positively influence how we deliver our health services'.

Each project will receive up to €330,000 over the next three years.

'I believe we will see an excellent return on this investment. No one is better placed to understand the needs of patients, or identify how we can improve their care, than people involved at the coal face in hospitals and across the health services. We are supporting experts who have clearly demonstrated they are dedicated to turning good ideas into research discoveries that can transform policy and practice,' concludes Connolly. (August 2013)

  

Dr Warren Thomas (Molecular Medicine) was awarded the Zachary Johnson Prize Medal at the Summer Scientific Meeting of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Dr Thomas gave a presentation entitled: “A sustained increase in the incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma in the Republic of Ireland over the period 1994 to 2010”. This was a collaborative study with colleagues in Molecular Medicine, RCSI (Dr Cormac Jennings and Prof. Brian Harvey) and with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (Dr Paul Walsh and Dr Sandra Deady). (August 2013)

 

 

Dr. Steve Kerrigan (Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator in the School of Pharmacy & Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics) recently edited a book entitled “Recent Advances in Infective Endocarditis”. This book is co-authored by several world leaders in the field and provides the latest information on advances made in the surgical management, new treatment guidelines and molecular interactions in the area of Infective Endocarditis and Cardiovascular Infection. Book reference : Recent Advances in Infective Endocarditis. Edited by Steven W. Kerrigan, InTech Publishers, 2013, ISBN 978-953-51-1169-6, Hard cover, DOI: 10.5772/46221 (July 2013)

 

 

RCSI hosts International Consortium to discuss genetic causes of schizophrenia in 22q11 deletion syndrome patients

On 22nd July 2013, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) played host to a two day International Brain and Behaviour Consortium meeting on Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS). Patients with this genetic disorder have high rates of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. This meeting brought together leading researchers from around the world to examine how the study of this genetic condition can increase our understanding of the causes of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a syndrome caused by the deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22. The International Consortium has recently received grant funding of US$12 million from the National Institutes of Health (USA) to examine the genetic reasons for the high rates of schizophrenia and other disorders in people who are affected with 22q11.2DS.

Professor Raquel Gur, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Consortium Lead said: ‘On behalf of the International Brain Behaviour Consortium and many individual and families affected by 22q11.2DS, we are deeply grateful to our hosts in Dublin. The funding from the National Institutes of Health in the US will provide us with the opportunity to advance the understanding of this under-recognised neurogenetic condition. The knowledge generated can provide a window to the brain that will benefit millions throughout the world.’

The conference discussed the goals of the International Brain and Behaviour Consortium in planning to implement genetic strategies to identify the causes of schizophrenia in 22q11.2DS and in the general population.

Professor Kieran Murphy, Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, RCSI and member of the Consortium said: ‘I am delighted to welcome delegates from around the world to Dublin for this important meeting. By helping to discover the causes of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in people with this genetic condition, we hope to be able to develop new and better treatments for schizophrenia and other severely disabling psychiatric disorders.’

The effects of 22q11.2DS vary from person to person and is not always diagnosed quickly. Common side effects of this condition can include heart, eye and kidney issues, learning difficulties, cleft palate as well as emotional and mental health concerns, particularly schizophrenia. (July 2013)

 Dr Garry Duffy wins Fulbright Award

 

Dr. Garry Duffy has won a prestigious Fulbright Award. Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and U.S. governments and provide Irish students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States. Garry will undertake research on at Harvard University. Pictured (l-r) are Prof Fergal O’Brien, Anatomy, Dr Garry Duffy and Prof Clive Lee, Anatomy (July 2013)

 

Dr. Joseph Ward and Dr. Magda Mroz from the Dept. of Molecular Medicine have had two recent publications of their research describing new roles for the bile acid receptors, TGR5 and farnesoid X receptor, in regulating fluid and electrolyte transport in the intestine. The studies, led by Dr. Stephen Keely, were carried out in collaboration with researchers from Trinity College Dublin and the Johns Hopkins Medical University and were published as a Hot Topic article in Neurogastroenterology and Motility and in the prestigious speciality journal, Gut. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23634890 (July 2013)

 

Pressure Ulcer Prevention Paper

Congratulations to Professor Zena Moore & Professor Seamus Cowman on the publication of the first ever economic analysis of pressure ulcer prevention within the Irish healthcare context. Their paper entitled ‘An economic analysis of repositioning for the prevention of pressure ulcers' was a component of a randomised controlled trial exploring the pressure ulcer incidence and costs associated with repositioning older individuals in long term care using two different repositioning regimes. (July 2013)

 

 

New evidence shows link between childhood trauma and psychotic experiences

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have demonstrated that exposure to childhood trauma (physical assault and bullying) is linked to psychotic experiences, (such as hearing voices), and in turn the cessation of traumatic experiences led to a significant reduction in the incidence of psychotic experiences. The findings are being presented today at the European Society for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Congress taking place in Dublin and appear in this month's edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

This was a collaborative project between the National Suicide Research Foundation (Cork) and RCSI with funding from the Health Research Board (HRB) and the European Union Framework 7 Programme. The researchers undertook a nationally representative prospective cohort study of 1,112 school-based adolescents aged 13-16 years, and assessed them at baseline, three-months and 12-months for childhood trauma (defined as physical assault and bullying) and psychotic experiences.

Professor Mary Cannon, HRB Clinician Scientist and Senior Investigator, Department of Psychiatry, RCSI said "Our findings are the first to show there is direct evidence between exposure to childhood trauma and psychotic experience. Furthermore, it showed that the cessation of traumatic experiences was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of psychotic experiences. These findings place new weight on calls for more comprehensive preventions and intervention strategies against childhood trauma in the community from abuse at home and bullying in schools.

The study aimed to determine whether childhood trauma could be considered a cause of psychotic experiences. In order for something to be genuinely considered 'a cause', it has to show a number of characteristics such as, a strength of association - namely the stronger the association the more likely that it is causal; a dose-response relationship - as the dose increases, so should the odds of the outcome or cessation of exposure - if exposure ceases or decreases, then the odds of the outcome should also cease or decrease.

Professor Cannon, continued "Our findings showed a clear relationship between exposure to childhood trauma and the onset of psychotic symptoms because the strength of the relationships was large in terms of odds ratios. We also saw a dose-response relationship with the odds of psychotic symptoms increasing in line with increasing levels of bullying."

Dr Ian Kelleher, Lead Investigator, Department of Psychiatry, RCSI said "Our analysis shows, we believe for the first time, that cessation of traumatic experiences predicted a significantly reduced incidence of psychotic experiences compared to individuals for whom the traumatic experiences continued. This is a very encouraging finding and suggests that population based approaches could have a large impact reducing the prevalence of psychotic symptoms."

"The research found that 'classmates' were the largest group inflicting physical harm. Additionally, as most bullying taking place within the school, teacher training could have a very important role to play in reducing this harm," said Dr Kelleher.

The full paper is available from the American Journal of Psychiatry at the link below. Dr Helen Keeley and Dr Paul Corcoran of the National Suicide Research Foundation were co-investigators on this research. (July 2013)

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=1680037

 

TERG Feature Article in The Irish Times

Work from within the TERG was recently featured in the Irish Times Business section. The article focused on the newly developed TheraColl technology, which consists of a porous, collagen-based scaffold that is capable of delivering drugs via micro-particle systems for enhanced bone and blood vessel tissue growth. While bone regeneration is the initial application of interest, the versatility of this platform means that the technology could be used to target the regeneration of numerous other tissues, such as cartilage. (July 2013)

RCSI Hosted the Anatomical Society (AS) Summer Meeting

On the 4th and 5th of July, RCSI, through the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) and the Department of Anatomy played host to the Anatomical Society Summer Meeting with the topic "Form and Function in Regenerative Medicine". The meeting, which was Chaired by Dr. Garry Duffy and Co-Chaired by Prof. Fergal O'Brien of the TERG, was a resounding success with over 120 high calibre national and international delegates presenting their work. Two PhD students from the TERG who were awarded prizes for their presentations. Mr Alan Ryan was joint winner of the SurgaColl Technologies Award in Regenerative Medicine for best oral presentation with his presentation entitled "Development of Bilayered Tubular Collagen-Elastin Scaffolds for Vascular Tissue Engineering", while Ms Elaine Quinlan won the Cave Young Investigator Award for best poster with her presentation entitled "Growth Factor Eluting Microparticle Loaded Collagen-Hydroxyapatite Scaffolds".

Mr Harold Browne retired surgeon from the Richmond Hospital and long-standing Anatomy Prosector was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Society, on his ninetieth year. (July 2013)

Professors Fergal O'Brien and Professor Hilary Humphreys have been appointed as Deputy Directors of Applied Research and Clinical Research, respectively. These appointments are very important for RCSI as they will provide leadership and support for clinical and applied research, which are priorities in the institutional and the national research strategies. Professors O'Brien and Humphreys will be working with Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, to further develop and implement RCSI research strategy and to enhance RCSI competiveness both nationally and internationally. (June 2013)

  

RCSI Researchers find bowel cancer screening process can detect one third more cancers

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)'s Centre for Systems Medicine have found that a new two-test bowel cancer screening process can detect up to one third more colorectal cancers.

This new study by led by Dr David Hughes, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI, was recently published in the online journal Colorectal Disease. The research involved using a new two-part screening test called an Immunochemical Faecal Occult Blood Test or FOBT (FIT) instead of the original Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) which is a widely used screening tool for colorectal cancer used to detect blood in a person's stool.

The FIT test, when used twice over consecutive days, is used to indicate the presence of both pre-cancerous growths and cancers in the colon by detecting a minute sample of blood in the stool at a cut off of 100 nanograms of blood per millilitre of stool (100 ng/ml). When compared to a one-test FIT, researchers found that the duplicate FIT screening test detects presence of up to one third (27.5%) more significant colorectal neoplasis (advanced colorectal growths and cancers).These precancerous growths can advance to cancerous stages if they are not detected early. Just one of the two FIT tests needs to be positive for the patient to be referred for a colonoscopy.

They also discovered that a cut-off threshold of 100ng/ml is suitable to optimise colorectal cancer screening in Ireland and any lower cut-off would increase the required colonoscopy numbers to a rate that would over-burden capacity in the Irish health system.

The two-test protocol had a positivity rate of 10.2%, which means that approximately one in ten people tested positive for cancer. One third had screen relevant growths in the colon and the remainder had minor issues such as haemorrhoids or else had no abnormalities.

Principal Investigator of this study, Dr David Hughes said, ‘The miss rate estimated for a single test (FOBT) of nearly 30% is unacceptably high when the goal is to maximize the discovery of advanced lesions in an initial population screening round. The FIT test is vital for the detection of pre-cancerous growths in the colon and is cost-effective. However, the rates from this study have found that additional colonoscopy services will be required for a national screening programme'

The Adelaide and Meath hospital, incorporating the National Children's hospital/ Trinity College Dublin Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme (TTC-CRC-SP) has used the two sample FIT protocol for colorectal cancer screening on residents aged between 50-75 years within the AMNCH hospital catchment area of Dublin 24 since 2008. (June 2013)

 

Dr David Bergin of the Department of Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, was invited to present his research findings at the annual European Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Laurell's Training Award (eALTA) meeting held in San Cugat, Barcelona on June 11th 2013. This annual meeting provides a platform for young researchers to present data to internationally renowned experts in the area of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The title of David's presentation was "Dysregulation of neutrophil degranulation in Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency leads to autoimmunity". (June 2013)

 

Mr Éanna Forde, BioAT PhD student, is the recipient of the 2nd Prize for best oral presentation in the Organic Chemistry category, at the 65th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium (27-28 June 2013, Trinity College Dublin). (June 2013)

 

 

 

 

The 3rd Annual Research Summer School (RSS) began on 12th June 2013.

The programme, run by Dr Sarah O'Neill, MCT, includes a number of workshops on research topics and lectures in Project Management for Research, Health and Safety in Research Laboratories, Dealing with Experimental Data, Scientific Writing Skills, and many others and includes an exciting Friday Discovery Series. The RSS is going from strength to strength with over 75 RCSI undergraduate health sciences students from the Junior and Intermediate Cycles of the Medical School, School of Pharmacy and the School of Physiotherapy, taking part in this years programme. (June 2013)

 

Dr Colm O'Tuathaigh, Dr Lieve Desbonnet and Professor John Waddington (MCT) have been invited to review for a volume of Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology on Novel Antischizophrenia Treatments. The Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology is one of the most authoritative and influential book series in pharmacology. It provides critical and comprehensive discussions of the most significant areas of pharmacological research, written by leading international authorities; each volume in the series represents the most informative and contemporary account of its subject available, making it an unrivalled reference source. (June 2013)

 

Jennifer Byrne and Siobhán Smith (MCT) have been awarded travel grants from the European Federation of Immunological Sciences to present their work at the European Congress on Immunology, Glasgow. (June 2013)

Claire Wynne (MCT) has won a prize for Best Oral Poster Presentation at the meeting of the Irish Society for Immunology; Claire presented work she carried out both in RCSI and at Brown University, Rhode Island. (June 2013)

 

Dr Niamh Cooke won the Barcroft Medal Competition at the Annual Biomedical Sciences Meeting of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, held in University College Cork (June 20th 2013), for her oral presentation entitled 'Platelets enhance invasion of ovarian cancer cells in an experimental metastasis model'. This study is a collaborative project between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and The Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, funded by an SFI CSET grant (10/CE/B1821). (June 2013)

 

 

Professor John Waddington (MCT) was invited to join the faculty for a workshop organised by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 100 young neuroscientists, selected from across Europe to be potential future leaders, were invited to Nice for three days of lectures, discussion groups and networking to help foster their careers over the critical early phase. He received a Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to deliver neuroscience lectures at Nihon University and Hoshi University, Tokyo, and at the universities of Osaka, Niigata and Nagoya. Subsequently, he was invited to organise and speak in a symposium at the World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Kyoto. (June 2013)

 
Women and cholesterol: The beneficial effects of estrogen on liver metabolism explained in Science paper from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and University of California.

 

Pictured L-R: Prof Brian Harvey, Harry Harvey and Dr Paola della Porta.

The female hormone estrogen tends to protect women against high cholesterol and heart disease during the child-bearing years. This may help explain why premenopausal women are usually protected from developing heart disease and cirrhosis. The molecular mechanism for the beneficial effect of estrogen on liver metabolism was unknown until a joint study between RCSI and the University of California at Irvine published last month in the Science Journal, Science Signaling, revealed the type of estrogen receptor, the targeted genes and the cellular processes involved in this metabolic response in the liver. The research team led by Dr Ellis Levin at UC Irvine and Prof Brian Harvey at RCSI showed that estrogen binds to a new type of estrogen receptor at the cell membrane (membrane ER) to activate a network of enzymes which inhibit a regulator (SREB) of genes that drive the synthesis of cholesterol . The researchers also found that estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis including harmful triglycerides. The team at RCSI included father and son, Brian and Harry Harvey, and post-doctoral fellow Fiona O’Mahony who identified the estrogen-responsive genes. The UC Irvine team developed a transgenic mouse which expressed only the membrane estrogen receptor which allowed its role in liver metabolism to be understood at the patho-physiological level. From these experiments, the two teams were able to provide important insights about how estrogen and membrane ER signalling may suppress the expression of some genes and produce beneficial changes in liver metabolism. The researchers concluded that their results provide the impetus to develop and test new forms of pharmacological agonists that only engage the membrane ER and avoid the cancer-producing side-effects of estrogen in the nucleus, and which could contribute to favourable lipid homeostasis, including preventing excessive harmful cholesterol and triglyceride content in the blood that can progress to heart disease and cirrhosis. (June 2013)

 

Dr Stephen Keely Features on Austrian TV Programme

Dr Stephen Keely, Molecular Medicine, recently attending a Bile Acid Symposium in the Hartmann Hospital in Vienna which subsequently featured on Austrian TV Programme called “Heute Mittag”. The programme showcased a mini-symposium run by Dr. Wolfgang Tillinger at the Hartmann Hospital in Vienna. The topic of the symposium was exploring how bile acids are being targeted as new medicines to treat intestinal diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (May 2013)

 


Professor Brian Harvey receives Honorary Doctorate from Michigan State University

Pictured is Lou Anna K. Simon, President of Michigan State University (MSU), presenting an honorary doctorate of science to Professor Brian Harvey, Professor of Molecular Medicine, RCSI at a ceremony that took place at MSU on 3rd May. (May 2013)

 

Honorary DSc citation

BRIAN HARVEY

 

You are a renowned scholar, scientist, and international research leader. Your accomplishments as a professor of molecular medicine and research director for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have earned you significant recognition throughout Europe, including your election to the European Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Royal Irish Academy, and your being awarded the Chevalier de L'Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France.

As a trained physiologist with a primary degree in physics and physiology and a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the National University of Ireland, you have focused on molecular and cellular endocrinology, including the physiology of rapid responses to steroid hormones, and particularly, the female-specific effects of oestrogen in epithelial tissues of the lung, kidney, and intestine. Another major area of your research concerns the rapid actions in the kidneys of the blood-pressure-regulating hormone aldosterone.

Your tireless work and passion for the Daughters of Charity Technology and Research into Intellectual Disabilities (DOCTRID) program, seeking technological solutions for those with intellectual disabilities and autism, resonates with those who share Michigan State University's commitment to solve humanity's most challenging problems. In your role as director of research for DOCTRID, you have brought together ten Irish Universities and MSU to collectively address, through interdisciplinary research, some of the barriers to greater use of assistive technologies by people with disabilities.

For your tireless dedication to improving the lives of those among us who may not have a voice to tell us their needs, I am pleased to award you the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Michigan State University.

 

Lupus research identifies Irish patients most likely to benefit from new treatment

It has been over 50 years since a new drug has been approved to treat the chronic autoimmune condition Lupus or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a disease whereby a persons immune system becomes over-activated, attacking any organ in the body. Excitingly in the past year the first drug approved specifically to treat SLE has been licensed for use in both America and Europe. This medication, Belimumab (Benlysta) targets a specific chemical messenger called B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) that has been shown to promote disease activity in SLE. This new treatment has not as yet been licenced for use as first-line treatment but instead is prescribed for patients who respond poorly to conventional immunosuppressive medication aimed at dampening down the immune system. Belimumab has advantages over traditional immunosuppressive agents such as steroids which are accompanied by side effects including infection and metabolic disturbances. However, not all patients respond equally to this new drug and due to the high cost associated with its long term use, it is imperative to assist treating physicians in identifying patients who would most benefit from its use.

Research carried out by Dr. Eoghan McCarthy under the supervision of Prof. Caroline Jefferies at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has identified disease types in Irish SLE sufferers that are associated with high levels of BLyS. The research carried out in collaboration with the rheumatology departments of both Beaumont and St. James's hospitals, and recently published in Rheumatology, has demonstrated that over a follow up period of 5 years, patients with high levels of BLyS at baseline were more likely to have active disease and suffer increased organ damage from their lupus as the disease progressed suggesting that the use of Belimumab in these patients may improve their long term outcomes.

Commenting on the work Professor Jefferies stated that "In the last ten years patients with rheumatoid arthritis have benefited greatly from the development of new treatments and Belimumab offers the same hope to Irish SLE sufferers. However it is important to be able to recognise which patients will benefit the most from this new treatment. Our research will assist treating doctors to identify patients who are more likely to benefit from the addition of Belimumab to their current regime and hopefully will lead to improved outcomes for Irish SLE sufferers" (May 2013).

 

Harry Harvey Best Student Poster at the Irish Association of Cancer Research

Harry Harvey (MCT) received the prize for Best Student Poster at the Irish Association of Cancer Research, Dublin, for 'Analysis of miRNA in chemotherapy resistant neuroblastoma' and Federico Sukno (MCT & DCU) received the Best Paper Award at GRAPP 2013: 8th International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, Barcelona, for 'Rotationally invariant 3D shape contexts using asymmetry patterns'. (May 2013)

Dr Oliver McElvaney was invited to present his research findings at the 2013 American Thoracic Society International Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 22nd 2013. Session D21-CYSTIC FIBROSIS: NEW INSIGHTS INTO AIRWAY INFECTION AND INFLAMMATION. The title of Oliver's discussion was "The Effect Of PA401 On Interleukin-8 Levels In Airway Samples Of Adult Patients With Cystic Fibrosis". (May 2013)

 

Professor Celine Marmion, Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, was admitted as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Chemistry in May 2013.

Professor Marmion, is one of two Irish National Delegates on the Management Committee of European Science Foundation COST CM1105 entitled 'Functional Metal Complexes that Bind to Biomolecules' and also an elected member of its Steering Group. (May 2013)

Also, in news from Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry, two of of Professor Marmion's PhD students were awarded funding to attend international training schools through European Science Foundation within the framework of COST Action CM1105 - Tadhg McGivern attended a Training School in the University of Debrecen Hungary from the 24th to the 29th March entitled 'Solution equilibrium (speciation) studies on metal complexes' and Ziga Ude attending a Training School in the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium from the 12th to the 19th May entitled 'Summer School Chemistry on Metals in Biological Systems'.

 

Dr Patrizia Baldwin and Professor John Waddington (MCT) have participated in an international collaborative study on the epidemiology of schizophrenia, led by Maastricht University and involving 54 investigators across the globe under the auspices of the Research Initiative into Schizophrenia Epidemiology (RISE). This collaboration has yielded the largest dataset yet reported, namely 133,693 incident cases, the initial results of which have just been published in the leading journal Psychological Medicine (May 2013)

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23244442

Dr Stuart Lee's research was chosen for a podium presentation at this year's annual Irish Heart Foundation's annual stroke study day on April 12th. This research which is being conducted in collaboration with Professor Niamh Moran and Professor David Williams is examining the use of a novel platelet assay in patients with stroke.


Dr Melanie Föcking, Young Investigator Award RCSI was well represented by MCT and Psychiatry at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, held in Orlando, Florida. Dr Melanie Föcking, Department of Psychiatry, received the Young Investigator Award of the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research. She was among 27 out of 140 applications to receive this prestigious prize. Melanie was invited to present the results of her work at the international scientific meeting in Orlando/Florida that took place from the 21st to the 25th of April.

Professor John Waddington (MCT) was invited to organise and speak in a symposium at the congress; John is a member of the Advisory Board that helps steer and evolve this biennial event. Mary Cannon and David Cotter (Psychiatry) also presented in symposia; furthermore, members of Mary's and David's groups, Drs Mary Clarke and Jane English, presented their work at the congress. These activities and recognitions re-affirm RCSI as an internationally recognised 'centre of excellence' in psychosis research. (April 2013)

 

Mr. Ashwanth Ramesh awarded Society of Academic & Research Surgery (SARS)/ASiT Academic & Research Surgery Prize

Mr. Ashwanth Ramesh, an orthopaedic surgeon currently undertaking a Master of Surgery (MCh) within the Tissue Engineering Research Group, recently presented his work at the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT) Conference, held in Manchester from the 5th-7th of April. His presentation, entitled "An in vivo study of bioactive multilayered scaffolds for regeneration and repair of osteochondral defects", was awarded the Society of Academic & Research Surgery (SARS)/ASiT Academic & Research Surgery Prize. As a result, Mr. Ramesh was invited to present his prize winning presentation at the prestigious Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) International Congress held in Glasgow on the 2nd of May. (April 2013)

 

BIOPIC 2013

RCSI was the local organiser of BioPIC 2013, a BioPhotonics and Imaging Conference, which took place in Castleknock Hotel and Country Club from 25-27th March. More than 120 international delegates attended conference hosted by the National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform(NBIP) Ireland in association with the Royal Microscopy Society, Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. Congratulations to Professor Brian Harvey, Conference Convenor, and Dr. Sheeona Gorman, Programmes Manager, for their successful organisation of this event.

Pictured (l-r) are Professor Brian Harvey, Co-ordinator NBIP Ireland and Professor of Molecular Medicine at RCSI, Dr Sheeona Gorman NBIP Ireland Programmes Manager, Professor Peter Dockery, NUI Galway; Professor Noel McHale, Dundalk IT.

 

Professor Mary Cannon was awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Doctor Award in Psychiatry at the 2013 RAMI Doctor Awards ceremony held in the Royal College of Physicians on 21st March 2013. Professor Cannon won the award for her submitted paper which was published in Archives of General Psychiatry in December 2012 (Ref: Kelleher I, Lynch F, Harley M, Molloy C, Roddy S, Fitzpatrick C, Cannon M. Psychotic symptoms in adolescence index risk for suicidal behaviour. Findings from 2 population-based case-control clinical interview studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry; 2012 Dec 1:69(12) 1277-83.) (March 2013)

The photo shows (left-right), Professor Tom Walsh, RAMI, Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI and Eithne Boylan, Managing Director, Lundbeck Ireland.

Professor Brian Harvey Addresses EU Parliament

Professor Brian Harvey shared the podium with An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, in an address to the EU Parliament on the topic of Assistive Technologies on Thursday, 7th March. The address followed the Assistive Technologies Symposium which was hosted by RCSI together with the seven Irish Universities at the EU Parliament on 5th March. The event was convened by Professor Harvey in his role as director of research of the Doctrid programme for the disability charity Respect Ireland. (March 2013)

 

 

Annual Research Day 2013

The annual RCSI Research Day took place on the 5th March, 2013. As with previous years, the emphasis was on oral and poster presentations by Investigators early in their career, Post-doctoral Fellows, Post-graduate & Undergraduate Scholars and Academic Staff. 186 abstracts were submitted this year.

Photos from the day can be viewed at http://staff.rcsi.ie/research/research-day-2013/research-day-2013-gallery

During his Opening Address, Professor Raymond Stallings, Director of Research, spoke about the high standard of research and the critical role that research plays within the College. Prof Stallings also acknowledged and extended thanks to the sponsors and the many people who contributed to the day.

There then followed an exciting series of oral presentations:
• Postgraduate: RCSI MSc, MCH, MD and 1st year PhD students
• Undergraduate: all students who undertook research projects in summer 2012 (Research funded by RCSI Alumni, HRB, CITC, Assoc. Phys.),
• PhD Scholars: RCSI 2nd, 3rd and 4th PhD students
• Early Career Investigators: RCSI postdoctoral fellows

Late afternoon, Prof Raymond Stallings and Dr John McDermott, introduced Professor Timothy O'Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway, who delivered this year's John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture.

The talk title was: "Translating Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy to the Clinic: Challenges and Opportunities".

The day came to a close with a presentation of the following awards by Professor Cathal Kelly CEO:

‘Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery',
This prize is presented to pay special tribute to the memory of Mr Kamal Sayed, a graduate of RCSI (Class of 1960). A solid silver College medal will be awarded to a neurosurgery trainee to reward outstanding work and excellence in the field of neurosurgery. This is a prestigious award of RCSI and is run in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience (IICN). Recipient: Mr Philip O'Halloran. Title : Anti-angiogenic Efficacy of Bevacizumab alone and in combination with a dual P13K/Mtor inhibitor in a reproducible orthotopic explant, using a multi - modality molecular imaging approach. Presented by Dr's Jacintha and Safia Sayed, both daughters of Mr Kamal Sayed and graduates of RCSI & Professor Cathal Kelly CEO

The prize for ‘Front Cover Illustration' was presented to Dr Ryan McCoy.

Early Career Investigator Category
The Barnes Medal - Dr Barnes was a founding member of ICROSS, the "International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering", a small international charity fighting poverty and disease and is noted for his work on Hansen's Disease (leprosy). Presented by Dr Barnes wife Mrs Betty Barnes and his son Matthew Barnes & Professor Cathal Kelly. Recipient: Kirsten Pohl. Title: Altered cytosolic ion concentrations impact upon Rab27a activation in cystic fibrosis neutrophils.

The prize for best Early Career Investigator Poster Presentation was presented to Recipient: Bojana Mirkovic. Title: Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids, Produced by Anaerobic Bacteria, in the Cystic Fibrosis Airway.


PhD Scholars Category
This category was open to all 2nd, 3rd and 4th year PhD Scholars.
This is an important award to acknowledge the excellence and quality of on-going research within Ireland. The winner received the Roche Gold medal and €500. Presented by Mr Simon Thorpe of Roche Diagnostics & Professor Cathal Kelly. Recipient: Jennifer Lynch. Title: MiR-335 suppresses neuroblastoma disease pathogenesis.The prize for best

PhD Scholars Poster Presentation was presented to Amos Matsiko, Dept. of Anatomy.

The prize for best PhD Scholar Poster Presentation was presented to Recipient: Irina Babina. Title : Palmitoylation of CD44 regulates breast cancer cell migration via alterations in its lipid raft affiliation.

Port-graduate Category:
This category was open to MSc, MCH, MD and 1st year PhD Scholars. The recipient will received a silver College medal and a prize fund of €1,000 to pay for attendance at a conference. Presented by Mr Bernard Kennedy of Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals & Professor Cathal Kelly. Recipient: Pathma Ramasamy. Title: Proteomic Analysis of Uveal Melanoma.

The prize for best Post-graduate Poster Presentation was presented to Recipient: Irene Mencia Castano. Title : Nano-hydroxyapatite particles as novel non-viral microRNA delivery vectors for bone tissue engineering applications.

Undergraduate Research Category - The Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
This category was open to all Summer Students who completed a research project in 2012.
This award, a solid silver College medal, was created by Dr. Yacoob Kadwa, RCSI graduate (Class of 1965) to pay special tribute to the memory of Dr. Harry O'Flanagan, former Registrar of the RCSI. Recipient: Ayman Saeed. Title : Effect of synthetic retinoic acid derivatives in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma cells.

Organising Committee: Prof. Kevin McGuigan, Stephanie O'Connor and Cathy Priestley.

Sponsors: Roche Diagnostics, Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals.

  

Professor Aidan Bradford, Dr Kamalan Jeevaratnam and Dr Brian Kirby (left to right) from Perdana University/ Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have recently been awarded research funding totalling 1.4 million Malaysian Ringgit to carry out collaborative research with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute. The project will examine the potential therapeutic effects of phytonutrient formulations in cardiovascular disease, cognitive dysfunction and diabetic disorders utilizing nutrigenomic and in vivo techniques. The three researchers would like to acknowledge the major role played by the Dean, Prof Anthony Cunningham, as well as the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in supporting this collaboration. (March 2013)

Picture : Professor Aidan Bradford (Dept Physiology & Medical Physics, RCSI & RCSI Lead in Physiology at PU-RCSI)

Dr Kamalan Jeevaratnam (Snr lecturer in physiology, PU-RCSI)

Dr Brian Kirby (School of Pharmacy & RCSI Lead in Clinical Pharmacology at PU-RCSI).

 

Impact Through Collaboration - problem solving by accessing knowledge from other domains.

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) and The Biomedical Diagnostic institute (BDI) came together to solve a technology roadblock in interpreting new data derived from an advanced diagnostic for platelet function. Platelets are blood particles that clump together and cause heart attacks. The BDI device uses a sophisticated imaging and computer platform to measure how platelets behave in a system that mimics a damaged artery. The BDI investigators needed to know how to interpret that data to define when platelets were "sticky" and thus an individual was at increased risk of a heart attack.

Professor Dermot Kenny (RCSI) leads the research programme, Functional Diagnostics in Platelet Biology, in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI). He is a cardiologist and expert in thrombosis (the formation of blood clots). He approached ICHEC to address this challenge. Read more.... (March 2013)

 

Professor Fergal O'Brien elected to the Fellowship of Engineers Ireland (FIFE)

In February, Prof Fergal O'Brien was elected to the Fellowship of Engineers Ireland (FIEI), which is the highest grade of membership of the professional body representing engineers in Ireland. His appointment was made in recognition of "significant achievement in engineering and contribution to the profession". (February 2013)

 

Federico Sukno (MCT) and the Centre for Image Processing and Analysis, (DCU) received the Best Paper Award at GRAPP 2013: International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, Barcelona, February 2013. Federico's joint appointment with DCU gives this award additional significance in relation to 3U. (February 2013)

 

Dublin Biomedical Engineering Research Initiative (DBERI)

RCSI, TCD AND UCD recently launched a biomedical engineering collaboration to accelerate innovative health care technologies. Dublin Biomedical Engineering Research Initiative (DBERI) builds on over 20 years of collaboration between the three institutions in bioengineering research and education. Stem cell based tissue engineering, regenerative therapies for orthopaedic medicine, valve repair devices for damaged hearts and imaging systems for neurology are among the innovations that the new initiative will lead on. RCSI researchers involved include Professor Fergal O'Brien, Head of the Bone and Tissue Engineering Research Group and Dr. Garry Duffy. (February 2013)

 


Pictured at the launch of the Dublin Biomedical Engineering Research Initiative are (l-r) Professor Fergal O'Brien, RCSI; Dr. Daniel Kelly, Director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering; and Dr. Liam Breen, TCD.

 
Colorectal cancer study published in Cancer Research

A team led by Professor Jochen Prehn, Director of the Centre for Systems Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Medical Physics have developed a new method of predicting which patients with bowel (colorectal) cancer will respond effectively to chemotherapy. The results of this study were published in the prestigious Cancer Research journal. The first author on the study is Andreas Lindner, a PhD researcher who carried out the research with Professor Prehn and RCSI colleagues (Dr. Caoimhin Concannon, Dr. Gerhardt Boukes, Dr. Suzanne Hector, Dr. Heinrich Huber) in collaboration with clinicians (Deborah Ryan, Mary Cannon, Karen Boland, Ms. Deborah McNamara, Professor Elaine Kay, Professor Frank Murray) and research nurse Joan Kehoe at Beaumont Hospital, and collaborators at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. (February 2013)

 

Irish discovery challenges international practice for predicting risk or complication for small babies in the womb

New findings by Perinatal Ireland, a HRB-funded initiative to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, are challenging currently accepted international practice in relation to identifying which babies are at risk from growth restrictions in the womb, medically referred to as Intrauterine Growth Restriction or IUGR. Lead researchers from Perinatal Ireland, which is coordinated by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), will present their discovery at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in San Francisco.

‘The challenge to distinguish small but normal babies from small at-risk babies, is one of the most common, controversial and complex problems in modern obstetrics,' says lead researcher Julia Unterscheider, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. ‘Standard international practice has been to consider those babies in the bottom 10% by weight to be at the highest risk of developing complications. These mothers and babies usually receive increased surveillance and monitoring. However, our study questions whether this is necessary for all cases'.

The majority of babies whose weight falls into the bottom 10% from a weight perspective go on to be a healthy baby that is simply small for its gestational age. However, some develop serious health complications, and possibly even die. And there is recent evidence to suggest that unfavourable conditions in the womb may increase risk of diseases in adulthood such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke. So it is believed that close monitoring of this 10 per cent is necessary.

‘However, we conducted a study involving over 1,100 pregnant women at seven maternity hospitals across Ireland using state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment supplied by the Health Research Board (HRB), which allow very detailed monitoring of babies in the womb. We took a set of in-depth ultrasound measurements normally at two-weekly intervals, or more frequent if deemed appropriate, and recorded the baby's medical status and condition following delivery.

The findings revealed that the highest risk for adverse outcomes are in the group of babies that fall into the bottom three per cent by weight and who have an abnormal reading on the ultrasound test that measures arterial blood flow in the umbilical cord.

‘In fact, the measurement of blood flow in the umbilical cord was the strongest and most significant predictor of an increased likelihood of complications,' explains Dr Unterscheider. ‘Our data calls into question whether monitoring all of those in the bottom 10% by weight alone is necessary when predicting adverse outcomes'.

Prof Fergal Malone, RCSI Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology & Chairman of the Perinatal Ireland Research Consortium commented; ‘The major benefit of this study is the potential to radically change the focus and intensity of current assessment for the apparently small baby in the womb.'

The findings will also be published in full in the March edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. (February 2013)

 

Professor Caroline Jefferies (MCT) is first member of RCSI academic staff to go on sabbatical leave under the newly constituted scheme. Caroline is spending January - August 2013 as a Visiting Scientist in the Medical Science Department of AMGEN, a US company located in California. While there, she will enhance the research programme of her group, engage in collaborations with AMGEN and foster links between RCSI and Medical Schools in Southern California and other US locations. (January 2013)

 

 

Dr Tidi Hassan together with her colleagues in the Dept. Medicine, RCSI and Dept. Clinical Microbiology, TCD has published a paper in Nucleic Acids Research. The work describes a novel microRNA affinity capture technology which is also the subject of the group's recent European PCT patent filing (PCT/EP2012/070037).
Hassan T, Smith SG, Gaughan K, Oglesby IK, O'Neill SJ, McElvaney NG, Greene CM. Isolation and identification of cell-specific microRNAs targeting a messenger RNA using a biotinylated anti-sense oligonucleotide capture affinity technique Nucleic Acids Research 2013 Jan 15. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:23325846 (January 2013)


A paper entitled "Targeted antimicrobial peptides" by Dr Marc Devocelle in Frontiers in Molecular Innate Immunity on 5th October 2012 has received 685 total views, making it among the highest-performing articles in all Frontiers journals. This has resulted in Marc being invited to serve as Topic Editor of a Frontiers Research Topic - a collection of papers selected to provide an encyclopaedic, open access snapshot of the current state of the art on his chosen research area. This will create an online dialogue on a focused research area, with manuscripts encompassing recent advancements by various groups, the latest methods, opinions and commentaries, reviews, and more. (January 2013)

 

Dr. Tanya Levingstone won the Best Paper by an Established Researcher Award with a paper entitled: The regenerative potential of multi-layer collagen-based scaffolds in a caprine osteochondral defect model . While Dr. Caroline Curtin won the RAMI Bronze Medal for the best paper of the entire meeting with a paper entitled:Highly efficient non-viral gene delivery collagen nano-hydroxyapatite scaffolds for stem cell-mediated bone formation.
They both gave superb presentations, but 70% of the weighting for the awards was for their research, as opposed to just the presentation, which makes the awards a true indication of the quality of their science. Congratulations to all who took part in Bioengineering in Ireland and particularly to Tanya, Caroline and their co-authors on their success. A great start to 2013! (January 2013)

Picture : Dr. Caroline Curtin (on left) & Dr. Tanya Levingstone (on right) with Tissue Engineering Research Group awards from Bioengineering in Ireland Conference

 

Professor David Henshall and his lab have recently published a new piece of epilepsy research in the journal PLoS One.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054491
Their study used a genetic technique to increase levels of a particular protein involved in signaling and responses to stress in brain cells and demonstrated this could protect against epileptic brain injury. The study was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and involved collaboration with cancer scientists in the USA. (January 2013)

 


Professors Kieran Murphy's (Psychiatry) (L) and John Waddington's (MCT) (R) participation in an international collaboration on the genetics of schizophrenia involving colleagues across the globe, has led to a publication in the leading journal Biological Psychiatry under the auspices and collective authorship of the Irish Schizophrenia Genomics Consortium [of which Kieran and John are members] and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2: Genome-wide association study implicates HLA-C*01:02 as a risk factor at the major histocompatibility complex locus in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry 2012; 72: 620-628. This study involved a discovery sample of 1,606 patients and 1,794 control subjects across the island of Ireland and an independent, international replication sample of 13,195 patients and 31,021 control subjects. (January 2013)

 

Professor David Williams was awarded Fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society for his contribution to pharmacology in Jan 2013.

 

 

  

 

PhD student Catherine Coughlan published her project within the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. This project involved a 3U partner collaboration with Dr Kevin Kavanagh, Medical Mycology Unit, Department of Biology, National Institute for Cellular Biotefchnology, NUI Maynooth. Catherine Coughlan was funded through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease. She was co-supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor McElvaney and graduated on November 15th 2012.  The reference is as follows:

The effect of Aspergillus fumigatus infection on vitamin D receptor expression in cystic fibrosis. Coughlan CA, Chotirmall SH, Renwick J, Hassan T, Low TB, Bergsson G, Eshwika A, Bennett K, Dunne K, Greene CM, Gunaratnam C, Kavanagh K, Logan PM, Murphy P, Reeves EP, McElvaney NG. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Nov 15;186(10):999-1007. PMID:22904183 (November 2012)

Drs Kerstin Pohl and Nessa Banville were awarded travel grants from the US Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for attendance at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (NACFC) held in October 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.

The title of Dr Kerstin Pohl's oral presentation was "Impaired neutrophil bacterial killing in cystic fibrosis with particular reference to activation of proteolytic enzymes by vacuolar pH".  This project was funded through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease and Kerstin graduated with her PhD on November 15th 2012. 

The title of Dr Nessa Banville's oral presentation was "Intrinsic cholesterol depletion disrupts lipid raft structure in neutrophils of individuals with cystic fibrosis". This project was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, grant 11/RFP/BMT/3094 (November 2012)

 

Dr Emer Reeves, of the Department of Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, was an invited speaker at The Alpha-1 Foundation Investigators Scientific meeting, Miami, Florida, US (Oct2012). Title of presentation: New perspectives on basic neutrophil mechanisms and protease release in cystic fibrosis.

 

 

 

Raphael Rapetti-Mauss (Dept of Molecular Medicine) won the prize for best presentation by a PhD student at the recent meeting of the Irish Epithelial Physiology Group (IEPG) which was held at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny (Oct 25-26th). Raphael is in his final year and presented his project entitled "Estrogen regulation of K+ channel trafficking in colonic epithelial cells". Pictured with Raphael is Dr. Ann-Marie Byrne (Trinity College Dublin) who won the prize for best presentation by a Postdoctoral Researcher (Oct 2012).   

 

Ian Kelleher, Department of Psychiatry, has had a second paper this year accepted for publication in Archives of General Psychiatry, which is one of the highest-ranking psychiatry journals with an Impact Factor of 12.02. The paper is entitled "Psychotic symptoms and population risk for suicide attempt: a prospective cohort study" (Oct 2012)

 

  

Deirdre Hyland and Elaine MacHale from the RCSI Clinical Research Centre, with Mary McGrath, Nurse Manager of the UCD CRC in St Vincent's Hospital, co-presented a symposium on The Evolving Roles of Clinical Research Nurses in Ireland at the 4th Annual Conference of the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) in Houston, Texas in October. The theme of the conference, which was attended by research nurses from throughout the USA, as well as delegates from the UK, China, Japan, and Canada, was ‘Helping Tomorrow's Patients Today' (Oct 2012) more...

  

Dr Killian Hurley won the William Stokes Award at this year St Luke's Day Symposium in the Royal College of Physicians. The award, established in honour of Dr William Stokes, an eminent Dublin physician in the 1800's, was set up to support and recognise the highest standard of research by Specialist Registrars. Killian's presentation entitled ‘Alpha-1 antitrypsin modulates TNF-alpha signalling' details elements of a translational project carried out in the Department of Medicine, under the supervision of Prof Gerry McElvaney and Dr Emer Reeves. Killian is in the third year of his PhD, the focus of which is the investigation of the immunodulatory effects of alpha-1 antitrypsin (Oct 2012) 

  

The HRB have awarded Meave Corcoran (A student of the Institute of Leadership) a Cochrane Fellowship, to explore the Impact of Nutrition on the Healing of Diabetic Foot Ulcers, Meave is Supervised by Dr. Zena Moore, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery (Oct 2012).

 

    

 

Dr Zena Moore, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery is leading a research team exploring "Pressure ulcer prevalence and prevention strategies - a comparison between Ireland AND Norway", the team have successfully received research funding from the Norwegian College of Nursing (Norsk Sykepleierforbund NSF), 2012 (Oct 2012). 

 

   

 

Prof. Brian J. Harvey is the invited speaker at the Experimental Biology 2013 Meeting in Boston next April with his talk entitled 'Sex-specific estrogen regulation of ion channels in intestine, kidney and airway epithelia' (Oct 2012) More...

 

 

Dr Declan Gaynor and Dr Darren Griffith have just had the perspective "The prevalence of metal-based drugs as therapeutic or diagnostic agents: beyond platinum" published in Dalton Transactions (2012, 41 (43), 13239 - 13257). The article is currently the most downloaded Dalton Transactions article over the last 14 days. Drs Gaynor and Griffith also provided the artwork for the front cover (Oct 2012) 

Congratulations to Raquel Fernandez, Isabella Bray and Prof Ray Stallings (MCT) on their participation in an international collaboration involving colleagues in the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, and the Children's Hospital, Essen, the results of which have just been published in Nature Genetics entitled "LIN28B induces neuroblastoma and enhances MYCN levels via let-7 suppression" (Oct 2012) More...

   

Prof John Waddington (MCT) has recently returned from a lecture tour of Japan under a Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He delivered lectures at Nihon University and Hoshi University, Tokyo, and at the universities of Osaka, Niigata and Nagoya. Pictured with Prof Waddington are members of staff of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Osaka (Oct 2012).

 

 

A three year HRB funded award to develop, implement and evaluate best practice for day surgery in Ireland has been granted supplementary research funding award under the Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) from the HRB. The project PI is Prof Seamus Cowman of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. This funding will support a project to develop patient information in paper and on-line format and will be conducted through a unique collaboration between the RCSI, ICGP and the National College of Art and Design. One MSc research student is currently working on this project under the supervision of Dr. Georgina Gethin. Patient information is often taken for granted, but many of the leaflets do not pass a basic readability score and up to 30% of Irish adults cannot read simple medical instructions, thus supporting the need for further work in this area. In addition, the project seeks to maximise the use of internet and smart phones to provide patient information. Congratulations also to Prof David Williams, Prof Mary Cannon and Prof Ruáirí Brugha who also received supplementary research funding for ongoing projects under the KED Scheme. (Oct 12).

Professor Raymond Stallings has been appointed as the new RCSI Director of Research.

Professor Stallings, having completed his Undergraduate Degree and Masters studies at Texas A&M University, carried out graduate studies in Genetics at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, Texas.

Ray is an internationally recognised leader in the field of cancer genetics, with a particular expertise in mRNA. He has held academic research positions in the University Texas System Cancer Centre Genetics: M.D. Anderson Hospital, Houston, TX; the University of California Los Alamos National Laboratory; the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Pittsburgh, PA; the National Centre for Medical Genetics Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children Dublin; and the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin.

He served as Professor of Paediatrics at the Children's Cancer Research Centre/ Department of Pediatrics University of Texas Health Science Centre San Antonio, TX, prior to taking up his current post as Professor of Cancer Genetics, RCSI and Programme Leader, Cancer Genetics, at the Children's Research Centre, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin Dublin.

Ray is widely published and has received many Research awards and peer review grants (including the NIH, National Cancer Institute, Science Foundation Ireland, Children's Medical and Research Foundation). He is also actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and his current research is focused on the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neuroblastoma (Sept 2012).

The second international workshop of COST-Africa took place over 5 days from Monday 3rd September to Friday 7th September at Mika Lodge, Lusaka, Zambia. This five year collaboration (2011-15), which will evaluate the health impact of surgical training of Clinical Officers in Africa, is funded by the European Union under its FP7 and is led by Professor Ruairí Brugha, Head of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at RCSI. The purpose of COST-Africa is to demonstrate that life-saving emergency and basic major surgery is a cost effective intervention that can be made available at district hospitals in Africa, thereby serving the essential needs of the rural poor. The four-country collaboration includes two African and two European institutions: College of Medicine Malawi (CoM), Surgical Society of Zambia (SSZ), University of Nijimegen Netherlands (RUNMC) and RCSI (Oct 2012). More...   

The HRB have awarded Professor David Cotter, Dept of Psychiatry, a Clinician Scientist Fellowship for a study entitled ‘Biomarker Discovery in Psychosis; a longitudinal plasma proteomic and lipidomic study of subjects in the ‘at risk Mental State'. Co-applicants on the the are study Professors Mary Cannon, RCSI and Professors Ger Cagney and Helen Roche of UCD, and Patrick Dicker of RCSI (Sept 2012).

 

 

Emmet Power, RCSI medical student (IC3), won the Eadbhard O'Callaghan Poster Prize from the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the 3rd National Research Conference in Youth Mental Health which was held in Limerick on Friday 28th September. Emmet carried out his research as part of an RCSI Summer Studentship supervised by Dr Mary Clarke and Professor Mary Cannon from the Department of Psychiatry. Emmet received his prize from Mrs Virginia O'Callaghan (Sept 2012).

   

Professor Kevin Nolan, Head of Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the School of Postgraduate Studies, has received an individual award at the 2012 NAIRTL National Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) was established in 2007, and its vision is one where research and teaching go hand in hand. Kevin plans to use his award towards the funding of undergraduate summer research studentships. (Sept 2012) More...  

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Keely and the Technology Transfer Office on receipt of a formal intention from the European Patent Office (EPO) to grant the RCSI a patent describing a new use for agonists of Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) protein in the treatment of diarrhoeal diseases. Dr Keely, with researchers from Trinity College Dublin and a number of interested commercial partners, have identified a new role for the FXR in preventing the cellular processes that cause fluid accumulation in the intestine, and which lead to the occurrence of diarrhea. There are few therapeutic options available for treatment of these common and debilitating diseases and the College is already in discussions with potential market partners to ensure these advances are brought into clinical care as efficiently as possible. (Sept 2012) More... 

The dataset from the First Wave of TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) has now been lodged in the Archive in UCD. TILDA is a major inter-institutional initiative led by Trinity College Dublin which aims to produce a massive improvement in the quantity and quality of data, research and information relating to older people and ageing in Ireland. This rich dataset is available to all Irish and International researchers (Sept 2012). More...   

A review article entitled "The role of TIM-containing molecules in airway disease and their potential as therapeutic targets" published online in the Journal of inflammation Research four weeks ago by Isabel Vega-Carrascal, Emer P Reeves, and Noel G McElvaney has received an incredible 446 hits. The first author on the Review is Isabel Vega-Carrascal who was funded through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease, co-supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Prof Gerry McElvaney in the Dept of Medicine (Sept 2012). More...  

Debating Science Issues, an all-Ireland schools debating and mentoring programme was recently awarded a Discover Science & Engineering Award of €7,000. This funding will secure the workshops for the 2012-13 academic year. The programme is led by NUIG and coordinated by 9 research, medical and science centres in Ireland including RCSI, where it is managed by Dr. Maria Morgan (MCT) and Maria Kelly (REACH). Debate judges for the coming series are now being recruited; if you're interested please contact mmorgan@rcsi.ie (Sept 2012) More...

 

A publication in PLoS entitled on lipoxin and Cystic Fibrosis entitled "Lipoxin A4 stimulates calcium-activated chloride currents and increases airway surface liquid height in normal and cystic fibrosis airway epithelia" has been highlighted in Key Scientific Articles by Global Medical Discovery. This study was a collaboration between Dept Molecular Medicine RCSI and the National Children's Research Centre, OLCH Crumlin Hospital (Sept 2012). More...

 

HRB Centre for Primary Care Research in the Department of General Practice:

Managing patients with multimorbidity: systematic review of interventions in primary care and community settings. Susan M Smith, Hassan Soubhi, Martin Fortin, Catherine Hudon, Tom O'Dowd. BMJ 2012;345:e5205 (Published 03 September 2012) Further details available on: http://www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie/?q=research-briefs (Sept 2012).

 

The RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Team of Dr Kevin McGuigan (Physiology and Medical Physics) and Prof Ronan Conroy (Epidemiology and Public Health) have co-authored a review paper titled "Solar water disinfection (SODIS): A review from bench-top to roof-top " which was recently published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. The paper is co-authored by two former RCSI PhD students (Dr Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa and Dr Martella du Preez) as well as colleagues from the SODISWATER project. In addition to summarizing the SODIS project over the past 20 years, the review describes in full all the developments in laboratory studies, field trials and psychological factors influencing up-take of the technology which is in everyday use throughout the developing world (Aug 2012) More...

  

A 3U Partnership delegation (Dr Kevin McGuigan, Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, RCSI; Dr Sandra O'Neill, an immunolgist from the School of Nursing, DCU; and Dr Thomas Strong, Dept. of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth), has visited the SODIS (solar water disinfection) projects in the Makondo District of Masaka Province in Uganda. The aim of the field trip was to examine the possibility of future research collaborations in the region as part of research opportunities in the Joint Institute of Global Health funded through the 3U Partnership. The SODIS (solar water disinfection) method, used by over 5 million people worldwide, works by exposing contaminated water to sunlight. The UV-radiation of the sun kills the organisms that cause waterborne disease and helps save lives throughout the developing world (Aug 2012) More...

Dr Melanie Focking, Lecturer in Psychiatry, has been awarded a prestigious ‘Young Investigator Award' from North American Society for Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia (NARSAD).  Her funding will allow her to continue her ongoing work with Professor David Cotter and Dr Gerard Cagney (Conway Institute, UCD) on the postsynaptic density in schizophrenia. The project was entitled ‘Proteomic investigation of the postsynaptic density in the major psychoses@ (Aug 2012).

 

 

Congratulations to Prof Mary Cannon, Prof Leonie Young, Dr Brona Murphy, Prof David Cotter, Dr Eoghan O'Neill, Dr Bryan Hennessy, Prof Jochen Prehn, Dr Sally-Ann Cryan and Prof David Henshall on their successful applications to the 2012 HRB Health Research Awards. This scheme aims to fund researchers and research teams to conduct internationally competitive and innovative research that will create new knowledge and evidence of benefit to health through investment in patient-oriented research, population health sciences and health services research.  Prof Mary Cannon and Dr Mary Clarke from Department of Psychiatry were also awarded an Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Award from the HRB for a research programme entitled "Youth Mental Health - a population based research programme". Co-applicants on this award were from the National Suicide Research Foundation, Inspire Ireland Foundation and the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre in Melbourne (July 2012).

 

Dublin recently hosted the City of Science 2012 ‘Science in the City' public engagement festival in association with the five-day Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) 2012 conference. Congratulations to Maria Morgan (MCT), Maria Kelly (REACH), Yvonne Smith (MCT), Marc Devocelle (Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) and RCSI medical students Sean Egan, Elizabeth Ahern-Flynn and Allan Jenkinson, who ran a science workshop for 40 local children aged 7-12. This Small Science, Big Ideas programme involved workshops designed specifically for younger children, introducing them to ways scientists work and allowing them to conduct simple experiments (July 2012). 

 

Over 100 researchers, health service managers and policymakers attended a meeting in RCSI on Friday 29th June 2012 entitled Patient Safety in Hospital Settings: The implications of hospital organisation and physician burnout. This conference, co-hosted by the Irish Society of Quality and Safety in Healthcare (ISQSH), sought to highlight the role of hospital organisational culture and physician burnout in promoting patient safety and quality of care. The meeting featured 13 presenters including 2 keynote speakers, Professor Aidan Halligan, Director of Education at University College London Hospitals and Mrs. Margaret Murphy, WHO Patients for Patient Safety. The meeting was organised as part of the ORCAB project in which RCSI is a partner and is funded under the 7th European Research Framework Programme (July 2012) More...

 

Conn Hastings, a HRB PhD Scholar, has been awarded an Albert Renold Travel Fellowship for Young Scientists by the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes. This award will facilitate a research placement in Prof. David Mooney's laboratory in Harvard University. Conn is a student in the Dept. of Anatomy supervised by Dr Garry Duffy & Prof Fergal O'Brien. (July 2012)

 

 

Congratulations to Raphael Rapetti-Mauss (PhD scholar) on winning Best Oral Presentation at the Physiology 2012 Meeting in Edinburgh. In his presentation ‘17β-estradiol rapidly induces KCNQ1 internalization and post-endocytic  trafficking in HT29 colonic epithelial cells' Raphael presented the findings of a collaborative project between RCSI and the National Children's Research Centre, Crumlin Hospital (July 2012).

 


Congratulations to HRB Scholar Aine Nolan who was awarded a prize for her poster presentation ‘Novel oestradiol-sensitive microRNAs may contribute to colon carcinoma tumour promotion after loss of oestrogen receptor beta' in the Metabolism & Endocrinology Theme at Physiology 2012 in Edinburgh. This is a collaborative project between Molecular Medicine and Cancer Genetics (July 2012).

 

 

The Annual UK Clinical Research Facility (UKCRF) Network Conference was hosted by the Dublin Clinical Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin on July 5-6 this year. The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, opened the meeting, which had its largest attendance in its eight-year history. RCSI was very well represented at the meeting (July 2012). More...

 

 

In a ground-breaking new study, neuroscientists from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland published a major new study in the July edition of Nature Medicine. The study explores the cause and treatment of epilepsy, a neurological disorder affecting ~37,000 people in Ireland. The research involved an international collaboration between researchers in the Departments of Physiology & Medical Physics, Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, and the Cancer Genetics team in RCSI, Clinicians at Beaumont hospital and experts in brain structure analysis from the Cajal Institute in Madrid. The team focused on a new class of gene called "microRNA" which controls which proteins are made inside cells. The authors discovered that levels of microRNA-134 are much higher in the part of the brain that causes seizures in patients with epilepsy. Using a new type of drug-like molecule called an antagomir they showed they could almost completely prevent epileptic seizures from occurring in models of epilepsy. Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos is first author on the paper and Professor David Henshall, senior author on the paper, added "The study is important because it establishes for the first time a completely new gene target underlying epilepsy and shows how we can target this using new drug-like molecules" (June 2012). More... 

 

The AIB Seed Capital Fund, co-managed by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, has completed an €500,000 equity investment in a new Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) spin-out, SurgaColl Technologies Limited, a tissue regeneration company based in the Rubicon Centre in the Cork Institute of Technology. SurgaColl Technologies is a venture capital backed start-up company established in 2010 to commercialise a portfolio of implantable orthopaedic products developed by Professor Fergal O'Brien's Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI. The products are highly innovative and formulated, using naturally derived materials, for the regeneration of human tissue, including bone and cartilage (June 2012). More... 

 

Congratulations to Professor Fergal O'Brien (Dept of Anatomy) and Professor John O'Byrne (Dept of Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery) on receiving a prestigious HRB-SFI Translational Research Award (~€1.3m), one of only three grants awarded in the country. The initiative focuses resources in areas which offer the greatest potential for translation into impacts and benefits for health and long term economic development, as well as for more efficient and effective collaboration between researchers based in an academic setting and those working in a service delivery/clinical setting (June 2012).

 

Tara McFadden, a PhD HRB Scholar in the Department of Anatomy was awarded best overall presentation at the MSC Galway 2012 International Mesenchymal Stem Cell Conference held last week. Her talk was entitled ‘In vitro engineered microvessels formed by a co-culture of human mesenchymal stem cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cell results in functional anastomosis and increased vascularisation in vivo'. Tara is co-supervised by Dr Garry Duffy and Prof Fergal O'Brien (June 2012).

 

Dr Emer Reeves, of the Department of Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, has been an invited speaker at the following events and venues this June 2012:

  • Infection and Innate Immunity in Chronic Respiratory Disease Research Symposium, School of Pharmacy/Centre for Infection & Immunity, Queen's University Belfast. Title of presentation: Alpha-1 antitrypsin a natural modulator of leukotriene B4 and tumour necrosis factor-   alpha induced neutrophil degranulation.
  • The European Cystic Fibrosis Conference, Lisbon Portugal. Symposium 22- Altered host defense function in CF. Title of presentation: Altered immune cell function.
  • Comprehensive Center for Infection, Immunity, and Transplantation, Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology Innsbruck Medical University Fritz-Pregl-Str. 3 A-6020 Innsbruck / Austria. Title: Defending the airways. A balance between neutrophil proteases and anti-proteases. (June 2012)

 

On June 8th 2012 the RCSI Research Staff Association (RRSA) was formally re-established in a meeting held at RCSI St. Stephens Green and kindly sponsored by the Research Office. Committee members elected were: Isabella Bray (Chair), Suzanne Miller-Delaney (Secretary), Silvia Napoletano (Treasurer), Joan Ni Gabhann, Olga Piskareva and Jennifer Byrne (General Committee Members). The official RRSA also have representation on the Irish Research Staff Association (IRSA) who, since 2007, have been engaged with government bodies, funding agencies, professional organizations and other relevant parties to advocate for improvements in policies affecting research staff. RRSA representatives on the IRSA committee are Isabella Bray and Suzanne Miller Delaney. The main aim of the RRSA is to positively influence and enhance the research staff experience, by representing research staff in a range of activities including interactions with institutional management and administration, informing institutional policy, facilitation of career development activities, and overall providing support for fellow researchers. The association thanks the School of Postgraduate Studies and the Research Office for their support in encouraging the establishment of the RRSA (June 2012)

 

Business EI 5.jpgProfessor Ruairi Brugha, Dr Annette Byrne, Dr David Davila, Professor Fergal O'Brien and Professor Jochen Prehn, were among those honoured by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins for their work as leaders of major EU research projects at an event in Dublin this month. Their achievements were recognised at 'Ireland's Champions of EU Research' which took place on 8th June 2012 and was attended by President Higgins in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The aim of the event was to recognise the immense contribution of the 275 research project leaders from Ireland to our national success in the €50 billion EU research fund known as the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research (FP7).

President Higgins also presented 'Outstanding Achievement Awards' to researchers whose projects were ranked 1st in the EU in their respective research areas. As leaders of major research projects in the EU FP7 programme, the RCSI researchers were among those from academic institutions and companies in Ireland deemed to have reached the pinnacle of the European research system; a testament world-class research that is ongoing in Ireland and to the robust research infrastructure that has been built in Ireland over recent years. Since the EU programme commenced in 2007 over 1,200 applicants from Ireland have won €384 million in FP7 funding, the equivalent of €1.5 million per week. The national target is to secure €600 million by the end of 2013. The final call for applications which will open in July 2012 has the largest budget to date at an estimated €9 billion (June 2012).

 

New €1 million HRB grant awards for The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing - TILDA. Researchers in TILDA will study the role of autonomic function in the development of cardiovascular disease in adults thereby creating new biomarkers and opportunities for intervention. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in western cultures and a significant cause of major disabilities such as stroke and dementia. The new HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) award will enable applied health research and implementation science to rapidly translate policy relevant findings from the cardiovascular domain into policy and practice. The research will be lead by Prof. Rose Anne Kenny (TCD/TILDA) with collaboration from Dr. Emer Shelley (HSE), Prof. Tom Fahey (RCSI), Prof. Charles Normand (TCD), Prof. Ciarán O'Neill (UCL) and Prof. Alan Barrett (TCD/TILDA).
 
A further population health sciences award was made to study type 2 diabetes and its relation to cardiovascular function, cognitive function, mental health and socioeconomic factors. The burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications are immense and disproportionately affect the older population and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. By 2030 diabetes will have increased by 135% in the over 65 years and older worldwide. The Principal Investigator, Prof. Rose Anne Kenny (TCD/TILDA) said that "The study will advance the science of population health by using biological and demographic data from TILDA to address several limitations in the current knowledge of diabetes and cardiovascular brain health in Ireland." Co-applicants are Dr. George Savva (TCD/TILDA), Prof. Brian Lawlor (TCD/SJH), Prof. Joe Barry (TCD), Dr. Jean O'Connell (UCD) and Dr. Siobhan Maty (TCD/TILDA) (June 2012).

 

A new e-book edited by Dr Catherine Greene, Dept. Medicine has been published entitled "Toll-like Receptors in Diseases of the Lung" (eISBN: 978-1-60805-362-9, 2012). The book reviews current understanding of the role of TLRs in the lung in health and disease. Topics covered include 1) the expression, function and activation of TLRs during bacterial, viral and fungal infection of the airways, 2) the role of TLRs in the pathogenesis of genetic and environmental pulmonary disorders, and 3) TLR biology in lung transplantation. Each chapter highlights recent advances in a selected domain in lung disease research (June 2012). More... 

 

New research involving a multidiciplinary approach to investigating the mechanisms of bone loss and bone destruction as a result of infection was recently published in PLoS ONE. The research was carried out as a joint venture between the group's of Dr. Steve Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy & MCT) and Prof. Fergal O'Brien (Dept of Anatomy). This recently accepted paper builds on observations published by the same group in PLoS ONE which has resulted in more that 2000 downloads in the 12 month period since it was published in 2011. Mr Amro Widaa, first author and final year PhD student, presented the findings of the study at the annual meeting of the Biomedical section of the Royal Academy of Medicine and won the prestigious Donegan Bronze Medal for his work. Collectively the work identifies the mechanism through which Staphylococcus aureus binds to bone cells and triggers destruction and loss. Identification of this interaction provides new insight into a potential novel drug target which may prevent our over-reliance on antibiotics to treat this disease. Bone infection, or osteomyelitis, affects 1 in 5,000 people around the world. It can occur at any stage in life and attack any bone in the body, where it leads to progressive bone destruction. The research was funded by the Science Foundation of Ireland Research Frontiers Programme (June 2012).

 

Ziga Ude, a PhD student supervised  by Dr Celine Marmion (Dept of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry), was awarded first prize for best oral presentation in the ‘Bioinorganic Chemistry' section at the 64th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium 2012 hosted by the Department of Chemical & Environmental Sciences at the University of Limerick in June.  Ziga, who is funded through an SFI Research Frontiers Programme, joined Dr. Marmion's group in December 2011 and had to compete against researchers with two and three years research experience. Ziga, who obtained his primary degree from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia also conducted his Erasmus placement with Dr. Marmion from Oct 2010 - Jan 2011. (June 2012).    

 

Kerstin Pohl, HRB PhD Scholar in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease was awarded the 2012 European Cystic Fibrosis Society (ECFS) Young Investigators Award. The ECFS Award is given annually to individual researchers who made an outstanding contribution to the basic understanding of cystic fibrosis or to the treatment or care of people with cystic fibrosis. Kerstin who is jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney (Dept of Medicine) was presented with her award at the annual ECFS conference which was held in Dublin on June 7th-9th, 2012. In her study, Kerstin identified an intrinsic functional difference of circulating white blood cells in people with cystic fibrosis (June 2012).     

 

A special issue on Tissue Engineering in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, co-edited by Prof Fergal O'Brien, Dept of Anatomy and Brendan Harley from the University of Illinois, has just been published.  The issue contains contributions from some of the world's leading research groups including papers from RCSI researcher's Amos Matsiko, Ciara Murphy, Conor Buckley & Danny Kelly (May 2012) More...  Prof O'Brien also gave a public Lecture in the Alchemist Cafe on the multi-disciplinary effort involved in researching and engineering new biomedical products (May 2012). More...

 

Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have discovered how a protein secreted in the body protects motor neuron cells from degrading. This is the first time that the mechanisms behind these protective qualities of the protein, known as angiogenin, have been understood, which may lead to new therapeutics for the treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (May 2012). More...

 

 

 

Members of the Centre for Systems Medicine and Department of Physiology and Medical Physics have published a review article which describes key molecular processes and signaling network topologies coordinating apoptosis signal transduction. Christian T Hellwig and Markus Rehm published a review on synergistic TRAIL-based multidrug treatments in the AACR journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. TRAIL and agonistic TRAIL receptor antibodies are the only therapeutically relevant anti-cancer death ligands. Synergies have been reported in various scenarios of TRAIL-based multidrug treatments, and these can be used to potentiate the efficacy of therapies targeting TRAIL death receptors. The review structures the current knowledge on the diverse molecular mechanisms that are thought to give rise to these synergies and describes how different signaling features evoking synergies can be associated with distinct classes of drugs used in TRAIL-based combination treatments (May 2012). More... 

 

In a recent review article, Maximilian L. Würstle, Maike A. Laussmann, and Markus Rehm (Centre for Systems Medicine and Department of Physiology and Medical Physics) describe the latest developments in the understanding of caspase-9 activation. Caspase-9 is an essentially required cell death protease mediating apoptosis execution through the mitochondrial pathway. The review discusses recent structural and kinetic studies on caspase-9 signaling, and describes an emerging model for the regulation of caspase-9 activation and activity that arises from the complexity of multi-protein interactions at the apoptosome. This review is available through the journal Experimental Cell Research, and is part of a special edition on cell death signaling. (May 2012). More...

 

An experimental systems biological study entitled "Proteasome inhibition can impair caspase-8 activation upon sub-maximal stimulation of apoptotic tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) signaling" by Maike Laussmann, Egle Passante, Christian Hellwig, Bartolomiej Tomiczek, Lorna Flanagan, Jochen Prehn, Heinrich Huber, and Markus Rehm (Centre for Systems Medicine and Department of Physiology and Medical Physics) has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The study takes advantage of a combined approach of mathematical modelling and quantitative experimental measurements to investigate TRAIL-mediated caspase activation kinetics in living cells (May 2012). More... 

 

Congratulations to Professor John Waddington (MCT) on receiving the inaugural Basic Science Award of the Schizophrenia International Research Society from Professor Sir Robin Murray, FRS, President of the Society, at their recent conference in Florence; John received this award for outstanding achievement during his 30-year career (May 2012).

 

 

Congratulations to Nina McCarthyUrsula Quinn and Alice Brennan (MCT) on receiving Young Investigator Awards to present their work at the recent meeting of the European Society of Hypertension in London; Alice Brennan won the prize for Best Poster in her section (May 2012).

 

 

Well done also to Seamus Allen, Ana Lopez-Alonso and Thea Tilley (MCT) on receiving Young Investigator Awards to present their work at the forthcoming meeting of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Liverpool (May 2012).

 

 

Dr Karen Morgan PU-RCSI (Psychology) is a co-researcher on a recent award by the Universiti Malaya Research Grant Scheme. The programme ‘Falls and Frailty in Older People' is a three year programme (RM 850,000) led by Associate Professor Dr Tan Maw Pin, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Universiti Malaya (UM). Other co-researchers are from the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Design and Manufacturing Engineering UM, Newcastle University, UK and Curtin University, Perth, Australia. The programme will comprise of a number of sub-programmes starting with an evaluation of characteristics of falls in older patients presenting to the emergency room. Exercise therapy and home hazards interventions will be tested. Diagnostic markers of frailty will be assessed and the psychological impact of falls and perceptions of mortality will be explored (May 2012).  

 

New research carried out by researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), NUI Galway and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has found that a national screening campaign for chlamydia in young people would not prove cost effective. The research also explored the attitudes, fears and preferences of young Irish men and women aged 18-29 years old towards accepting tests to detect chlamydia (May 2012). More...

 

 

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Donnelly, (Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow, RCSI Rotunda and Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital) on her recent award of second place at the Junior Obstetrics & Gynaecology Society (JOGS) "IPSEN Travelling Fellowship" Awards Dinner at One Pico. Dr. Donnelly presented a very entertaining talk on her imminent fellowship year in New York, where she will continue her Maternal Fetal Medical (MFM) training at Columbia University (May 2012).

 

 

The Pulmonary Division of the Department Medicine, RCSI has published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled "Effect of Estrogen on Pseudomonas Mucoidy and Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis". This paper has been hailed as a major breakthrough in understanding why females with cystic fibrosis do worse than males. It shows for the first time that the female hormone estrogen promotes the presence of the mucoid form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the lungs of women with CF. Mucoid Ps. aeruginosa is more difficult to treat and causes significant lung inflammation, explaining, in part, why females with CF, have a worse outcome.  This study opens the way to new understanding and potential therapeutic approaches in CF. It is also the first report describing an effect of a gender hormone on infections and, as such, has major implications for conditions extending beyond CF. The paper is an excellent example of the translational research presently underway in RCSI and illustrates interdepartmental and inter-institutional links.  Professor Gerry McElvaney and Dr. Catherine Greene are the senior authors on the paper. The first author, Dr. Sanjay Chotirmall, is a Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) Clinician-Scientist fellow. Co-authors on the paper include colleagues from the Depts. of Medicine (Dr. Sonya Cosgrove), General Practice (Dr. Borislav Dimitrov)  and Molecular Medicine (Prof Brian Harvey) in RCSI, Beaumont Hospital (Dr. Cedric Gunaratnam, Prof Shane O'Neill) and the School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin (Stephen Smith) (May 2012). More...

 

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is leading an international team of scientists on a major research study which aims to predict colorectal cancer patients' response to the ‘angiogenesis inhibitor' class of anti-cancer drug which prevents growth of tumour blood vessels. The study will facilitate a more focused therapeutic approach thus limiting side-effects in patients. The researchers have secured approximately €6 million in competitive non-exchequer funding for the "AngioPredict" project which is supported by the European Commission's Seventh Framework ‘Health' Programme (FP7). The project is led by Dr Annette Byrne, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics & Centre for Systems Medicine, RCSI. "The ability to predict response will mean that more focused and personalised therapies can be delivered to cancer patients. Non-responding patients will be thus spared the side-effects of therapy and are more likely to receive optimal treatment with a minimum of delay," Dr Byrne commented. (May 2012) More...

 

New research from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) published in Nature Publishing Groups Neuropsychopharmacology entitled "Chronic Adolescent Exposure to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in COMT Mutant Mice: Impact on Indices of Dopaminergic, Endocannabinoid and GABAergic Pathways" has shown physical changes to exist in specific brain areas implicated in schizophrenia following the use of cannabis during adolescence. Dr Áine Behan, who did this work as a member of the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI and lead author on the study said "This is the first study to show that the combined effects of the COMT gene with adolescent cannabis use cause physical changes in the brain regions associated with schizophrenia." (May 2012). More...

 

Research Day 2012: The latest research on breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, bone tissue engineering, cyberpsychology and sexual health were just some of the topics featured in studies which were presented at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)'s Annual Research Day which took place on Wednesday, 25th April. Over 300 researchers attended this annual forum which provides RCSI scientists with the opportunity to showcase their most recent research findings and emphasises the importance of research within the College (Apr 2012) More...

Research Day 2012 Awards: This year's Research Day saw a new Health Professions Education Award presented for the first time. The award, which acknowledges the importance of a robust research and development approach to all of RCSI's educational programmes was presented to Ms Theresa Keane, Institute of Leadership.

Dr Killian Hurley, who is preparing for an MD at the Department of Medicine, was the post-graduate oral research prize winner. He received the Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals Prize of a silver medal and a prize fund of €1,000 to attend a conference.  The post-graduate poster prize went to Alba Jimenez-Pacheco, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics.

The PhD scholars oral research prize was awarded to Sudipto Das, Cancer Genetics, who received the Roche Gold Medal and will go on to represent RCSI in the Roche Researcher of the Year 2012. Erica Tierney, Department of Anatomy, received the PhD scholars poster presentation award for the best poster presentation.

There were two winners from the Department of Molecular Medicine in the early career investigators category. The oral research prize (The Barnes Medal) went to Dr Magdalena Mroz and the poster award was presented to Dr Vinciane Saint-Criq.

Other awards on the evening included the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery, which is supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965. This prestigious award of RCSI is run in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and this year was awarded to Mr.Chandrasekaran Kaliaperumal FRCSEd (Neuro.Surg), Specialist Registrar in Neurosurgery at Cork University Hospital.

Aine McCarthy received the Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research  and William Leitch was winner of the Undergraduate Poster Prize. Both Aine and William are medical students.

Dr Kevin McGuigan, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics was recognised for his research photograph of bottles of water set out in direct sunlight for solar disinfection (SODIS) by Ugandan primary school pupils which was the front cover illustration of this year's abstract book.

Finally, in appreciation of all her Alumni work in support of undergraduate student research, a presentation was made to Ms Louise Sherwin, Alumni/Fellows and Members Office.

 

Irish Aid has awarded funding for a new 3-year research programme in Zambia and Malawi to a team of researchers led by Professor Ruairí Brugha, Dr Elaine Byrne and Aisling Walsh from the Population Health Sciences Division. 

'Community Systems Strengthening for Equitable Maternal and Child Health' (COSYST-MCH) is a partnership of development researchers and practitioners, whose Irish partners are in DCU and Concern Worldwide.  The aim of the research is to strengthen community systems and increase health equity so as to achieve better maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes, focusing especially on vulnerable mothers and children in the first 1,000 days of life.  The hypothesis to be explored and tested is that Irish Aid's hunger, HIV care and support, and poverty-focused strategies are contributing to the achievement of the Health Millennium Development Goals for mothers and children (Apr2012) More... 

 

DSI_26.jpgRCSI were proud hosts of the fifth All Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition which welcomed secondary school students from across Ireland to the event which took place in the Albert Lecture Theatre on Thursday, 19th April. Dr Terry McWade, Deputy Chief Executive of RCSI and Chairman of the REACH RCSI programme, welcomed the participants to the College and was also a member of the judging panel. After several closely contested debates, Clonakilty Community College, Co. Cork (Paul Harte (researcher), and debaters Conor Ryan and Philip Poillot, above) emerged victorious to become the 2012 Debating Science Issues winners.  St. Catherine's Vocational School, Killybegs, Donegal (Gráinne Nielsen and Deanne Gallagher) were the Runners Up. 

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop series and debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with eight science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland, including RCSI. This year the RCSI-mentored schools included Loreto College Crumlin, Warrenmount Secondary School, CBS James Street and CBS Westland Row. Students from RCSI's Debating Society and MCT (Elizabeth Ahern Flynn, Eoin Kelleher and Rachel Cox) helped facilitate the workshops. The programme is managed within RCSI by Dr. Maria Morgan, MCT and Maria Kelly, REACH programme (Apr2012) More...

 

The Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research (http://www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie/) in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy, at Queens University, Belfast, has recently published two population studies, examining the prevalence, predictors and costs of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in older people, in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (NI). Medications deemed potentially inappropriate are those which lack evidence-based indications, pose a higher risk of adverse effects and/or are not cost effective. Older people are particularly vulnerable to inappropriate prescribing because of their multiple drug regimens, co-morbid conditions and age associated physiological changes.Inappropriate prescribing in older people is associated with increases in morbidity, adverse drug events, hospitalization and mortality and therefore optimising prescribing in this population is a priority due to the significant clinical and economic   costs of drug related illness (April2012) More...

 

Gerard Higgins (CMRF PhD scholar) has won the Best Presentation Prize at the European Cystic Fibrosis Basic Science Annual Meeting, St. Maxime, France. Gerry presented his work on novel actions of lipoxin on bacterial infection in CF, a collaborative project between RCSI and the National Children's Research Centre, Crumlin Hospital (Apr2012).



 

Congratulations to Gianpiero Cavalleri (Department of MCT), Christopher Whelan, Saud Alhusaini, Norman Delanty and their international collaborators on publication of the article 'Identification of common variants associated with human hippocampal and intracranial volumes' in Nature Genetics (Apr2012).

 

 

Congratulations to Ana Lopez-Alonso, Thea Tilley, Seamus Allen and Alice Brennan on receiving Young Investigator Awards to present their work at the meeting of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Liverpool; Alice Brennan has just heard that her presentation at this Meeting received the prize for Best Poster in her section (Apr2012)

 

 

Congratulations to Dr Frank Doyle and colleagues in the Department of Psychology who recently had a healthcare professionals education paper accepted in a special issue of the Journal of Health Psychology on health literacy. They assessed medical and physiotherapy students' ability to appraise the readability, psychology theory content and quality of nine international smoking patient information leaflets (PILs). Readability scores ranged from standard to fairly easy. Importantly, student-proposed additional theory-based content had no detrimental effect on readability scores. Overall quality scores indicated low-moderate quality. This assignment helped students critically evaluate the utility of PILs for communication (Apr2012) More...

 

An RCSI project on sexual health, being led by Dr. Karen Morgan (Psychology), is currently being featured as a research showcase on the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) website. Funded by IRCHSS and the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, this project is a comparative secondary analysis of data from three comprehensive national sexual health surveys that have been conducted in Ireland over the last decade: the 2003 and 2010 Irish Contraception and Crisis Pregnancy Surveys (ICCP-2003/2010) and the 2006 Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships (ISSHR). As well as aiming to deliver at least four key peer-reviewed papers from this work, the project team (Karen Morgan, Orla McBride, Caroline Kelleher, Ashling Bourke and Daniel Boduszek)  will also be organizing and delivering a conference and data workshop at the end of the project (Apr12) More...

 

Congratulations to Alexandra Skorupa and Matthew King (Department of Physiology & Medical Physics) on their joint publication in the Journal of Neuroscience entitled "Motoneurons Secrete Angiogenin to Induce RNA Cleavage in Astroglia". A news article on the publication also featured on the Alzheimer Research Forum (Apr 2012). More...

 

 

 

Research led by Dr Tobias Engel from Prof. David Henshall's laboratory, along with collaborators in Madrid, recently reported the identification of a new type of anticonvulsant drug. The work showed inhibitors of the ATP-activated P2X7 receptor potently suppressed seizures, possibly opening up new avenues for anti-epileptic drug development. The study also showed that specific populations of excitable cells begin to over-produce the protein after injury to the brain which may contribute to a lasting predisposition to seizures. The work, funded by the Health Research Board, is published in this month's edition of the FASEB Journal (Apr2012) More...

 

An international drug discovery research partnership initiated by Prof. Mauro Adamo (RCSI Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) with the Institute of Chrystallography of the Italian National Council of Research in Bari, the Department of Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Chemistry of the University of Naples "Federico II", the AIRI (the Italian Association for Industrial Research), the Gianni Benzi Pharmacological Research Foundation, and the Italian Consortium DFM scarl has been successful in securing funding (€570k) to support a multidisciplinary research programme in the area of MicroRNA therapeutics applied to the treatment of Neuroblastoma. The programme will bring together experts in drug design (biocomputing, molecular modelling and structural biology) and synthesis (organic and oligomer synthesis) and will be supported by the Italian Foundation "Fondazione con il Sud" over a period of 3 years (Apr2012).

 

Congratulations to Dr Tomas Carroll and Dr Emer Reeves on their paper "Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency - A Genetic Risk Factor for COPD" which has achieved impressive readership results. The chapter published with InTech in the book "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Current Concepts and Practice" has already been accessed 200 times in the 2 months since it became available (Apr2012) More...

 

 

The researchers at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (http://www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie/) have conducted a number of studies examining methadone use and pregnancy outcomes including NAS. In a project co-funded by the School of Pharmacy, RCSI and the Friends of the Coombe charity, Dr Brian Cleary led a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the relationship between the mother's methadone dose and the chances of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (March2012). More...

 

 

Jean McBryan a postdoctoral researcher  from Prof Leonie Young's Endocrine Oncology Research Group was one of just four scientists shortlisted for the 9th St Luke's Young Investigator Award, 2012. This award is presented by Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland  to researchers in their early years of oncology research.  Congratulations also to Jean on her recent publication in the prestigious journal Cancer Research entitled "Metastatic progression with resistance to aromatase inhibitors is driven by the steroid receptor coactivator SRC-1" .  Cancer Research is the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world (March2012).

 

Jarlath Bolger also Endocrine Oncology Research Group won the overall prize for best paper at the Sylvester O'Halloran meeting 2012. Jarlath's work in collaboration with Damian McCartan was also published in Cancer Research in January; "Global characterization of the SRC-1 transcriptome identifies ADAM22 as an ER-independent mediator of endocrine-resistant breast cancer" (March2012).

 

 

 

Christopher Byrne, also in the Endocrine Oncology Research Group was the recipient of the Young Scientist Award at the Irish Association of Cancer Research conference in Belfast in March.  This award was sponsored by the European Association of Cancer Research and the prize included registration and travel to the EACR's conference in Barcelona in June where Christopher will have the opportunity to present his work (March2012).

 

 

Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos in the lab of Professor David Henshall was the only Ireland-based neuroscientist to win a travel grant to present her research at this year's Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) meeting in Barcelona (July). She will present her findings on a novel gene which regulates seizures and brain injury in epilepsy (March2012).

 

 

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the University of Bristol have discovered that oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream can cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening growths on heart valves. Further research arising from this study could lead to new drugs to tackle infective heart disease. Dr Steve Kerrigan, School of Pharmacy, was the RCSI collaborator on the study which is being presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference which takes place in the Convention Centre Dublin this week (March2012) More...

 

Congratulations to Ms. Irina Babina, a PhD student under Dr Ann Hopkins, Department of Surgery, who recently won an oral presentation award for best proffered paper at the Irish Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Belfast, for her work entitled: "Modulation of CD44 sub-cellular localization decreases breast cancer cell motility" (March2012)

 

 

The first malaria vaccine clinical trial to be carried out in Ireland is currently underway. It is the only clinical trial of an interventional vaccine currently being carried out in Ireland, and is the first clinical trial of its kind to be conducted in Ireland. The aim of the trial is to determine whether the vaccine is safe and produces an immunological response to malaria. The clinical trial is being led by Prof Samuel McConkey and his team (RCSI) in collaboration with the Jenner Institute at Oxford University in the UK. It is funded by the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) (Feb2012) More... 

 

The European Molecular Imaging Doctoral School (EMIDS) 1st Task Force meeting took place in VUB Brussels, 28th February 2012. Pictured left: Prof Brian Harvey and  Dr Ruth Dooley, Molecular Medicine RCSI, with EMIDS partners  from the Universities of Brussels, Crete, Turin, Paris, Utrecht, the French Atomic Energy Commission and the European Society of Molecular Imaging (Feb 2012). More... 

 

Further success for Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney from Prof. Henshall's lab who recently won Neuroscience Ireland's Publication Award for best new paper for her study on DNA methylation in epilepsy that appeared in the February issue of the Journal of NeuroscienceProfessor David Henshall's team, led by Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney in collaboration with Ray Stallings' group, reported the effects of prolonged seizures on DNA methylation - a chemical change to DNA which can determine whether or not particular genes can be switched on or not. The study analyzed over 34,000 sites and found methylation was changed for over 300 genes suggesting this may be an important mechanism regulating which proteins are produced in the brain in conditions such as epilepsy. In a paper also published in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroscience by Prof Jochen Prehn's group and Ph.D. student Bea D'Orsi, a new role for a family of enzymes, the calpains, was demonstrated in the destruction of neurons, a finding that may deliver novel treatment strategies for the treatment of ischemic stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Both studies were supported by funding from Science Foundation Ireland (Feb 2012). More...

 

Congratulations to Dr. Aoife Murray (RCSI Clinical Tutor, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology/SpR Obstetrics, Rotunda Hospital) on her recent award at the RAMI Obstetrics Section - Registrars Prize. Dr. Murray presented her work on ‘Platelet reactivity in hypertensive pregnancies' and was awarded a silver medal. This research is funded by the ‘Friends of the Rotunda' and is a collaborative project with Prof. Dermot Kenny (RCSI) (Feb 2012).

 

 

Congratulations to Dr. David Bergin who was awarded first prize within the PhD category of the Beaumont Hospital Sheppard Prize which was held on February 21st 2012. David was awarded the prize for his project entitled "The inhibitory effect of alpha-1 antitrypsin on TNF-alpha signaling". Pictured left to right are; Dr. David Bergin, Dr. Sinead McNicolas, Prof. Arnold Hill, Prof Gerry McElvaney and Barry Morris (Astra Zeneca) (Feb 2012).

 

 

Congratulations to Aine Nolan (HRB PhD scholar) on winning the Sheppard Prize for Best Poster at the Annual Beaumont Hospital Scientific Meeting.  Aine's presentation on the '"Role of novel oestrogen-sensitive microRNAs in  colon carcinoma tumour promotion" is a collaborative study between Molecular Medicine and Cancer Genetics (Feb 2012).

 

 

 

Congratulations to Kerstin Pohl who was awarded second prize in the PhD poster category at the 2012 Beaumont Hospital Sheppard Prize for her project entitled "Decreased Rab27a activation and impaired release of secondary and tertiary granules from neutrophils in cystic fibrosis". Kerstin is funded through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Human Disease (Feb 2012).

 

 

A research paper "Sexual dimorphism and oestrogen regulation of KCNE3 expression modulates the functional properties of KCNQ1 K+ channels"  published by Prof Brian Harvey was the  most downloaded paper from the November 2011 issue of The Journal of Physiology  during the first three months of its publication.  Brian also presented this work at the International Meeting on Optimization of Mouse Models in Human Disease, held this month in Chile (Feb 2012). 

 

The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research offers elective research placements to RCSI and other university undergraduate medical students. Students are facilitated to engage in research in a supportive environment. This process allows students to develop their research skills and nurture an interest in evidence-based medicine. Dr. Rose Galvin, a physiotherapist and post-doctoral researcher at the HRB Centre, was responsible for the supervision of two such students who conducted research into musculoskeletal disorders (Feb 2012). More...

 

Two RCSI undergraduate medical students who successfully secured HRB summer studentships to carry out research projects last year were amongst eight HRB Watts Medal finalists chosen to present their work as oral presentations in The Coach House, Dublin Castle on January 24th. Fatema Mewa carried out a project entitled "Knockdown of IL-8 in bronchial epithelial cells" under the supervision of Dr. Catherine Greene in Dept Medicine, and Lizi Smith worked with Prof Dermot Kenny, MCT on the project "A novel risk marker for rheumatoid arthritis". The judging panel highly commended both students and congratulated them on the high standard of their research and presentation skills (Feb 2012).

 

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD today addressed over 200 delegates at the Irish Forum for Global Health Conference in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The two day international conference addresses one of the greatest challenges facing global health - the critical shortage of skilled health personnel, especially in poorer countries and populations and in remote areas of the world (Feb 2012). More...

 

 

Congratulations to Prof Fergal O'Brien and his team in the Tissue Engineering Research Group who have had a remarkably successful run over the last short period of time. They have had confirmation of 5 successful grants over the past 6 weeks (3 in the past 2 weeks alone). The Principal Investigator on the biggest of them (Enterprise Ireland) is Dr. Garry Duffy with Fergal as co-applicant. Congratulations also to Claire Brougham and Rosanne Raftery who were both award winners at the 18th Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) which took place in Belfast on the 27th-29th. Claire won the De Puy sponsored prize for the best presentation by a new researcher with a talk entitled "Investigation of a New Material for Heart Valve Tissue Engineering". Claire is currently undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Fergal O'Brien. Rosanne was awarded 3rd place in the same category for her talk entitled "Chitosan Nanoparticles as a Gene Delivery Vehicle to produce SMART Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering". This project is a collaboration between the Anatomy department and the School of Pharmacy in RCSI and Rosanne is co-supervised by Dr Sally-Ann Cryan and Prof. O'Brien (Jan 2012). More...

Many congratulations to Dr Maria Morgan, MCT and her colleagues on four successful proposals to Dublin City of Science 2012 Public Engagement and on receiving in collaboration with seven higher Education institutions, a People Award from the Wellcome trust for Debating Science Issues. These are important achievements in relation to the College's outreach mission (Jan 2012).

 

 

 

In a new study published in this month's edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Professor David Henshall's laboratory led by Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney, in collaboration with members of Ray Stallings' team, reported the effects of prolonged seizures on DNA methylation - a chemical change to DNA which can determine whether or not particular genes can be switched on or not. The study analyzed over 34,000 sites and found DNA methylation was changed for over 300 genes suggesting this may be an important mechanism regulating which proteins are produced in the brain in conditions such as epilepsy (Jan 2012).

 

Dr. Darren Griffith, Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, has had his research findings published in a Young Investigator Award Special Issue of Inorganica Chimica Acta. The issue is devoted to young independent European, American and Japanese inorganic chemists. The research article is entitled "Synthesis and solution behaviour of stable mono-, di- and trinuclear Pd(II) complexes of 2,5-pyridinedihydroxamic acid: X-ray crystal structure of a novel Pd(II) hydroxamato complex". In his research article Dr Griffith demonstrates that a hydroxamic acid ligand, 2,5-pyha, is a versatile and excellent chelator of Pd(II) across the pH range. There may therefore be a potential role for derivatives of 2,5-pyha or alternative hydroxamic acid containing compounds as important scavengers of residual Pd(II) catalysts used in the synthesis of drug molecules destined for market (Jan 2012). More...

The researchers at the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research have prepared a research brief on a peer-reviewed paper entitled "The Alvarado score for predicting acute appendicitis: A systematic review" published in BMC Medicine (Jan 2012). More...


 

 

 

Investigators in RCSI have participated in an unusually broad and fruitful inter- and intra-institutional collaboration. The contribution of mutations in genes underlying brain development is increasingly recognised for a number of neuropsychiatric disorders. Now, in a study led by SFI investigator Kevin Mitchell (Genetics, TCD), fellow SFI investigators David Henshall (Physiology & Medical Physics), John Waddington (MCT), Derek Morris (Psychiatry, TCD) and their teams have studied brain connectivity and neurodevelopmental deficits following mutation of the gene Semaphorin-6A; the important biological findings make this family of genes plausible candidates to explain human findings in schizophrenia and autism, as published recently in the journal PLoS One (Jan 2012). More...

 

RCSI has been awarded major funding for research to improve the treatment of epilepsy. The research aims to explore how individual patients react to different epilepsy drugs on the basis of their DNA so that the most effective medication can be prescribed safely to treat them. RCSI is one of 15 partner institutions from eight countries to receive almost €6 million funding from the European Union FP7 programme to investigate this genetic basis of responses to antiepileptic drugs as part of the EpiPGX Consortium. Dr. Norman Delanty, is Consultant Neurologist and the RCSI clinical lead and Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Biomedical Research Lecturer, will lead the RCSI genetics team. (Jan 2012) More... 

 

A new 'Centre for Systems Medicine' launched at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), aims to employ mathematical and statistical models in combination with large-scale data gathering to develop novel systems biology tools to predict treatment responses in patients with conditions such as colorectal cancer, brain tumours, melanoma, stroke, neurodegenerative  disorders and diabetes. The centre also aims to develop new prognostic tools for more ‘targeted' treatments for these patients, and aims to inform clinical decision making and improve patient care (Jan 2012). More...

 

Congratulations to Dr Cora McGreevy and Prof David Williams, Department of Geriatric Medicine, on their current publication "New Insights About Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease: A Narrative Review" in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Their paper was also discussed in an article in the Cardiology Today Journal (Jan 2012). More... 
 

 

 

 

A new study led by Prof Matthias Ebert (University Hospital Mannheim and Technical University, Munich, Germany), collaborators based in Germany, and Dr David Hughes at the Centre for Systems Medicine in the RCSI has found that an epigenetic change common in colorectal cancer predicts poor response to chemotherapy. The study published in the January 5th 2012 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that TFAP2E gene hypermethylation (i.e., highly methylated gene sequences) was associated with clinical non-responsiveness to chemotherapy in colorectal cancer (Jan 2012). More... 


 

Researchers within the Department of Anatomy in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have developed innovative collagen nano-hydroxyapatite (coll-nHA) scaffolds that act as highly efficient non-viral gene delivery platforms for stem cell-mediated bone formation. The research is the result of a successful collaborative project carried out between the Tissue Engineering Research Group led by Prof. Fergal O'Brien and Dr. Garry Duffy in RCSI, Prof. Kazuhisa Bessho, Kyoto University, Japan, and Dr. Glenn Dickson, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland and consists of a multi-disciplinary research effort between cell biologists, clinicians and engineers.  Results of this study were recently published in the esteemed materials science journal Advanced Materials with Dr. Caroline Curtin, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Anatomy, as first author (Jan 2012) More...

Ian Kelleher, PhD student in the Department of Psychiatry, has had a paper entitled "Psychotic symptoms in adolescence index risk for suicidal behaviour - findings from two population-based case-control studies", accepted to the prestigious journal Archives of General Psychiatry. Congratulations to Ian who has now had 4 papers accepted for publication in 4 consecutive months - a new record for Department of Psychiatry! (Jan 2012)

  

 

2011

 


 

Dr Karen Morgan, Dr Frank Doyle, Prof Hannah McGee, and Ms Janet O'Farrell from the Department of Psychology have recently completed a report for CARDI (Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland) entitled "Physical activity and core depressive symptoms in the older Irish adult population" (Dec 2011). More...

 

 The researchers at the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research (www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie) have conducted a number of studies examining medication use in early pregnancy. Recent publications have explored the prevalence of medication use in early pregnancy and determinants of peri-conceptional use of folic acid in pregnant women (Dec 2011) More...

 

The EU Commission recently approved funding for the establishment of the European Molecular Imaging Doctoral School (EMIDS), an Erasmus network co-ordinated between Prof Brian Harvey, RCSI and Universities in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy and Greece. EMIDS will involve RCSI staff across several departments including Prof Jochen Prehn and Drs Ruth Dooley, Tytus Bernas and Eadaoin McKiernan funded over a four year period to provide doctoral training in molecular imaging having an impact on the development of future drugs and diagnostic imaging agents (Dec 2011).

 

Over the summer and autumn, Prof John Waddington (MCT) was invited to participate in an EU COST SYSGENET workshop and discussion forum, involving leading basic and clinical neuroscientists from several European countries, to debate, formulate and prioritise a strategy for future research on models of psychotic illness and antipsychotic drug discovery. The yield from this process has just been published in the new, prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine (Dec 2011) More... 

 

Congratulations to Profs Mauro Adamo, David Henshall, Fergal O'Brien, Leonie Young and Dr Stephen Keely on their SFI/Enterprise Ireland Technology & Innovation Development Awards (TIDA). The TIDA 2011 Feasibility Study award is designed to enable researchers to focus on the first steps of an applied research project which may have a commercial benefit if further developed. The RCSI success rate was 12.5% above national average (Dec 2011). 

 

The Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery in collaboration with St. Luke's Hospital has recently completed a mixed methods research study to describe the role of the nurse in radiation oncology. Internationally, variability exists in the educational requirements, tasks, functions, skills and working environments of nurses working in radiation oncology and this has contributed to a lack of clarity and definition on this role. (Dec 2011) More.... 

 

Congratulations to Dr Sfuzanne Miller-Delaney who won the basic Science prize at the UK meeting of the International League Against Epilepsy in York in November for her work on "DNA methylation changes in epilepsy" (Dec 2011).

 

 

The Health Research Board (HRB) launched its annual ‘Picture of Health' publication on 1st December 2011, which highlights recent and exciting developments arising from Irish health research it has funded. Picture of Health 2011 outlines the findings and achievements of more than 40 out of 105 HRB-grants ended in 2010, including nine researchers from RCSI. (Dec 2011). More...

 

The inaugural International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) was held on November 4th and 5th. The conference was organised by RCSI undergraduate medical and healthcare students for students worldwide: ‘A conference for students by students' under the umbrella of the RCSI Research Summer School. The conference endeavoured to provide opportunities to further develop the biomedical research skills of the delegates and to cultivate the exchange of research knowledge. (Nov 2011). More...  

 

The very first Young Life Scientist Ireland (YLSI) Symposium took place on 12th November 2011 in University College Dublin. The day was a great success with over 110 delegates from Ireland and abroad. The day consisted of parallel sessions in various themes covering 24 oral communications accompanied by interactive workshops and a keenly contested poster session. (Nov 2011). More...

 

In a  study published in this month's Journal of Physiology, researchers in the Department of Molecular Medicine in collaboration with the Centro de Estudios Científicos Chile, identified the molecular target of oestrogen action in fluid retention. High levels of oestrogen are known to cause fluid retention in fertile females and it is thought that the increase in body fluid volume is necessary for proper implantation of the fertilised egg in the uterus. The study led by Profs Brian Harvey and Francisco Sepulveda was highlighted in an Editorial Perspective as the first to show that the activity of a potassium ion channel (KCNQ1), which drives salt and water movement across the cell membranes of epithelial tissues, is the target for oestrogen. This effect of oestrogen on KCNQ1  ion channels and electrolyte secretion is only found in females and is maximal during the peak phase of oestrogen in the oestrous cycle (when fertilization and implantation occur). These findings help us to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the fluid retention effects of oestrogen in health and the potential adverse effects this response may have in exacerbating disease where fluid secretion is compromised such as in cystic fibrosis (the so-called CF ‘gender gap'). (Nov 2011)

 

Dr Frederick Sundram, Senior Registrar and Honorary Lecturer in Psychiatry at RCSI, in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry and at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, has published a paper entitled "White matter microstructural abnormalities in the frontal lobe of adults with antisocial personality disorder" in Cortex (Nov 2011). More... 

 

Congratulations to Jennifer Lynch, Department of MCT, on receiving the Children's Cancer and Leukemia Group McElwain Award for her presentation at the recent National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool. Jennifer's work is focused on eludidating the mechanism by which microRNA-335 contributes to the paedatric cancer neuroblastoma. The study has identified specific genes and pathways regulated by microRNA-335 that play a role in tumour metastasis. Jennifer works under the supervision of Professor Ray Stallings. (Nov 2011). More...

Congratulations to Rebecca Wolfe, overall winner for Best Oral Presentation in the Dermatology, Gastroenterology & Respiratory session at the International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) held in Dublin (5th November 2011) and Best Poster presentation at the Irish Thoracic Society Annual Scientific Meeting (11th November 2011) with her poster entitled: "Alpha-1 Antitrypsin: A Novel TNF-Alpha Blocker?" Rebecca was funded by a HRB Summer Research Studentship under the supervision of Dr Emer Reeves and Dr David Bergin. (Nov 2011) 

 

Ian Kelleher, PhD student in the Dept of Psychiatry has had a paper accepted for publication in Schizophrenia Bulletin ( one of the "top five" psychiatry journals in terms of impact factor). Ian's paper, which he carried out with his supervisor Prof Mary Cannon and colleagues Dr Mary Clarke (Depts Psychology and Psychiatry, RCSI) and Drs Aileen Murtagh, Charlene Molloy and Michelle Harley is entitled "Identification and characterization of prodromal risk syndromes in young adolescents in the community: A population-based clinical interview study". This paper shows that up to 8% of adolescents in the community could fulfill criteria for prodromal risk syndromes for psychosis. This issue has never been examined in a community sample before and this paper will contribute significantly to the debate on the proposed inclusion of such risk syndromes in the upcoming revision of psychiatric diagnostic systems - DSM-V (Nov 2011).

 

Congratulations to Cormac Jennings and the Molecular Medicine team on their recent publication "Sustained Expression of Steroid Receptor Coactivator SRC-2/TIF-2 is Associated with Better Prognosis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma" in Journal of Thoracic Oncology, which has been highlighted on the "Surviving Mesothelioma: A Patient's Guide" website. (Nov 2011). More...

 

 

Researchers at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research investigate the utility of clinical prediction rules in respiratory illnesses. Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) are designed to assist clinicians in stratifying patients according to their probability of having a specific target disorder based on the patient's history and clinical examination. The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (http://www.hrbcentreprimarycare.ie/) has recently published two systematic reviews that examine the predictive value of CPRs in respiratory illnesses (Nov 2011). More...   

 

An Irish research team lead by Dr Norman Delanty and colleagues at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) will be one of many research teams all around the world who will come together to collaborate on a large new worldwide study looking at the genetic basis of epilepsy (Nov 2011). More... 


 

Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri, from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics has just launched an All-Ireland project to create a collection of DNA samples from individuals of Irish origin, which will be used to explore human genetic variation in the Irish population. The project is a joint collaboration with the Genealogical Society of Ireland. The collection and scientific analysis of the data may make it possible to identify genetic risk factors for disease and with this information, improve the nature of future treatments, including drug design or lifestyle decisions on how to prevent the development of disease in the first place (Oct2011). More...

 

Congratulations to Stephen Sheridan, a PhD student of Dr Garry Duffy and Dr Bruce Murphy (TCD) who was recently selected to educate and entertain at the Workman's Club in Dublin. Stephen is enrolled in the UCD-TCD Innovation Academy which provides an exciting intellectual space where students and academics interact in multi-disciplinary groups with mentors from the public and private sector to develop and nurture creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork. As part of this, Stephen created a 3 minute video describing his research in a way that was comprehensible to a general audience. The video is available online on the Innovation academy's Youtube channel (click here to view the video). Comedian, Maeve Higgins came across these videos and asked Stephen to talk at her Enlightenment Night in the workman's club. Once a month Maeve presents two hours of intense fun and learning. She selects a person, a place, a time, a situation, a something she wants you to know about, then makes you know about it in great ways.

 

Two PhD students of the Peptide Laboratory in the Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry, supervised by Dr. Marc Devocelle, were recently awarded prizes for the presentation of their research. Ms Lorraine Blackmore won second prize for poster presentation at the COST D39 Final Whole Action Meeting which took place in RCSI this summer. Lorraine's PhD is funded by the HEA and co-supervised by Prof. Tia Keyes in DCU (Department of Chemistry); she is developing novel imaging agents to assess the function of proteins.

Mr Graeme Kelly won second prize for the Young Investigator Poster Competition at the recent American Peptide Society Symposium, San Diego. Graeme is funded by SFI (Research Frontiers Programme) for a project aiming at combining classical and novel anticancer agents, to synergise their activities and overcome the resistance of cancer cells to classical therapeutic agents.

 

Professor David Henshall, Department of Physiology & Medical Physics,  Dr Norman Delanty at Beaumont and Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney, also  Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, have received a research grant from Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Society. The collaborative research project which commences at the end of the year will look at the role of epigenetic changes to genes (i.e. changes to DNA caused by environment/lifestyle) in human epilepsy (Oct2011).

 

Congratulations to the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research who have had two peer-reviewed papers recently published entitled "Prognostic value of the ABCD2 clinical prediction rule: a systematic review and meta-analysis" (Family Practice) and "Validation of the CHADS2 clinical prediction rule to predict ischaemic stroke. A systematic review and meta-analysis" (Thrombosis and Haemostasis) (Oct2011). More... 

Congratulations to the Dept.of Psychiatry, Dr Oliver Schubert, Dr Melanie Focking and Prof David Cotter, in conjunction with Prof Jochen Prehn, Dept of Physiology & Medical Physics on their latest article which has been published in an advanced online publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the highest impact journal in Psychiatry and the 4th best in the field of Neurosciences (Oct 2011). More...

 

Congratulations to Dr Sanjay Chortimall, Department of Medicine, who won the Young Clinician Scientist Award at the Dublin Centre for Clinical Research 2011 Scientific Day on Friday 14th October in TCD. Dr Chortimall's presentation was entitled "The Role of Estrogen in Cystic Fibrosis". This award was given following an oral presentation where he successfully competed with researchers from UCD and TCD (Oct2011).

 

Congratulations to Dr Tomás Carroll, Prof Gerry McElvaney and their colleagues in the Department of Medicine in the ERC Centre who recently successfully collaborated with Trinity College Dublin to conduct a study which found that Ireland has one of the highest incidences in the world of a genetic condition that causes severe hereditary emphysema. More...  

Dr Tomás Carroll, associate lecturer in the Department of Medicine at RCSI, Beaumont Hospital, has also been awarded an American Thoracic Society Foundation/Alpha-1 Foundation Research Grant to study the effect of a genetic protein deficiency on the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  The grant provides $80,000 in funding over two years  (Oct 2011). More...

 

The Eadbhard O'Callaghan Annual Youth Mental Health Prize has been set up in honour of Professor O'Callaghan, an RCSI graduate, Professor of Mental Health Research at University College Dublin and Director of the DETECT Early Intervention service in psychosis who sadly died on May 2nd  2011. The first recipient of the Award was Ian Kelleher, a HRB-funded PhD student with Prof Mary Cannon's team in the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI, for his poster entitled: "What is the clinico-pathological significance of psychotic symptoms in young people. Converging evidence from 4 population-based studies.". The prize was presented by Professor O'Callaghan's godson, Robert Murphy, an RCSI medical student, during the First National Research conference on Youth Mental Health held in RCSI, Dublin on October 14th. The conference was organized by the Special Interest Group on Youth Mental Health of the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) (Oct2011).

 

On Friday October 7th 2011, our undergraduate students from the Schools of Medicine, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy presented the findings of the research they carried out during the summer months under the auspices of the RCSI Research Summer School, which is coordinated by Dr. Sarah O'Neill. A total of 37 students presented their work this year. 26 of these were poster presentations, with 11 oral presentations (Oct2011). More...


Congratulations to Dr Karen Morgan who has been awarded an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Research Fellowship. The project starts in Oct 2011 and is entitled ‘Exploring trends in sexual activity, contraceptive use, and pregnancy experiences in Ireland'. (Oct2011)

 

 

Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn T.D. today formally launched BioAT - a unique PhD collaboration between Dublin City University, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), NUI Maynooth and Institute of Technology Tallaght - which will add strength and depth to Ireland's important biopharmaceutical and biomedical device industries. One of the first significant university collaborations in this area, BioAT (BioAnalysis and Therapeutics Structured PhD Programme) will help drive Ireland's push for cures to diseases like Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and cancers (Oct 2011). More...  

 

Congratulations to Dr Kevin McGuigan whose final SODISWATER Field Study has been accepted for publication this week. The article (du Preez M, Conroy RM, McGuigan KG, et al. Solar disinfection of drinking water (SODIS) in the prevention of dysentery in Kenyan children aged under 5 years. Environmental Science & Technology. Sept 2011. DOI: 10.1021/es2018835. PMID:21936492) reports the first ever benefit in child development associated with provision of Household Water Treatment in the developing world. The 12-month Kenyan SODIS study observed a 45% reduction in rates of dysentery and a 0.8cm increase in median height for children under age 5yrs drinking SODIS compared to children in the control group. This is third SODISWATER field study we have published in a 12 month period (South Africa, Cambodia and Kenya). All reported dramatic reductions in dysentery and childhood diarrhoeal disease rates for children using SODIS and confirms that SODIS is an extremely effective low cost water treatment for the most vulnerable communities without reliable access to safe drinking water (Sept 2011). 


Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) and Dr Anne Hickey (Psychology) with colleagues, Professor Hannah McGee, Dr Emer Shelley (Epidemiology) and Dr Frances Horgan (Physiotherapy) have recently received a research award by the Health Research Board of Ireland to conduct a two-year Health service Research Study entitled ASPIRE-S (Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke): adequacy of secondary prevention and rehabilitation intervention six months post-stroke, which will provide important information, currently unavailable in Ireland, on the management of stroke patients at home and will help to inform a future strategy on the management of stroke in the community. It is hoped that this work will lead to the development of a similar model which can be implemented across Europe (Sept 2011).

 

Prof. Fergal O'Brien, at the invitation of Science Foundation Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy, represented the Irish scientific community at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions (‘Summer Davos') held in Dalian, China. This is the foremost global business gathering in Asia and provides an unparalleled platform for global leaders to address the major drivers of growth in the 21st century. 40 young scientists (under 40 years) from around the world were invited to attend and interact with international business and political leaders.

Prof. O'Brien was also an Invited Plenary Keynote Speaker at the European Symposium on Biopolymers Conference (ESBP2011) which was held in Dublin in September, 2011. His talk was entitled ‘Advanced collagen-based scaffolds for tissue engineering applications' (Sept 2011).


Well done to Aine Nolan, a HRB PhD scholar in the Department of Molecular Medicine. who won first prize in the oral presentation category at the Advanced Summer School on Nuclear Receptor Signalling in Physiology and Disease held in Spetses Greece August 28 - September 2, 2011. The summer school was organised by the Karolinska Institute under the auspices of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies with the aim to bring together outstanding young investigators, PhDs and Post-docs, with senior scientists working in the field of steroid hormone nuclear receptors.
Aine delivered a lecture on her first year PhD work investigating the role of estrogen modulated microRNAs in colorectal cancer. Aine's supervisor Prof Brian Harvey commented "this is an exceptional achievement by such a young PhD scholar in the face of competition from more senior PhDs and postdocs from among the best labs in Europe. The award is not only a credit to Aine but also to her co-supervisors Dr. Warren Thomas and Dr. Isabella Bray and the inter-disciplinary collaboration they have developed between Molecular Medicine and Cancer Genetics." (Sept 2011).

 

Prof David Henshall has received an RO1 grant from the National Institutes for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, USA. The study is entitled "MicroRNAs as molecular effectors of epileptic tolerance". The study will be conducted jointly between the laboratory of Prof. Roger Simon in Atlanta, USA with the Henshall lab at RCSI and in conjunction with Prof. Ray Stallings group (Sept 2011).

 

Congratulations to Eugenia Delgado, from Dr Markus Rehm's group, on being awarded a European Cell Death Organisation Scholarship Award. She presented her research project "Measurements of caspase-2-like activities in intact living cells" at the ECDO conference in Stockholm this September. (Sept 2011)

 

Congratulations to Dr Caroline Jefferies, Claire Wynn & Rowan Higgs on their recent article "Antiviral TRIMs: friend or foe in autoimmune and autoinflammatory disease?" published in this months Nature Reviews in Immunology.  The article presents evidence for the involvement of TRIMs in autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions and highlights a role for these TRIM proteins as emerging targets in autoimmune and inflammatory disease (Sept 2011). More... 

 

The first results of a major all-Ireland study of twin pregnancies, led by Perinatal Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and funded by the Health Research Board, has shown that a major difference in the birth weights among a pair of twin babies results in an increased risk of health complications for both twins. 1001 women in Ireland with twin pregnancies between 2007 and 2009 participated in this study (Sept 2011). More... 

 

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Beaumont Hospital have conducted a study which has found striking brain similarities in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The research has also pinpointed for the first time that a process which controls how information is transmitted from neuron to neuron in the brain is altered in both conditions and may potentially contribute to the developments of improved treatments in the future (Aug 2011). More... 

 

The RCSI Technology Transfer Office has successfully completed a commercial deal with Shire Pharmaceuticals for the development of a new treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease in the US and Motor Neuron Disease (MND) in the UK. The novel treatment approach, discovered and developed by Prof. Jochen Prehn's research group, aims to deliver a functioning version of the angiogenin protein to ALS patients. The original discovery of angiogenin's importance in ALS was made by Dr. Matthew Greenway, Dr Dairin Kieran, Prof. Orla Hardiman and Prof. Jochen Prehn in February 2006 and was published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics. The commercial deal with Shire provides upfront and intellectual property maintenance payments to the College in return for the provision of an exclusive option right for Shire to negotiate a full license agreement in due course. Congratulations to all those involved (Sept 2011).

 

Congratulations to Profs Fergal O'Brien, Jochen Prehn, David Henshall, David Williams, Richard Costello and Dr Valerie Urbach who were recently awarded the prestigious HRB Health Research Award 2011. This scheme provides funding for clearly defined research projects in areas of patient-oriented research, health services research and population health sciences research (August 2011).

In the most recent edition of Heart News, the newsletter of the Irish Hearth Foundation, there is a feature on Dr Garry Duffy and the Microbubble technique being employed by his group. This treatment involves targeting cardiac tissue at the onset of heart failure with Microbubbles which are loaded with therapeutic molecules. These molecules can then begin to repair the damage and reduce cardiomyocyte hypertrophy (August 2011).

A review of Tissue Engineering featured in the August Edition of Irish Medicines Board, Medical Devices Newsletter. This article details the current state of the art of tissue engineering and identifies RCSI's central role in the area of bone, cartilage and cardiovascular regenerative medicine. The article was written by Prof Fergal O'Brien, Dr Tanya Levingstone, Dr Ciara Murphy and Dr Orlaith Brennan (August 2011). 

Congratulations to Heinrich Huber, Heiko Dussmann, Sean Kilbride, Markus Rehm, and Jochen Prehn who have conducted a study which reveals new insights into how cancer cells can maintain a resistance to chemotherapy. Their findings show that when cancer cells are exposed to elevated glucose levels, mitochondrial function can be restored and osmotic homeostasis can be maintained. Their research was covered in a number of online media outlets. More...
(July 2011)

Clinician Scientists pursuing research training in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) won the top prizes at the recent Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) Clinician Scientist Annual Meeting which took place on 1 July 2011. More...

Congratulations to Mauro Adamo, Celine Marmion, Fergal O'Brien and Emer Reeves who are the recipient of this year prestigious SFI Research Frontiers Programme (RFP) awards
RFP awards may be up to €200,000 and are up to 4 years duration. (June 2011)

New research from the RCSI has identified a novel drug target for the treatment of infection in bone. The research was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE and won the prestigious Donegan Bronze Medal at the annual meeting of the Biomedical section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. More...
(June 2011)

Researchers in Prof. Adamo's group have recently discovered a new chemical reaction that permits the formation of carbon-sulfur bond in selective and quantitative manner. The carbon-sulfur bond is a critical chemical entity present in aminoacids, vitamins, co-factors and in many drugs. The breakthrough discovery has been just published on Angewandte Chemie, the world leading journal in chemistry. Prof. Adamo's synthesis of Baclophen was also published in the same journal as "Editor choice hot paper" in late 2009. Experts at Science Foundation Ireland who funded the follow up of this research have marked this discovery as "an outstanding breakthrough discovery capable of transforming the synthetic approach to current top-ten pharmaceuticals." (June 2011)

 

Sanjay Chotirmall was awarded the Respiratory Medicine Prize at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Doctor Awards 2011 on Thursday May 26th, at a reception in the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland in Kildare Street. He was awarded the prize for his paper entitled "17Beta-estradiol inhibits IL-8 in cystic fibrosis by up-regulating secretory leucoprotease inhibitor. This paper was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in July 2010. Dr. Chotirmall is a clinical-scientist funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland. He is jointly supervised by Catherine Greene, Brian Harvey and  Noel G. McElvaney.(May 2011)

Theo Ryan, Final Year Pharmacy student, was awarded the Servier Medal for the Best Senior Cycle Pharmacy Research Project 2010-2011. He completed his project entitled 'Towards a Bifunctional Platinum (IV) Anti-Cancer Agent: Synthesis of the CarboxySAHA Ligand' under the supervision of Celine Marmion. (May 2011)

Congratulations to  Anne Hickey, Karen Morgan, Helen Burke and Hanna McGee who are part of the first publication from TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing). The publication, called "50 Plus in Ireland in 2011", was launched in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, by Minister James Reilly on the 9th of May.

Congratulations to Melanie Focking, Jane English, Patrick Dicker, Oliver Schubert, Mike Dunn, and David Cotter who just published a new paper in Archives of General Psychiatry, which is the highest impact journal in the field of Psychiatry. Their work describes a proteomic study showing that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia share a common pathophysiology involving altered membrane trafficking. (May 2011)

Congratulations to Geraldine McCarthy, Consultant in Rheumatology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University College Dublin and Honorary Associate Professor Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, RCSI, who was awarded the Dr. Jacques Servier Scholarship. More... 
(20th April 2011)

Congratulations to Catherine Coughlan, third Year HRB PhD student, Department of Medicine, who won First Prize for Best Oral Presentation with her project entitled "Gliotoxin is responsible for vitamin D receptor down-regulation and induced T-helper 2 response in Aspergillus fumigatus colonized cystic fibrosis airway disease" at the British Society for Medical Mycology Annual Scientific Meeting held in Glasgow this month. Catherine's project has been co-supervised by both Noel G. McElvaney and Emer Reeves; the project has been carried-out in collaboration with Dr Kevin Kavanagh, NUI Maynooth . (20th April 2011)

Researchers from the RCSI and Beaumont Hospital have conducted the first study of its kind to examine in detail, the basis of psychiatric disorders which occur in people with epilepsy. More...
(19th April 2011)

Congratulations to MA Laussmann, E Passante, H Dussmann, JA Rauen, ML Würstle, ME Delgado,M Devocelle, J Prehn  and M Rehm  who just published a new paper in Cell Death and Differentiation, which is the highest impact journal in the field of cell death research. Their work describes a new strategy to eliminate highly resistant cancer cells through a combination of proteasome inhibitors and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein  (XIAP) antagonists. (11th April 2011)

 

Celine Marmion and Darren Griffith, Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry, RCSI, have discovered a new innovative class of platinum drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, which has recently been licensed to a pharmaceutical company for further development. More...
(7th April 2011)

A multinational team of scientists led by the RCSI and the University of Liverpool has identified a gene that could indicate if epilepsy patients starting a common drug treatment are likely to experience side-effects ranging from a mild skin irritation to the potentially fatal Steven-Johnson Syndrome. More...
(25th march 2011) 

New research from the RCSI has discovered why people with heart stents can suffer heart attacks when medication is withdrawn after one year. The research was carried out in Beaumont Hospital and recently published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. More...
(22nd March 2011)

The Sheppard Prize research competition was held at the Beaumont Hospital on the 22nd of February 2011. Congratulations to the Prize winners Dr Mark Hanon,  Academic Department of Endocrinology, Dr Sanjay Chotirmall and Dr Tidi Hassan, Department of Medicine,  and Mr Cormac Jennings, Molecolar Medicine Research Laboratories. (February 2011)

Congratulations to Ruairi Brugha, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences at RCSI, who has recently been awarded an important FP7-Africa-2010 award (Ca. 3M€). The five year project entitled "Clinical Officer training in Africa" (COST-Africa), is partnered with the Surgical Society of Zambia, the College of Medicine of Malawi and the Stichting Katholieke Universiteit,Netherland. (February 2011) 

 Congratulations to Noel G. McElvaney, Emer Reeves and Isabel Vega-Carrascal, who have successfully published their research entitled "Dysregulation of TIM-3-Galectin-9 Pathway in the Cystic Fibrosis Airways" within The Journal of Immunology.
Isabel Vega-Carrascal is a final year HRB PhD scholar; her research will appear within the March 2011 issue and will be featured in "In This Issue" of The Journal of Immunology. "In This Issue" highlights articles that are among the top 10% of articles published in the journal. (16th February 2011)

Caroline Jefferies' research focuses on the role played by innate immune mechanisms in response to viral infections on the initiation and pathology of the autoimmune disease Systemic Lupus Erythrematosus (SLE). Research in the area was recently successful in securing funding support by the Alliance for Lupus Research which is a very prestigious award. More...
(February 2011)

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Beaumont Hospital have made a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms behind the most severe form of hereditary emphysema and how protein treatments can improve the condition. More...
(January 2011)

Important new findings on the genetics of schizophrenia were recently published in the leading scientific journal PLoS Genetics by scientists and clinicians from Harvard University and the International Schizophrenia Consortium; involved in the study was RCSI's Professor John Waddington, Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, More...
(January 2011)

 

Congratulations to Stephen Keely, Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories RCSI, who was successful on the last round of the prestigious SFI Principal Investigators award. The five years project will study the mechanisms by which bile acids regulate epithelial transport function. (10th December 2010) 

Congratulations  also to Bryan Hennessy who was recently successful in the joint bid to the Health Research Board (HRB) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), with the project entitled 'Inhibition of PARP in women with sporadic ovarian cancer'.  Only four researchers were awarded under this funding scheme. Dr Hennessy's group has published recently that BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene somatic mutations and other abnormalities occur commonly in sporadic ovarian cancers. This project aims to investigate these newly described molecular abnormalities as novel therapeutic targets in ovarian cancer using PARP inhibitors. (December 2010)

Professor Hilary Humphreys, RCSI Department of Clinical Microbiology and Dr Stephen Daniels from Dublin City University were recently successful in a joint bid to the Health Research Board (HRB) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for funding to enhance the detection of environmental reservoirs of healthcare-associated infections (HCAI). More...
(December 2010)

The notifications of the results for the Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA) Feasibility 2010 have been released today. Congratulations on their awards to: Dr. Ann Hopkins, Prof. Jochen Prehn, Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Dr. Celine Marmion, Prof. Niamh Moran, Dr. Stephen Keely, Dr. Caroline Jefferies. (2nd December 2010) 

RCSI a partner in the recently funded European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) in Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Congratulations to Prof Brian Harvey on securing funding from Brussels for the CF COST Network. Brian is the Irish representative on the management committee. The EU Commission established the Cystic Fibrosis research network under its COST Award programme. The network is funded for four years to stimulate and support European-wide research. (December 2010)

A study by Dr. Stephen Keely  and a team of researchers in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has uncovered a potential new target for the treatment of a range of intestinal diseases that are associated with diarrhoea. More...
(29th November 2010)

Prof. Prehn and a team of researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital have gained new insights into the mechanisms at work in diabetes which may lead to the development of new treatments for the disease. More...
(8th November 2010) 


Department of Neurodegeneration - New Brain Injury Laboratory

A significant development in the Department of Neurodegeneration has been the construction and opening of the new Laboratory of Brain Injury. This new facility will allow our researchers use novel brain imaging techniques and develop novel treatment strategies for stroke, brain trauma, and cerebral haemorrhage.
Well done to Nikolaus Plesnila, Chair of Neurodegeneration and his team for this achievement.

 


RCSI researchers featured in ‘SFI - celebrating 10 Years of Discovery

Fergal O'Brien, Jochen Prehn and Dermot Kenny have all been featured in Science Foundation Ireland - celebrating 10 Years of Discovery'.
Fergal O'Brien from the Department of Anatomy has been featured as one of ten Rising Stars in research in ‘Science Foundation Ireland - celebrating 10 Years of Discovery'. He has been featured for his research relating to collagen for regenerative medicine applications including, most notably, bone. His work on a new bone graft substitute, HydroxyColl is one of a number of products from Fergal's lab that are being commercialised with the support from Enterprise Ireland building on SFI funded research. More...
Dermot Kenny was also featured for coming up with a novel test for blood cells that can open up new research into the field of cardiovascular diseases. This is a collaborative research between RCSI and the DCU Biomedical Diagnostics Institute. More...
Congratulations to Fergal and Dermot and their teams for this achievement.

 

 

MCT - Article published in ‘Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery

Well done to Dermot Cox and Niamh Moran from MCT who have recently had an article published in ‘Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery'. The article entitled ‘Integrins as therapeutic targets: lessons and opportunities' reviews recent developments in the area of drug development for cardiovascular disease, auto-immune disorders and multiple sclerosis. The article highlights how work at RCSI has impacted on these critical areas of disease treatment and elaborated on how continued research in this area will yield even better therapeutic agents for future treatments. It was an invited review reflecting the status of the RCSI team as experts in this area of biomedical research.

 


Dept of Physiology & Dept of Psychiatry research confirms link between stress in the womb and depression in females in later life

A study by David Cotter, Department of Psychiatry, joint lead author and Áine Behan, Department of Physiology, joint senior author in this study has shown an increased risk of depressive behavior in females in later life whose mothers experienced stressful events during pregnancy. Their research has shown long-lasting physical changes are present in the brain of female offspring. This work was published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology Journal in August 2010. Congratulations to David and Áine on their success.

 

RCSI cancer research study gains insights into predicting severity of a childhood cancer (posted 06/09/10)

A recent study by the RCSI Cancer Genetics Research Group, headed by Professor Ray Stallings, has revealed insights into neuroblastoma, the leading cause of childhood cancer deaths. The findings may enable clinicians to predict the severity of the tumour, allowing them to devise customised treatments, which could potentially help children to avoid unnecessary chemotherapy.The study has been highlighted in this month's edition of the high impact journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer which manifests in tumours than can occur throughout the body, outside of the brain. The Research Group examined micro RNAs (miRNA) which are tiny regulatory molecules that have a major role in the progression of the cancer. By looking at the pattern of miRNAs, the team was able to identify patients with high risk neuroblastoma, a disease associated with 15% of childhood cancer deaths(1) By identifying the most aggressive tumours, the researchers were able to predict neuroblastoma patient survival and this is expected to lead to more optimised therapy for patients(2).

The identification of the miRNA which results in the aggressive tumors has also revealed a new potential treatment for neuroblastoma. If the aggressive miRNA is removed from the tumour (chromosome 11q deletion) this may result in the tumor dying off. This type of therapy would be targeted and potentially less toxic than existing treatment.
Professor Stallings said, "having our research highlighted by the internationally renowned journal Nature Reviews was very satisfying and confirms the importance of RCSI's translational research strategy in the global research environment"

The international research study was funded in part by the Children's Medical and Research Foundation at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin and Science Foundation Ireland. The research team included Dr. Patrick Buckley, an IRCSET sponsored post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Isabella Bray, Dr. Kenneth Bryan and Leah Alcock from the RCSI Cancer Genetics Research Group as well as a team of collaborating scientists from universities in Belgium and Germany.
The RCSI Cancer Genetics Research Group is one of the world's leading research groups in neuroblastoma research.
1. Buckley PG et al., Clinical Cancer Research, 2010
2. BrayI. et al, PLoS ONE, 2009

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RCSI researchers make breakthrough in understanding gender gap in cystic fibrosis
(posted 09/08/10)


Irish Times: Dr Sanjay Chotirmall, specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at Beaumont and joint lead author of the research
Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Beaumont Hospital have made a major breakthrough in understanding how female sufferers of cystic fibrosis (CF) fare worse compared to male sufferers, due to higher levels of the hormone oestrogen. The new insights into the mechanisms at work in CF revealed from this research, may lead to new treatments for the disease.


Cystic fibrosis is a life threatening inherited disease which primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system. A build up of mucus can make it difficult to clear bacteria and leads to cycles of lung infections and inflammation, which can eventually lead to damage of the lungs.
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that oestrogen limits the lung's ability to respond to infection. Oestrogen was found to prevent the release of a chemical signal (IL-8) that triggers the influx of white blood cells (neutrophils) into the lungs to fight the infection when cells are attacked by bacteria.


Ireland has both the highest incidence of CF in the world at 2.98 per 10,000 and the highest carrier rate in the world with 1 in 19 individuals classed as carriers. The incidence of cystic fibrosis in this country is almost 4 times the average rate in other EU countries and the USA.
It has long been observed that female CF patients have poorer survival rates, poorer lung function and are more susceptible to lung infections than male CF patients.


In the lungs, a protective layer of fluid known as the airway surface liquid (ASL) keeps the lung's lining hydrated and defends the lungs from infections. In CF sufferers this layer is thinner and previous research demonstrated that this protective layer is reduced even further at times of elevated levels of oestrogen during the menstrual cycle, so the likelihood of acquiring an infection is increased during this period.


Joint lead author of the paper, Dr Sanjay Chotirmall, Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine in the Respiratory Research Division of RCSI, Beaumont Hospital commented: ‘This reduced response to infection combined with a greater likelihood of acquiring an infection in the first place, both caused by high oestrogen levels, goes a long way towards explaining how females with cystic fibrosis have more aggressive disease, particularly with the onset of puberty'.


‘Our research may contribute towards narrowing the gender gap in cystic fibrosis by identifying new potential targets for treatment, such as stabilisation of oestrogen levels, or more aggressively employing preventative strategies against infection during the one week of the four week menstrual cycle where oestrogen levels are at their highest. Our ultimate aim would be improving the quality of life and survival rate for female sufferers of cystic fibrosis,' Dr Chotirmall continued.


The research has additionally been recognised by the Faculty of 1000 Biology, an online research service that highlights the most interesting papers published in the biological sciences as recommended by distinguished faculty. In their assessment, this novel work may reveal insight into why trials of most anti-inflammatory medications in cystic fibrosis patients have been unsuccessful with one large trial requiring premature termination due to the increased numbers of infections observed.


‘Although uncontrolled chronic inflammation over a prolonged period can be damaging to the lungs, some degree of inflammation is required to fight off bacterial infections. Surges of acute inflammation during times of infection are fundamentally a protective response from the body,' Dr Chotirmall concluded.
The research team from the Respiratory Research Division, Department of Medicine, RCSI Beaumont Hospital and RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine, included Dr Catherine Greene (joint lead author), Ms Irene Oglesby, Dr Warren Thomas, Prof Shane O'Neill, Prof Brian Harvey and Prof Gerry McElvaney.
The research was funded through support from the Higher Education Authority PRTLI Cycle 4, through a Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician-Scientist Fellowship Programme.

In the News: Irish Times; Irish Examiner

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RCSI shares largest ever funding award from Science Foundation Ireland (posted 22/07/2010)


The DCU- RCSI partnership in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) has successfully secured €14.8 million in direct funding as part of the largest award ever granted by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The investment will support research and innovation at the BDI, a Centre for Science, Engineering & Technology (CSET). Established in October 2005, BDI is an academic, industrial and clinical partnership based at DCU that carries out cutting-edge research programmes focussed on the development of next-generation biomedical diagnostic devices. This award from SFI represents a renewal of funding for the Institute for a further 5 years. Prof Michael Berndt, the incoming Biomedical Diagnostics Institute Director and RCSI Professor of Experimental Medicine, will lead the programme. This is a major achievement for the DCU- RCSI science and clinical partnership.

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Irish scientists uncover genetic secrets of human adaptation to high altitude (posted 09/06/10)

A group of top international scientists including geneticists from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has made a breakthrough in understanding human adaptation to high altitude environments.
The new study identifies a gene in Tibetan highlanders, who live high in the Himalayas, which allows them to thrive at altitudes more than two miles above sea level which induce serious altitude sickness in other populations. The findings are published in the prestigious science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week.


The study also has implications to a wider understanding of human health and fitness. Low oxygen levels (hypoxia) is a common problem in patients both at home and in hospital. The new research is a step towards understanding how an indigenous population deals with hypoxia. By identifying genes that have helped Tibetans adapt to hypoxia we can potentially develop new approaches to dealing with low oxygen in for example, intensive care patients.


People who live or travel at high altitude respond to the lack of oxygen by making more haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of human blood. Athletes often train at high altitude to increase haemoglobin concentration in order to process more oxygen when competing. However, high levels of haemoglobin at high altitude can cause altitude sickness. Tibetans have evolved physiologically to avoid altitude sickness by maintaining low haemoglobin concentrations.


To pinpoint the genetic variants underlying Tibetans' relatively low haemoglobin levels, the researchers collected blood samples from nearly 200 Tibetan villagers living in three regions high in the Himalayas.
A senior author of the study, Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri, Biomedical Research Lecturer, RCSI, explains: "when we compared the DNA of the Tibetans to lowland Chinese we saw a genetic signature that was carried by almost all of the Tibetans but by very few of the Chinese. This same type is linked with low haemoglobin."

The study findings are particularly significant because they are the first to show evidence for natural selection (evolution) at high altitude for a specific genetic site. The research highlights the effect of having, or not having, this gene on individuals attempting to live or travel at high altitude. The implications also extend to cardiovascular health and fitness: "physiologists have known that high altitude populations in South America, Africa and the Himalaya have adapted in different ways to low oxygen environments. It seems nature has come up with different solutions to the same problem - there are probably many more genetic signals to be characterized and described", Dr. Cavalleri says.


The team's findings will be published the week of June 7th in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences