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


The Dept. Medicine, under the directorship of Prof. Noel G. McElvaney, has a highly productive respiratory disease research programme focusing in depth on cystic fibrosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Its major research interests include pulmonary innate immunity, protease/anti protease interactions in the lung, signal transduction and gene regulation in bronchial epithelium, the role of the neutrophil in inflammatory lung disease, endoplasmic reticulum stress responses and anti-inflammatory and gene therapeutics.

Departmental website:

The department has a strong track record in translational research and has published widely in both clinical and basic science journals on topics related to lung inflammation.

Since its inception in 1998 the Respiratory Research Division has attracted continued national and international funding, including a series of grants from Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, The Higher Education Authority, the US Alpha One Foundation, the Medical Research Charities Group, Enterprise Ireland and the CF Association of Ireland. 

A significant strength of this unit is its interactions with pharmaceutical companies interested in translational research. This synergy has led to clinical trials for emerging therapeutics for cystic fibrosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.  The department also carries out basic and translational research into asthma and rhinitis under the direction of Professor Richard Costello.

The laboratory is the site of the national alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency targeted detection programme ( which is the first national screening programme for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in the world, and is funded by the Department of Health & Children.

The Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories (MolMed) at Beaumont Hospital were established in 2002 under the directorship of Professor Brian Harvey.

The major research theme is epithelial ion transport subdivided into the cellular and molecular endocrinology of aldosterone and estrogen actions in epithelia (Warren Thomas, Fiona O'Mahony and Brian Harvey), the physiology of bile acid actions and GPCR signaling in the gastrointestinal tract (Stephen Keely) and the pro-resolution and ion transport effects of lipoxins (Valerie Urbach and Brian Harvey).

The research spans the disease areas of cancer, cystic fibrosis, hypertension and intestinal inflammation. Molecular Medicine has vibrant research collaborations with the following RCSI Departments: Respiratory Medicine (estrogen and the CF gender gap, airway fluid dynamics in Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency), Surgery and Histopathology (estrogen in breast cancer and mesothelioma), Cancer Genetics (microRNA profiling in CF and colorectal cancer), Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (aldosterone and RAS genetics; bile acids and intestinal inflammation).

Nationally, the collaborations are with the National Children's Research Centre  and UCD (lipoxin and CF), Dundalk IT (calcium pacemaker signalling in vascular smooth muscle), TCD and UCD (therapeutic targeting of bile acids for intestinal diseases).

International collaborations include the Dept of Endocrinology at UC Irvine (estrogen metabolic effects in cancer), Centro de Estudios Científicos Chile (estrogen regulation of KNQ1:KCNE3 channels), Dept of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana (estrogen dendrimer conjugates), Centre for Experimental Therapeutics, Harvard Medical School (lipoxin and resolvin synthesis in CF), Dept of Medicine, University of California, San Diego (bile acids and intestinal transport) and the CNRS Instiute of Functional Genomics, Montpellier (estrogen regulation of Kv channels in colon cancer). Avogadro University, Piemonte Orientale, Italy and Dell'Angello Hospital Mestre-Venice Italy (estrogen and mesothelioma).

Industry collaborations include Sigmoid Pharma Ltd., Dublin, Intecept Pharma Ltd., New York, and FibroGen Inc., San Francisco.

National and international research networks engaged with Molecular Medicine include the National Biophotonics & Imaging Network (National Co-ordinator), the Irish Epithelial Physiology Group, Rapid Responses to Steroid Hormones International Meetings (Member of Executive Committee), EU FP7 Cystic Fibrosis COST network (Member of Management Committee).

Molecular Medicine research and collaborations are funded by grants from Science Foundation Ireland, The Health Research Board, the Higher Education Authority, the Children's Medical Research Foundation, the Chilean Science Foundation and the NIH.

Molecular Medicine also hosts research team from Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics in cardiovascular clinical sciences and genetics (Alice Stanton). The current staff includes 14 PhD students, 9 Post-docs and 4 PIs (SFI, HRB, HEA, Wellcome Trust, EU funded); a research technician and lab manager, and a secretary.