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collaboration with the National Institute
for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) in
Dublin City University and King's College
London, UK. Their research findings
were published in Blood (2014 August;
124[7]). The first author on the research
was Dr Kerstin Pohl, with Professor Gerry
McElvaney as senior author.
Breakthrough in understanding gene
activity in epilepsy
Neuroscientists from RCSI have made
a breakthrough in understanding what
controls gene activity in epilepsy. The
findings may also help to explain why
epileptic states can be so persistent.
The research, entitled "Differential
DNA methylation profiles of coding and
non-coding genes define hippocampal
sclerosis in human temporal lobe
epilepsy", was published in the leading
neurology journal, Brain (2015 March;
138: 616-31), with Dr Suzanne Miller-
Delaney as lead author of the study
and Professor David Henshall as senior
Clues to new pathways for treatment of
RCSI researchers led the first research
study to identify specific post-synaptic
density (PSD)-associated genes and
proteins linked to schizophrenia. The
study, entitled "Proteomic and genomic
evidence implicates the postsynaptic
density in schizophrenia", was published
in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry (2014
Apr; 20: 424-432), the highest-impact
journal in psychiatry. Lead author, Dr
Melanie Föcking, was supported by
a 2012 NARSAD Young Investigator
Grant and by the Health Research
Board. Professor David Cotter and Dr
Gerard Cagney from Conway Institute of
Biomolecular and Biomedical Research,
University College Dublin, were senior
authors on the paper.
Breakthrough in treatment of hereditary
Professor Gerry McElvaney led a team of
international colleagues to scientifically
validate that alpha-1 proteinase
inhibitor augmentation therapy is
successful in slowing the progression
of emphysema and loss of lung density,
signalling an important breakthrough
in the understanding and treatment of
hereditary emphysema. The study, which
was carried out in 28 centres across
13 countries, measured the efficacy
of augmentation therapy over a four-
year period. A total of 23 patients from
Ireland were involved in the study, the
majority of whom are still receiving the
treatment today. The research findings
were published in The Lancet (2015 May;
S0140-6736[15]: 60860-1).
Funding Awards
The total external funding awarded for
the calendar year 2014 was
Details of a number of the larger awards
are included below.
Dr Garry Duffy (Co-ordinator),
Diabetes Reversing Implants with
enhanced Viability and long-term
Efficacy (DRIVE). EU/H2020 `DRIVE'
project. Total award
8.9m, of which
1.3m to RCSI.
Professor Jochen Prehn and Dr Markus
Rehm, Development of personalised
medicine approaches for the clinical
application of IAP antagonists in
metastatic and high-risk early stage
colorectal cancer. SFI Investigator
Professor Fergal Malone, HRB Ireland
Perinatal Clinical Trials Network, 14
partners in total (seven hospitals and
their affiliated third-level institutions).
Total award
1.8m, of which 702k to
Professor Tom Fahey, HRB Centre for
Primary Care Research. Total award
3m, of which 2.5m to RCSI.
Professor Richard Costello, INCA Sun:
from RCSI, made
an important
breakthrough in
understanding the
mechanisms behind
impaired bacterial
killing by neutrophils
in individuals with
cystic fibrosis.
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. DRIVE was awarded
8.9m in EU funding to develop materials and cell based
treatments for diabetes.