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

Cancer biology and genetics

The MCT cancer biology and genetics pillar currently includes the work of five principal investigators directing independent research programmes with overlapping research goals and approaches.

These investigators contribute to a research programme consisting of basic and translational components that are designed to: elucidate the molecular and cellular changes associated with the development of cancer, detect and characterise genetic modifiers contributing to cancer susceptibility and progression, define the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of human cancers (particularly neuroblastoma and breast cancer), and develop rational approaches for cancer treatment. The research draws from fundamental mechanisms of cell and tissue homeostasis, animal models of disease, and clinical samples and studies.

Specific research interests include:

  • Exploring the role of angiogenesis in tumour growth and metastasis and the development of novel anti-angiogenic strategies (Prof. Judith Harmey)
  • Role of platelets in the blood borne dissemination of cancer cells; protection against shear induced damage and platelet hyporeactivity in active myeloma patients (Prof. Dermot Kenny)
  • Cancer cell-induced platelet activation and the mechanism of tumour cell-induced platelet secretion (Prof. Niamh Moran)
  • Investigating the role of microcalcifications in breast cancer; novel insights into the molecular mechanism and functional consequences (Dr. Maria Morgan)
  • Identification and functional analysis of microRNAs that contribute to neuroblastoma pathogenesis (Prof. Raymond L. Stallings)
  • Development of novel approaches for sensitizing tumours to therapy using personalised medicine approach (Prof. Tracy Robson) 
  • Discovery of molecular determinants of cancer progression (via transcriptomic/functional genomic profiling), functional analysis using in vitro and xenograft models (Dr.Darran O’Connor)
  • Focusing on the regulation of signal transduction pathways leading to cancer progression (Dr. Judith Coppinger