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

PhD: Dr Claire McCoy - Investigating nanomodulation of microRNAs in macrophages

This PhD project will specifically focus on investigating how to deliver nanoparticles encapsulating microRNA inhibitors into macrophages

Project description

The discovery of microRNAs has led to a very exciting and rapidly growing area of research. microRNAs are extremely small RNA molecules that regulate all aspects of cellular function in the human body. Importantly, microRNAs are critical for immune cell function and are required for a healthy immune response to infection. However, for reasons that we don’t fully understand, microRNAs are also dysregulated in multiple inflammatory diseases, suggesting that they contribute to and/or trigger disease pathogenesis.

The research focus in Dr Claire McCoy’s laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms, functions and impact of microRNAs in immune cells, with the aim to translate these findings into therapeutic targets for inflammatory diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. This PhD project will specifically focus on investigating how to deliver nanoparticles encapsulating microRNA inhibitors into macrophages. The findings generated from this PhD will create commercialization potential and opportunities for the engagement with industry. 

This fully funded three-year PhD project will be undertaken in the newly renovated, state-of-the-art laboratories in the Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics department in the main RCSI building beside St Stephen’s Green. Aside from the core research project, transferable skills and career development will be strongly supported by the department. In addition, attendance at both national and international conferences will be encouraged, as well as opportunities to undergo specialized training in collaborators laboratories in RCSI, Ireland and overseas.

  • Research theme: Immunology
  • Department: Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics
  • Tenure: Three years
  • Salary: €18,500 per year 


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate the following: 


  • An Honours Bachelor degree (grade 2.1 or above) in neuroscience, immunology, biochemistry, genetics or related-molecular biology discipline
  • Prior experience in a research laboratory with skills in basic molecular and histology techniques
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a multidisciplinary, team environment
  • Willingness to undertake training and career development
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: an IELTS score of 6.5 or above 

Application process

Please apply with an up-to-date CV, a 500-word statement outlining your interest in and suitability for the position and contact details of two referees to

  • Application deadline: Friday, 15 June 2018 at 5pm.
  • Interview date: First week July 2018
  • Start date: 1 October 2018

Mentors Dr Claire McCoy