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

82nd Biological Society Meeting explores 50 years of the miracle kidney transplantation

30 January 2015

Professor Peter Conlon welcomed as new Society President

The 50-year history of kidney transplantation and future global challenges in this field will be the theme of tonight's addresses at the 82nd Biological Society Inaugural Meeting which will take place in the Albert Lecture Theatre in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The Biological Society is the oldest student society in RCSI and the event is organised by students from the Biological Society Committee with assistance from the Student Services team.

Following his welcome address, outgoing Biological Society President Professor Frank Murray will hand over the chain of office to Professor Peter Conlon, Consultant Nephrologist and Renal Transplant Physician in Beaumont Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at RCSI, officially marking the commencement of his term as President of the Society. Professor Conlon is a graduate of RCSI (class of 1986) and has a long association with the Society, having attended his first BioSoc meeting as a student in 1980.


New BioSoc President Professor Peter Conlon, Consultant Nephrologist and Renal Transplant Physician in Beaumont Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at RCSI delivers his Presidential Address

In his Presidential Address, entitled ‘50 years of the miracle of kidney transplantation', Professor Conlon will speak about the history of kidney transplantation generally and in Ireland. Speaking in advance of his address he said: "There is heroic work done by kidney transplant surgeons which has huge potential for improving quality of life, life expectancy and reducing the significant cost burden of dialysis which can cost in the region of €700,000 per patient. It is vital that the role of transplant surgery is recognised and fostered within the Irish health care system to ensure that this important and complex service can be carried out to world-class standards."

The guest speaker Dr Liam Plant, Consultant Nephrologist, Cork University Hospital, will continue on the topic of kidney transplantation, focussing on the global challenges. He will discuss the likely future demand for transplants globally and the logistical and ethical issues on how to obtain and allocate organs.

A number of College medals will be presented at the meeting including the RCSI Council Medal winner Eoin Kelleher, (Senior Case Competition) and RCPI Council Medal winner Wendy Paine (Junior Case Competition); Sarah O'Loughlin, winner of the Denis Gill Medal for Paediatrics; Sami Backley, recipient of the Alan Browne Medal for Obstetrics and Gynaecology; and Rachel Mattson, Psychiatry Case Competition winner. Recipients of two Dr Arthur Stephen ffrench-O'Carroll Medals, Anshuman Sood (2013 - 2014) and Adam Roche (2014 - 2015) will be presented with their awards.

The Harold Browne Anatomy Medal, will be awarded to Anatomy Quiz winners Oludare Alabi, Luke Trench and Danyal Khan. The medal is named after the late Harold Browne, who passed away earlier this month. He was President of BioSoc in 2011/2012 and taught in the College for more than 60 years. Harold Browne's family will be present at the event when the award will be presented in his honour.

The final award of the evening will be the Mary Leader Medal in Pathology, which will be awarded to the Pathology Quiz winners Miryam Alkayyali, Sonia Ruparell and Angela Verrelli.

Among the invited guests to the meeting are Professor William McGowan (former registrar of RCSI) who carried out the first kidney transplant in Ireland. One of Professor Conlon's transplant patients, Patricia McKenzie, will perform a short piano recital at tonight's event. A talented musician, she was on dialysis for many years and was unable to play piano before the transplant surgery restored her ability to play again.

The meeting will close with a presentation of a gift of appreciation from the Society to the outgoing President Professor Frank Murray by Biological Society's student President, Gerard Cotter.