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

Former RCSI Anatomy postdoc wins prestigious stem cell award

15 December 2015

A former postdoctoral researcher at the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Department of Anatomy, Professor David Hoey has been named as one of three recipients of prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND award for work done during a fellowship at RCSI. These prizes reward excellence in research by selecting the most promising scientists who received funding under the MSCA COFUND Schemes for their respective projects carried out between 2008 and 2015.
 

Prof David Hoey
 
The award was given, from the Horizon 2020 programme, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research into how stem cells within our bones can sense physical activity when we exercise and then start to regenerate new bone. Professor Hoey received his grant while registered through RCSI with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine, Department of Anatomy) as his Principal Investigator.
 
Professor Hoey, now Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, said "My research focused on a hair-like antenna on a cell surface called the primary cilium which I believe is critical for this exercise induced bone formation. With approximately 200 million people suffering from this disease worldwide, this research could potentially be used to develop new treatments for bone loss diseases such as osteoporosis by mimicking the beneficial effects of exercise."
He was honoured on Thursday 11th December by the European Commission at a ceremony in Luxembourg, where he was joined by the two other MSCA fellows, Julien Meyer (Laboratoire Gipsa, Grenoble, France) and Aiden Doherty (University of Oxford, UK).
 
Speaking on this award, Professor Fergal O'Brien said, "I am delighted for David and I am proud to have worked with him on this hugely successful project. The MSCA funding has provided David with a platform that enabled him to enhance and diversify his research expertise and skillset to the highest international level and it is clear that his is conducting ground breaking research that will have a meaningful impact on human health. I wish David even further successes in the future."
 
The MSCA COFUND is named after the Polish-French scientist and twice Nobel laureate, known for her work on radioactivity. The COFUND action is meant for organisations that fund or manage doctoral programmes or fellowship programmes for researchers. Each COFUND proposal should have a sole participant, which could be a government ministry, regional authority, funding agency, university, research organisation, research academy or enterprise.
 
Professor Hoey was based at Columbia University in New York from 2009-2011 where he held the COFUND postdoctoral fellowship that was funded jointly by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the Marie Sklodowska Curie COFUND International Mobility Fellowship in Science, Engineering and Technology called INSPIRE. The funding, worth €227,577 over three years, was designed to facilitate early stage researchers to gain international experience at top institutions in the world. He returned to RCSI for a year to work in the Tissue Engineering Research Group with Prof O'Brien before being appointed as a lecturer in biomedical engineering in University of Limerick where he started his independent research career in 2012. Dr. Hoey continues to expand on this ground-breaking blue-sky research with a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and he has recently moved to Trinity College Dublin as an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering.

RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook' and #251 - 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.