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


Neuroscience Research at the RCSI encompasses a wide variety of basic and clinical research which can nominally be divided into four broad areas:

Acute neurological disorders

Prof Jochen Prehn studies the mechanisms of cell death and cell survival signalling in excitotoxicity and stroke, using a variety of research techniques such as high throughput screening, primary neuron cultures and organotypic cultures. Prof Nikolaus Plesnila also studies the mechanisms of stroke, including subarachnoid haemorrhage, as well as traumatic brain injury, using in vivo animal models and 2-photon live animal imaging.

There is a strong focus on epilepsy research within the group with Prof David Henshall's studying the role of apoptosis-associated cell death signalling pathways using an array of experimental epilepsy models as well as human brain samples.

Taking a different approach to tackling the problem, Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri's research focuses on developing methods to understand the genetic components related to the development and treatment of sporadic forms of epilepsy.

In addition, Prof Norman Delanty specialises in translational research, with a focus on epilepsy and Prof David Williams, whom has recently joined the Dept of Geriatrics at Beaumont Hospital, will enhance the group with clinical-based research on stoke.

Chronic neurological disorders

Prof Michael Farrell's research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms which are responsible for the chronic neurological disorder Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Brian Kirby is also interested in elucidating the neuropathological mechanisms involved in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Another key research area of Prof Jochen Prehn is amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS); potential mechanisms responsible for this progressive neurodegenerative disease include protein aggregation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, ubiquitin proteasome system, hypoxic signalling and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Psychiatric disorders

Research into psychiatric disorders forms a key part of the Neuroscience focus. Prof John Waddington's primary focus is on psychotic illness and the application of mutant models to understand the developmental pathobiology of psychosis and antipsychotic drug action.

Whereas, Prof Kieran Murphy studies the behavioural phenotype of the genetic disorder 22q11.2 deletion syndrome in order to increase understanding of the development and pathogenesis of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Prof. David Cotter also studies schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorders, using in vivo models and proteomic identification of novel biomarkers and targets, as well as MRI imaging in patients. While Prof. Mary Cannon uses similar techniques to study adolescent brain development and identify risks for psychosis.


Dr. Annette Byrne studies Glioblastoma Multiforme with a particular interest in applying a multi-modality molecular imaging approach towards elucidation of drug mechanism of action in vivo. Dr. Brona Murphy current research focus is on the activation of apoptotic cascades within human gliomas. Both research teams have an overall aim of developing appropriate anti-cancer strategies.