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

Research News

Phage treatment kills bacteria in CF lung.

An international team of scientists involving RCSI Researchers have published the first preclinical study demonstrating viral phage efficacy against bacterial infections in lung epithelia. The breakthrough was published this month in the Nature publication Scientific Reports. The research team involved microbiologists from the University of Wroclaw, Poland, led by Prof Zuzanna Drulis-Kawa, geneticists from the Laboratory of Gene Technology, KU Leuven, Belgium, led by Prof Rob Lavigne, and CF researchers from the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine and the National Children's Research Centre led by Prof Brian Harvey (pictured). The team developed and tested a virus-derived phage (KTN4) against the most common bacterial infection (Psudomonas aeruginosa) in CF lung epithelia. The lytic virus was shown to have a very strong bactericidal effect with broad spectrum of activity against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa strains, especially from cystic fibrosis patients. Prof Harvey whose team at RCSI carried out the functional studies in normal and CF lung epithelia said this study provides evidence that bacteriophages such as KTN4 have potential to efficiently fight the most common CF lung infections.

What this study adds to the field:
Chronic bacterial infections are the underlying cause of lung destruction (bronchiectasis) and morbidity in cystic fibrosis. CF lung disease involves chronic and virulent infection by Pseudomonas pathogens which produce a cycle of acute inflammatory responses necessitating repeated and long-term antibiotic treatments. The rise in antibiotic resistance genes among microbial pathogens poses an alarming threat to the efficacy of current antimicrobial therapy to treat severe bacterial infections in CF and in sepsis. Antibiotic resistance is reaching a crisis situation in some bacterial pathogens where few therapeutic alternatives remain and pan-resistant strains are becoming more prevalent. Moreover, there is a dearth of new antibiotics in the developmental pipeline. Non-antibiotic therapies to treat bacterial infections are now under serious consideration and one possible option is the therapeutic use of viral phage particles that can target specific bacterial pathogens. Phage therapy can be likened to a ‘guided missile' approach to lyse and kill selected bacteria in contrast to the ‘big hammer' effect of antibiotics which also wipe out beneficial gut bacteria leaving a niche for antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs'. A drawback in the application of phage therapy has been the lack of rigorous pre-clinical evaluation of phage efficacy in human disease models of infection such as CF. The study focused on preclinical approaches to assess bacteriophage efficacy against Pseudomonas biofilms and infections in CF lung epithelia. The significant bacterial killing effects observed in the study indicate that giant KTN4 phage is a suitable candidate for in vivo phage therapy evaluation for lung infection applications.

Open access to the full article is available on the Nature website

(June 2016)

RCSI hosts European MedTech Week event

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) in partnership with RCSI hosted the main national European MedTech Week event for Ireland in the College on the 14th June 2016. Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD was the keynote speaker at the event which explored 'Industry-clinical collaboration for better patient outcomes'. MedTech Week, which takes place this week from 13th-17th June, brings companies and associations across Europe together to raise awareness about medtech. (June 2016)


New Research on the Importance of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Dr Emer Reeves, Michelle White, Fatma Gargoum, Niall Browne and Killian Hurley, all of RCSI Department of Medicine, recently published a paper entitled "New Research on the Importance of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function for Optimal Neutrophil Activity". (May 2016)


Biomedical and Lifesciences Innovation Showcase

RCSI and TCD have held their first joint Biomedical and Lifesciences Innovation showcase on 17th May in the Science Gallery. This primarily industry facing event showcased RCSI research expertise and mechanisms of engagement to entrepreneurs and representatives from relevant companies. Examples of the next wave of Biomedical and Life Sciences research underway in both Institutions were given and the opportunities for collaboration outlined to participant companies. (May 2016)

New research shows cartilage repair technology helps injured thoroughbred horse ‘Beyoncé' return to competitive show-jumping

New research from RCSI and the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre, AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) published today in the Journal of Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine has found that a novel biomaterial that can repair damaged knee cartilage has led to an injured thoroughbred filly, Beyoncé returning to competitive show jumping following implantation of this biomaterial. Read more..... (May 2016)


Global Health Conference

RCSI hosted a two-day international global health conference to address the urgent health needs of low and middle income countries. At the meeting, researchers and medical practitioners discussed global health needs in light of the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and the world's commitment to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Delegates from a range of educational, training and research partnerships also shared experiences on key issues for improving global health at the conference. The conference had two keynote speakers; Professor Francis Omaswa from Uganda, who highlighted the importance of ownership and leadership in Africa, as well as Lord Nigel Crisp, who called for a new approach to global health. Theorganising committee included Mr James Geraghty (RCSI Council), Professor Ruairi Brugha (Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine) Professor Sam McConkey (International Health & Tropical Medicine), Avril Hutch, Eric O'Flynn (both COSECSA), Professor Sean Tierney (Surgical Affairs), David Weakliam (ESTHER Ireland) and Aoife Congdon (Conference & Events). (April 2016)


New synthetic compound restores airway cell function in CF lung

An international team of scientists involving RCSI Researchers have developed and tested a synthetic compound (QUB-TL1) which restores normal cell function in airway cells from cystic fibrosis lung. The breakthrough was published this month in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. The research team involved chemists at Queen’s University Belfast led by Prof Lorraine Martin who developed the compound and CF researchers from the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine led by Prof Brian Harvey (pictured) and the Cystic Fibrosis Center, University of North Carolina led by Prof Jack Stubbs. Prof Harvey whose team at RCSI carried out the functional studies said this study provides evidence that protease inhibitor compounds such as QUB-TL1 have potential to ameliorate CF lung disease and will move into clinical trials.

What this study adds to the field:

CF lung disease involves genetic mutations to a chloride ion channel (CFTR) and an over-activation of a sodium ion channel (ENaC) which result in poor hydration of the liquid layer overlying the lung epithelial cells, creating a viscous mucus and trap for invading bacteria with resulting lung destruction. Current research aims to finding molecules which restore CFTR function and/or inhibit the excessive sodium absorption using inhibitors of the ENaC sodium channel. Previous studies highlight that ENaC may be over-activated by proteases in CF airways and its blockade may offset the development of CF lung disease in a manner independent of CFTR mutation. ENaC inhibition therefore provides significant opportunity for a therapeutic strategy that would be suitable for all patients. This study reports a rationally designed novel compound (QUB-TL1), restricted to the extracellular surface of airway epithelial cells that selectively inhibits critical ENaC-activating proteases. QUB-TL1-mediated inhibition of protease-ENaC signaling in lung cells obtained from CF patients (F508del homozygotes) improves airway liquid dynamics and restores mucociliary function.

The paper is available to download at (April 2016)


RCSI hosts All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Research Conference

Approximately 100 delegates attended the 38th All-Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Research Conference which was hosted by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) at the College on 21st and 22nd March. The attendees comprised postgraduate students and faculty from all five Schools of Pharmacy in Ireland; RCSI, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

A total of 75 abstracts were included in the conference programme, with 18 oral presentations from postgraduate students scheduled over the two days. This year's conference programme also included two keynote speakers; Dr Margaret Watson (University of Aberdeen) and Professor Robbert Jan Kok (Utrecht University). Dr Watson's keynote address focussed on the importance of pharmacy practice-based research in informing evidence-based pharmacy practice and policy. Professor Kok's keynote address outlined how the safety and efficacy of drugs could be improved through selective targeting and localised delivery.

The winner of the best oral presentation was David Walsh, PhD in RCSI's Anatomy Department, who presented his research on novel gene-activated scaffolds for application in tissue engineering. The winner of the best poster presentation was Marine Chalanqui of Queen's University, for her research on a biologically loaded, thermo-sensitive hydrogel for the treatment of bone metastases. (March 2016)


RCSI Ranked in Times Higher Education Best Universities in Europe

RCSI has been ranked in the 131 - 140 category of Top 200 European Universities by the Times Higher Education World (THE) University Rankings.  The Top 200 European Universities is a subset of the THE World University Rankings released in September 2015 and is based on the same dataset of 13 performance indicators, but limited to European Universities only.

Overall 22 countries are represented in the top 200 list, which draws upon data from the 800 universities from 70 countries in the overall THE World University Rankings. All universities in the ranking have had to demonstrate excellence across a range of measures, covering the teaching environment, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. View the full list of the top universities in Europe here (March 2016)


RCSI student Alice Fox receives prestigious achievement award

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) second year medical student Alice Fox has received an international award from the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS). The Society promotes professional growth and leadership for women interested in orthopaedics. 

Pictured (l-r) is RJOS President Dr Kristy Weber with Alice Fox at the RJOS/AAOS Meeting in Orlando, Florida. 

Alice was honoured with the Medical Student Achievement Award at the March 1st at the 2016 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in Orlando, Florida. The award honours achievements in academics, research, leadership, mentoring, athletics and community service.

Alice also received an Undergraduate Research Travel Award from RCSI to support travel costs for the meeting as well as allowing her to participate in the RJOS/Perry Initiative Outreach Workshop, which included lectures and hands-on skills modules. 

The Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS) is named after the first female orthopaedic surgeon in the United States and promotes professional growth and leadership for women interested in orthopaedics. (March 2016)



  This years' RCSI Research Day took place on 25th February. The event, which showcases the most recent findings of research taking place at RCSI, was attended by more than 300 researchers throughout the day-long event. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences, healthcare delivery and health professions education were just some of the topics featured in studies presented.

This year's event was a tremendous success, and saw an unprecedentedly high level of undergraduate participation this year, emphasising the importance of research in the development and career progression of our students. The event was organised by Co-ordinators Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (Academic Co-ordinator), Stephanie O'Connor, John White, Cathy O'Byrne (Co-ordinators - Office of Research and Innovation), the organising committee of Dr Andrew Cameron (Anatomy), Amy Cole (MCT), Dr Mark McCormack (MCT), Sean Quinlan (Physiology & Medical Physics), Mary Elizabeth Walsh (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Cian O'Leary (School of Pharmacy) and Dr Hans-Georg Koenig (Physiology & Medical Physics).


Pictured: L to R: Dr Aoife Gallagher, RCSI Head of Innovation, Prof. Steve Jackson of University of Cambridge, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2016, and Prof. Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research.

Mid-day, Professor Prof. Steve Jackson of University of Cambridge delivered this year's John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture. Prof Jackson FRS, FMedSci is the University of Cambridge Frederick James Quick and Cancer Research UK Professor of Biology. He is also Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute, and an Associate Faculty member at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The talk title was: "Cellular responses to DNA damage:  from molecular insights to new cancer treatments."

Research Day Prizes

Research Day 2016 concluded with an evening awards ceremony which took place in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Academic Co-Ordinator, hosted the ceremony which saw awards being presented to winners across twelve categories.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery to Mr. Jahangir Sajjad (pictured), Research Registrar, Department of Neurosurgery, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork. The College medal, which is generously supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965, is awarded to a neurosurgery trainee in recognition of outstanding work and excellence in the field of neurosurgery. This is a prestigious award of RCSI and is run in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience. The prize pays special tribute to the memory of Mr Kamal Sayed, a graduate of RCSI (Class of 1960). The award was presented by Mr Amos Sayed, and also on behalf of his sisters Dr. Camilla Carroll (FRCSI and Class of 1985) and Dr Jacintha More O'Ferrall (Class of 1990).

RCSI Author Citations Prizes were awarded to Dr Annette T. Byrne, Dept. of Physiology & Medical Physics, jointly to Ciara M. Murphy, Matthew Haugh & Prof. Fergal J. O'Brien, Dept. of Anatomy, Dr. Mark McCormack, Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, and to Prof. Alice V. Stanton, Dept of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics.  These prizes were presented by Ms. Aoife Flanagan, Head of Institutional Research and Planning, RCSI.

Dr Niamh Connolly, RCSI School of Pharmacy, was announced as the winner of the Health Professions Education Award. The prize was awarded in the broad category of health professions education, acknowledging the centrality of a robust research and development approach to all RCSI's educational programmes.

Mr Eric Clarke, Health Informatics, Mrs Jane Burns, Health Professions Education Centre, and Dr Richard Arnette, Quality Enhancement Office, were presented with the prize for the front cover illustration of the RCSI Research Day abstract book for their outstanding image entitled ‘What #breastcancer looks like'.

Medical student Rena Al-Zubaidy was awarded the Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for the best undergraduate oral presentation. This category was open to all RCSI Research Summer Students who completed a research project in 2015. This medal award was created by Dr. Yacoob Kadwa, RCSI graduate (Class of 1965) to pay special tribute to the memory of Dr. Harry O'Flanagan, former Registrar of the RCSI. The undergraduate poster presentation prize was awarded to Pharmacy student Jennifer Toney.

In the postgraduate scholars - first year category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in first year of fulltime registration or equivalent, Edmund Gilbert, RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, was the recipient of Biosciences Limited and Cruinn Diagnostics Limited Prize for the best oral presentation. The poster presentation prize winner in the category was Emily Ryan, RCSI Department of Anatomy.

In the postgraduate scholars category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in second or later year of fulltime registration or equivalent, Claire Brougham, RCSI Department of Anatomy, was awarded the Roche Medal for the best oral presentation. The poster presentation prize winner in the category, which is sponsored by Fannin, was awarded to William Lackington, RCSI Department of Anatomy.

In the Early Career Investigators category which was open to all RCSI post-doctoral fellows, Dr Natalia Lajczak, RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine, was awarded the Barnes Medal for the best oral presentation. The award is named after Dr Joe Barnes, Professor Emeritus of Tropical Medicine in RCSI and was presented by his son Mr. Matthew Barnes. The poster prize winner in this category, was awarded to Dr Gillian Lavelle, RCSI Department of respiratory Medicine. The judges noted that the standard of science in this category was exceptionally high. (February 2016)


Human heart valve grown in lab among innovations presented at RCSI Research Day 2016

Picturered: Claire Brougham with supervisor Professor Fergal O'Brien

RCSI scientists have made a breakthrough in heart research by growing a fully functioning heart valve in the lab that has the potential to work effectively within a growing human body. This is the first time researchers have successfully made a valve capable of functioning for prolonged periods and adapting to the growing body. It will potentially eliminate the need for children with defective valves to undergo repeat surgeries. The research is among the innovations being presented at RCSI Research Day 2016, which takes place today at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The research was carried out by Claire Brougham, a PhD student at the Tissue Engineering Research Group in the Department of Anatomy at RCSI and Lecturer at DIT. Read more... (February 2016)


The Rise of Diabetes in Ireland to be explored at RCSI Public Health Lecture

The rise and rise of diabetes in Ireland will be the focus of a free RCSI MyHealth public health lecture in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, on Thursday, 3rd March 2016. Medical and research experts will discuss the rapid growth of diabetes to help people make informed health decisions about living with the condition. The lecture will be held from 18.30 - 20.30 at RCSI, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Read more... (February 2016)


RCSI Hosts fifth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The fifth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) will take place today and tomorrow at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). ICHAMS is a biomedical conference for undergraduate healthcare and medical students to present their research to peers and researchers from diverse fields of research. In addition to the high calibre of delegates at the conference, there are numerous workshops offered on a variety of topics, as well as the opportunity to network with delegates from all over the world.

More than 200 undergraduate healthcare students from Ireland, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will attend the conference to present oral and poster presentations on a wide variety of healthcare research. The theme of this year's event is ‘Connect. Collaborate. Differentiate'. Read More... (February 2016)

For further information on the conference programme visit the conference website


Dr Helen French  Appointed Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton

Dr Helen French, RCSI School of Physiotherapy has been appointed as Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton for a period of three years (2016-2019). This appointment will enhance research collaborations between RCSI School of Physiotherapy and the Health Sciences Centre, University of Southampton. (February 2016)


RCSI stroke study among seven projects to benefit from €4.5 million research investment

The Health Research Board (HRB) and the Atlantic Philanthropies recently announced the research arm of Ireland's first National Dementia Strategy. Seven new research projects have been funded to support the implementation of the strategy. Among the awards is a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Award which is being led by Professor Anne Hickey (pictured), Associate Professor Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). Professor Hickey will now lead the StrokeCog study, which involves modelling and modifying the consequences of stroke-related cognitive impairment through intervention both in the hospital and in the community. Read more... (February 2016)


RCSI Research Leader receives award for research in safe and quality prescribing

The Health Research Board (HRB) has appointed four new Research Leaders in the areas of suicide prevention, safe prescribing, dementia care and team leadership in the health services. These awards, worth a total of €5.7million, are designed to build capacity in areas of strategic importance for health delivery in Ireland. They will ensure senior people have dedicated time to generate relevant evidence to inform decision-making in these key areas. One of these leaders is Professor Kathleen Bennett (pictured), Associate Professor in Biostatistics at the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Division of Population Health Sciences, will now lead a research team to undertake a programme of research titled ‘Statistical epidemiology in Population Health and Health Services Research: Quality and Patient Safety in Medicines'. The programme will aim to provide detailed information and evidence about adverse drug events (ADE) in primary care and hospital settings with a view to devising an evidence-informed approach to reduce ADEs in the Irish healthcare setting, costs associated with ADEs and information on medication taking behaviour. Read more... (February 2016)


Adverse Events in Irish Hospitals - RCSI Publish First Ever Data

New research shows that one in eight patients admitted to hospital during 2009 experienced adverse events. This is the first time such research has been carried out in Ireland and the figures are broadly consistent with baseline studies conducted in other countries. 

The study, which was carried out by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) researchers Dr Natasha Rafter (Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine), Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine), Professor Anne Hickey (Psychology), and Professor Ronan Conroy (Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine), in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI), will be published today in the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal. It was funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Read more... (February 2016)


New test to improve treatment for patients at risk of heart attack to be developed by Irish research consortium and BD

Professor Dermot Kenny, Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Director of the Clinical Research Centre at RCSI

An Irish research consortium is embarking on a new project to make a test, which will lead to better treatment of cardiovascular disease, readily available to patients. Professor Dermot Kenny (RCSI, Principal Investigator, BDI) and Professor Antonio Ricco (Adjunct Professor, DCU, Principal Investigator, BDI) have developed a laboratory-based test, which has already been trialled on 400 patients, to identify those who may be at high risk of side effects from heart disease medication. Read more... (February 2016)


RCSI Professors Participate in International Study Published in Nature

Professor Kieran Murphy (Psychiatry) and Professor John Waddington (MCT) participated in an international study, the results of which were published in the journal Nature. The article, ‘Schizophrenia risk from complex variation of complement component 4', is the first to relate genetic variation associated with risk for schizophrenia to a molecular mechanism and to potential therapeutic targets. The study, which analyses DNA data from 28,799 schizophrenia cases and 35,986 control subjects, together with investigations in post-mortem human brain samples, involves a global collaborative network, the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which Kieran and John are members. (February 2016)


RCSI Professor awarded Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) James M. Flaherty visiting Professorship

Professor Tom Fahey, Head of the Department of General Practice and Principal Investigator of the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, has been awarded a James M. Flaherty visiting Professorship funded by the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF). These awards were established specifically to encourage and support academic links between Canada and Ireland. Professor Fahey will travel to Canada for a month and visit the Universities of Ottawa, Toronto and British Columbia. He will also visit the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Canada's principal general medical journal. (February 2016)

RCSI Researcher Clinical Cancer Research Publication

Dr Damir Vareslija (Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Surgery) has had a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, under the supervision of Professor Leonie Young and Professor Arnold Hill. The study, entitled ‘Adaptation to AI therapy in breast cancer can induce dynamic alterations in ER activity resulting in estrogen independent metastatic tumours', and used models of therapy resistance developed in the lab. The study highlights two important issues: firstly, the need for more efficient drugs to completely block hormone receptor signalling; and secondly, the need to reassess where possible, the hormone receptor status during disease progression, particularly at the metastatic stage, in order to select the most appropriate treatment. (February 2016)


Recently introduced UK healthcare policy unlikely to reduce emergency hospital admissions

A new study published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) from the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in collaboration with the University of Cambridge challenges recent UK healthcare policy which aims to reduce emergency hospital admissions and suggests alternative approaches to this problem are needed. Costly emergency admissions continue to rise and are of increasing interest to healthcare policymakers internationally. Read more... (January 2016)


TERG cleans up at 2016 Bioengineering in Ireland Conference 

Pictured (l-r) are the four prize winners from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) who won awards at the recent 2016 Bioengineering in Ireland Conference, William Whyte, Alan Ryan, Fionnuala O'Gorman and Claire Brougham, with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy).


The Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG), a cross departmental research group at RCSI that includes Anatomy, Molecular Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), Chemistry and the School of Pharmacy in addition to clinical departments in orthopaedics & ophthalmology, have reinforced their status as leaders in their field by presenting a series of studies and winning a number of significant awards at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Bioengineering in Ireland), which was held in Salthill Hotel, Galway, on the 22nd and 23rd of January. Read more... (January 2016)


RCSI led study explores factors related to return to work after stroke

A new study on stroke survivors, led by the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) School of Physiotherapy in conjunction with Irish Heart Foundation and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, explored the factors facilitating and impeding a return to work following a stroke in an Irish context using a mixed methods approach.  

Pictured (l-r) is Dr Frances Horgan, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI; Dr Eithne Fitzgerald (CEO, National Disability Authority), Colm Brannigan, Research Fellow, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI) and Mary Walsh (Research Fellow/PhD student, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI).

The research led to the publication of two reports: ‘Exploring the Factors Related to Return to Work after Stroke' and ‘Exploring the impact of fatigue on work ability of people with Rheumatic Diseases' which examined the factors associated with a return to work after a stroke and the in-work barriers that face someone with a rheumatic disease. Read more... (January 2016)


RCSI Alumnus & Fellow, Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC receives UK's highest honour

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC, an Alumnus of RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has recently been admitted to the UK's Order of Merit for outstanding contribution to medicine and global health. He was one of three new admissions to the Order, which were announced as part of the Queen's New Year's Honours 2016.  Read more... (January 2016)




Irish start-up to seek venture capital funding after EU approves innovative regenerative product for market

RCSI spin-off to employ 25 by 2019

RCSI co-founders of SurgaColl, Professor Fergal O'Brien, RCSI Anatomy and Dr John Gleeson, Honorary Research Fellow, have received EU certification to bring two products, HydroxyColl and ChondroColl to market. Both products are based on technology developed by the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI, which repair tissue via the recruitment of the body's own cells.

Surgacoll Technologies, a High Potential Start Up (HPSU) supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI), intends to raise venture capital in two rounds over the next three to four years. By 2019 they aim to be generating annual sales of more than €50m in the European and US markets, employing 15 people in Ireland by the end of 2016 and 25 by 2019. Read more...(December 2015)


Research News 2015 


New RCSI epilepsy research paving the way for transformation in epilepsy treatment

Professor David Henshall, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics

New research into the causes of epilepsy, led by scientists at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has identified new approaches to drug therapy that could potentially revolutionise how epilepsy is treated in the future. The study, published in the current edition of Scientific Reports, has identified a way to target the underlying cause of epilepsy, rather than masking the symptoms, and paves the way for the development of new drugs for the condition.

 Dr Eva Jimenez, Research Fellow and Dr Tobias Engel, StAR Lecturer

The first author on the study is Dr Eva Jimenez, Research Fellow, who worked with joint senior authors Professor David Henshall and Dr Tobias Engel, StAR Lecturer, all based at the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics and numerous international collaborators. Read more... (December 2015)


RCSI Professor Deliverers GSK Prize Lecture

Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) delivered the GSK Prize lecture entitled "The Great ESCAPE- A Clinical Pharmacologist's journey in stroke research" at Pharmacology 2015, the annual scientific meeting of the British Pharmacology Society in December. This was awarded in recognition of Professor Williams contribution to Clinical Pharmacology Research. (December 2015)


RCSI Psychiatry Health Research Awards (HRA) and Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) Awards

The RCSI Department of Psychiatry has achieved a very high success rate in the recent rounds of Health Research Awards (HRA) and Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) Awards from the Health Research Board with a total of four HRA PI awards and two KEDS awards. Professor David Cotter was PI on a HRA entitled "An inflammatory biomarker study of psychosis: a longitudinal study in an at risk population" with Dr Melanie Föcking as co-applicant. Prof Cotter was also PI on two HRB KEDS awards entitled "Development of a young adult colouring book illustrating biological research on mental illness" and "Development and upgrading of the schizophrenia metabocard". Professor Mary Cannon was PI on a HRB HRA entitled "Early life stress and the pathogenesis of auditory hallucinations in young people" while Dr Mary Clarke received an award for her project, "The effects of maternal and foetal stress during pregnancy on adult mental health". Finally, Professor Kieran Murphy was co-applicant for a HRA entitled "Blood brain barrier dysfunction in schizophrenia; a molecular genetics based approach to prognosis". (December 2015)


Professor John Waddington (MCT) co-edited a book entitled ‘Modelling the Psychopathological Dimensions of Schizophrenia' which has been recently published. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive review of the new theoretical, clinical, and basic research framework that considers psychotic illness as a group of dimensional representations of psychopathology. (December 2015)


Taoiseach hosts first science celebration in Government buildings

Pictured An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. with RCSI Prof Fergal O'Brien in attendance

To mark the 20th annual Science Week (, which takes place next week from the 8th - 15th November, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. attended a showcase of Irish science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at Government Buildings. The event provided an insight into the inspirational and important scientific work being carried out across the country at all levels from primary schools to universities and leading companies such as Pfizer, EMC Ireland, IMB, MSD Ireland and Eli Lilly.  Read more.... (November 2015)

RCSI success in Irish Healthcare Awards 2015

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) had a very successful evening at the recent 2015 Irish Healthcare Awards with a number of staff, teams and graduates picking up prizes at the ceremony, held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, on the 5th November.

Pictured (l-r) is Professor Gerry McElvaney, Laura Fee (Alpha One Foundation), Dr Emer Reeves, Dr David Bergin, Kitty O'Connor (CEO, Alpha One Foundation) and Dr Tomás Carroll.
The Respiratory Research Division of the RCSI, Department of Medicine, based in the Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital have had a major success as their paper, The Circulating Proteinase Inhibitor a-1 Antitrypsin Regulates Neutrophil Degranulation and Autoimmunity, was awarded Research Paper of the Year. The team, led by Professor Gerry McElvaney, received their award at a ceremony. The paper, attached, was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine.
The research findings showed how the protein Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) plays an important role in controlling inflammation from white blood cells and its importance for good health. 

Congratulations to Professor McElvaney and to all involved in this important paper, particularly lead co-authors of the study, Dr Emer Reeves and Dr David Bergin, as well as RCSI PhD and medical undergraduate students Killian Hurley, Rebecca Wolfe, Ramia Jameel and Sean Fitzgerald. The research was supported by the Medical Research Charities Group / Health Research Board, the Alpha One Foundation (Ireland) and the Alpha-1 Foundation (USA). Read more.... (November 2015)


New research shows how to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing in older patients

Results from a new HRB-funded study, which aims to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people, reveal the potential for improved medication use, significant cost savings and reduced risk from side effects for patients on a common medication for gastric problems (proton pump inhibitors). The findings are published today (9 November) in Annals of Family Medicine, the highest impact journal in the primary health care field. Read more.... (November 2015)


Dr Sarah O'Neill and Billy Cahill Announced as Winners of 2015 Dean's Award

Dr Sarah O'Neill and Mr Billy Cahill have been named as this year's winners of the Dean's Award. The announcement was made at the annual Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Dinner, which took place on Friday, 16th October. Dr Sarah O'Neill, Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), received the Academic Award while Mr Billy Cahill, Estate and Support Services, was the recipient of the Support Award. Read more .... (Oct 2015)

Billy and Sarah are pictured above (l-r) with Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI. (Oct 2015)


First 100 cases of cutting-edge twin surgery in Ireland show world-class outcomes

A new study of the first 100 cases in Ireland of laser surgery for a life-threatening condition in unborn twins has shown outcomes as good as the world's other leading fetal medical centres. The study, led by RCSI together with the Retunda Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology. Read more.... (Oct 2015)

RCSI Professor Fergal Malone pictured.



New Irish study shows people are taking more prescription medication but finds improvement in prescribing quality

A new study from the RCSI Department of General Practice has found that people in Ireland are taking more prescribed medications now than they were 18 years ago. However, the research also revealed that despite this increase, the quality of prescribing medications in Ireland has improved with a marked 60% decreased risk associated with prescribing drugs in older people. Read more.... (Oct 2015) 

Pictured is the study's lead researcher, Frank Moriarty, HRB PhD Scholar in Health Services Research at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research in RCSI.


RCSI Leaps Up in Times Higher Education World University Rankings

RCSI has significantly improved its position in the 2015-2016 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. RCSI is now ranked in the #251 - 300 category, leaping forward from its 2014-2015 ranking of #389. 

THE World University Rankings employs 13 separate performance indicators to reflect strengths in five areas - teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook. RCSI has increased in its score in all of these areas this year.

RCSI has also increased in its top 50 position for ‘International Outlook' from 49th in the world in 2014-15 to 46th this year. The ‘International Outlook' sub-category gives credits for international students and staff and research publications with international partners. Read more.... (Oct 2015)


National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 Awards

Collaborative research between RCSI (PI - Dr Frances Horgan of the School of Physiotherapy) and the National Rehabilitation Hospital on Return to Work (RTW) after Stroke programme has been funded by the National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014. Findings of the study were presented at the NIMAST (Northern Ireland Multidisciplinary Association of Stroke teams) conference on May 20th 2015. Colm Brannigan, Research Fellow on the project, won the prize for best poster presentation 'Exploring the factors related to return to work after stroke in Ireland'.

Colm Brannigan (left) being presented with the best poster award at NIMAST by Dr. Michael McCormick. (June 2015)

RCSI supports Boots Ireland to assist patients through Alcohol Detox

Pictured (l-r) is Prof Paul Gallagher, Head of the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Susan O'Dwyer, Pharmacist, Boots Ireland

RCSI has announced that it is collaborating Boots Ireland in the ongoing development of the new Boots Alcohol Detox Service, the first alcohol detox programme available in pharmacies. The new service follows a pilot which involved pharmacists working with a multi-disciplinary team to support patients who are prescribed medication for detoxification. RCSI will manage an ongoing review of the Boots service which is aimed at advancing efforts to support patients in the community and offer an accessible avenue of treatment. Read more....  (June 2015)


TERG Student wins Donegan Medal

Hugh O'Neill, a final year BioAT PhD student in the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at RCSI, was awarded the Donegan Medal for the best oral presentation at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Section of Biomedical Sciences annual meeting held in RCSI on the 18th of June 2015.  Hugh received the award for his presentation entitled "TheraCardium: On-demand therapeutic delivery device for failing hearts".  Hugh carried out this research while on placement in the US at the Harvard Biodesign Lab headed by Prof. Conor Walsh ( This placement was supported by a EMBO short term fellowship.  (June 2015)  


Trinity College Dublin and RCSI launch consortium partnership

Trinity College Dublin and RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) have today signed an agreement to create a consortium that will allow the institutions to collaborate closely to more effectively exploit research outcomes linked to health and clinical expertise. Read more.... (June 2015)  



RCSI investing €50m to expand its research activities in Ireland


Prof Ray Stallings, Director of Research and Prof of Cancer Genetics at RCSI

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is to invest €50 million in a major drive to expand its research activities. The five-year investment plan will create 100 research jobs, including 40 full-time academic posts, and will provide new laboratories and facilities to support their work.

Effectively, this will double the research capacity of the RCSI, the only private medical school in the State, says Director of Research, Professor Raymond Stallings. "It is an exciting time for research as we embark on this programme."

These plans include the establishment of 20 Research Lectureships and 20 Associate Professorships, along with additional methodological and biostatistical supports, PhD studentships and infrastructural developments. This significant investment in our people and our infrastructure supports the College's aims to deliver excellence in education for our students and to transfer research discoveries more quickly into clinical practice for the benefit of patients. Read more.... See for further information on the application process. (June 2015)  


RCSI Research Summer School 2015

This year's RCSI Research Summer School (RSS), which began 2nd June and will run until 24th July, saw an unprecedented response with some 120 RCSI students finding research projects for the summer months. The programme revolves around the Skills Workshops and the Friday Discovery Series. The RSS is coordinated by Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT) and her team which includes Dr Martina Crehan, (HPEC); Dr Sally Doherty (Psychology); Dr Helen French (School of Physiotherapy); Louise Keating, (School of Physiotherapy); Dr Dara Meldrum (School of Physiotherapy); Dr Joan Ni Gabhann (MCT); Stephanie O'Connor (Office of Research & Innovation); Dr Declan Patton (School of Nursing); Dr Joanne Ramsey, (School of Pharmacy); Dr Zeibun Ramtoola (School of Pharmacy); Dr Emer Reeves (Medicine); Dr Siobhan Smith, (MCT) and Dr Niall Stevens (Microbiology). The RSS is an excellent  initiative where  RCSI students have the opportunity to be part of the diverse and rich research community in RCSI thus setting them on their paths as our future biomedical researchers.  See for further information. (June 2015) (June 2015)  


Inaugural International Research Summer School Begins at RCSI and Soochow University

The first International Research Summer School (IRSS) began this month at RCSI which saw students from the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Soochow University (SU), China, exchange with medicine and pharmacy students at RCSI in Dublin and one medical student from RCSI Bahrain. The students will undergo an eight-week research exchange programme and will be hosted in Dublin by Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy), Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), Dr Steven Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT), Dr Helena Kelly (School of Pharmacy) and Dr Cathal Kearney (Anatomy). Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Liam Burke (of the School of Pharmacy) and Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT & Director of RCSI's Research Summer School) led on the IRSS project. Read more.... See for further information. (June 2015)   

Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Keynote Address

Professor Marie Carney, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, recently gave the keynote presentation at the Jordanian Nursing Council's fifth International Nursing & Midwifery Conference held in Amman, Jordan in April. The talk, ‘Transforming Nursing Quality Care: Promise and Potential', was delivered to an audience including HRH Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan. Prof Carney also gave another keynote address. Titled ‘Nursing and Midwifery from Undergraduate to Advanced Practice: International Dimensions & Outcomes', at Croatian Nursing Council's International Nursing and Midwifery Conference, held in Zagreb. Prof Carney's talk was based on her research undertaken for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland from 2012-2014 and was delivered to an audience which included Croatian Minister of Health, Dr Sinisa Varga. (June 2015)  


RCSI wins Irish Neurological Society Prizes

Dr Mark McCormack (MCT) won the Kirker prize for Best Presentation on Epilepsy and Sinead Heavin (MCT) won the prize for Best Poster Presentation, at the recent meeting of the Irish Neurological Society. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT) and Professor Norman Delanty (Beaumont Hospital & MCT) where the respective supervisors. (June 2015)  

American Society of Clinical Oncology Awards

Yasir Elamin (Molecular Medicine), an MD student with Dr Bryan Hennessy, won two prestigious awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): a Merit Award and a Young Investigator Award. Both accolades, which were presented at a recent award ceremony in Chicago, were awarded for Yasir's work on PTPN11 gene mutations in lung cancer. (June 2015)  


RCSI wins 2015 Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Barcroft Medal

Dr Alice O'Farrell (Physiology & Medical Physics & Centre for Systems Medicine) who was awarded the 2015 Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Barcroft Medal at the Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Sciences Section, which was held at RCSI on June 18th. The Award was made for Alice's presentation entitled "Cardiac Metabolic Pathway Remodelling in Response to Sunitinib Malate: Potential Role for Positron Emission Tomography in the Cardio-Oncology Setting". (June 2015)  


Professor Brian Harvey gives Plenary Lecture at 9th International RRSH Meeting

Professor Brian Harvey (Molecular Medicine) who presented the Plenary Lecture on the topic of Estrogen Actions in Health and Disease at the 9th International RRSH (Rapid Responses to Steroid Hormones) Meeting held earlier this month at the National University Taipei, Taiwan. (June 2015)  




School Of Postgraduate Studies SFI ISCA Collaborative Research Visits

The awarding of SFI funded International Strategic Collaboration (ISCA) awards, coordinated by the RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, enabled three collaborative research visits to RCSI. ISCA China saw two researchers from China visit the College. Dr Pengyan Xia (Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) visited Dr Markus Rehm's (Physiology & Medical Physics) laboratory. Dr Xia was introduced to the research methodologies and strategies developed at RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine. Strategies for continued collaborative research activities were discussed and Dr Xia presented his recent research findings as part of the Centre for Systems Medicine seminar series.
Dr Dongya Zhan (Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen) visited Dr David Hughes's (Physiology & Medical Physics) laboratory. Dongya showcased his work in the bioinformatic analysis of metagenomic sequencing and metagenome-gene wide association studies of the microbiota for projects in cancer, arthritis, diabetes and obesity. (May 2015)


RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Attends European Wound Management Association Conference

The RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery was well represented at the recent European Wound Management Association conference in London which ran from 12th-15th May. Four staff from the school, Professor Zena Moore, Dr Tom O Connor, Dr Declan Patton and Julie Jordan O Brien; and one student, Maire O'Meara attended, presenting a total of seven papers and chairing five sessions. The papers delivered by RCSI staff all received positive feedback from attendees, of which there were over 4,000. A number of important side meetings with current and prospective industry partners also took place with a view to continuing the strong research developments within the school. (May 2015)


RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Reach Programme

The Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Reach Programme is a research capacity building programme for nurses and midwives in Dublin North Services. It is a clinical academic partnership between the Nursing Midwifery Planning & Development Unit, the HSE, Dublin North and RCSI Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. Dr Linda Nugent (Research Fellow) is responsible for the programmes implementation. The programme is supporting nurses and midwives research in clinical settings to develop eHealth solutions. Linda is also supporting the development of a Community Virtual Ward Model to support older people in the community who have complex medical and social needs. The REACH programme has also been accepted for an oral presentation at the third International APN and ANP congress to be held in Munich this September. (May 2015)


RCSI Success in New Clinical Trial Networks

Researchers and healthcare professionals from RCSI, involved in three new clinical trial networks will receive part of a new €10 million investment from the Health Research Board (HRB). The investment, which will span a total of four networks, will benefit stroke patients, mothers and babies, primary care and intensive care patients by addressing important research questions. The HRB Ireland Perinatal Clinical Trials Network is being co-led by Professor Fergal Malone (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) and Professor David Williams (Geriatric Medicine) was a co-applicant to the HRB Irish Stroke Clinical Trials Network. Our Department of General Practice and the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research are both partners in the HRB Irish Primary Care Trials Network, being led by NUI Galway. Read more.... (May 2015) 

RCSI wins DCU Presidents award for Innovation and DCU Invent Commercialisation Award

Professor Dermot Kenny (RCSI MCT) and Professor Elaine Kay (RCSI Pathology), research team won both the DCU Presidents award for Innovation and a DCU Invent Commercialisation Award for their project which focuses on biochip array assay for the detection of colorectal cancer antibodies. The research team received the award for an Innovation Partnership with Randox Teoranta. (May 2015)  


Public Epilepsy Research and Treatment Seminar

A public seminar took place in the College on the 23rd April which highlighted recent discoveries in epilepsy research and explored the future of epilepsy treatment. The event, attended by over 120 people, was jointly hosted by Epilepsy Ireland and RCSI. Epilepsy Ireland is a patient-support organisation that actively supports and funds epilepsy research in Ireland. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT), Professor David Henshall (Physiology & Medical Physics) and Professor Norman Delanty from RCSI all presented on the night. Dr Sinéad Heavin, a post-doctoral researcher (MCT) acted as coordinator for the event. The seminar was a great success, and received very positive feedback and the organisers plan to host similar events in the future. (May 2015) 

Schizophrenia Working Group Nature Genetics Publication

Professor Kieran Murphy, RCSI Psychiatry, and Professor John Waddington, RCSI Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, participated in an important international study, the results of which have just been published in the journal Nature Genetics (2015; 47: 291-295). This article ‘LD score regression distinguishes confounding from polygenicity in genome-wide association studies' dissociates, for the first time, polygenicity (many small genetic effects) from confounding biases such as unrecognised relatedness and genetic drift. The study involves a global collaborative network, including the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which both Professors are members. (May 2015) 


ASPIRE-S Study Publication

Dr Lisa Mellon, RCSI Psychology has recently had the first paper arising from the HRB-funded ASPIRE-S study, entitled ‘Cognitive impairment six months after ischaemic stroke: A profile from the ASPIRE-S study' published in BMC Neurology. (May 2015)

HRB Trials Methodology Research Network Writing Competition Winner

Frank Moriarty, a pharmacist undertaking a PhD through the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research (now the SPHeRE programme) has won a national writing competition run by the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) in conjunction with Irish Times. The competition was to mark International Clinical Trials Day on 20th of May and Frank's winning article on ‘why clinical trials should not be random acts of research' was publishes in the Irish Times health supplement and on
Mr Moriarty is based at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and is researching potentially inappropriate prescribing and its clinical and economic impact. (May 2015)


Professor Magnus Ohman named as most highly cited researcher

RCSI alumnus, Professor Magnus Ohmanof the Class of 1981, is among the Thompson Reuters most Highly Cited Researchers 2014.

Prof Ohman joins Professor KK Teo (McMaster, Canada - Cardiovascular Epidemiology) and , Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI Department of Psychiatry on the list. Prof Ohman reflected on his time at the College and in Dublin by saying, "The days at RCSI and the Richmond Hospital were wonderful and both KK Teo and I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude towards John Horgan, as he really put us on the right academic track. It has been great journey and I look forward to visiting Dublin later in the year". (May 2015)


RCSI/DCU Study shows health professionals emigrate from Ireland to escape difficult working conditions

Doctors, nurses and midwives have been leaving Ireland in large numbers since 2008, and there are concerns that many will not return. A new study has found that difficult working conditions in the Irish health system form the main reason for them leaving.  The study, conducted by researchers from the RCSI and Dublin City University (DCU), was published today in BMC Human Resources for Health. 

"It is clear that unsatisfactory working conditions in the Irish health system are a major factor in their decision to emigrate and play a big role in whether or not they will return" said lead researcher, Dr. Niamh Humphries, Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI. Read more.... (May 2015)  


RCSI and AMBER Led EU Consortium Receives €8.9 Million Funding to Develop Materials and Cell Based Treatments for Diabetes

Programme of research will be a game-changer for people with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes

Major new EU funding for research into diabetes was announced, 19 May 2015, today by a group led by RCSI  and AMBER (Advanced Materials for Bioengineering Research). The DRIVE (Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy) consortium involves fourteen partners from seven European countries and has received €8.9 million funding as part of the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The DRIVE programme will create thirteen new jobs in Ireland and it will develop natural materials and new surgical devices to enhance the transplant and survival of insulin producing pancreatic islets for the treatment of diabetes. The DRIVE programme is co-ordinated by Dr Garry Duffy, Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group, RCSI and AMBER Investigator. In addition to the fourteen partners, the DRIVE consortium brings together internationally recognised academics, large medical devices industries and clinical experts in islet transplantation including Oxford University. Irish partners include Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Boston Scientific. Read more....

Pictured (l-r) are Dr Helena Kelly, (Deputy Co-ordinator of DRIVE), Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at RCSI and Dr Garry Duffy (Co-ordinator for DRIVE), Department of Anatomy and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI and AMBER Investigator


Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin to become associated teaching faculty partner to RCSI School of Pharmacy 

Staff from RCSI' s School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences pictured with staff from Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin at the signing of the partnership agreement

RCSI has signed a strategic partnership with Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin which will see the hospital becoming an associated teaching faculty partner to the RCSI School of Pharmacy. The aim of the partnership is to enhance paediatric care through the delivery of practice-based research. The research activity will include evaluation of services and initiatives to promote safe and effective use of medicines and ultimately to conduct clinical trials which will provide an evidence base for improved therapeutics and interventions in children. Read more.... (May 2015)


RCSI Research Informs Landmark Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report: Investment in Surgery Could Save Millions of Lives

Report finds over half of global population does not have access to surgical care

Two thirds of the world's population lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed, according to initial findings of a report carried out by the Lancet Commission with support from RCSI. Global Surgery 2030, the landmark initial report of The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, published its initial findings in a landmark study: Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare and economic development. A fifteen year programme to implement the proposals was launched in Boston on Wednesday, 6th May 2015. Read more.... (May 2015)


RCSI Announces €50 Million Investment in Research

RCSI today, May 5, 2015, announced it is investing €50 million in the expansion of its research division over the next five years and the creation of 100 new jobs in the area. The newly created posts in academia and research will help to grow the College's international reputation in the areas of research and education.

Over the next five years, the College will appoint 20 new Research Lecturers, 20 associate professors, additional PhD and MD students, and support staff. Read more.... (May 2015)


Minister English announces €30 million SFI investment in scientific research

SFI Investigators Programme funding success for RCSI's Professor Jochen Prehn and Dr Markus Rehm

On 24th April 2015, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD announced more than €30 million of research funding to be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving more than 100 researchers with funding for each project will ranging from €500,000 to €2.3 million.

Among those awarded funding were RCSI co-applicants Professor Jochen Prehn and Dr Markus Rehm, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a colorectal cancer research project. The project entitled "Development of personalised medicine approaches for the clinical application of IAP antagonists in metastatic and high risk early stage colorectal cancer" will look at improving the treatment of colorectal cancer by using a new drug that selectively "kills" cancer. The team will maximise the clinical impact of these drugs by developing a way of identifying patients who will benefit most from this treatment. Experienced teams in Belfast and Dublin and commercial partners will work together to deliver these goals. Read more.... (April 2015)


Future of epilepsy research to be explored at Epilepsy Ireland/ RCSI public seminar

A public seminar which will explore cutting-edge epilepsy research entitled "Epilepsy Research Explained: Recent Discoveries and Future Directions" will take place in the RCSI, St Stephen's Green this evening. The event, which is jointly hosted by Epilepsy Ireland and RCSI is aimed at a public audience and will highlight recent discoveries in epilepsy and what the future of epilepsy treatment might hold. Due to unprecedented demand, the event is fully booked. Read more.... (April 2015)



Personalised multi-user games may help children with autism and intellectual disabilities to improve social skills

International DOCTRID IV intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders conference opens today

A two-day international conference which opens in Queen's University Belfast today will explore the challenges and future directions of research and policy in the fields of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders, including how technologies such as computer games may improve the lives of those with these conditions.

The 4th international DOCTRID Conference will bring leaders from academia, clinical practice and service providers together with families and carers of those with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. The DOCTRID Research Institute (DRI) is coordinated by Professor Brian Harvey, (pictured) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and has a strong research focus on the role which assistive technology can play in improving the lives of people with disability. Read more.... (April 2015)


RCSI Researchers Attend First Meeting of the Neutrophil Club in Paris, France

On the 10th of April, 2015, a very successful first meeting of the Neutrophil Club was held in, Paris, France. This meeting was organised by Dr Véronique Witko-Sarsat, Institut Cochin, in association with the French Society for Immunology to foster collaborations and to enhance the study of neutrophil function; from mechanisms to disease. Leaders in the field of neutrophil biology were invited to give key note talks on diverse areas. Dr. Emer Reeves (pictured) was an invited International speaker to present a talk on ‘Neutrophils in cystic fibrosis: the CFTR story'. In addition, a number of young investigators were provided with the opportunity to present their research and Dr. Ciara O' Dwyer delivered an oral presentation on her project titled ‘ The BLT1 antagonistic function of AAT augmentation therapy disrupts leukotriene B4 neutrophil signalling'. Michelle White, a SFI funded PhD student, presented her study in poster format titled ‘An inflammatory induced impairment affecting neutrophil lipid raft structure and cell adhesion in cystic fibrosis is corrected by CFTR potentiator therapy'. Both Ciara and Michelle were awarded travel grants to attend the meeting. (April 2015)  


RCSI's Professor Fergal Malone announced as new Master of the Rotunda Hospital

Professor Fergal Malone (pictured), Professor and Chairman of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Rotunda Hospital, has been appointed as the next Master and Chief Executive Officer of the Rotunda, for a seven year term.  Professor Malone, a Waterford native, will be the 39th consecutive Master of the Rotunda since its inception in 1745. Read more .... (April 2015)



RCSI graduate named ‘Innovator of the Year' by US Society of Interventional Radiology

Professor Kieran Murphy (Class of 1986), Professor of Radiology and Director of Clinical Faculty, Techna Research Institute, has been named as "Innovator of the Year" by the US Society of Interventional Radiology.

Kieran was presented with this award at the recent ceremony and you can watch his acceptance speech here (April 2015)  



Susan G. Komen Foundation Grant news

Dr Ann Hopkins (pictured) (RCSI Surgery) has been awarded a pilot grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the United States, along with Professor Saraswati Sukumar, a new collaborator who is co-director of the Breast Cancer Programme in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The grant was one of six competitively awarded to newly-formed consortia at a conference both Ann and Prof Sukumar were both speaking at, the 8th International Symposium on the Breast ‘Using Next Generation Science to Understand the Normal Breast and the Development of Breast Cancer'. (April 2015)


Professor Brian Harvey Appointed to Editorial Board of Journal Endocrinology

Professor Brian Harvey (pictured) (Molecular Medicine) has been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal Endocrinology, the main publication of the Endocrine Society and the highest impact factor journal in the field of endocrinology. (April 2015)





TERG  PhD student Awarded UKICRS Prize

Dr Caroline Herron, a final year PhD student from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) in the Department of Anatomy was awarded the Oral Presentation Prize at the 2015 United Kingdom and Ireland Controlled Release Society (UKICRS) for a talk entitled ‘A triggerable drug delivery system for the application of pro-angiogenic agents in critical limb ischaemia'. The UKICRS Workshop and Symposium was held on the 16-17th of April at the University of Nottinghman. Dr Herron is returning to clinical practice in St. Vincent's Hospital in July, where she will join a vascular surgical team as Registrar. (April 2015)

International Medical Commencement Programme (IMCP) Research Published

Dr Helen Kelly (Physiology & Medical Physics) has had a chapter published on the research she co-wrote with an IT Tralee based colleague, Dr Kristin Brogan which is based on their International Medical Commencement Programme (IMCP) research in the book "Foreign language learning as Intercultural experience - The subjective dimension". The paper discusses the influences of the Study Abroad period on learners' linguistic and intercultural development. The IMCP, a RCSI-IT Tralee collaboration, is an intensive course of study for students from the Gulf countries who intend to progress to the RCSI to study medicine, pharmacy or physiotherapy. (April 2015)


Professor Catherine Greene Publishes 3rd Edited Book

Professor Catherine Greene (Medicine) on the publication of her third edited book. This one is titled ‘MicroRNAs and Other Non-Coding RNAs in Inflammation' and is a comprehensive resource for those studying the role of non-coding RNAs in inflammation, human inflammatory diseases and innate immunity. You can find out more about Prof Greene's book here(April 2015)


Latest RCSIsmj researches ADHD, breast surgery and genetic testing for mental illness

Pictured (l-r) are Mohit Butaney, RCSIsmj Senior Editor; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Natalie Achamallah, RCSIsmj Editor in Chief; Professor Arnold Hill, Head of the School of Medicine, RCSI; and Melissa Schorr, RCSIsmj Director.

Students from RCSI have launched the 8th edition of the RCSI Student Medical Journal (RCSIsmj). RCSIsmj is produced entirely by RCSI students for students and staff. The journal aims to promote student authorship and to foster research, innovation and student participation in healthcare issues. This year's publication was led by a team of students headed by Natalie Achamallah, Editor-in-Chief of RCSIsmj, and Melissa Schorr, Director of RCSIsmj. The online version of the journal is published today and available to view on the RCSIsmj website. (April 2015)


RCSI signs first Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with a Chinese university

Pictured at the signing of the Memorandum of Academic Research and Understanding between Soochow University and RCSI is Dr Helena Kelly, RCSI School of Pharmacy; Professor Xuechu Zhen, Dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences Soochow University; Professor John Waddington, MCT and other members of faculty of Soochow University. Pictured (seated) is Professor Xinghong Jiang, Vice President International Affairs, Soochow University; and Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar, RCSI.

RCSI has signed a Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with Soochow University which will see both institutions promote academic collaboration for teaching, innovative scientific research, student training, and technology development over the next five years. This significant development is the first such collaboration agreement RCSI has signed with a Chinese university. The memorandum was signed in Soochow University on Thursday 9th April. Read more.... (April 2015)


RCSI Paper on Front Cover of Chemistry - A European Journal

An upcoming research paper from Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry) entitled ‘Stereoselective Peterson Olefinations from Bench-Stable Reagents and N-Phenyl Imines' has been chosen to appear on the front cover of an upcoming edition of Chemistry - A European Journal. The façade of RCSI was also used to feature Prof O'Shea's research on the journal's Facebook page. (April 2015)


RCSI Student MSc wins Prize at Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Conference

Mairead McDaid (MSc Neurology and Gerontology) won a poster prize for her research on 'Physiotherapy for people with neurological conditions in primary care; a qualitative study of physiotherapists' at the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Conference in March. Mairead was supervised by RCSI Dr Helen French. (March 2015)


Professor Mary Leader Becomes President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology

Professor Mary Leader, RCSI Department of Pathology, has become President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology. Mary will be President from November 2016 for two years. Read more.... (March 2015) 


RCSI Representation at Biennial International Congress on Schizophrenia Research

Professor Mary Cannon (Psychiatry, pictured) and Professor John Waddington (MCT) and were each invited to organise, chair and speak in symposia at the congress which was held in Colorado Springs; Dr Erik O'Hanlon, from Professor Mary Cannon's research group, also presented his work. (March 2015) 



€3 Million funding to enhance primary care delivery in Ireland

Safer use of medicines, improved diagnosis, and more effective delivery of primary care will result from a new €3 million award from the Health Research Board (HRB) to the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research (CPCR), based at RCSI's (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Department of General Practice.

This award will be used to build on the significant progress the CPCR has already made in advancing the capacity and infrastructure for primary care research in Ireland. This new phase of funding will see the centre focus on areas such a Clinical Decision Support Systems, Clinical Prediction Rules and multimorbidity; topics that are of national and international importance for both policy and practice. Read more.... (March 2015)


Research Day 2015

Pictured are the coordinators of RCSI Research Day 2015 (l-r) Stephanie O'Connor, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (academic coordinator) and Cathy O’Byrne, with Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI.

   Pictured are the coordinators of RCSI Research Day 2015 (l-r) Stephanie O'Connor, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (academic coordinator) and Cathy O'Byrne, with Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI.

This years' RCSI Research Day took place on 12 March 2015. The event, which showcases the most recent findings of research taking place at RCSI, was attended by more than 300 researchers throughout the day-long event. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences, healthcare delivery and health professions education were just some of the topics featured in studies presented.


Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2015

 Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered the John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture at RCSI Research Day 2015

Mid-day, Prof Gerry McElvaney, introduced Professor Luis Galietta, Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Genova, who delivered this year's John J Ryan Distinguished Lecture. The talk title was: ""Pharmacological correction of the cystic fibrosis basic defect: problems and opportunities", in which Professor Luis Galietta described how present scientific research efforts are directed towards the identification of drugs, known as correctors, which can lessen the effects of F508del mutation. Professor Galietta and his team are among those who have been researching effective correctors by various strategies, including screenings on cultured cells of large collections of chemical compounds looking for molecules that improve the stability and function of mutant CFTR protein. Read more....

Research Day 2015 concluded in the evening with an awards ceremony which took place in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Research Day 2015 Academic Co-Ordinator, hosted the ceremony which saw awards being presented to winners across twelve categories. Prize winners of Research Day 2015 include Dr Regien Biesma (Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine), William Arthur Lackington (Anatomy and TERG), Amenah Dhannoon, Karim Jundi, Caragh Stapleton (MCT), Mariana Alves (Physiology & Medical Physics), Michelle White (Medicine), Sergej Susdalzew (Physiology & Medical Physics), Dr Mark McCormack (MCT) and Dr David W Murray (Physiology & Medical Physics). Read more... (March 2015)


Nature Obesity Study Publication

Professor Alice Stanton (MCT) is a participant in an important study that was published recently in Nature. This study, 'Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology', provides strong support for a role of the central nervous system in obesity susceptibility and implicate new genes and pathways. (March 2015)  


Solar Energy Publication

Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology & Medical Physics) and Dr Michael Keogh (RCSI-Bahrain) have published a paper titled "Capability of 19-litre polycarbonate plastic water cooler containers for efficient solar water disinfection (SODIS): field case studies in India, Bahrain and Spain" in the journal Solar Energy. This publication is noteworthy as it is collaboration between researchers in Dublin and Bahrain (also including Yiyha Al-Eryani and Caro Joseph-Titus) and collaboration between 3U Global Health research partners in Maynooth University (Dr Chandana Mathur) and RCSI (Prof Kevin McGuigan). Finally in an unusual turn for a science journal, Solar Energy has approved the use of a cartoon in the graphical abstract. The cartoon which was drawn by one of Kevin's previous PhD students, Dr Maria Boyle is displayed above. (March 2015)  


Experts call for more sensible use of antibiotics to combat the rise of the superbugs

The rapid development of more and more effective antibiotics combined with their misuse has led the human body to become resistant to antibiotics. The overuse of such drugs means that bacteria can figure out how to protect themselves from antibiotics, which are designed to kill them. This has led to the rise of the ‘superbugs' and means we may be close returning to a time that simple infections are no longer treatable as the antibiotics may not work. The battle with antibiotic resistance and superbugs will be discussed at the final lectures of the 2014/2015 series of RCSI's MiniMed Lecture Series this evening (Wednesday 25th March). The event, entitled ‘Have the superbugs won or can we still preserve antibiotics for the next generation?' is open free of charge to the public, will be held from 7pm to 9pm at RCSI, 123 St. Stephen's Green. Read more.... (March 2015)


Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine Publication

RCSI Student Mr Emmet Power, has published an article in Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, volume 32, issue 01, pp. 155-160, entitled "The association between economic inactivity and mental health among young people: a longitudinal study of young adults who are not in employment, education or training" E. Power, M. Clarke, I. Kelleher, H. Coughlan, F. Lynch, D. Connor, C. Fitzpatrick, M. Harley and M. Cannon Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine / Volume 32 / Special Issue 01 / March 2015, pp 155 - 160 DOI: 10.1017/ipm.2014.85, Published online: 26 February 2015 Link to this article: (March 2015)


First annual SPHeRE Spring Seminar takes place at RCSI

Professor Nick Black of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine explores quality assessments in the health service

SPHeRE, the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education programme, held its first annual Spring Seminar in the Albert Lecture Theatre, RCSI on 10th March 2015. Read more.... (March 2015)


Youth mental health - new evidence highlights need for early intervention

According to research, over half of young Irish people will meet the criteria for a mental health disorder at some point before 25 years of age. 

This is according to an Irish study, known as The Challenging Times, the findings from which are featured in the recent Special Youth themed Edition of the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. The papers published from this study reveal, not only high rates of mental ill-health during adolescence and into young adulthood, but also the serious risks for young people who experience mental health difficulties during adolescence, including higher rates of unemployment during their young adult years. The study involved detailed clinical interviews with young Irish people from a representative sample of schools in North Dublin, first at age 12-15 years and later when they were aged 19-24 years.

The findings reinforce the importance of early intervention in order to maximise the functional outcomes for adolescents with mental disorders to give young people the best chance to get well and get on with having full, productive and normal lives. A case made by leading advocates in the youth mental health movement in a number of editorials in the special edition of the journal. Read more.... (March 2015)


RCSI participates in 1st Brazil- Ireland Science Week

Pictured (l-r) at Dublin Castle are Professor David Henshall, CSND, RCSI; Dr Cecilia Hedin-Pereira, UFRJ; Professor Jochen Prehn, Chair, CSND, RCSI; Professor Sergio Ferreira, UFRJ; Professor David Finn, NUIG; Dr Hans Georg Konig, CSND RCSI

As part of the 1st Brazil-Ireland Science Week RCSI School of Postgraduate Studies, in collaboration with the Tissue Engineering Group (TERG); RCSI Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry; the 3U-Centre of Excellence in the Neuroscience (COEN); and the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics hosted a symposium to showcase research conducted in RCSI.

The day-long symposium which took place in RCSI on Thursday 26th February was part of a series of events to mark Brazil-Ireland Science Week, in tandem with a major conference, Collaborative Research for a Better Future, which took place in Dublin Castle. Read more.... (February 2015)


New stroke therapy to remove clots shows major benefits for patients

RCSI and Beaumont Hospital contribute to landmark study which will transform stroke treatment worldwide

Researchers from RCSI and Beaumont Hospital have taken part in a major international study which is set to revolutionise the treatment of stroke. The study has shown that a clot retrieval procedure, known as endovascular treatment (ET) results in a dramatic improvement in patient outcomes and a reduction in disability and deaths from stroke. The results of this study are published in the online edition of the New England Journal of MedicineRead more....(February 2015)


New insights into brain development

One of the greatest mysteries in science is the basis of brain development. Prof. Norman Delanty and Drs. Christopher Whelan, Saud Alhusaini and Gianpiero Cavalleri (MCT) have participated in an important study, ‘Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures', that has just been published in Nature. This study identifies genetic variants that provide insight into the causes of variability in human brain development and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction. (February 2015)


Paternal postnatal depression found to affect 12 per cent of fathers RCSI Nursing and Midwifery Conference hears

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar addresses the international conference on advancing nursing and midwifery practice

Postnatal depression in fathers and community-based nursing cancer care are among the topics being explored at the RCSI 34th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Research and Education Conference, which takes place today. Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD, is among those who will address the conference on the theme ‘Advancing Nursing & Midwifery Practice: Linking National & International Perspectives'. Read more.... (February 2015)

RCSI investigator returns from lecture tour of Japan

From a base with research collaborators at Nihon University, Tokyo, Prof. John Waddington (MCT) has returned from a 3-week lecture tour of Japan. He also delivered lectures at Hoshi University, Tokyo, Nihon University at Matsudo, Chiba, and at a joint meeting of Nagoya University and Fujita Health University, Nagoya. In addition, he was able to arrange a Student Selected Component in Japan for an Intermediate Cycle student and the first visit to RCSI from a Japanese scientist under the College's International Strategic Collaboration Award - Japan. (February 2015)


Research into refractory hypertension achieves double recognition

When hypertension is uncontrolled or occurs in problematic circumstances, new approaches are needed. Prof. Alice Stanton (MCT) has participated in two international collaborative trials that have been published in the most prestigious journals: the first, ‘Follow-up of blood-pressure lowering and glucose control in type 2 diabetes' has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the second, ‘Central arteriovenous anastamosis for the treatment of patients with uncontrolled hypertension (the ROX CONTROL HTN study): a randomised controlled trial', has been published in the Lancet. These studies provide important new information on the control of hypertension. (February 2015)


RCSI researcher receives SFI Career Development Award

In the latest round of awards, Dr. Steve Kerrigan (MCT and School of Pharmacy) has received an SFI Career Development award of €593,138 for 'Endothelial dysfunction in severe bloodstream infection'. This substantive award will allow Steve to both broaden and deepen his research programme, in collaboration with colleagues in RCSI and both national and international groups. (February 2015)


New insights into the genomic architecture of human height

While for most of us our height is a basic personal measure, we know little of its determinants. Prof. Alice Stanton (MCT) has participated in an important international collaborative study, the results of which have been published in Nature Genetics. This article, ‘Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height', used genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals. The results indicate a genetic architecture for this fundamental human anthropometric that is characterised by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants. (February 2015)

Fennessy Hogan Medal for Best Research Project in the Intermediate Cycle SSC

3rd-Year medical student Scott Moses carried out his 6-week Student-Selected Component (SSC) project with Dr. Marian Brennan (MCT), using chemoinformatics to explore the differences between human and Plasmodium falciparum HSP90. Many congratulations to Scott who was awarded the Fennessy Hogan Medal for the Best Research Project in the Intermediate Cycle SSC. This is a very competitive award and a testament to Scott's hard work and commitment to the project. (February 2015)

RCSI signs up to Athena Swan Gender Equality Charter

RCSI together with seven universities and 14 Institutes of Technology, have signed up to the Athena SWAN Charter. RCSI has committed to working towards the achievement of the Athena SWAN Charter's aims: the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research, and the achievement of a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts. (February 2015)

Fulbright Scholar commences three month RCSI post

Professor Clarence Kreiter will take up the position of Fulbright Scholar in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) on 2nd February for a 3 month period. Professor Kreiter is currently a Professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He works primarily within the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education (OCRME) which involves a wide range of research consultation and performs many education functions at the medical college. Read more.... (February 2015)

RCSI Neuroscientists make breakthrough in understanding gene activity in epilepsy

Neuroscientists from RCSI have made a breakthrough in understanding what controls gene activity in epilepsy, a disease associated with excessive electrical activity in the brain that gives rise to seizures. The findings may also help explain why epileptic states can be so persistent. The research will be published in the March edition of the leading neurology journal Brain. Today marks International Epilepsy Awareness Day, to raise awareness of this condition that affects approximately 37,000 people in Ireland. Read More... (February 2015)


New RCSI research to guide GP management for patients with multiple chronic illnesses

Multimorbidity study to impact on one-in-three GP consultations

Lead researcher, Dr Emma Wallace pictured

A new clinical review that provides guidance for doctors on how to best organise and prioritise care for patients who suffer from multiple chronic medical conditions (multimorbidity) has been conducted by researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The study was carried out by the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI's Department of General Practice, RCSI in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom. The study was published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).  Read more.... (February 2015)

Professor Celine Marmion (Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and co-opted onto the institutes Council in February of this year. (February 2015) 


RCSI School of Pharmacy success at Helix Health Awards

Pictured (l-r) are Mr Rory O'Donnell, President of The Pharmacy Benevolent Fund; Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, Professional Excellence Award Winner; Mr Paul Neill,  KrKa; Ms Jennifer Hughes, Director of Marketing, Helix Health

Professor Sally-Ann Cryan from the RCSI School of Pharmacy and RCSI alumnus, and Jonathon Morrissey were among those who were honoured at the 10th annual Helix Health Pharmacist Awards which took place recently in the Mansion House, Dublin. The awards recognise Ireland's most accomplished pharmacists and celebrate excellence across all disciplines of the pharmacy profession. Read more.... (February 2015)


Professor Brian Harvey New Appointments

Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI Molecular Medicine has been appointed, by the President of the European Research Council, to the Horizon 2020 ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Awards Life Sciences Panel. Prof Harvey has also been recently appointed as the President of the Life Sciences Council of the French National Research Agency, ANR. In this role as president, Prof Harvey will chair the expert review panels, oversee the proper review and awards of research grants, and advise the ANR on strategic research areas and collaborations for targeted investment. The ANR National Research Agency is the principal agency for publicly funded research projects and research partnerships in France. (February 2015)


SODIS Workshops in Ethiopia

Professor Kevin McGuigan, RCSI Physiology and Medical Physics, has recently returned from a week-long visit to Mekelle in the Tigray province of Northern Ethiopia where he ran a workshop on Solar Disinfection (SODIS) for more than 200 directors of health centres from all over the Tigray region. Each director is responsible for four to five health centres, with each centre servicing up to 25,000 citizens. This equates to about 20 million people in a rural area about the size of Ireland. The workshop was hosted by the Tigray Bureau of Health and funded by philanthropic donations from SODIS Australia and the Princess Haya Foundation. (February 2015)

RCSI Receive INMED Educational Research Grant

Dr Martina Crehan (HPEC) has been awarded funding under the 2014/2015 INMED Educational Research Grant Scheme to initiate research on transitions in Health Professions Education. Her initial research will focus on the experiences of students transitioning from second level education to RCSI and will focus on how students narrate their decisions about participating in medical education. Best of luck to Martina on this project. (February 2015)

Neuroscience Ireland Positions

Professor David Henshall (Physiology & Medical Physics) has been named as the incoming president of Neuroscience Ireland and to Dr Mary Clarke (Psychology & Psychiatry), who also joins the Neuroscience Ireland board as its new Vice President. (February 2015)

Prof Fergal O'Brien Presented with Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year Award

Prof Fergal O'Brien for being presented with the Anatomical Society New Fellow of the Year Award at the AGM in the University of Birmingham by Professor Clive Lee, President of the Anatomical Society. This award is made to the Fellow of the Anatomical Society who has demonstrated the most significant accomplishments relative to their career stage.(February 2015)


RCSI and AMBER success in EU funding to grow potential spin out companies

Professor Fergal O'Brien awarded €150,000 in funding through ERC Proof of Concept grant

Professor Fergal O'Brien, Head of the Tissue Engineering Research Group, Deputy Director of Applied Research at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Deputy Director of AMBER, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) "Proof of Concept" grant. This funding will provide Professor O'Brien with up to €150,000 in funding over 18 months to help bridge the gap between his existing frontier research and its commercial applications. 260 applicants from across Europe had applied for the first round of funding through the grant. Read more.... (February 2015)


Professor Aidan Bradford Doctor of Science Award

Professor Aidan Bradford, RCSI Physiology & Medical Physics, has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) by the National University of Ireland. The D.Sc. is the highest academic qualification that can be awarded by an Irish university. It is based on submitted published work and is awarded to scholars who have, over a sustained period, published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a field of specialisation and who have achieved outstanding distinction internationally in that field. (February 2015)


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Funding Awarded to Promote Science to the general public

Dr Maria Morgan, pictured, (RCSI MCT) and Maria Kelly (REACH RCSI) have received funding from SFI for the Debating Science Issues Competition 2015. This is an important and high-quality, schools' public engagement project that seeks to encourage the young scientists of the future - and the young scientists of the future are our future. (February 2015)


Funding Award for National Research Project on Learning Resources and Open Access

Catherine Bruen (HPEC) is part of a group which has been successful in obtaining funding for a national research project, Learning Resources and Open Access, funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The proposal is led by University of Limerick in partnership with RCSI, Mary Immaculate College, Dublin Institute of Technology, and National University of Ireland, Galway. This project will investigate how digital learning resources can be utilised, maintained and developed in an open access environment in order to enhance teaching and learning in Irish Higher Education. It will also explore different models for the reuse of learning objects. (February 2015)

Dr Cathal Kearney Awarded H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

Dr Cathal Kearney (RCSI Anatomy and TERG) was recently awarded a prestigious H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission totalling €185,000 for a period of 24 months, with Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy and TERG) serving as his mentor. The project, entitled "Temporally controlled delivery of vascular therapeutics from a regenerative template for diabetic wound healing", aims to integrate tools developed during Dr Kearney 's previous work on temporally-controlled drug delivery with existing collagen-based scaffold technology developed in TERG. The target pathology is diabetic wound healing through enhanced stimulation of vascularisation. (February 2015)


SPHeRE Conference Success

SPHeRE is the national population health and health services research structured PhD Programme currently run through Population Health Sciences in RCSI. Its director is Professor Anne Hickey from the Department of Psychology. SPHeRE's first Conference ‘Health Research Policy & Practice: Creating links for effective collaboration' was held at the College on the 9th of January. The conference was a great success, with over 150 registrants representing research, policy and service delivery, and attended by both the Chief Executive and Chair of the HRB. A total of 93 scholars have registered for PhDs across participating institutions since the structured programmes commenced in 2007. 

Pictured (l-r) at the SPHeRE conference is Prof Naomi Fulop (UCL), Prof Steve Thomas (TCD), Prof Bernie Hannigan (Public Health England), Prof John Browne (UCC), Prof Hannah McGee (RCSI), Dr Graham Love (Chief Executive of HRB), Prof Anne Hickey (RCSI), Prof Charles Normand (TCD), Dr Declan Bedford (Chairman of HRB).


Launch of World First Bone Repair Technology Marks Successful First Year for Amber

AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has today unveiled a new bone repair technology, which has led to an injured racehorse returning to winning ways after successful jaw reconstruction. The announcement was made at AMBER's Industry Day, held to mark its first anniversary, which was officially opened by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. and which brought together a number of AMBER's industry partners. Read More... (January 2015)

Pictured (l-r): Pictured at the stables of thoroughbred 'Annagh Haven' in Oristown, Co Meath is Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Damien English T.D., Prof. Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER and Head of the Tissue Engineering Research Group in RCSI and Laurence Mulvany owner of the filly 'Annagh Haven'.


RCSI Ranked 49th in Times Higher Education World University Rankings for International Outlook

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings announced the top 100 institutions by ‘International Outlook. RCSI was ranked as number 49 in the world. The announcement was made following on from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in October 2014 which listed RCSI in the top 400 institutions in the world for the first time.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 lists the best global universities and are the only international university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.
The week the Times Higher Education produced further data that analysed the ‘International Outlook' sub-category for the first time. ‘International Outlook' gives credits to universities for international students and staff as well as research publications with international partners.  Read more.... (January 2015)


RCSI study finds many over the counter cough medicines have limited effectiveness in treating coughs

A study carried out by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has found that there is no substantial evidence that over-the-counter medicines are effective in treating short-term coughs in children and adults. The research which was carried out by the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research, Department of General Practice, RCSI has been published in The Cochrane Library. Read more.... (January 2015)


World-leading diabetes expert to speak about prevention of type 1 diabetes in childhood at 3U Diabetes Conference

Type 1 diabetes in children is increasing in Ireland 

The commonest form of diabetes in children, type 1 diabetes, is increasing in prevalence in Ireland and in most countries around the world. Renowned diabetes expert, Professor Mikael Knip from the University of Helsinki in Finland, the country with the highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes in the world, will address this issue at the Third Annual 3U Partnership International Diabetes Conference entitled ‘Current Challenges in Diabetes Research' which takes place at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in Dublin today. The conference will hear about potential factors, including certain viruses and altered intestinal gut bacteria, which may trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes. Read more.... (January 2015)


TERG researchers sweep up accolades at Bioengineering conference

The 21st Annual Conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland BINI 2015 turned out to be a big success for the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) based Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) as its members won a number of awards for their research. This conference took place in the Carton House Hotel, Maynooth in Co. Kildare from 16th-17th January. Dr Cathal Kearney (Anatomy and senior TERG researcher) won the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Division Bronze Medal, awarded for the best overall presentation (called "Switchable Release of Entrapped Nanoparticles from Alginate Hydrogels"). Dr Kearney has also been selected from a pool of over 450 international candidates to sit on the 2015 Tissue Engineering Young Investigator Council. David Walsh (TERG PhD student) was awarded second prize in the Early Researcher category for his presentation ("Synthesis and Formulation of Star Shaped Polypeptides as Non-Viral Vectors to Produce Gene Activated Matrices for Bone Tissue Engineering") which was supervised by Professor Sally Ann Cryan (School of Pharmacy). Darina Gilroy (MSc research student) was awarded first prize in the Research Student category for her presentation entitled "Magnetically Responsive Biomaterials for Stem Cell Activation". Finally, Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy) was announced as the incoming President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Division. Read more.... (January 2015)


Transition year students witness live Caesarean section and live laparoscopic surgery at RCSI TY MiniMed programme

Pictured: The TY MiniMed 2015 group

Approximately 190 Transition Year (TY) students from 90 schools across Ireland have been taking part in a week long TY MiniMed training programme this week at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital. The week long interactive programme, which is running from 12th-16th January, gives Transition Year students the opportunity to step out of their usual classroom setting and experience what it is like to train and work as a doctor in the setting of a real hospital and gain an insight into prospective careers in medicine, science and research. Read More... (January 2015)


First annual SPHeRE conference to build links for health research, policy and practice

SPHeRE, the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education programme, will hold its first annual conference today in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The theme of the conference is ‘Health Research, Policy and Practice - Creating links for effective collaboration'. Read More... (January 2015)




Research News 2014  


Malaria vaccine tested at RCSI proves successful in first human trial

Two new malaria vaccines which have undergone a clinical trial in humans, carried out by researchers at RCSI in Dublin, have been proven to be well tolerated and produce a strong immune response. The results of the clinical trial are published in the current issue of the journal PLOS ONE. The clinical trial was conducted by researchers at RCSI's Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine at the RCSI Clinical Research Centre in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, in collaboration with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford. The project is funded by the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) with the support of Irish Aid. Read more... (December 2014)


RCSI success in SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award

Professor Jochen Prehn receives funding for Motor Neurone Disease research

17th December 2014: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced funding of €1.9 million in a partnership with leading international pharmaceutical company Pfizer to encourage new biotherapeutic research in Ireland. Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI), the SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award programme provides qualified academic researchers with an opportunity to deliver important potential discoveries in the areas of immunology and rare diseases. Five proposals in four academic institutions in Ireland have been identified to receive funding as part of the programme.

Professor Jochen Prehn, Head of the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI was awarded funding to carry out research into Motor Neurone Disease, the devastating and fatal neurological condition with no cure. Professor Prehn's research will focus on developing a new therapy that it is hoped will increase patients' lifespan and motor function, leading to an increase in quality of life.  Read more...  (December 2014)


RCSI Researcher First Runner up of the Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Innovation Award

Dr Aamir Hameed, RCSI Department of Anatomy, and clinical researcher on the AMCARE project, who was named as first runner up of the Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Innovation Award at the IMDA/EI/IDA CEO Forum Awards 2014 that took place on Thursday 11th December. Aamir was recognised for a project submitted on a novel method to protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy. (December 2014)


The Science Squad' to sign off series by honing in on RCSI research into lung disease

This third series of RTE's The Science Squad concludes December 1st on RTE One from 8.30pm. This final episode is the third in the series to feature research from RCSI. The work of Professor Gerry McElvaney (pictured), Department of Medicine, and his team into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be explored by the Science Squad.

Episode 6 - Lung Health - Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI's Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team's research into COPD. COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could be linked to a genetic lung condition (Alpha-1) which affects 1 in 24 Irish people, 90% of which are undiagnosed. Jonathon also meets two people who were diagnosed with Alpha-1 to find out how the disease has impacted their lives.

Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm. This is the third episode in the third series of this programme. Read more (December 2014)


TERG Transition Year Initiative

TERG (Tissue Engineering Research Group) recently held its transition year initiative, "Exploring Materials". 16 TY students engrossed themselves in learning all about TERG's current work and research projects on regenerative therapies. The group is pictured with the staff and volunteers who helped throughout the programme. (November 2014)


RCSI MiniMed lectures to discuss game changing innovation in pregnancy screening and Breast Cancer

The latest cutting-edge technologies and innovations in screening during pregnancy and treatment of breast cancer will be on the agenda for the latest instalment of the RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series 2014/2015 this evening, Wednesday 26th November. These talks, free of charge to the public, will take place from 7pm to 9pm at the College at 123 St. Stephen's Green.

Professor and Chairman of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Rotunda Hospital, Professor Fergal Malone (pictured), in a lecture called ‘Screening in Pregnancy - Is my baby normal?', will speak on the options open to the Irish public for screening pregnancies for fetal abnormalities and update attendees on recent innovations in screening technology. Prof Malone will outline the options for actual invasive prenatal diagnosis as well as the subsequent options open to people, in terms of surgery and medical treatment, if any fetal problems are found. He will also discuss the decision-making process around pregnancy termination once a significant fetal abnormality is diagnosed.

Speaking ahead of his lecture, Prof Malone said, ‘There have been a number of remarkable advances in the technology used during the pregnancy screening process such as using the mother's blood for fetal DNA testing. Given that there is no separate state funding behind screening in Ireland, I will outline the access issues as well as some recent controversies in accessing pregnancy termination'. (November 2014)

The RCSI MiniMed Open Lecture Series is free of charge; however registration is essential in order to guarantee a place. Previous lecture series have attracted widespread public interest with demand for places far outstripping availability. Register online at and you can join the conversation online, on the night, on Twitter at #RCSIMiniMed. To view previous RCSI MiniMed lectures from the last series on the RCSI YouTube channel at  

Read more details on the talks see 2014/2015 RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series


New innovative mobile app to improve antibiotic prescribing in RCSI Hospitals Group 

A new smartphone app has been developed by the RCSI Hospitals Group, in association with the Dublin North East Healthcare-Associated Infection (HCAI) Committee, which will provide healthcare professionals in hospitals within the RCSI Hospitals Group with immediate access to guidelines for antimicrobial prescribing. These guidelines, which vary by individual hospital, will help to ensure appropriate antibiotic prescribing and improved patient outcomes as well as helping to combat the ongoing threat of antibiotic resistance. Read more... (November 2014)



RCSI PhD receives prestigious engineering scholarship

Alan Ryan (pictured), PhD student at RCSI, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from one of the world's largest professional bodies for engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Alan is a student working with Prof Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre. Read more... (November 2014)



RCSI supports European Antibiotic Awareness Day events

‘Saving antibiotics is everyone's responsibility'

Doctors are being urged to take a more critical look before prescribing antibiotics as antibiotic resistance remains one of the biggest global threats to public health, an event taking place today to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2014 will hear.  Leaders from medical, veterinary and pharmaceutical professions are gathering today for the fourth annual antibiotic awareness event, aimed at driving further change in both public and professional behaviours and norms around antibiotic consumption. Read more... (November 2014)


Minister for Health announces €850,000 investment for research into rare diseases

HRB and Alpha One Foundation to fund RCSI Alpha-1 research

Friday, 14th November: Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, has announced that five charities will share €850,000 in State funding to take part in international research into rare medical conditions, including respiratory infections and retinal blindness. The five charities taking part are Alpha One Foundation, Cystinosis Ireland, Fighting Blindness, the Irish Thoracic Society, and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Research Foundation.

The Health Research Board (HRB) and the Alpha One Foundation will fund RCSI researchers to carry out two innovative projects.  Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency (AATD) is hereditary disorder that can cause lung disease. In the first project Dr. Emer Reeves (pictured), RCSI, will look at the role white blood cells play in AATD and compare differences between white blood cells in individuals with and without AATD. In the second project Professor Gerry McElvaney, RCSI, will look at how the quantity and quality of Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) in blood can determine the predisposition to lung disease and other inflammatory processes.

The Government is investing €850,000 through the HRB with matching funding provided by the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG), bringing the total investment to €1.9 million. A total of eight projects will be supported over the next three years, bringing to 95 the projects supported through this particular scheme over the past eight years.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar commented: "This funding allows the charities to take their research activities up a level. They will be able to participate in international research projects, or fund projects which are being led from outside Ireland. It's a practical example of collaboration between the State and the charity sector. Hopefully, the research will bring real benefits to patients in Ireland and around the world."

To date results from projects completed under this scheme include 13 healthcare innovations, 23 policy and practice influences, two patents, and more than 120 peer-reviewed academic papers. Examples include a new immune therapy for cancer, potential new drugs to treat conditions such as cystic fibrosis and nephropathic cystinosis, and an effective exercise programme to improve outcomes for acute stroke survivors and their families. (November 2014)


Irish Research Nurses Network

The 7th Annual Irish Research Nurses Network (IRNN) Conference took place on 12th November at RCSI. The meeting focused on the theme of "The Power of Data" and emphasised the huge potential research has in improving healthcare outcomes and the importance of well-designed and properly conducted clinical research projects in proving the benefits of new treatments which may dramatically improve the lives of patients. Ms Deirdre Hyland and Ms Carole Schilling (both of Clinical Research Centre) and all involved in organising and overseeing this event. (November2014)



RCSI Launches New Research Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research

Pictured (l-r) is Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research and Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today at the launch of RCSI's new research strategy 'Improving Human Health – RCSI’s Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 – 2020'.


 Pictured (l-r) is Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research and Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today at the launch of RCSI's new research strategy 'Improving Human Health - RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020'.

5th November 2014: Minister Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation today launched RCSI's new research strategy Improving Human Health - RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020. The strategy will focus on innovative research that leads to better diagnostics, therapeutics and devices. It will also tackle important healthcare delivery issues, inform policy and clinical practice and enhance the quality of education of healthcare professionals.

Speaking at the launch Minister Damien English T.D. said "Ireland's position in the global research community continues to grow and it is an exciting time for research here. Together with my Government colleagues, we have an ambitious agenda for Ireland to become the best small country in the world in which to do business. This requires transformation in many sectors of our society and prioritised research areas have a key role to play in this change. RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research supports the research priorities identified in the Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group, and is in alignment with both national and European research funding strategies."

The plans for developing research and innovation at RCSI are based on RCSI's current strategic roadmap ‘Growth & Excellence 2013 - 2017'. As an exclusively health sciences focused institution with strong links to acute hospitals and institutions that reflect the wide diversity of healthcare facilities and needs, RCSI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance translational research for the benefit of patients and the healthcare system.

Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research, RCSI said "In alignment with RCSI's strategic roadmap and current national research funding strategies, our research strategy ‘Excellence in Translational Research' is aimed at bringing RCSI research closer to applications for the benefit of patients, the healthcare system and populations and to succeed in our mission to improve human health".

RCSI's Strategy for Excellence in Translational Research 2014 - 2020 priorities:

* Build capacity in translational research

* Promote applied research and knowledge transfer

* Promote population health and health services research

* Strengthen the intersection of research and education

* Develop human resources strategy for researchers

* Enhance research governance

* Deliver and disseminate impactful research

It was also announced today that a newly formed Office of Research and Innovation will provide an integrated service to researchers ranging from translational biomedical research to the commercialisation of research for the benefit of society.



RCSI Publication in top 10% of articles published in the Journal of Immunology

A study carried out by Dr Killian Hurley, RCSI Department Medicine, has been published in the Journal of Immunology and was featured by the "In This Issue" which includes the top 10% of articles published in the journal. The title of the publication is "Alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation therapy corrects accelerated neutrophil apoptosis in deficient individuals". The project was supported by the MRCG/HRB scheme and was co-funded by the HRB and the Alpha One Foundation Ireland (grant # MRCG/2008/2) and was jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney. For more information see the "In This Issue" feature highlighting the article. (October 2014)


Four RCSI researchers among 36 awarded HRB funding

The Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar TD has announced the award of funding of €13.5 million to support thirty-six new health research projects over the next three to five years. Projects from RCSI researchers Professor Richard Costello, Professor Jochen Prehn, Professor Fergal O'Brien and Dr Ann Hopkins were among those who were awarded funding provided by the Health Research Board (HRB). Read more... (October 2014)


RCSI research features on RTE ‘Science Squad'

The third series of RTE's The Science Squad returned to our screens this week and will feature innovative research from RCSI including SODIS water, surgical technologies and lung research throughout the series.

Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm.

Episode 1 - Saving Lives with Sunlight - Monday 27th October  click here to view
Aoibhinn and the team, along with Professor Kevin McGuigan, Associate Professor of Medical Physics in the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics visit the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) project in Uganda. Prof McGuigan has been working on this technique for the past 20 years, which involves exposing transparent plastic or glass containers filled with water to direct sunlight for six to 48 hours. This has a germicidal effect which is based on the combined effect of thermal heating of solar light and UV radiation, thus kills bacteria and disease-causing pathogens and disinfecting the water. This water purification project could save the lives of millions.

Aoibhinn also visits Kevin's PhD student Jacent Asiimwe in Uganda to find out about the science behind the process, and the team meets with lots of Ugandan schoolchildren who will directly benefit from the technology.

Speaking ahead of the airing of the programme, Prof McGuigan said, ‘It was fantastic for Jacent and I to be able to bring Aoibhinn and the crew out to Uganda and show them our research and work on the SODIS project. An important aspect on the future direction of SODIS is to get word on this out to wider audiences and it was great to see the warm welcome the local people and school children gave to the visiting crew.'

Episode 3 - Innovative Surgical Technologies Saving Lives - Monday 10th November
In this programme, Aoibhinn meets Dr Peter Naughton, Consultant General / Vascular Surgeon, and his RCSI team to learn about abdominal aortic aneurysms and how recent innovations in surgery in the form of a new procedure, Endovascular Aneurysm Repair, (EVAR) has drastically reduced mortality rates. The team run through preparations ahead of one of these EVAR operations. Aoibhinn meets one of Peter's former patients who underwent the successful surgery to find out how it saved his life.

Episode 6 - Lung Health - Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI's Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team's research into Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could

These episodes will be available to view after broadcast via the Science Squad website.



5 RCSI researchers participate in new SFI Research Centre, CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

RCSI welcomed the announcement that five new world-class SFI Research Centres are to be established on the back of a €245 million funding windfall from government and industry. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, announced the funding on Oct 20th.

RCSI are partners in CÚRAM, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, led by colleagues in NUI Galway. The prime objective for CÚRAM is to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs and includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The multidisciplinary and translational nature of the work supported by CÚRAM is exemplified by the RCSI's contribution to and participation in the Centre, led by Prof. Sally-Ann Cryan, pictured, (School of Pharmacy) that includes four additional senior researchers from across Departments in RCSI; Prof. Fergal O'Brien & Dr. Garry Duffy (Dept of Anatomy), Prof. Gerry McElvaney (Dept of Medicine) and Prof. Marc Devocelle (Dept of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry) who will work on a range of projects within the Centre. These projects will see CURAM linking with the existing SFI Centre, AMBER, through the RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group and the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering. Read more... (October 2014)



RCSI hosts fourth Annual International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The fourth International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) took place on 24th - 25th October the RCSI.  ICHAMS is a biomedical conference, aimed at students and run by students, that gives undergraduates an insight into the translation of research from bench to bedside. More than 100 undergraduate healthcare students from Ireland, the United Kingdom and as far as Russia, USA, The Netherlands and Poland, attended the conference to present oral and poster presentations on a wide variety of healthcare research.

Building on the outstanding success of the 2013 conference which was Winner of the Student Project of the Year category in last year's Irish Healthcare Awards, this year the conference was expanding to integrate the RCSI Schools of Pharmacy and Physiotherapy to deliver a wider multidisciplinary conference.  The theme of this year's event was ‘Advancing Biomedical Research: Passion for Progress'.

Dr Sarah O'Neill, Chair of the Scientific Committee said: ‘I am proud that the ICHAMS Conference is entering its fourth year which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our student organising committee.   By providing healthcare students with the opportunity to develop their research skills and interests at an early stage in their career, it gives students an insight into the world of scientific research and a better understanding of how research can be translated from the bench to the patients' bedside.'

The keynote speakers at the event were Mary Aiken, Director, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre and Professor Kieran Murphy, Director, University of Toronto Medical Imaging Research.

For further information visit the conference website    (October 2014)



RCSI Researchers Discover Clues to New Pathways for Treatment of Schizophrenia

In the brain's communication system, nerve cells transmit messages across the synapse, the minute gap between cells. On the receiving end, the postsynaptic density (PSD) is a network of proteins suspected of playing a role in causing psychosis and mood disorders. Melanie Föcking, Ph.D. & RCSI Lecturer in Psychiatric Neuroscience, pictured, led the first research to identify specific PSD-associated genes and proteins linked to schizophrenia. The study was published in the journal Molecular PsychiatryProfessor David Cotter was the senior author on the paper and Health Research Board grant PI. Additional authors on the paper were Dr Lorna Lopez, Dr Jane English, Annemarie Wolff, Elizabeth Brindley and Mr Patrick Dicker along with colleagues from UCD. Read more... (October 2014)


Official opening of the 3U Partnership's China Office

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ms Jan O'Sullivan T.D., officially opened 3U Partnership's China Office in Beijing's award winning Galaxy SOHO urban complex on Sunday 26 October 2014.  The event coincides with the Education in Ireland mission to China, organised by Enterprise Ireland and led by Minister O'Sullivan.

The 3U Partnership combines the complementary strengths of Dublin City University (DCU), Maynooth University and RCSI.

In keeping with the Irish Government's policy to encourage shared services, the 3U China Office brings these three distinctive and leading higher education institutions together to promote world-class education and research opportunities in Ireland to Chinese students. For further details on 3U Partnership see (October 2014)


Breakthrough In Understanding of Impaired Bacterial Killing By Neutrophils In Cystic Fibrosis.

A study carried out by Professor Gerry McElvaney's research group has led to a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms behind impaired bacterial killing by neutrophils in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). The research was carried out by the lead author on the study Dr Kerstin Pohl (Medicine), with collaborators based at the NICB in Dublin City University and King's College London and was published in the journal BLOOD. (September 2014)



RCSI Researcher Receives European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell Training Award

Dr Cormac McCarthy (CLAT) received the European Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Laurell Training Award (eALTA) at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Munich, Germany, on September 7th, 2014. Cormac's project is entitled 'Glycosylation modifies the anti-inflammatory effect of alpha-1 antitrypsin' and is currently being carried out in the Department of Medicine, under the supervision of Prof Gerry McElvaney and Dr Emer Reeves. (September 2014)



Cystic Fibrosis COST ACTION Training School

The Dept of Molecular Medicine hosted the Cystic Fibrosis COST ACTION Training School in the RCSI Education & Research Centre, September 2014. The training school, jointly by the Irish CF COST partners RCSI and ITT Tallaght, was aimed at early stage researchers with 50 participants from seven EU Countries and trainers from Beaumont Hospital, St James's Hospital and Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin (OLHSC). The school provided PhDs and post-docs with training through lectures and hands-on practical's in the latest advances of research into ion transport, air liquid dynamics and host-pathogen interactions in CF lung disease. Professor Brian Harvey, pictured, was course director. (September 2014)



Awards and Achievements Attained by the Staff of RCSI Molecular and Cellular Genetics - Update September 2014

Ms Amy Cole and Dr Mark McCormack pictured, respectively, received the prizes for Best Postgraduate Presentation and Best Postdoctoral Poster at the recent meeting of the Irish Society of Human Genetics.






Dr Maria Morgan has been awarded a PhD Studentship from Breast Cancer Campaign UK to the value of  €104,962 over 3 years for her work 'Microcalcification in breast cancer: novel insights into molecular mechanisms and functional consequences'






Dr Dermot Cox has received an SFI Technology Innovation Development Award, €100,000, for his work 'Development of a proof-of-concept animal model for novel FcγRIIa antagonists'.



Dr Siobhan Smith has received the award of a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, €91,790 over 2 years, for 'Investigation into the role of estrogen-regulated microRNAs in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus'.






Professor Conor Murphy pictured, (Ophthalmology) and Dr Joan Ní Gabhann (MCT) received an award under the HRB-MRCG Joint Funding Scheme, €40,000 over 15 months, for 'Restoring immune balance in patients with primary Sjogren's Syndrome (pSS) by modulating microRNA expression'.





Professors Kieran Murphy, (Psychiatry), pictured, and John Waddington (MCT) participated in an international study on the genetics of schizophrenia, the results of which have just been published in Nature under the auspices of the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, of which Kieran and John are members. This article, 'Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci', involves a global collaborative network that has conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study of ultimately 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls; it is the largest molecular genetic study of schizophrenia (or indeed of any neuropsychiatric disorder) ever conducted to date.

Professor John Waddington was invited to speak in a symposium at the Society of Biological Psychiatry in New York and to deliver a Keynote Lecture to the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in Las Vegas. 







RCSI PhD Student wins Young Investigators Award

Michelle White, a PhD student in the Respiratory Research Division, RCSI Department of Medicine, was awarded the distinguished Young Investigators Award at the 3U Conference, Applications of Proteomics in Human and Infectious Disease. This event took place on the 16th September, 2014, in The Helix, Dublin City University. Michelle's winning oral presentation was entitled "Inflammatory induced plasma membrane alterations in neutrophils of individuals with cystic fibrosis corrected by CFTR potentiator therapy". This project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (11/RFP/BMT/3094) and is jointly supervised by Dr Emer Reeves and Professor Gerry McElvaney. (September 2014)


Discover Research Dublin to Illuminate the Fascinating World of Research & Researchers

Trinity College Dublin and the RCSI will offer the public a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the world of research - and researchers - at Discover Research Dublin on Friday, September 26th. This event, featuring more than 50 free and exciting interactive events and demonstrations will take place on Trinity College Dublin's campuses. Read more... (September 2014)


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Advance Award

Dr Catherine Mooney was announced as a recipient of the new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Advance award. This programme was introduced specifically to support female researchers and to enhance training where there was substantial industrial relevance.

Dr Mooney is a bioinformaticist who recently joined Prof David Henshall's epilepsy research group in the Department of Physiology & Medical Physics at RCSI. Her award will see further collaboration with Professor Geraldine Boylan's team in the SFI funded research Centre INFANT who are working on neonatal seizures. The 2 year project will focus on identifying disease markers in biofluids from babies at risk of seizures and aims to develop new computer algorithms that better incorporate very large datasets of molecules such as microRNA in blood. The programme features an industry mentorship with EKF Diagnostics which ultimately aims to apply these discoveries towards point-of-care and lab-on-a-chip diagnostics. (September 2014)


Early Career Investigator Prize at Annual Neuroscience Ireland Meeting

Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos, RCSI epilepsy research group in the Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, was awarded the Early Career Investigator prize at the annual Neuroscience Ireland meeting, which was held at Trinity College Dublin at the weekend. (September 2014)



RCSI researchers define and review Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) to improve patient care

A new study from RCSI has defined an international register of clinical prediction rules (CPRs) for clinician use in a primary care setting. These CPRs will help inform clinicians in making decisions regarding diagnosis, management and prognosis of specific conditions in patients. In a separate study, RCSI researchers have also reviewed how such CPRs are being used in clinical guidelines and by general practitioners (GPs) in the United Kingdom (UK). These studies were conducted by researchers based at the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI. Read more... (September 2014)


PNAS Publication on Drug Delivery

Dr Cathal Kearney, RCSI Department of Anatomy, co-authored a recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS). The paper describes a novel strategy for refilling drug delivery devices through the bloodstream by tagging the device at the treatment site (e.g., tumours) and the reloading drug with complimentary DNA so that the reloading drug can hone to the drug delivery depot. The research was carried out in collaboration with Harvard School of Engineering and the Wyss Institute in Boston, USA.  (September 2014)



Cystic fibrosis Paper Editor's Choice Article in the Journal Physiological Reports August Issue

 A paper describing the restoration of function in cystic fibrosis airway was selected as the Editor's choice article in the Journal Physiological Reports August issue. The research was carried out under the supervision of Professor Brian Harvey (pictured) by researchers in the RCSI Department of Molecular Medicine in collaboration with Professor Richard Costello, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Beaumont Hospital and Dr Paul McNally at the National Children's Research Centre, OLHSC Crumlin Hospital. The paper arose from work of PhD student Dr Mazen Al-Alawi, a recipient of a HRB Molecular Medicine Ireland clinician-scientist award. (September 2014)


RCSI Researchers Play Key Role in International Collaboration to Uncover the Genetic Mysteries of Epilepsy

RCSI researchers played a leading role in a study recently published in Lancet Neurology that has made an important step in discovering that whether we develop epilepsy or not may be determined by the combination of genes we inherit. More than 34,000 people were involved in this genetic study, of which more than 8,000 had epilepsy. The study participants were of European, Asian and African ancestry. Read more...

 Read the study here ( ) (September 2014)


RCSI study reveals 15% of older Irish people prescribed ‘inappropriate' medication

Lead researcher of the study, RCSI, Dr Rose GalvinResearch also discovered high levels of omission in patient prescriptions

A new study from RCSI and Trinity College Dublin, which examined the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and prescribing omissions in older Irish adults, has found that 14% of people over the age of 65 has been prescribed at least one inappropriate form of medication in their lives and 30% have not been prescribed clinically indicated medications, at least once in their lives. The research was carried out by RCSI's Department of General Practice, the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research and Trinity College Dublin, using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), and was recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Lead researcher of the study, RCSI Dr Rose Galvin pictured. Read more.... (July 2014)


Advanced Online Publication in Molecular Psychiatry

Dr Melanie Focking (pictured), RCSI Department of Psychiatry, is primary author in the article "Proteomic and genomic evidence implicates the postsynaptic density in schizophrenia." which has been published in an advanced online publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the highest impact journal in Psychiatry.

To view please go to (July 2014)


RCSI Research Nominated for Academic Researcher of the Year Award 2014

Professor David Cotter, RCSI Department of Psychiatry, has been shortlisted for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Academic Researcher of the Year Award 2014. This is a prestigious and competitive award covering psychiatrists in UK and Ireland. (July 2014)




RCSI researchers awarded commercialisation funding from Enterprise Ireland

Three researchers from RCSI have been successful in receiving grants aimed at helping to commercialise four research projects being undertaken at the College. Professor Fergal O'Brien, Professor Mauro Adamo and Professor Caroline Jefferies have all received grants from Enterprise Ireland's Commercialisation Fund Programme.
Professor Fergal O'Brien (pictured left), Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine in RCSI's Department of Anatomy, has received funding for two separate research projects, one is for the development of a new collagen-based film for ocular repair, called OcularColl (for which he has been awarded €222,705). The second grant, for an amount of €554,264, will go towards his research on PanaColl, a Collagen-Scaffold Based Systems for the Delivery of Antibiotics for the Treatment of Microbial Infections & Enhancement of Tissue Regeneration.

Professor Mauro Adamo (pictured left), Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry in RCSI's Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry received a grant totalling €193,310 for the development and scale-up of licensable processes to make Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).


Professor Caroline Jefferies (pictured left), Associate Professor and Head of Biochemistry in RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) was awarded €324,810 for her research on TIL3A-100 as a novel therapeutic in SLE (lupus).




The Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Programme aims to convert the outputs of state funded research into innovative new products, services and companies. The Programme supports researchers in Higher Education Institutions and Research Performing Organisations to undertake research that has the potential to result in the commercialisation of new innovations by way of licenses to improve the competitiveness of Irish Industry or through the spin out of new start-up ventures. (July 2014)


RCSI welcomes SFI funding to support early career researchers

On 7th July 2014, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland's most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. The funding is being awarded through Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes.


Pictured at the announcement are (l-r) Professor David Henshall, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Professor Mark Ferguson (Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government) Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel

Four RCSI researchers were among those to be awarded funding. Two senior post-doctoral researchers from RCSI were recipients of the Starting Investigator Grants: Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel. Both work in the epilepsy research laboratory in the Physiology Department at the RCSI and are mentored by Professor David Henshall. Both projects focus on molecules called microRNAs which work to control of protein levels in cells.

Career Development Awards were announced for two RCSI Senior Lecturers: Dr Annette Byrne, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a project on metastatic colorectal cancer; and Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), for research into genetic biomarkers for epilepsy. Read more.... (July 2014)


RCSI Scientist in Top World Rankings

Professor Mary Cannon will appear in the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers website and 2014 World's Most Influential Scientific Minds report which has been recently launched.

A total of 11 Irish researchers, including RCSI Professor Mary Cannon (pictured), Department of Psychiatry and Beaumont Hospital, have featured in the World's most influential scientific minds and  have been ranked among the world's top 3,000 by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means the person's research is listed in the top 1 per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists.

All were gauged to be "highly cited researchers" who had had an "exceptional impact", Thompson Reuters said.

Their work "has consistently been judged by peers to be of particular significance and utility", the company said when releasing the list on the website

Those selected will also be published in book form, the Thompson Reuters 2014 World's Most Influential Scientific Minds.  

Not only is Professor Cannon just one of 11 Irish academics to make this outstanding achievement, she is the only woman in Ireland to achieve this. About Professor Mary Cannon


(July 2014)


New Irish study shows high alcohol consumption in older population on prescribed medication

Researcher warns of future increase in risk of alcohol related adverse drug events

Over half of all older Irish adults prescribed medications which have the potential to interact with alcohol, still regularly consume alcohol during the course of their prescription, a new study from RCSI's School of Pharmacy has found. Alcohol can interact harmfully with certain prescription medications, which are known as alcohol interactive (AI medicines).The research, developed in conjunction with the Health Research Board (HRB) Centre for Primary Care Research and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has recently been published in the journal BMC Geriatrics. This study is based on data from The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

The study, led by Dr Gráinne Cousins (pictured), Lecturer in RCSI's School of Pharmacy, found that 72% of adults over the age of 60 residing in Ireland are prescribed AI medications. Of this figure, 60% of people reported consuming alcohol during the course of their prescriptions. Almost one in five older adults combined heavy drinking with cardiovascular agents and anti-diabetic agents, with 16% of the sample combining heavy drinking with central nervous system (CNS) agents. Read more.... (July 2014)


Expert group on Internet Content Governance publishes report

Group, including Director of RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre Mary Aiken, make recommendations to Minister for Communications

Ms Mary Aiken (pictured), Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre based in the RCSI Institute of Leadership, is part of the government Internet Content Governance Advisory (ICGA) Group which has produced 30 recommendations to be followed up by a team from five Government Departments. Minister for Communications Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D recently launched this report, which will act as a new framework for the oversight of internet content. Read more... (July 2014)



New leukaemia drug boosts survival rate to 90% and could eventually replace invasive chemical treatment

Patients in Ireland have been involved in a breakthrough international trial of a new cancer drug which has given researchers renewed hope in the fight against leukaemia.  Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found Ibrutinib, an inhibitor of Bruton's Kinase, to have better rates of survival for patients with the commonest form of leukaemia than conventional therapy and is a breakthrough for people with resistance to chemotherapy.

The results of a trial on 391 patients showed the drug Ibrutinib gave patients fighting a type of slow growing blood cancer called Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) a 90 per cent chance of survival, compared to 81 per cent who survive on more conventional treatment. Read more.... (June 2014)


New Irish research affirms safety of flu vaccine in pregnancy and reveals uptake patterns in Irish population

A new study which examined Irish maternity hospital data during the recent flu pandemic has affirmed that the seasonal influenza vaccine is safe at any stage during pregnancy. The research, which was led by RCSI's School of Pharmacy and the Rotunda Hospital, also showed that vaccination uptake was influenced by sociodemographic factors such as age and country of origin of the mother. The research has been published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive BiologyLead researcher of the study, Prof Brian Cleary pictured. Read more... (June 2014)



RCSI Researchers Awarded Funding for SFI Industry Fellowship Programme

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD has announced the award of funding of over €1.7 million to support twenty new industry-academia partnerships through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Industry Fellowship Programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through SFI.

RCSI researchers Dr Annette Byrne (right) and Professor Caroline Jeffries (left) were among those who were awarded funding through the programme. Dr Annette Byrne, Senior Lecturer, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, received funding for a project in partnership with Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals for research on cancer biomarkers. Professor Caroline Jeffries, Associate Professor and Head of Biochemistry, RCSI Department of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), was awarded funding for research in partnership with AMGEN on biomarkers in lupus (SLE).

The SFI Industry Fellowship Programme provides researchers from academic institutions with the opportunity to gain important first-hand experience in a commercial research environment, while also providing industry with access to highly specialised trained researchers from academic institutions. The aim of the programme is to increase levels of collaboration between industry and academia.

These are the first twenty awards approved for funding under this new programme and involve research in key sectors such as animal health, smart grid, marine, solar energy, transport and mobility studies, and diagnostics in oncology with both multinational companies and SMEs participating. Read more.... (June 2014)

Waterford nurse wins CJ Coleman Award with research on Irish hip fracture care

 Louise Brent, RCSI Trauma and Orthopaedic Clinical Programme, (pictured 2nd from left) was awarded this year's CJ Coleman award. The title of her research project was ‘Improving Hip Fracture Care in Ireland: The collaboration of the Irish Hip Fracture Database (IHFD) and the Development of a National Integrated Care Pathway for hip fracture'. Read more.... (June 2014)


National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 Awards

Dr Frances Horgan (School of Physiotherapy) and Dr Rose Galvin (HRB Centre for Primary Care Research) have received a grant from the National Disability Authority Research Promotion Scheme 2014 to explore the factors related to return to work after stroke. The study will involve collaboration with the National Rehabilitation Hospital Vocational Training Unit, Baggot Street Community Stroke Unit and the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Support group network. The study findings will be reported in Spring 2015. (June 2014)

Delivering drugs on cue

A new study from Harvard's University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has challenged current drug-delivery systems used to administer chemotherapy to cancer patients. These systems typically release a constant dose of the drug over a period of time. The new study challenges this "slow and steady" approach and offers a novel way to locally deliver the drugs "on demand," as reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A co-lead author of this research is Cathal Kearney, Senior Research Fellow, RCSI Department of Anatomy. Read more... (June 2014)


Pfizer Prize for Best Oral Presentation

Ms Natalia Lajczak, PhD student in the Department of Molecular Medicine, won the Pfizer Prize for best oral presentation by a young researcher at the Annual Meeting of the Physiological Society, London on 1st June 2014. Natalia presented her PhD research on Protective anti-inflammatory effects of bile acids in colonic epithelia. (June 2014)



Alan Ryan wins Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher & TERMIS EU Young Investigator Award

Alan Ryan, a PhD student in the Department of Anatomy, Tissue Engineering Research Group and AMBER, was awarded two distinguished awards. The first was the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher. The Scholarship aims to help researchers to share advancing knowledge throughout the global Science, Engineering and Technology community to enhance people's lives around the world. The second, at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) - European Conference, held in Genoa Italy in June 2014, Mr Ryan (pictured) beat over 500 other entrants to take out the TERMIS EU Young Investigator Award for Best Poster Presentation. Mr Ryan's prize winning poster was entitled ""A biomimetic tissue engineered vascular graft fabricated from collagen and elastin". (June 2014)


School of Physiotherapy - HRB Research Training Fellowships Success

Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals 2014 awards were awarded to Rory O'Sullivan to conduct a study on ‘The Progression of Crouch Gait in Diplegic Cerebral Palsy'. Rory will be supervised by Dr Frances Horgan and Dr Helen French as well as Professor Tim O'Brien from the Central Remedial Clinic during the research. Paul Kirwan, based in Connolly Hospital, was also awarded a fellowship for his study entitled ‘The use of eccentric exercises and topical glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) in the treatment of mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised placebo controlled trial'. (May 2014)


American television network, CBS, has commissioned a primetime TV series CSI: Cyber, a programme based on RCSI Mary Aiken's work as a cyberpsychologist. Mary who is Director of RCSI's CyberPsychology Research Centre, will be a producer and consultant to the show, as well as heading up the RCSI CyPsy Research Centre in RCSI Institute of Leadership, Sandyford. (May 2014)


ENCALS Conference

Sinéad Kinsella was awarded the prize for Best Poster Presentation in the basic science research category at the ENCALS (European Network for the Cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) annual conference, held at the University of Leuven, Belgium May 22-24th 2014. Sinéad Kinsella and Dr. Hans-Georg König, both with the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, examined the role of the Bcl-2 protein Bid in Toll-like Receptor signalling (TLR). Mutant SOD1 protein, previously shown to be secreted and to induce TLR-signalling, is one of the pathogenic drivers that is characteristic of an inherited form of the devastating motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The data presented on the prestigious international conference showed that deletion of the intracellular protein Bid in microglia attenuated activation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by these immune cells when exposed to the mutant SOD1 protein. These pathways may show new avenues for drug discovery aiming to abate the deleterious neuroinflammation in ALS. Sinéad is a BioAT PhD student under the guidance of Prof. Jochen Prehn at the Dept. of Physiology and Medical Physics. (May 2014)

EU Researchers Night

RCSI in conjunction with TCD have been selected by the EU Commission to host a European initiative called ‘Discover Research'. The Discover Research Night will take place on 26th September 2014 & 25th September 2015 and is open free of charge to the general public. The objective of the night, which will be hosted in cities across Europe, is open research up to the general public; to promote research as an exciting career option, to demonstrate creativity and innovation and to show how research can contribute to society. Researchers from RCSI will showcase research initiatives that have been developed in partnership with TCD. This includes work from the Tissue Engineering Research Group being carried out through partnerships, such as the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre and FP7-funded Advanced Materials for Cardiac Regeneration (AMCARE) project and teaching initiatives such as Anatomy from the Outside In. (May 2014)

New European study aims to better understand child abuse online

Researchers from RCSI will undertake a new study which aims to achieve a better understanding of online child abuse, thereby preventing this abuse while identifying new strategies for law enforcement. This study will be run in collaboration with other institutes in the UK, Italy, and the Netherlands and is funded by the European Commission.

This project, entitled 'Developing research informed good practice policing and industry collaborative models in preventing online child abuse and profiling child victims', will use existing evidence of the online behaviour of perpetrators of crimes such as online grooming and accessing indecent child images which will inform policing and industry best practice in prevention of such crime. It will publish a set of good practice models and guidelines which will help in identifying potential child victims of grooming, while creating a safer online environment for children and young people.

The study is being undertaken by the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, Tilburg University (Netherlands); Kore University of Enna in Sicily and is being led by Middlesex University, the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS).

Speaking on this cross-EU study, Mary Aiken (pictured), Director of RCSI's CyberPsychology Research Centre said, ‘Keeping vulnerable children and young people safe when online is a priority for our work. This new study will help us to further understand those who are preying on children across the globe. This is an issue that crosses borders and these findings will resonate across the globe. From our launch symposium last October, a central part of our vision for the CyberPsychology Research Centre has been to become an academic resource for law enforcement across the world and we are delighted to work with CATS and our EU partners in furthering that vision'.

Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Co-Ordinator at the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre added, ‘This is an important first step in the growth and expansion of the Research Centre, not only with regard to strengthening existing collaborative relationships and developing new academic partnerships, but also in terms of adding high quality researchers to our team'. (May 2014)


Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn launches €9 million EU and Irish funded Assistive Technologies research project

RCSI co-ordinated research project into technologies for people with autism and intellectual disability

European Union Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has launched a major Irish-led EU research programme in autism and intellectual disability. The research is co-funded (€9 million in total) by the EU Marie Curie ASSISTID Cofund and the Irish charity RESPECT. This wide ranging research project in this specific field is the first of its kind in Europe. Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of Research DOCTRID, (pictured right) will lead the research on behalf of the DOCTRID Research Institute, which includes the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, all of the universities on the island of Ireland, RCSI, Dublin and Tralee Institute of Technology - and the US universities Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts.

The programme will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, their carers and families. Read more.... (May 2014)

International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme

Dr Rose Galvin, Department of General Practice & HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, had be awarded a placement on the prestigious International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme 2014. This programme is hosted by the Nuttfield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford and is designed to develop future leaders in primary care research and assist participants in exploring different aspects of leadership in primary care research. (May 2014)


Doctor Emigration Project Survey

RCSI Professor Ruairi Brugha (pictured) and Dr Niamh Humphries, Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, have recently begun a HRB-funded research project into the emigration of doctors from Ireland, which will run until 2016. This study aims to improve our understanding of emigration, retention and the motivations of Ireland's doctors and will be used by other stakeholders to formulate strategies to improve the retention of doctors in the Irish health system and to attract back those who have left. (May 2014)


RCSI welcomes major Government investment in Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD have announced €47 million in funding for pioneering research initiatives, delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. Three RCSI projects were among those announced as recipients of the funding to carry out research in the areas of epilepsy, colorectal cancer and medical devices.

The Programme will provide funding over a three to five year period, for a total of 36 research projects involving over 200 researchers. The projects were selected by competitive peer review by 400 international scientists, focusing on excellent research with potential impact.

Prof Jochen Prehn

Professor Jochen Prehn, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €2.2 million for his project ‘BCL-2 family proteins and cellular bioenergetics in the control of cell survival: Towards novel predictive and prognostic markers for disease progression and therapy responses in colorectal cancer patients'. Professor David Henshall, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, was awarded €0.9million for research into ‘MicroRNA biofluid profiles as molecular diagnostics for epilepsy'. Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, RCSI School of Pharmacy, was jointly awarded €1.9 million for a collaborative project with Dr Andreas Heise, DCU entitled ‘Functional polymers for (nano)medical devices'.

Prof David Henshall

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: "RCSI welcomes the announcement to provide major funding to three RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme. I congratulate the RCSI researchers involved; their success is a testament to the world-class, high-impact biomedical translational research being carried out here in the College which will ultimately lead to improved diagnoses and treatments for the benefit of patients and the community." 

Prof Sally-Ann Cryan

A fourth RCSI project proposed by Dr Ann Hopkins, RCSI Department of Surgery, for research into breast cancer, was deemed scientifically excellent and impactful by the International Review Panel and is on a reserve list to be funded in the future.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: "This investment through SFI helps to develop Ireland's international reputation for excellent research with impact. This allows us to continue to attract foreign-direct investment, as well as to support Irish companies, long-term economic competitiveness and most importantly ultimately job-creation."

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD said: "This major investment will support world-class research in key priority areas that support economic and social development in Ireland. By concentrating on sectors of strength, the SFI Investigators Programme aligns funding to areas of increasing national and international importance. This will create many opportunities for successful collaboration between industry and Ireland's science ecosystem."

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: "The Investigators Programme will support Ireland's research community in developing projects that can lead and win in Horizon 2020. Not only will it provide direct support for over 200 researchers, the programme will also have an indirect impact on many other research programmes by allowing for the development of further research links with industry in Ireland and internationally." (May 2014)


RCSI Awarded Health Research Board (HRB) Student Summer Fellowships 2014

The Health Research Board (HRB) has awarded RCSI with 11 Student Summer Fellowships for summer 2014. The sucessful students are Yvonne Sweeney, Anthony Sharkey, Hannah Dunne, Caoimhe Gilmore, Nessa Walsh, Emmet Power, Nabila Boksmati, Ryan Fagan, Jane Marron, John Flanagan and Lorna Cummins. A special mention also goes to their respective sponsors: Professor Sally-Ann Cryan (School of Pharmacy), Dr Garry Duffy (Anatomy), Professor Dermot Kenny (MCT), Dr Frances Horgan (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Joanne Ramsey (School of Pharmacy), Professor Mary Cannon (Psychiatry), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT), Dr Helen French (School of Physiotherapy), Dr Brian Cleary (School of Pharmacy), Professor Peter Conlon (Beaumont), Dara Meldrum (School of Physiotherapy). (April 2014)


 From RCSI to CSI - exciting news for Cyberpsychology

Mary Aiken, Director CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is part of the RCSI Institute of Leadership, has been working with CBS on a 'CSI Cyber' pilot series.

The promo clip for the pilot episode, now on youtube at, airs on Wednesday, 30th April 2014, on CBS 10pm EST.

The CSI Cyber pilot series will explore technology and human behaviour. Actor Patricia Arquette's  character, Avery Ryan, plays Mary Aiken (inspired by Aiken, who is a producer on the show), a special agent in charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI.

Aiken is a cyberpsychologist and research fellow at RCSI's Institute of Leadership and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre. Her research looks at the impact of emerging technology on human behaviour, including the negative aspects such as cyberbullying, criminal activities and anxiety. Her work has explored areas such as human trafficking, cybersecurity and online profiling.

It's not Aiken's first time to be involved in a TV series - she was a featured expert, writer and researcher on the TV3 series Crime in Mind.

Commenting on this exciting project Mary said "The US LE agencies that I work with are delighted with this opportunity as primetime television is a very important platform to provide cyber security and safety messaging to the general public". (April 2014)


 RCSI Malaria vaccine undergoes first human trial

European Vaccine Initiative to meet to mark World Malaria Day

A malaria vaccine developed by researchers at RCSI's Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, has recently undergone its first human trials. The clinical and immunological responses to 24 volunteers have proved the vaccine safe, well tolerated and the immunology results are very promising. To coincide with World Malaria Day (Friday 25th April), scientific leaders in vaccine development from academia, industry and the public sector will meet at RCSI for the first meeting in Dublin of the board and scientific advisory committee of the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) where they will plan future funding and further research into the area of vaccine research.

This malaria vaccine is envisaged as a valuable addition to malaria control and forms part of the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s malaria control roadmap. During these trials, funded by the EVI, volunteers are exposed to malaria after vaccination to assess vaccine effectiveness. Combining this vaccine with others in development may lead to a vaccine that could prevent malaria, which will have a huge impact on human health as a result. The vaccine will now progress to phase two trials at the University of Oxford.

The WHO estimates that 207 million cases of malaria occurred globally in 2012 and 627,000 malaria deaths. Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) occurred in Africa and most deaths (77%) were in children under five years of age. (i)

The EVI Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) will convene on Monday 28th April. This committee makes recommendations to the EVI Board on scientific direction and technologies as well as on the choice of vaccines candidates for funding. The EVI Board will subsequently hold their meeting on Tuesday 29th April. Both are being held at the RCSI campus on St. Stephen's Green.

Speaking about these meetings, Professor Sam McConkey, Head of the RCSI Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine and member of the EVI SAC (pictured) said, ‘These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss current and future orientations for translational research, getting new ideas in a laboratory to safe effective products in human clinical trials, the core area that EVI works in, while making important strategic decisions on planning for funding. It will be a pleasure to welcome our European colleagues both to Dublin and to the College for this milestone event.'

Dr Odile Leroy, Executive Director of EVI, says ‘Nothing would have been possible without the support of Irish Aid. Since its inception EVI has contributed to the development of 32 malaria vaccine candidate formulations with 16 vaccine candidates being advanced into phase I clinical trials, three of which have been transitioned for further clinical development in sub-Saharan Africa.'

EVI was initially established in 1998 with seed funding from the European Commission and focused exclusively on malaria. Over the years EVI´s mandate has grown and has the principal objective to develop effective, accessible, and affordable vaccines against malaria and other diseases of poverty. EVI's vision is 'a world free of the intolerable burden of diseases of poverty within the coming decades'. RCSI is a constituent member of this organisation which is funded also by Irish Aid. Irish Aid is the Irish Government's programme for overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (April 2014)


(i) World Health Organisation (WHO)



Dr Lorna Lopez Awarded First Prize From the Schizophrenia International Research Society

Dr Lorna Lopez from Professor David Cotter's group in the Department of Psychiatry was awarded first prize from the Schizophrenia International Research Society for her poster at the 4th Biennial Schizophrenia International Research Conference held in Florence, Italy, early in April 2014.  This was an internationally renowned conference with over 1,700 delegates and 800 posters. Lorna was awarded 1st prize winner for her presentation of her work on "Integrated genomic and proteomic evidence for the postsynaptic density in schizophrenia" with the Cotter team including Melanie Focking, Jane English, Patrick Dicker, Annemarie Wolff, Elizabeth Brindley, Kieran Wynne and Gerard Cagney. Also from Professor Cotter's team, Dr Melanie Focking and PhD students Lorna Farrelly and Elizabeth Brindley presented posters and Dr Jane English presented exciting new findings implicating protein translation in schizophrenia in a symposium on stem cell biology in schizophrenia chaired and organised by Professor Cotter. (April 2014)



National Survey of Stroke Survivors in Ireland Report launched

Pictured at the launch are (l-r) Dr Rose Galvin, Dr Frances Horgan and Mary Walsh.

The National Survey of Stroke Survivors in Ireland Report was launched on 7 April at the National Disability Authority. The study was led by RCSI researchers Dr Frances Horgan and Mary Walsh, RCSI School of Physiotherapy, Dr Rose Galvin, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research and Chris Macey and Cliona Loughnane from the Irish Heart Foundation.

Approximately 11,000 people experience a stroke each year in the Republic of Ireland (Irish Heart Foundation, 2012). This research project aimed to describe the experiences and needs of people who have returned to live in the community after experiencing a stroke. The research was funded under the National Disability Authority's Research Promotion Grant Scheme. Almost 200 people responded to the survey.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Frances Horgan (PI) highlighted that ‘Stroke was found to have a personal, social and economic impact, and there were challenges that affected return to independence'.

The launch coincides with the start of Stroke Awareness Week, April 7th-11th 2014. For more information go to (April 2014)



RCSI Researcher Council Member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research

Dr. Olga Piskareva (Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics) has been elected as council member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research at the annual IACR meeting's AGM in Galway. Olga will serve a three year term and is the fourth RCSI member on the council. The Irish Association for Cancer Research is an All-Ireland non-profit organisation for cancer researchers in the Irish biomedical community. (April 2014)



Research May Lead to a New Bowel Cancer Detection Method

New evidence that a common gut bacterium is involved in bowel cancer has been discovered by researchers from the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics in RCSI. The research is published in the April edition of the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.

The HRB funded research, led by Dr David Hughes at the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI found a significantly increased presence of a common microbe Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) in tissue and stool samples of patients with colorectal cancers and colorectal benign tumours. Additionally Fn infection levels were related with benign tumour progression from early to advanced stages and the transition from a benign tumour to cancer.

Commenting on the research, Dr David Hughes, said "Our research found that cancer patients with low bacterial levels had significantly longer survival times than patients with moderate and high levels of the bacterium.  Also, for patients with a benign tumour, we found that the presence of Fn may be a risk factor for disease progression from tumour to cancer. This is a significant finding because it highlights the potential of Fn detection as a possible indicator of colorectal cancers."

The research highlights that screening for Fn levels may be used as a new bowel cancer detection method or to further inform existing screening strategies. Efforts to combat Fn infection could be considered for colorectal cancers patients with high levels of the bacterium to improve the survival prospects for these patients.

For patients with benign tumours, Fn levels may be used to classify the tumours that may have a higher risk of disease progression to colorectal cancers with implications for increasing follow-up and at the possible use of anti-microbial treatments.

Dr Hughes continued "Potentially, any impact of Fn infection on benign tumour development and progression to more serious stages will be considerable, because 95% of all bowel cancers arise from benign tumours, but only a small number of them become cancerous. Currently, there are no reliable predictive markers of whether a benign tumour will advance to cancer." (April 2014)


Epilepsy Research Publication in Nature Genetics

RCSI researchers have published a study on epilepsy in the journal Nature Genetics. The study, entitled ‘TDP2 protects transcription from abortive topoisomerase activity and is required for normal neural function' (NG 2014, doi:10.1038/ng.2929) has identified a novel gene for epilepsy and links a novel biological pathway to the condition, was co-authored by Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (pictured), Dr Mark McCormack and Professor Norman Delanty (all of MCT). (March 2014)


Professor Brian Harvey Keynote Speaker at West Coast Salt & Water Club

Professor Brian Harvey (Molecular Medicine) delivered the Keynote Lecture on ‘Estrogen regulation of epithelial ion transporters in health and disease' at the 33rd annual meeting of the West Coast Salt and Water Club (WCSWC) held at Avila Beach, California in March this year. The WCSWC is an elite group of US scientists and physicians who share common interests in ion and solute transport, epithelial cell biology, and cellular regulatory mechanisms in a variety of systems. (March 2014)


Professor David Henshall Presented with Robert Bentley Todd Silver Medal

Professor David Henshall (Physiology and Medical Physics) was presented with the Robert Bentley Todd Silver Medal by the RCSI Neuroscience Society, in recognition of his contributions to teaching and research in neuroscience. This award was made during an undergraduate-hosted evening that focused on basic research and clinical aspects of epilepsy, held at RCSI on March 6th. (March 2014)


Perinatal Ireland Study Day

Professor Fergal Malone (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Dr Elizabeth Tully (Perinatal Ireland) and Dr Julia Unterscheider (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) hosted the first Perinatal Ireland Study Day which took place on Thursday March 6th 2014 in the Rotunda Hospital. This open meeting was attended by clinicians, allied health professionals and members of the public and it showcased research in the areas of Multiple Pregnancy and Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). (March 2014)


SODIS Project

The SODIS Project , which is the work of Professor Kevin McGuigan (Physiology and Medical Physics) and his team has received renewed and increased their funding through the Princess Haya Foundation for this initiative. This important award will fund the installation of harvested rainwater tanks in rural primary schools in Makondo in South Western Uganda as well as postgraduate research in the area. (March 2014)

On 20th March 2014, the annual RCSI Research Day took place, showcasing the most recent, cutting-edge research findings across the College and emphasising the importance of research within the RCSI, particularly amongst early career researchers. The latest advances in biomedical sciences, clinical research, population health sciences and healthcare delivery were just some of the topics featured on the day.  This occasion was attended by more than 300 researchers.

The Annual John J Ryan Distinguished Guest Lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly who spoke of "Human metabolic disease: lessons from the extremes", in a fascinating lecture exploring his research into the genetic causes of extreme obesity and insulin resistance which have provided new insights into the physiology of energy balance and metabolism. A native of Dublin, Professor O'Rahilly is Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine the University of Cambridge. He is the Co-Director of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and Director of the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit.

Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly delivers the Annual John J Ryan Distinguished Guest Lecture



Pictured (l-r) are Bojana Mirkovic (Early Career Investigators Oral Research - The Barnes Medal); Tristram Hills (Undergraduate Poster); Natalia Rodriguez Alavarez (PhD Scholars Poster); Aoife McKeon (Front Cover Illustration Abstract Book); Prof Kevin McGuigan, Research Day Academic Coordinator; Yuan-Hsun Chang (Undergraduate Oral Research - The Dr. Harry O'Flanagan Prize), Mary Elizabeth Walsh (Post-graduate Oral Research - The Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals Prize); Ashwanth Ramesh (Post-graduate Poster), Ciara A. O'Dwyer (PhD Scholars Oral Research - The Roche Gold Medal); and Dr Alice Garvey (Health Professions Education Award)

Additional prize winners included Ian Miller (Early Career Investigators) and Dr. Kieran Sweeney was the recipient of the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery.

Pictured (l-r) are Dr Camilla Carroll, daughter of Mr Kamal Sayed and graduate of RCSI who presented the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery (Generously supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965) which was awarded to Dr. Kieran Sweeney; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Dr Safia Sayed; and Dr Jacintha More O'Ferrall.

The successful event was organised by Co-ordinators Professor Kevin McGuigan (Academic Co-ordinator); Stephanie O'Connor and Cathy Priestley (Research Office Co-ordinators). (March 2014)



New Review Article from RCSI

Prof Kevin McGuigan in collaboration with researchers in I.T. Sligo, UCC, University of Ulster, Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain, University of Cyprus, Florida International University and University of Cincinnati published a new review article on Solar photocatalysis for water disinfection: Materials and reactor design in the RSC journal Catalysis Science & Technology. This review addresses the fundamental reaction mechanism, advances in materials synthesis and selection and recent developments in the reactor design for solar energy driven photocatalysis using titanium dioxide. The major advantage of using photo-reactors is that they enhance disinfection by increasing photon flux into the photocatalyst. Other major factors affecting such efficiency of solar-based photocatalysis such as the illuminated volume/total volume ratio, catalyst load and flow rate, are discussed in detail. The article is available to download at (March 2014)


RCSI Prize-winners at the Young Life Scientists Ireland 2014 symposium

RCSI had great success at the recent Young Life Scientists Ireland 2014 symposium, which was held at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Trinity College Dublin on the 1st of March. Naadiya Carrim (MCT) and Cormac McDonnell (School of Pharmacy & MCT) were awarded first and second prizes, respectively, for Best Oral Presentation in the Cardiovascular Biology section. Nicola Kavanagh (School of Pharmacy & MCT) received second prize in the general poster category for her presentation. Three PhD students from the TERG were also awarded with prizes. Mr Alan Ryan was awarded 1st prize in the Regenerative Medicine category of the oral presentations with his talk entitled "Generating Viable Tissue Engineered Vascular Grafts from Natural Polymers", while Mr Cian O'Leary received 2nd prize in the same category for his talk entitled "A Tissue-Engineering Approach to Improve Airway In Vitro Models: The Development of a Bilayered Collagen-GAG Scaffold". Ms Nicola Kavanagh, a recently appointed PhD student in the TERG, received a runner up prize for her poster presentation entitled "Development of a 3D Scaffold Based Model System for the Study of Bone Infection". (March 2014)



Professor Seamus Cowman Appointed to UK's Lancet Nursing Commission

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the School of Nursing & Midwifery is set to play a major role in deciding the future of nursing in the United Kingdom after he was appointed to the Lancet Commission in Britain.

The Commission plans to review the education, workforce, practice, image and future of UK nursing and to provide recommendations on each to the profession, the public and key decision-makers.

Taking into account international comparators, the Commission will then produce a report on its deliberations and proposals, which will be published both in The Lancet and as a separate booklet. (March 2014)


Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Article Highly Cited

Dr. Marcus Rehm (pictured) and Dr. Christian T. Hellwig are corresponding authors for the article, TRAIL Signaling and Synergy Mechanisms Used in TRAIL-Based Combination Therapies. Mol Cancer Ther. January 2012: 11:3-13 which was one of the most highly-cited Molecular Cancer Therapeutics articles published in 2012. (February 2014)



Perinatal Ireland

A delegation from the RCSI Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and the Perinatal Ireland Research Consortium recently participated in the 'Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine: 34th Annual Pregnancy Meeting' in New Orleans. Data and results from the recently completely PORTO study on the management of pregnancies affected by growth restriction were presented in both oral and poster format. In total, three oral presentations and 12 posters were presented by Professor Fergal Malone and his team.  The first ‘Perinatal Ireland Study Day' will take place on Thursday March 6th 2014 in the Rotunda Hospital. This is an open meeting for clinicians, allied health professionals and the public and will showcase the results of the ‘ESPRiT National Twin Study' and the ‘PORTO Study on the Management of IUGR pregnancies'. (February 2014) 

COPD Research

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine, and his team of researchers from RCSI, the Alpha One Foundation and Harvard University have made a major breakthrough in identifying a significant proportion of the population who have an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to a combination of inherited genes and exposure to cigarette smoke. Their paper is entitled ‘Clari?cation of the Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in a1-Antitrypsin De?ciency PiMZ Heterozygotes' (Vol 189, No 4 / Feb 15 2014) had been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and has  attracted widespread media attention in Ireland. (February 2014) 


RCSI's ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' initiative launched as part of Safer Internet Day 2014

The RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is part of the RCSI Institute of Leadership, launched its ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' initiative as part of the Centre's participation in Safer Internet Day 2014 on 11th February 2014.  The 'Cyber Pal' concept, which is based on solid and established cyberpsychological research findings, is in line with the theme of Safer Internet Day 2014, ‘Creating a Better Internet Together' and aims to improve behaviour online, particularly amongst children and young people.

‘Be a Cyber Pal!' encourages young people to follow seven steps to improve safety online including: ‘Don't be a bystander: be a Cyber Pal' and ‘Reach out to a trusted Cyber Pal when feeling lonely or down.' The initiative was developed by Mary Aiken, Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre (pictured) and Dr. Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Coordinator, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.

Safer Internet Day which was launched by Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills, is part of a global drive to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. The event is organised in Ireland by Webwise and aims to educate and raise awareness about protecting children online, so that they can responsibly enjoy the benefits of the internet, without compromising their safety and privacy.  The focus of Safer Internet Day 2014 is to reach out to young people and encourage them to address the issue of cyber bullying themselves by leading awareness raising campaigns in their clubs, schools, and communities.

Mary Aiken Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre said: ‘Youth empowerment and positive action lie at the centre of the ‘"Be a Cyber Pal!" protocol which aims to support the overall messaging of Safer Internet Day 2014 which is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.'

‘The RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre is delighted to partner with the Irish Safer Internet Day 2014 team to produce anti-cyberbullying messaging that is targeted, appropriate, empowering and most importantly academically grounded,' Mary concluded. 

‘Being part of this initiative reflects a central aim of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, which is to produce evidence-based insight and advice in a fast-changing environment', added Dr. Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Coordinator, RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.

At the launch event for Safer Internet Day 2014 Minister Quinn also unveiled a new anti-cyber bullying school's kit, the #UP2US Anti-Bullying Kit, containing awareness raising material, a new teaching resource for dealing with the issue of cyber bullying through the curriculum in post primary schools and an innovative interactive poster initiative. The pack will challenge young people to find new ways to use the internet and social media to stand up to bullying and show solidarity with victims.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Quinn said, ‘This innovative education resource will support the efforts of schools to prevent bullying behaviour through the fostering and development of a positive culture and climate that is based on inclusivity and respect both in schools and in the online communities where children spend time. Effective practice includes prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.'

The ‘Net Children Go Mobile' report also released at the event has revealed that increased use of mobile devices have created new areas of risks such as increased levels of bullying and exposure to potentially harmful Internet content. The report showed that girls are more likely to be bullied online than boys and that new strategies are needed to ensure young people's safety and welfare in a post-desktop internet environment.

Further information on ‘Be a Cyber Pal!' can be found at: (February 2014)


Human Disease Mapping Conference
PhD students Christopher Whelan and Annachiara Mitrugno (MCT) were Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the recent successful conference on Human Disease Mapping. This conference was organised by Christopher and Annachiara along with their postgraduate student colleagues in RCSI, under HRB support, for postgraduate students and postdocs nationally and internationally. Naadiya Carrim (MCT) received the prize for Best Oral Presentation.   (February 2014)


International Diabetes Federation Grantee
A study which examined the co-existence of two common diseases in Bahrain, diabetes and sickle cell, by Dr Ali Abdulnabi Mohamed in RCSI Bahrain, has been selected as one of 15 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Grantees for the World Diabetes Congress (WDC) 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. The research was under the supervision of Professor David Whitford, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and now Head of School of Postgraduate Studies and Research. (February 2014)


RCSI Cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken inspires latest CSI TV spin-off

From RCSI to CSI - a potential new spin-off from the TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been inspired by the work of Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken at the RCSI.

The planned spin-off will explore technology and human behaviour and will revolve around the character of Avery Ryan (inspired by Aiken, who is a producer on the show), a special agent in charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI.

Aiken is a cyberpsychologist and research fellow at RCSI's Institute of Leadership and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre. Her research looks at the impact of emerging technology on human behaviour, including the negative aspects such as cyberbullying, criminal activities and anxiety. Her work has explored areas such as human trafficking, cybersecurity and online profiling.

It's not Aiken's first time to be involved in a TV series - she was a featured expert, writer and researcher on the TV3 series Crime in Mind. The pilot for the potential new series will air as a CSI episode in America this spring on CBS.

Commenting on this exciting project Mary said "I think it's a great opportunity to raise money for badly needed research into the impact of technology on child development, and to embed safety and educational messaging into a mass communication forum."

Reference and further information:

(February 2014)


Endovascular treatment for Stroke patients.

The first European patient has been enrolled in the ESCAPE trial by the Neuroradiology team in Beaumont Hospital and the Mater Hospital Stroke service. The Principal Investigators for this study are Beaumont Hospital based Consultants, Prof David Williams Consultant Stroke Physician (pictured), and Dr John Thornton Consultant Neuroradiologist. They are working in collaboration with stroke services throughout the region in identifying eligible patients and offering participation in the trial.

This study compares standard thrombolysis therapy with thrombectomy, in patients with proximal vessel occlusion stroke. Its outcome has the potential to revolutionize the future management of stroke patients. The trial is sponsored by the University of Calgary, Canada and is being conducted across Canada, USA and more recently Europe. It is being coordinated by research nurses from the RCSI Clinical Research Centre. (February 2014)


Biostatistical Consulting And Support Service
A Biostatistical Consulting and Support Service (BCSS) is now available at RCSI. The service is funded by the College and aims to provide biostatistical support to researchers during the preparation and the implementation of project proposals. The introduction of this support will contribute to delivering a high quality of quantitative research and improve the statistical skills of researchers at RCSI. The BCSS is being rolled out across the college in phases. Initially it will be available to all Principal Investigators in RCSI and in the RCSI-affiliated Academic Group of Hospitals only. The team involved in implementing this service consists of Professor Ronán Conroy and Dr Patrick Dicker, of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine, and Dr Fiona Boland, General Practice (pictured). (February 2014)


RCSI Library
Kate Kelly, Mercer Library, has been named as the incoming Chair of the Irish Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL) for 2014-2016. CONUL is a consortium of Ireland's main research libraries. (February 2014)


Launch of SPHeRE Programme heralds exciting era for Population Health Research
The Structured Population and Health-services Research Education (SPHeRE) programme was launched in RCSI in January 2014. Speaking at this well-attended event, Professor Anne Hickey (Director of SPHeRE and Associate Professor of Psychology at RCSI) highlighted that the objective of the programme is to 'create a network of highly trained researchers who can competently research aspects of the current Irish health system, making recommendations to inform policy and implement changes in practice, with the aim of improving population health and health service delivery for the people of Ireland'.

Pictured (l-r) is Mr. Enda Connolly, CEO, HRB; Prof. Reinhard Busse, Technical University of Berlin; Prof. Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Prof Patricia Kearney, UCC; Professor Anne Hickey, RCSI and Director of SPHeRE; Mr. Tony O'Brien, Director General of the Health Service; and Prof. Steve Thomas, Trinity College and Co-Director of SPHeRE

The SPHeRE Programme is a partnership between RCSI, University College Cork (UCC) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), expanding on the well-established and successful HRB structured PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research which commenced in 2007. The Programme aims to produce a national integrated faculty that meets the growing demand for high quality graduates in PHHSR and improves the quality and relevance of such research in Ireland by:
  • Expanding to a national programme, incorporating HEIs beyond the founding institutions (RCSI, TCD, UCC);
  • Encompassing population health research alongside health services research, through the expansion of current taught input and thesis topics;
  • Building a national knowledge translation network for better capacity and inter-connectivity;
  • Upgrading the national skills base, for example, through new initiatives in providing access to taught modules.

Supported by a €6.3 million investment from the Health Research Board (HRB), the new programme will provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017). Dr Teresa Maguire (Head of Population Health and Health Services Research at the Health Research Board) noted: ‘The HRB has funded this programme because it directly supports our strategic objectives to build capacity in population health and health services research and develop strong evidence to drive positive changes in people's health, patient care, health policy and health service delivery'.

Other speakers at the launch included Mr Tony O'Brien (Director General of the Health Service), Prof Steve Thomas (Co-Director of SPHeRE and Associate Professor in Health Policy and Management, TCD), Prof Patricia Kearney (Research Professor, UCC), and Prof John Browne (Deputy Director of SPHeRE and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC). A keynote address on the topic of Universal Health Insurance (UHI) entitled: ‘Implementing competitive UHI: benefit basket, pooling, risk-related allocation and other important considerations', was delivered by Professor Reinhard Busse, Technical University of Berlin and European Observatory on Health Systems.

Applications for the next intake of scholars open at the end of February 2014. For more information about the Programme and details of the application process, please go to the SPHeRE Programme website at: (January 2014)


24th Sheppard Prize Winners
The RCSI Department of Pathology has announced the winners of the 24th Sheppard Prize, which is awarded to RCSI MDs and PhDs who have achieved excellence in research in their respective fields. This year's award winners were Dr Emmet O'Brien, who won the MD oral presentation prize; Dr Michelle White, who won the PhD oral presentation prize; Dr Colin Davenport, the winner of the PhD poster prize; and Dr Eoghan McCarthy who won the MD poster prize. Judging panel included a number of consultants as well as Professor Arnie Hill, Head of the School of Medicine & Chair of Surgery, RCSI and Professor Seamus Sreenan, Director of the Graduate Entry Medical Programme, RCSI.

Pictured (l-r) is Barry Morris, AstraZeneca Ireland; Dr. Colin Davenport, 1st place in PhD Poster Prize; Michelle White, 1st place in PhD Oral Prize; Dr. Emmet O'Brien, 1st MD Oral Prize; and Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine at RCSI, Beaumont Hospital. (January 2014)


TERG Researchers Win Awards

Researchers from the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) were awarded top prizes at the inaugural ‘Human Disease Mapping' conference held in RCSI late last month. Alan Ryan was awarded first place in the Student Oral category, Erica Tierney was awarded top place in the Post-Doctoral Researcher Oral category and Elaine Quinlan was awarded 2nd place in the student poster category. (January 2014)


RCSI attends ISCP-China

Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri and Professor John Waddington (MCT) have recently returned from representing RCSI and speaking at the SFI International Strategic Collaboration Programme (ISCP)-China Biomedical Workshop in Beijing, together with 3U colleagues from DCU and NUIM and additional colleagues from TCD. ISCP-China supports the development of new and existing collaborative research opportunities between Irish universities and partner organisations in China. The attached group photo shows the Irish and Chinese participants outside the Yingjie Exchange Center at Peking University; in the centre is the Irish Ambassador to China, Mr. Paul Kavanagh.

Also attached are photos of Gianpiero and John in discussions with Chinese colleagues. The hope is that these interactions will lead to new opportunities for research collaboration and enhance the attractiveness of grant applications to both national and international agencies. (January 2014)





In relation to the successful SFI ISCA-Japan award, John Waddington (MCT) recently laid some 'groundwork' for research collaborations with Japanese investigators via visits to the Department of Pharmacology, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, the Department of Psychiatry, Hamamatsu University, and the Department of Psychiatry, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine. The attached photo shows John with [left] Prof. Masatoshi Takeda, Osaka University, and [right] Prof. Noriaki Koshikawa, Nihon University, Tokyo. (January 2014)


Subsequently, Prof. Koshikawa and his colleague, Dr. Katsunori Tomiyama [left/right in the attached photo] attended the reception in Tokyo at which An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, during his recent visit to Japan, announced the ICSA-Japan award; as shown in the attached photo, Prof. Koshikawa toasted RCSI's success with a pint of Guinness! (January 2014)



RCSI Research Breakthrough in Understanding Hereditary Emphysema

13th January 2014: Researchers from RCSI and Beaumont Hospital have made an important breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of hereditary emphysema.  Their research findings were published in this month's edition of Science Translational Medicine, a prestigious journal that highlights medical advances resulting from scientific research, thus bridging the research-to-treatment gap. Their exciting findings show how the protein Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) plays an important role in controlling inflammation from white blood cells and its importance for good health.

The research found that Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is an important protein produced by the liver which, when released into the bloodstream travels to the lungs to protect the lung tissue from disease. Patients deficient in AAT suffer from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1); a hereditary disorder that leads to the most severe form of hereditary emphysema.

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine at RCSI and senior author on the study commented: "Our study is the first to reveal the mechanisms by which a lack of the Alpha-1 protein causes an increase in the release of white blood cell proteins into the blood stream. This leads to an autoimmune process in the body that mistakenly recognises these proteins as foreign and activates its own white blood cells to produce harmful oxidants"

"Our research also reveals how a treatment known as augmentation therapy, where Alpha-1 protein purified from blood, is given intravenously, leading to a decrease in the abnormal protein release thereby alleviating the disease associated autoimmunity. This research gives new hope for a better quality of life for sufferers of this chronic condition and may also be applied to other autoimmune associated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Prof McElvaney continued.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein produced by the liver which, when released into the bloodstream travels to the lungs to protect the lung tissue from disease. Patients deficient in AAT suffer from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1); a hereditary disorder that leads to severe emphysema. Emphysema (otherwise known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) is caused by inflammation of the alveoli, the sponge-like tissues that take oxygen into the lungs. The disease causes shortness of breath in its mildest form and in its severest form, patients must use an oxygen mask and may need a lung transplant. The first single lung and first double lung transplant recipients in Ireland were people with Alpha-1. 

Alpha-1 is much more common in Ireland than in most other countries. After cystic fibrosis, it is the most common fatal inherited lung condition in Ireland (1). Alpha-1 is estimated to affect more than 12,000 people nationally in its most severe form and the less severe form may affect as many as 200,000 individuals in Ireland. 1 in 25 Irish individuals carry the gene for the disease. (1).

In 2004, the Alpha One Foundation initiated the first national screening programme for Alpha-1. To date, more than 11,000 individuals have been tested and 28% were found to be at risk from the disease (1). The World Health Organisation recommends that everyone with COPD or emphysema should be tested for Alpha-1. For more information on how to get tested for Alpha-1, see or contact the National Centre for Alpha-1 at Beaumont Hospital (

The joint lead authors on the research are Dr David Bergin and Dr Emer Reeves from the Respiratory Research Division of RCSI's Department of Medicine based in the Education and Research Centre at Beaumont Hospital. The research was supported by the Medical Research Charities Group/ Health Research Board, the Alpha One Foundation (Ireland) and the Alpha-1 Foundation (USA). 

Editors Notes

  • (1) Carroll, T. P., C. A. O'Connor, O. Floyd, J. McPartlin, D. P. Kelleher, G. O'Brien, B. D. Dimitrov, V. B. Morris, C. C. Taggart, and N. G. McElvaney. 2011. The prevalence of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in Ireland. Respir Res 12:91.

(January 2014) 



Anatomical Society honours two RCSI Staff

The Anatomical Society has honoured two members of RCSI Staff. Pictured (l-r) is Dr Garry Duffy and Prof Clive Lee. Based in London, the Anatomical Society promotes, develops and advances research and education in anatomy. At its AGM in Newcastle in December, Professor Clive Lee was elected President of the Anatomical Society for a three year term. He is the fourth Irish person to be elected President in the 127 year history of the Society. Each year, the Society awards four PhD studentships and, this year, Dr Garry Duffy received one for his project ‘Decoding the extrinsic regulation of cardiac stem cell fate in cardiovascular disease'. (January 2014)


RCSI Research Day 2014 Our Annual showcase event for all of our researchers to give oral presentations and exhibit posters of their work will take place on Thursday March 20th 2014. Read more about our research day »


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