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Research News 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)
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)
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)
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:
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)
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)
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 http://www.alpha1.ie/ or contact the National Centre for Alpha-1 at Beaumont Hospital (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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).
(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.
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 »
Annual Report (Research Section)
Annual Report (Research Section)