The first MMI Clinician Scientist Fellowship Programme (CSFP) Annual Meeting took place on Saturday 11 July 2009 at NUI Galway.
The objective of the CSFP is to train the next generation of clinician scientists with the unique and specialised knowledge essential to fulfil Ireland’s research needs in translational medicine. The CSFP is funded by the Irish Government under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Cycle 4. Fellows from five institutions with a shared agenda in clinical and translational research are participating in the Programme, which is being coordinated by Molecular Medicine Ireland. 22 MMI Fellows have been appointed to date.
The CSFP Annual Meeting gathered key individuals involved in this MMI programme, including the Fellows’ supervisors. Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the delegates to the meeting. 19 MMI Fellows appointed in the first call for the programme presented their research as short talks and posters were presented by 3 Fellows appointed in the second call for the programme.
A highlight of the day was the Keynote Lecture delivered by Professor Sherine Gabriel (William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic, MN, US), the title of which was ‘Heart Disease and Premature Death in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Lessons from Epidemiology’.
A judging panel, comprising Prof Matthew Griffin (Professor of Transplant Biology at NUI Galway), Dr Christine Dingivan (Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, PPD) and Prof Gabriel awarded the MMI medal (on the right) for best presentation to Dr Aoife Lowery (NUI Galway) for her presentation on ‘Breast Cancer associated microRNAs – classification using expression profiling and artificial neural networks’. Second and third prizes were awarded to Dr Fionnuala Ni Ainle (TCD) and Dr Oliver Schubert (RCSI), respectively.
‘Today is a milestone in the Clinician Scientist Fellowship programme’ commented Dr Ruth Barrington, CEO of MMI. ‘The research presented by the Fellows is at the cutting edge of science and is of great significance for more effective diagnosis of disease and treatment of patients. The Fellows are contributing to Ireland’s reputation for excellence in clinical and translational research. They are also making Ireland a more attractive place for investment by healthcare industries in research and development’, she said.
The Annual Meeting was preceded by a week of Structured Training at NUI Galway, which brought the MMI Fellows together for education modules covering research and translational skills. This was the third period of Structured Training for the Fellows and it included modules on Biostatistics, Biomaterials/Bioengineering, Paper review, Grant writing, Bibliometrics, Intellectual Property and Patents, Advanced Imaging, and a series of Techniques workshops.