Dr Gordon Blackshields, Bioinformatician (Teagasc)
Dr. Gordon Blackshields graduated from University College Cork (UCC) in 2003 with a degree in Biochemistry. Dr. Blackshields received his PhD in Bioinformatics from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2009. Between 2009 and 2011, Dr. Blackshields worked as senior bioinformatics officer for a large commercial Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) facility in the United Kingdom. Dr. Blackshields then worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Department of Histopathology and Morbid Anatomy, based at St. James’s Hospital (SJH), Dublin, with specialist roles in the computational analysis and interpretation of biological data, both array-based and NGS-based gene expression studies and mutation detection analyses. He is currently working in Teagasc.
Mark Bates gained his bachelor’s degree (BSc Hons) in biomolecular science in 2012 from the Dublin Institute of technology (DIT), Ireland and began a PhD with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in November 2012, entitled “a therapeutic roadmap for ovarian cancer using MyD88 and MAD2 as prognostic indicators”, which is funded by the Royal City of Dublin Hospital Trust, the Emer Casey foundation and SOCK. The aim of Mark’s project is to assess the in vitro relationship between these two biomarkers and determine whether they can be used in combination to predict patient chemoresponse in ovarian cancer patients. Mark participated in the UREKA(Undergraduate Research Experience & Knowledge Award) funded by SFI in 2010, was winner of the lab tech supplies prize in 2011 and graduated at the top of his class, with a first class honours degree. As part of Mark’s PhD so far, he has contributed to a peer reviewed article entitled “The MyD88+ Phenotype Is an Adverse Prognostic Factor in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer” and has had abstracts published at various national and international conferences.
Dr. Steven Busschots gained his undergraduate degree in biology in the National University of Ireland Maynooth in 2008. Dr Busschots has recently completed his PhD in molecular and translational oncology with Trinity College Dublin Ireland. Dr. Busschots has published in 5 peer-reviewed papers during his PhD studies. These papers focus on different aspects of ovarian cancer chemoresistance. He has attended numerous conferences internationally and was awarded a fully funded grant from Testoplek to attend their conference entitled, ‘The role of MDR proteins in pharmacokinetics and toxicology’ in Ryn, Poland for his work on MDR proteins in ovarian cancer resistance.
Prof. Dolores J. Cahill, Proteomics and Translational Medicine
(Professor of Translational Science, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences and Conway Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Research, University College Dublin)
Prof. Cahill’s area of research is in proteomics, protein arrays and biomarker discovery and validation and in translational medicine. Her research focuses on translating biomarkers to benefit patients, from their use in improved diagnosis and in predicting patients that will respond from a particular treatment. Since 2005, she is Professor of Translational Science, in the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences and the Conway Institute. She was a Group Leader of the Protein Technologies Group in the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Genetics (1995-2003). In 1997, she co-founded a successful biomedical spin-out company in Dortmund, Germany from the Max-Planck, called Protagen AG (www.protagen.de), which currently has 55 employees. Protagen commercialises high content protein & antibody array technology, including applications in diagnostics and companion diagnostics.
Prof. Cahill has received a number of international awards for her research and its significance, including the Federation of European Biochemistry Awards presented to her by the Norwegian Biochemistry Society at its Winter Meeting in Røros. Other FEBS Awardees that year included Prof. J. Craig Venter and Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Robert Huber. While in Germany, Prof. Cahill was awarded the prestigious ‘Biofuture’ Award from the German Minister of Science to advance Protein & Antibody Arrays & commercial applications.
Prof. Cahill has been involved in Scientific and Research Strategy and Policy Development for over 10 years in Ireland, UK, Germany, Sweden and the EU. She was a Member of the Irish Government’s Advisory Science Council (2005-2014; www.sciencecouncil.ie). In this role, she chaired the Council’s Task Force ‘Towards a Framework for Researcher Careers’ and was a Task Force member in ASC Policy Reports on ‘Promoting Enterprise-Higher Education Relationships’ (2009) and the ‘Sustainability of Research Centres’ (2012). Within UCD, she chaired the Researcher Career Framework Implementation (2009-2011) and the UCD HR Strategy for Researchers, which was awarded to UCD by the EU in 2012. She was a Seconded National Expert in the European Commission Research and Innovation (DG RTD) Directorate in the International Cooperation (C1 Unit) (2013-2014) for Strategy/Policy Coordination, working on research and innovation cooperation with South Korea and as a backup on the ASEAN region and on China.
Dr. John Coulter is a practicing Gynaecological Oncologist at The Cork University Maternity Hospital. A UCC graduate in 1989, he underwent general surgical training for 3 years and attained Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCSI). After general training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from 1993 to 1998 both in Cork and The Coombe Womens and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, he travelled to Australia and completed a 3 year RANZCOG Fellowship training scheme in Gynaecological Oncology and is a certified Gyanecological Oncologist (CGO). He is currently a consultant in Cork and is chairman of the Cork Gynaecological Oncology Group Multidisciplinary Team. He is a member of the National Cancer Control Program guideline committee on hereditary gynaecological cancers.
Mattia Cremona completed his PhD in Molecular Medicine through Universita’ degli Studi di Milano in 2009. During his career in the field of cancer research, he has worked in several research hospitals in Europe and the US. More recently, he has established the first Reverse Phase protein Array Platform in Ireland at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Mattia Cremona has published peer-reviewed papers, in addition to review articles and book chapters. Dr Cremona’s research involves using proteomic high-throughput approaches to study the status of the pathways of proteins inside cancer cells and to highlight changes with normal cells that could explain tumour development or predict responses to anti-cancer therapies.
Professor M J Duffy, Professor School of Medicine
(St. Vincent’s Hospital and University College Dublin)
Professor Joe Duffy (BSc, PhD, FRCPath, FACB) is based St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin and University College, Dublin, Ireland. Professor Duffy has a world reputation for his work on cancer research, especially in the area of tumor markers. He is a member of a number of International Expert Panels for preparing guidelines on the clinical use of tumor markers including the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB) (USA) and the European Group on Tumor Markers (EGTM).
One of his main contributions has been the development of a test for identifying patients with breast cancer who may not need chemotherapy. This test, which involves measurement of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) marker, is now recommended for clinical use by several expert groups including the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2012, Professor Duffy was the recipient of the 2012 Abbott Award of the International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers. This award is made annually to investigators, world-wide who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of basic or clinical oncology. Other awards received by Professor Duffy include the St Luke’s Medal Lecture and the Conway Review Medal Lecture of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and the National Committee for Biochemistry Award Medal Lecture of the Royal Irish Academy.
Dr Fahey joined the GlycoScience group (PI Prof Pauline M Rudd) in May 2005 as a Research Assistant and defended her PhD at the Institute of Chemical Technology Prague in November 2007. She continued as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on cancer glycobiomarkers and glycan analysis and joined the EU FP7 funded project, GlycoHIT, in January 2011 (http://www.glycohit.eu/). GlycoHIT aims to develop and validate complementary and integrated technologies for glycomic analysis of serum in cancer glycobiomarker discovery, diagnostics and glycotherapeutic monitoring.
Dr Fahey has been awarded an SFI Starting Investigator research grant (SIRG) for “Epigenetic regulation of glycosylation and the impact on chemoresistance in cancer” commencing October 2014. This project follows on from novel published findings demonstrating that changes in DNA methylation in ovarian cancer cells are concomitant with significant alterations in the expression of key enzymes that form part of glycosylation. Epigenetic alterations, tumour hypoxia and glycosylation are integral aspects of carcinogenesis. Determining the mechanism of epigenetic regulation of glycosylation and the link with hypoxia and drug resistance will help to improve the treatment of cancer patients by evaluating drugs such as 5-AZA, which is already in clinical trials. Little is known about the impact of this treatment on cellular glycosylation and the ability of cancer cells to bypass apoptotic cell death mechanisms. Dr Fahey also leads a Disease research subgroup and her other interests include the development and utilisation of high-throughput technologies for N-glycan analysis, disease biomarker discovery in cancer and inflammatory diseases and glycan analysis of various samples.
- Epigenetic regulation of glycosylation and the impact on chemoresistance in cancer
- Disease biomarker discovery in various cancers including – ovarian, breast, lung, prostate, uveal, skin, colorectal and pancreatic and other diseases (AAT deficiency, CDG, Rhematoid Arthritis)
- Development and utilisation of high-throughput technologies for N-glycan analysis
- Glycan analysis (glycans from serum, cells and isolated glycoproteins)
Michael Farrell (RGN, H. Dip. in Applied Science, B. Sc. in Computing, Grad. Dip. in Oncology Nursing & M. Sc. in Molecular Medicine) has worked full time in clinical cancer genetics for over 9 years and is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the Cancer Genetic Department in the Mater Private Hospital (MPH) and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) working with Dr. David Gallagher Consultant Medical Oncologist and Clinical Geneticist. Prior to working on the Mater campus he worked as a Research Nurse in St. James’s Hospital (SJH) with Professor Peter Daly.
Michael gave oral presentations at both National and International cancer conferences and was an invited speaker on two occasions to the Joint Belfast/Dublin Clinical Genetics meetings. His research interest is in Lynch syndrome and he has delivered Grand Rounds on “Screening for Lynch syndrome” in St. Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH) and presented at the Medical Case Conference at the MMUH on “Interpretation of mismatch repair (MMR) variants of uncertain significance”.
Michael is first author on 2 papers published in the journal Familial Cancer and has presented 5 poster abstracts as first author, one was selected for oral presentation at the Cancer Genomics Masterclass at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and he has co-authored an additional 6 poster abstracts. He is a member of the International Society of Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours’ (InSiGHT’s) MMR Variant Classification committee and this group’s paper on strategies for classification of mismatch repair (MMR) variants was published with Michael as a co-author in Nature Genetics in 2014.
He has presented talks on various aspects of inherited predisposition to cancer at the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology (IANO) annual meeting on two occasions and the Breastcheck Annual Radiographer Study Day and has presented on “Future Developments in Clinical Cancer Genetics” to Oncology Consultants and Registrars in MMUH.
Michael also supervises clinical teaching for graduate nursing students and provides lectures on cancer genetics at St. Luke’s Hospital, SJH and the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) in addition to ad hoc presentations to patient support and advocacy groups such as the Dublin Well Woman Centre, the Gary Kelly Support Centre and ARC house.
Angela Farrelly graduated from the University of Nevada with a PhD in Molecular Physiology and Pharmacology in 2004. When she returned to Ireland in 2005 she worked as Group Leader in Molecular Diabetes (RCSI/UCD). In this role she investigated cell survival pathway regulation in a cellular model of mature onset diabetes of the young (MODY3).
From 2011 to present she has been working with Dr. Hennessy based in RCSI Beaumont. Current project includes investigating the sensitivity of a large panel of ovarian cancer cell line to chemotherapy agents and PARP inhibitors. She has recently graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Research.
Dr Richard Flavin, Consultant Histopathologist
(St. James’s Hospital, Dublin)
Dr. Richard Flavin is a consultant histopathologist at St. James’s Hospital. A graduate of University College Cork, he completed his Specialist training in Dublin in Histopathology. His MD and PhD theses were on the molecular biology of ovarian cancer. This was followed by a period working as a Senior Medical Scientist/ Associate Director at the Centre for Molecular Oncologic Pathology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He returned to St. James’s Hospital in 2012 where he has subspeciality interest in gynaecological pathology and molecular diagnostics. He also acts as Administrative Head of the Post-mortem service and is the Director of the Histopathology Biobank.
Richard J Flavin MD PhD FRCPath
Phone: 01 416 2997
Fax: 01 410 3514
Dr Fiona Furlong graduated in 1998 with a B.Sc. in Pharmacology from University College Dublin, and completed her Ph.D. in mammary gland biology in 2003. Dr Furlong continued her post-doctoral research career as a cell biologist in UCD, spending a short time researching diabetic nephropathy. In 2008, Dr Furlong was awarded a career development research grant from the Irish Cancer Society which began her interest in understanding the mechanisms of chemoresistance in ovarian cancer. In 2012, Dr Furlong joined the School of Pharmacy, QUB, as a Lecturer of Pharmacology, where she is currently researching the underlying mechanism of action of a number of candidate microRNAs in chemoresistant ovarian cancer and triple negative breast cancer.
Dr. Brendan Ffrench obtained his B.Sc. Hons. from University College Dublin in 2009. He completed his PhD in ovarian cancer stem cell (CSC) research through Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2013. Dr. Ffrench is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in TCD, investigating and characterising the role of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in ovarian cancer metastasis.
Dr. Ffrench has published articles in Molecular Cancer, PloS One and the Journal of Ovarian Research. His research focuses on the cell and molecular mechanisms underlying ‘developmental cancer biology’. Specifically, acquired platinum chemoresistance in ovarian cancer and blood-borne ovarian cancer metastasis. Ultimately, this work aims to utilise CSC targeted therapies to improve the outcome of ovarian cancer patients via personalised treatment plans. He is currently based in the breast group in the Royal College of Surgeons.
Dr. David Gallagher is a graduate of University College Dublin Medical School. He completed his Senior House Officer rotation on the Trinity College Dublin Medical Scheme, before gaining a place on the Irish medical oncology specialist registrar programme, and working as an oncology registrar in St. James’s and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospitals, Dublin. In 2006 he was awarded a scholarship by the Irish Society of Medical Oncology to complete his training in medical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York. Upon completion of this advanced fellowship in medical oncology in 2008, he was offered a position on the medical genetics fellowship programme run jointly by MSKCC and Weill-Cornell New York Presbyterian Hospital. He completed this in August 2010 and returned to Ireland to take up a position as a consultant medical oncologist and medical geneticist at The Mater Private Hospital, Dublin. He also runs a cancer genetics clinic in St. James’s and the Mater Misericordaie University Hospitals, Dublin.
Dr. Gallagher has both clinical and translational research interests and has published his work in a number of peer-reviewed journals including Cancer, Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He was awarded an MSKCC Prevention and Population Research Award, an MSKCC Genitourinary Department Research Grant and two merit awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology prior to returning to Dublin. He is an active member of Cancer Trials Ireland and a clinical trial Principal Investigator for the Mater Campus and St. James’s Hospital.
Over the last decade, Michael Gallagher established and continues to run the only pure Cancer Stem Cell Research group in Ireland. Following awarding of a PhD in molecular genetics and cell biology and University College Dublin, Michael received post-doctoral training under Professor Bim Ling at the Stem Cell Department of the world-leading Genome Institute of Singapore. Michael returned to Ireland in 2005 and has since focused on applying his stem cell biology expertise towards the aim of targeting cancer stem cells clinically. Cancer stem cells are tumour-initiating, chemo-resistant cells that show great promise as a potential target cell though which novel cancer treatments can be developed. However, in recent years it has been shown that most malignancies are composed of multiple independent or inter-related hierarchies of stem and progenitor cells, which complicates their identification, isolation, elucidation and targeting. Dr Gallagher’s group aims to identify novel cancer stem cell hierarchies from malignant models, establish them stably in culture for analysis and identify suitable clinically-relevant targeting strategies. Dr Gallagher has published several studies demonstrating the importance of cancer stem cell signatures in malignancy. For example, in ovarian cancer, cancer stemness signatures can be used to discriminate between low and high grade and primary vs recurrent tumour samples. His identification of cancer stem cell differentiation regulator MyD88 in his model allowed resulted in the demonstration that MyD88 is a prognostic indicator for ovarian cancer in a large Irish cohort. In ongoing work, Michael’s group have identified a novel 4-component cancer stem cell hierarchy in ovarian cancer and identified the chemo-resistant component. It is hoped that further analysis of this hierarchy will allow future treatment of chemo-resistant ovarian cancer via specific cancer stem cell-targeting. Dr Gallagher is the cancer stem cell lead in several collaborations in the areas of lung, breast and prostate cancers.
Dr Noreen Gleeson (M.D., M.R.C.O.G.) graduated from the National University of Ireland (UCC) 1981, is a Member of Royal College Obstetricians & Gynaecologist (1986) and has a Diploma in Statistics (1989) and Doctor of Medicine (1991) from Trinity College Dublin. She undertook gynaecological oncology fellowship training at the University of South Florida 1991-3 and she has been working at St James’s Hospital since 1996. She is director of the Gynaecological Oncology Fellowship RCOG Training Programme at SJH. Her major clinical interests are gynaecological cancer, complex and reconstructive pelvic surgery. Her laboratory based research is in thrombosis/ haemostasis and molecular aspects of gynaecological malignancy. Her published research profile is available on ResearchGate. Email: email@example.com
Prof Bryan T Hennessy gained his medical degree in 1997 from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Prof Hennessy graduated from the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in 2006 and completed a post-doctoral degree in Medicine through UCD in 2008. Prof Hennessy was a faculty member in the Division of Cancer Medicine at MDACC between 2006 and 2009. Currently, Prof Hennessy is a Consultant Medical Oncologist in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. He is also Associate Professor at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Cancer Medicine at MDACC. Prof Hennessy has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers, in addition to multiple review articles, book chapters and editorials, and has extensive experience in kinome and kinase signaling research and in clinical and translational research in breast and the gynaecologic cancers. Prof Hennessy has achieved several accolades and grants from various organizations including a merit award, a young investigator award (YIA) and a career development award (CDA) from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He has also been a co-principal investigator of two prestigious U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) award projects.
Matt Hewitt graduated from Nottingham University in 1993. After completing his internship and basic specialist training in the Trent region, Matt undertook an MD in the School of Human Development at the University of Nottingham, investigating the aetiology of recurrent pregnancy loss. Matt completed registrar training in the Trent region before deciding upon a career in gynaecological oncology. He moved to St James Hospital, Leeds, in 2001 to undertake a three year sub-specialist raining programme. Matt was appointed as a consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at St James in 2006, but shortly after moved together with his wife Louise to Cork University Maternity Hospital where he is also clinical senior lecturer with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He practises in Low risk pregnancy, General Gynaecology, Gynaecological Oncology and Colposcopy. Dr Hewitt is the former President of the British and Irish Association of Robotic Gynaecological Surgeons (BIARGS).
Roshni is in her final year of training as a Specialist Registrar in Medical Oncology. She graduated with first class honours from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2006. After completing her internship and basic specialist training, she was accepted on a higher specialist training scheme in Medical Oncology, under the auspices of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. She spent the next 3 years in general clinical oncology practice, with a keen interest in her last training year in gynaecological oncology, during which time she published a peer-reviewed review article on upcoming targeted therapies in epithelial ovarian cancer. Roshni is currently furthering her interest in translational gynaecological oncology by pursuing a PhD through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Her research focuses on the exploitation of BRCA dysfunction in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), a critical target in terms of its potentially significant clinical impact, given its estimated prevalence in up the 50% of women with high grade serous ovarian cancer and the efficacy of polyadenoribose polymerase inhibitors in the subgroup of BRCA1/2 mutated EOC. Specifically, she is studying the BRCA1-methylated subset of EOC, in terms of its molecular and clinical characteristics and potential for targeted therapies, as well as mechanisms of platinum/PARPi resistance in BRCA dysfunctional EOC. Her future career prospects reside in the practice of gynaecological medical oncology in an academic institution, with an emphasis on both clinical practice and translational research.
Dr Eugene Kashdan graduated with PhD in Applied Mathematics from Tel Aviv University in 2004. He spent next two years as a postdoc at Brown University, Providence, RI, where his research interests gradually switched from computational electromagnetics and plasma physics towards mathematical biology, in particular, to cancer modelling and computer assisted diagnosis. Following a year spent at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, he moved back to Israel to work as a Research Scientist at Tel Aviv University and a Lecturer at Afeka – Academic College of Engineering, also in Tel Aviv. Before joining the faculty of the UCD School of Mathematical Sciences in 2013, Dr Kashdan has worked as a quantitative analyst and an R&D manager in the financial companies in the City of London. In UCD, Dr Kashdan continues his research in mathematical oncology with a special interest in modelling of bladder cancer development and progression and simulation and optimisation of bladder cancer therapies (thermotherapy and BCG). Dr Kashdan serves as a chair of the organising committee of the international workshop “Mathematical Methods in Systems Biology” (Dublin, Ireland, 2015). He has authored and co-authored more than 30 papers published in the scientific journals and proceedings of the international conferences, co-edited a book “Mathematical methods and models in biomedicine” published by Springer in 2012 and filed two patent applications. He also regularly serves as a guest co-editor of the special issues of the journal Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering. Dr Kashdan’s approach to automatic analysis of genetic properties of living specimen from their phase-contrast and modulation-contrast microscopic images with an application to IVF became a basis of the Commercial Case Feasibility Support grant funded by the Enterprise Ireland.
Professor Mary Keogan B.A. Mod, M.B, M.A, MRCPI, FRCR completed her undergraduate medical training in Trinity College Dublin. She trained in Medicine at St James’s Hospital Dublin before training in Radiology in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and University College London. She completed her fellowship training in Abdominal Imaging in Duke University Medical Centre, North Carolina, USA. She was appointed Attending Radiologist and Assistant Professor at Duke University and subsequently was appointed Attending Radiologist in the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre Boston and Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. She is a Consultant Radiologist in St James’s Hospital and the Coombe Women’s Hospital and a Clinical Professor of Radiology in Trinity College Dublin. She is a fellow of the European Society of Abdominal Radiologists and is the lead radiologist in the St. James’s Hospital Gynaecology Oncology MDT group.
Prof. Mary W. McCaffrey has concentrated her research focus on small G-proteins since completing her Ph.D on retroviral insertional mutagenesis of oncogenes in the Universtity of London, UK / Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1987. Her initial post-Doctoral training was on the Rho GTPase, in the CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, followed by a further two years of training at the Pasteur Institute, Paris working on the then newly discovered Rab proteins. She established an independent research group, on her appointment as a Lecturer in Biochemistry in University College Cork in late 1991. The team focused on the identification of Rab11(Rab11a, Rab11b & Rab11c[aka Rab25]) effector proteins, leading to the identification of a new protein family – the Rab11-FIPs – amongst which is the novel Rab Coupling Protein(RCP). Rab25 and RCP are both associated with aggressive breast and ovarian cancers. In our research, we seek to understand the molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms by which Rabs and their modulatory proteins drive cancer aggressiveness.
Dr Stephen Madden (BA (Mod), MRes, PhD) is a StAR Research Lecturer. Having gained his PhD in 2007, Stephen remained at UCD and worked in a postdoctoral research capacity on a number of projects with the Bioinformatics Research Group predominantly in the cancer field at the Conway Institute. In 2009 he moved to Dublin City University where he led the bioinformatic and biostatistical core facility for Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster which aimed to discover and develop new anti-cancer drugs. Most recently he worked as part of the BREAST-PREDICT project with the consortium at the Conway Institute at UCD, where he provided bioinformatic/biostatistics support to the consortium as a whole, and supervised and trained PhD students in the fields of biostatistics and bioinformatics. Stephen was recruited to the RCSI in January 2016 into the new position of StAR Research Lecturer in the Data Science Centre. Stephen’s predominant research interests are in cancer genomics and transcriptomics, next generation sequence analysis, multivariate statistics and data integration.
Dr McCann’s research focuses on the mechanisms underlying Paclitaxel (Taxol®) chemoresistance for women presenting with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC); specifically the spindle assembly checkpoint protein MAD2 through which Paclitaxel exerts its apoptotic affect. Epigenetically, the group are also interested in profiling DNA methylation and histone modification signatures in hypoxia and how this relates to ultimate chemoresistance and the retention of cellular viability (senescence/ autophagy) in the face of chemotherapeutic engagement.
Professor W Glenn McCluggage, Histopathologist
(Royal Group of Hospitals Trust, Belfast)
Glenn McCluggage is a consultant Histopathologist in Royal Group of Hospitals Trust, Belfast and an Honorary Professor in Gynaecological Pathology of Queen’s University of Belfast. He has published approximately 375 papers in peer reviewed journals, including original publications and many invited editorials and reviews. He is on the Editorial Board of four major pathology journals and associate editor of Histopathology. He is currently President of International Society of Gynecological Pathologists and was previously secretary of this society. Previously he was President of the British Association of Gynaecological Pathologists. He has an extremely busy referral practice and has been invited to lecture at numerous national and international meetings. He has authored or coauthored the various Royal College of Pathologists datasets in United Kingdom on reporting of gynaecological malignancies and has chaired the ICCR (International Collaboration in Cancer Reporting) panels developing international guidelines for reporting endometrial and ovarian carcinomas. He has been part of the last 2 WHO groups formulating the classification of Tumours of the Female Genital Tract. His main diagnostic interests are gynaecological malignancies and the uses of immunohistochemistry in gynaecological pathology.
Dr. Yvonne McGarry-Groarke developed a novel monoclonal antibody to ovarian cancer cells while working at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and was subsequently awarded a PhD. by Trinity College Dublin. She was honoured at a special award ceremony for her contribution to research at the institute. Yvonne later initiated follow-on cancer research in AIT, which involved postgraduate and research assistant supervision, and collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, USA, Dublin City University, The Mater Misercordiae Hospital and Holles Street National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. During her time with AIT, Yvonne also lectured in the Toxicology Department. A graduate of NUI Galway, Yvonne initially worked in food science research in University College Dublin and subsequently moved to the Nuclear Medicine department in St. Vincent’s University Hospital as a clinical biochemist. The department was pioneering cancer research in Ireland at that time and was one of the first to offer a range of tumour markers for monitoring cancer patients and their treatment. She has also worked in the Nuclear Medicine Department at the Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland. Yvonne has a Masters Degree in Nuclear Medicine from UCD. Dr. McGarry-Groarke is currently involved in research utilising her unique antibody for ovarian cancer with St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
Lucy Norris is a Senior Scientist in the Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Trinity College Dublin. She graduated with an honours degree Biochemistry at TCD and went on to obtain a PhD in the Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1992 for her work on platelet activation in pregnancy and oral contraception. In 2002, she was awarded an MSc in Molecular Medicine from TCD and following this has established a group investigating the molecular aspects of coagulation activation in hormone users. Since then this has expanded to include studies in pregnancy and gynaecological cancers. She has over 20 years’ experience in the area of haemostasis and thrombosis research and has published extensively on topics including the pathogenesis of thrombosis in hormone users, the role of coagulation and fibrinolysis in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia and more recently on the pathogenesis of venous thrombosis in gynaecological cancers. Current research includes the development of a risk model for prediction of venous thrombosis in gynaecological cancer patients funded by the HRB. She has over 50 peer reviewed publications, many as senior author, including 5 invited reviews. She is a member of the International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis and is a member of the editorial board for the journal ‘Thrombosis Research’.
Professor John O’Leary holds the positions of Professor/Chair of Pathology, Trinity College Dublin, Director of Pathology, The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, and Consultant Histopathologist, St. James’ Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
His consultant diagnostic experience includes Gynaecological pathology, Breast pathology, Gastrointestinal pathology, Molecular diagnostic pathology and Cytopathology. Prof. John O’Leary heads a multi-investigator group of 40 scientists at TCD focused on the molecular characterisation of several cancer systems including: Ovary, cervix, prostate, thyroid and head and neck cancer and cancer stem cell biology and the diagnosis of paediatric infections. In addition, the laboratory has a significant international reputation in the area of pregnancy proteomics and transcriptomics. His laboratory is a European reference centre for Applied Biosystems and Affymetrix and holds significant grant income from national and international sources including EU6th FP, EU7th FP, HRB, Irish Cancer Society and several foundations including the Emer Casey Foundation (dedicated to ovarian and uterine research). The individual groups are focussed on using functional genomics to understand the causes and molecular basis of the development of disease, with particular reference to cancer and cancer related systems. Projects include Cerviva (The Irish Cervical Screening Research Consortium – ICSRC) – A consortium of researchers dedicated to performing high quality research with a view to better understanding cervical cancer and how it develops and delivering the best possible information and guidance to support cervical screening services for women and DISCOVARY- A consortium of international researchers which was formed to specifically address issues in relation to ovarian and endometrial cancer diagnostics and prognostics and supports the development of translational research in Ireland. DISCOVARY has now merged with INNOVATION- the Irish National Network for Ovarian Cancer Collaboration. Prof O’Leary has a h-index of 40 and in excess of 7,000 citations. He has published in excess of 190 peer reviewed papers and in excess of 400 publications and is seated editor on three books. He recently received a Life Achievement award for Cancer Research at the RNAi 2011 International conference at Oxford University.
Dr Michael O’Leary is a consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with a subspecialty interest in Womens’ cancers. He has worked at University College Hospital, Galway since 2009. He obtained his Diploma in Gynaecological Oncology from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2007. He is lead Colposcopist in the Galway CervicalCheck Clinic and is also the National Gynaecological Oncology Advisor to the National Cancer Control Programme.
Seamus O’Reilly graduated from University College Galway in 1988 with first class honours degrees in Science (Pharmacology) and Medicine and completed medical training in the Federated Dublin Voluntary Hospitals. He completed training in Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Centre Baltimore USA where he subsequently was Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology specialising in Drug Development. He was awarded a PhD in Clinical Investigation by the Johns Hopkins University and an MD degree by University College Galway in 1997. He was a Principal Investigator in the US based Gynecologic Oncology Group. In 1998 he was appointed Consultant Medical Oncologist in Waterford Regional Hospital and subsequently in 2001 at Cork-Mercy and South Infirmary Victoria Hospitals. He is an active member of Cancer Trials Ireland where he co-chairs the Gastrointestinal Oncology Disease Specific Group. He is a member of the board of the Cork Cancer Research Centre. He is the author of over 50 peer reviewed publications and is Editor of the journal Cancer Professional. Charitable activities include Chairperson Cork ARC Cancer Support House and co founder of the South Eastern Cancer Foundation.
Dr. Ciarán Ó Riain, Pathologist
(St. James’s Hospital, Dublin)
Dr. Ciarán Ó Riain (MB Bch BAO PhD FRCPath) is a consultant histopathologist at St. James’s Hospital. He is the lead histopathologist on the Gynaecological Oncology multidisciplinary team. A graduate of University College Dublin, he undertook his specialist histopathology training on the Dublin South training scheme. He commenced a Cancer Research UK Clinical Research PhD Fellowship at Barts Cancer Institute in London in 2007 and was awarded a PhD from the University of London in 2011 for his studies of the molecular biology of lymphoma. Prior to commencing at St. James’s Hospital in 2013, he spent time at internationally renowned centres of gynaecological pathology in Boston, Sheffield and Belfast. He is a member of Cancer Trials Ireland and participated in the inaugural Ovarian Cancer Forum of Ireland.
Sharon O’Toole, Senior Research Fellow
(Trinity College Dublin)
Sharon O’Toole is a senior research fellow in Trinity College Dublin working in the area of ovarian cancer. She qualified with a BSc Hons in UCG in 1994 and then completed an MSc Biotechnology in 1996. Having worked in industry she then returned to research and completed a PhD in Trinity College in 2003. She has gained enormous experience in the area of ovarian cancer and has played a major role in the development of studies in gynaecological cancer. She was instrumental in establishing the DISCOVARY consortium which is a multidisciplinary and trans- institutional consortium dedicated to addressing the problems of ovarian and uterine cancer. The consortium manages the largest ovarian cancer bioresource in the country. She has been instrumental in establishing INNOVATION- the Irish National Network for Ovarian Cancer Collaboration which has brought together the medical, research and charity organisations involved in ovarian cancer in Ireland.
Her research interests centre around diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and understanding the fundamental biology of the metastatic cascade and circulating tumour cells. She has been successful in identifying diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for ovarian cancer and her ultimate aim is to translate these into the clinic. She has presented at both national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. She works closely with the 3 ovarian cancer charities in Ireland whose mission is to improve outcomes for ovarian cancer in Ireland. She was part of the organising committee of the first World Ovarian Cancer Day on May 8th in 2013 and this has now become an annual event.
Steve graduated from Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London with a joint honours degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry before completing a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. During his PhD he was awarded an Elmore Medical Research Fellowship and it was during this fellowship that his interests in the regulation of the mammalian cell cycle began. He was Wellcome Lecturer in the University of Liverpool before moving to Dublin where he is currently Professor of Proteomics in UCD. His research team (www.biomedicalproteomics.org) use a range of proteomics platforms to identify pathogenic mechanisms and biomarkers in oncology and inflammartory disease. Stephen has been awarded a Beit Memorial Fellowship and received a Sir Henry Wellcome Commemorative Award for Innovative Research. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals, and is currenty vice-president of the British Society for Proteome Research, a general council member of the European Proteomics Association and lead organizer of the forthcoming annual congress of the Human Proteome Organisation – HUPO2017.
Dr. Sine Phelan gained her medical degree from University College Dublin in 2001 and went on to complete the a specialist histopathology training programme, working at a number of centres including St. Vincent’s University Hospital and St. James’s Hospital. She was admitted as a fellow of the Royal College of pathologists in 2008. She worked as special lecturer in pathology at UCD from 2008-2010 during which time she was awarded an MD for her thesis entitled “An exploration of mechanisms underlying chemoresistance – SAC proteins and Hypoxia”.
Dr. Phelan was appointed as Consultant Histopathologist at University Hospital Galway in 2010 and is currently the lead pathologist in Gynaecological pathology. She also has special interests in breast pathology and in biobanking. She has a number of peer reviewed publications in the area of chemoresistance in ovarian cancer.
Tracy Robson is Professor and Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics in Royal College of Surgeons. She obtained her PhD in Molecular Radiation Science from Imperial College, London. Her first academic post was as Lecturer in Radiation Science at the University of Ulster in 1997 and she then moved to the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast in 2004 to take up the post of Reader in Molecular Pharmacology. She was promoted to Professor in Experimental Therapeutics in Oct 2010. She joined RCSI as Professor and Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) in August 2016. Her main research focus is the development of novel approaches for sensitizing tumours to both radio and chemotherapy using a personalised medicine approach. In particular, she cloned and is characterizing a novel human gene, FKBPL. Her group has demonstrated that FKBPL, is a novel member of the immunophilin family; these proteins have wide-ranging intra- and extra- cellular roles in disease through their chaperoning function and PPIase activity. FKBPL is clearly divergent and is emerging as an important anti-tumour protein with anti-angiogenic activity in a range of tumours. Together with Almac, she has led the development of therapeutic peptide derivatives (AD-01 and ALM20da1) based on FKBPL’s active anti-angiogenic domain. Based on the robust efficacy and excellent safety profile, ALM201, a ‘first-in-class’ FKBPL-based anti-angiogenic therapeutic peptide has entered phase I/II cancer clinical trials in ovarian cancer patients.
Robson is Professor and Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics in Royal College of Surgeons. She obtained her PhD in Molecular Radiation Science from Imperial College, London. Her first academic post was as Lecturer in Radiation Science at the University of Ulster in 1997 and she then moved to the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast in 2004 to take up the post of Reader in Molecular Pharmacology. She was promoted to Professor in Experimental Therapeutics in Oct 2010. She joined RCSI as Professor and Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) in August 2016. Her main research focus is the development of novel approaches for sensitizing tumours to both radio and chemotherapy using a personalised medicine approach. In particular, she cloned and is characterizing a novel human gene, FKBPL. Her group has demonstrated that FKBPL, is a novel member of the immunophilin family; these proteins have wide-ranging intra- and extra- cellular roles in disease through their chaperoning function and PPIase activity. FKBPL is clearly divergent and is emerging as an important anti-tumour protein with anti-angiogenic activity in a range of tumours. Together with Almac, she has led the development of therapeutic peptide derivatives (AD-01 and ALM201) based on FKBPL’s active anti-angiogenic domain. Based on the robust efficacy and excellent safety profile, ALM201, a ‘first-in-class’ FKBPL-based anti-angiogenic therapeutic peptide has entered phase I/II cancer clinical trials in ovarian cancer patients.
Professor Pauline M. Rudd BSc, LRIC, MA (Oxon), PhD is the Research Professor of Glycobiology at University College, Dublin. She heads the GlycoSciences Research Group at the National Institute for BioProcessing Research and Training in Ireland (NIBRT).
Professor Rudd obtained a BSc in Chemistry at the University of London and a PhD in Glycobiology at the Open University, UK. She was a member of the Oxford GBI for 25 years, and a University Reader. She was a Founding Scientist of Wessex Biochemicals (later Sigma London), Visiting Research Associate at TSRI, Visiting Professor at Fudan University PRC, Visiting Scientist at BGU, Israel and Erskine Visiting Fellow, Canterbury University, NZ. She is a Fellow of the RSM, Visiting Professor at St. George’s Hospital, London, Adjunct Professor at NE University, Boston, NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. She is a VI at BTI, AStar, Singapore. In 2012 she received a Waters Global Innovation award in recognition of her innovative research contributions to Glycbiology. In 2014 she was awarded an Honorary doctorate at Gothenburg University for contributions to Glycoscience.
Feras obtained his medical degree (MB ChB) in Sebha Medical University, Libya in 2000. He then completed 5 years of post graduate training in obstetrics and gynaecology in Maqased Hospital, Jerusalem, before arriving in Ireland in 2005. Since 2006 he has worked as Specialist Registrar in the major maternity hospitals in Ireland including Cork University Maternity Hospital, Galway University Hospital, Coombe Women’s and Infants University hospital and the Rotunda hospital. In 2008, he was appointed as lecturer/registrar at Cork University Maternity Hospital where he played a significant role in undergraduate teaching and was involved in the establishment and first year of operation of the Robotic theatre. Working as a Specialist Registrar in the Gynaecological Oncology unit at St James’s Hospital, he became interested in the research program run in collaboration with TCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He began investigating the role of the TF and TFPI in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer and, using tissue from the ovarian cancer biobank, showed that TF and TFPI gene and protein expression are increased in tumours from patients with ovarian cancers compared to those with benign disease. The results of his work were presented at local and international meetings. In July 2011, Feras was appointed as Research Lecturer at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology/ TCD where he extended his studies to investigate the prediction of venous thrombosis (VT) in gynaecological cancer patients. His research was published in international peer reviewed journals. Feras has an MD from Trinity College Dublin and he is an RCOG accredited subspecialist in gynaecology oncology. Since 2013, he is working as a consultant gynaecological oncologist at St. James’s hospital, Dublin.
Professor Orla Sheils is Professor of Molecular Pathology and Director of Medical Ethics at Trinity College Dublin. She has a PhD in Molecular Pathology from Trinity College Dublin and a MA in Medical Law and Ethics from Kings College London.
The underlying theme of her research is to understand the causes and molecular basis of the development of disease, with particular reference to cancer, and to apply this knowledge to improving disease prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Improving the outlook for cancer patients can only come from an understanding of basic molecular and cell biology. There has been a dramatic increase in knowledge of the molecular genetics of cancers over the last few years and already we have reached the point where this can be translated into clinical application. With increased understanding of the mechanics of disease progression comes a requirement for innovative methods to detect nuances of patient specific tumours to triage those most likely to benefit from particular chemotherapeutic approaches and to discriminate between individual prognostic outcomes. She has a particular interest in novel therapeutics including small molecule kinase inhibitors and their interplay with cellular components such as miRNAs. Translational research is the common theme throughout Prof Sheils’ research, linking identification of disease processes with targets for early disease detection or classification. She has been an independent investigator since 2001 and has supervised 10 students to PhD level. Her department currently has 25 students pursuing the degree of PhD by research. She works closely with industry bringing novel technologies and applications to the translational research setting. Prof Sheils chairs TCD’s Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee. The Faculty Research Ethics Committee (F.R.E.C.) reviews projects involving humans in a variety of research contexts. She has been responsible for the procurement of grants valued in excess of €35M during this time from national funding agencies such as S.F.I., HRB, ICS and HEA in addition to industrial support from Life technologies (AppliedBiosystems / Ambion/ Invitrogen), Affymetrix and Vysis. She has published >75 peer reviewed publications.
Dr. Cathy Spillane gained a joint honours degree in Pharmacology and Genetics in 2005 from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. She went on to obtain one of six places on the Health Research Board Ph.D. Studentship. Her Ph.D. examined the effect of molecularly targeting the HPV viral oncogene and oncoprotein in cervical cancer and was conducted through the Department of Clinical Medicine in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland. She was awarded a Ph.D. for her thesis on this research in 2010. Dr. Spillane is currently a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Department of Histopathology in TCD. Her research centres on the use of functional genomics to understand the molecular basis of the development of cancer and how this knowledge can be translated to improve diagnosis and treatment. Much of her recent work has focused on the biology of circulating tumour cells, with a specific emphasis on ovarian cancer, and establishing their diagnostic and prognostic potential, through the development of a novel point of care device in collaboration with the Biomedical Diagnostic Institute (BDI) in Dublin City University (DCU). She has presented at both national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, including PLoS One and Lab on a Chip.
Dr Stratton is a gynaecological oncologist working in Waterford. He established and runs the gynaecological cancer and colposcopy services in Waterford Regional Hospital. He trained in gynaecological cancer surgery at Sheffield University Teaching Hospital and is an accreited subspecialist. His PhD thesis was undertaken in Cambridge on the genetic basis of ovarian cancer. During his time in Cambridge he trained in familial cancer genetics and he currently runs a clinic for women and their families who have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. He has published extensively on all aspects of gynaecological cancer and in particular on ovarian cancer genetics. Current areas of interest include laparoscopic surgery, fertility sparing surgery and neoadjuvant therapy.
Mark is a Principal Investigator at the Cork Cancer Research Centre at University College Cork where his research group investigates cancer therapies using microbes. With a PhD in microbiology from UCC, his interests include study of the relationships between bacteria and cancer, and the development of tumour-specific drug delivery technology utilising bacteria or viruses. He has worked for a number of years at various international institutions (Los Angeles, Boston, Copenhagen) and has published extensively in the field of cancer therapy and microbiology. Mark is a member of the Executive Council of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy of Cancer (ISCGT), Vice-President of the Irish Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ISGCT), a scientific committee member of the European Society for Gene & Cell Therapy (ESGCT), a council member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) and a member of the editorial board of several international journals (Human Gene Therapy, Current Gene Therapy, Bioengineered, Biomarkers in Cancer). His group’s work is funded by grants awarded from EU FP7, Health Research Board, Cancer Research Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Mark’s group has joined forces with a large network of like-minded laboratories around the world and as a result, this collaborative research is advancing rapidly towards patient treatment.
Dr Tom Walsh qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1996. He did his initial training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Rotunda Hospital, National Maternity Hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dublin. He has a wide range of interests in general Obstetrics and Gynaecology and holds a Certificate of Specialist Training (CST) in these areas. He is Sub-Specialty trained in Gynaecological cancers having completed a fellowship program in Gynaecological Oncology in Australia. He was awarded the internationally recognised Diploma in Gynaecological Oncology by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Dr. Walsh is appointed as a consultant in the Rotunda Hospital and in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin.