Previous Newman Fellows

The Newman Fellowship Programme is recognised as a brand of excellence where the calibre of fellow and their research output are of the highest standards. Many of our previous Fellows bear this out today where they have gone on to assume important roles in both academia and business.

Below is a complete list of our Newman Fellows.

Ulcerative Colitis is the only known disease that responds favourably to cigarette smoke. Dr Eoin Slattery’s fellowship examined reasons why this might be by focusing his research on one or more of the 3,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Dr Slattery identified two potential compounds in cigarette smoke extract that demonstrate this protective effect by utilising a novel explant culture model of actual biopsies of colon from patients with known ulcerative colitis. With this Fellowship, Dr Slattery identified a potentially novel therapeutic agent for use in the management of Ulcerative Colitis in the future. Dr Slattery was mentored by Professor Diarmuid O’Donoghue and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Slattery’s fellowship was supported by Abbott Ireland. Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to discovering new medicines, new technologies and new ways to manage health.

Obesity and its co-morbidities (diabetes and cancer) have a significant impact on the human system. Previous studies have shown that cancer (non-obese) is associated with a dysregulation in innate cell frequency and function. Dr Andrew Hogan’s fellowship investigated the effect of obesity, diabetes and cancer on the frequencies and function of innate effector cells (Natural Killer cells, Invariant Natural Killer T cells and dendritic cells) and the impact of weight loss on innate immune function. Dr Hogan was mentored by Professor Donal O’Shea and based in the Education Research Centre and the Department of Endocrinology in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Hogan’s fellowship was supported by Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company which discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Dr Hogan is now a senior scientist with the National Children’s Research Centre.

Inflammatory arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis occur in 2% of the world’s population. Dr Len Harty’s fellowship was focused on articular and extra articular responses to biologic therapy in Psoriatic arthritis, arthritis which affects the lining of joints causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Dr Harty was mentored by Professor Douglas Veale and based in the Rheumatology Group of the Dublin Academic Medical Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Harty’s fellowship was supported by Janssen Biotech, Inc (previously Centocor B.V). Janssen Biotech pursues innovative solutions in the therapeutic areas of immunology, oncology and nephrology.

With this fellowship, Dr Ben Collins was able to focus his research on the development and application of methods for determining differences in the concentrations of large numbers of proteins within different types of samples (for example, a blood sample from a patient with cancer compared with a blood sample from a healthy person). These measurement techniques have wide ranging applications in the life sciences arena. For example, research questions under investigation ranged from strategies to improve the safety evaluation of new drugs to novel mothods for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer by screening blood proteins. As a result of his development and application of advanced liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methodologies, Dr Collins secured a post at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology in Switzerland, working alongside Professor Ruedi Aebersold, one of the premier scientists for biological application of mass spectrometry in the world. The Fellowship has also leveraged additional research awards from Cancer Research Ireland and the Health Research Board.

Dr Collins’ fellowship was supported by Agilent Technologies, a world premier measurement company. Funding for the Newman Fellowship was made possible through Agilent’s university research programme, which fosters the advancement and application of measurement technologies at universities around the world.

Dr Collins now works at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zürich.

The number one killer of young men in Ireland is suicide. Over 600 people in Ireland are estimated to die through suicide annually, 1 in 6 suicide deaths are males under 25 years, or almost 1 in 4 males under 35 years. Dr Therese Murphy’s fellowship advanced our understanding of the effects of life stressors on genetic vulnerability to suicidal acts by using advances in epigenetics research. Dr Murphy was mentored by Professor Kevin Malone and based in the Centre for Clinical Research in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Murphy’s fellowship was established in memory of Craig Dobbin.

Dr Therese Murphy is a lecturer at University of Exeter Medical School.

Dr Sinead Noonan’s fellowship was focused on examining the importance of blood vessel stability and the vascular environment in governing treatment response to targeted therapies in colorectal cancer patients. The research resulting from this fellowship will benefit late stage colorectal cancer patients receiving targeted molecular therapies. Dr Noonan was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Noonan’s fellowship was supported by Merck Serono. Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.

Psoriasis is a chronic cutaneous disease characterised by the formation of inflammatory plaques. Dr Cheryl Sweeney’s fellowship in the immunological aspects of psoriasis was focused on an examination of Langerhans cells and the effects of treatment on this population of cells in Psoriasis. As a result of her Newman Fellowship, Dr Sweeney was awarded a HRB Health Research Award to continue her studies into the optimisation of Vitamin D therapy in psoriasis and the identification of novel targets for therapy leading to a clearer understanding of the role of the immune system in Psoriasis. Dr Sweeney was mentored by Prof Brian Kirby and based in the Education Research Centre and the Dermatology Group in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Sweeney’s fellowship was supported by Janssen-Cilag. Janssen-Cilag Limited is a top-ten pharmaceutical company serving Ireland. It is a part of Johnson & Johnson, a family of around 190 healthcare companies active worldwide.

In 2016 Dr Sweeney will take up a research position with Janssen outside Antwerp

Dr Petra Martin’s fellowship was focused on examining the importance of mitochondrial random mutations and deletions in governing treatment response to targeted therapies in colorectal cancer patients. The research resulting from this fellowship will benefit late stage colorectal cancer patients receiving targeted molecular therapies. Dr Martin was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Martin’s fellowship was supported by Roche Products (Ireland). The Roche Group is a leading international healthcare company with principal businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.

Colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the western world. At the time of diagnosis, approximately 30% of individuals are found to have early stage II colorectal cancer. Dr Cara Dunne’s fellowship was focused on the examination and functional validation of prognostic genes to better understand and influence the response to chemotherapy treatments in early colorectal cancer.

Dr Dunne was mentored by Professor Hugh Mulcahy and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital. Dr Dunne’s fellowship was established in memory of Darren Gibbons.

Colorectal cancer affects over 2,000 patients in Ireland each year and is the commonest internal cancer in the western world. It is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, with approximately 50 percent dying from their disease within 5 years of diagnosis. Contemporary chemotherapy treatments are effective in many cases but extremely expensive and potentially dangerous. With the prevalence and incurability of cancer types, there is a real need to better understand the pathways underlying cancer and to develop new therapeutics. Dr Adrian Murphy’s fellowship sought to improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy in Ireland by evaluating the efficacy and safety of novel and existing drugs. Dr Murphy was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Murphy’s fellowship was established in memory of Seamus Dargan.

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive neurological condition which affects over 7,000 people in Ireland. Dr Siobhán Kelly’s fellowship was focused on understanding the specific role of vitamin D in Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland. Dr Kelly was mentored by Professor Niall Tubridy and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dystonia is a condition which causes an involuntary contraction of certain muscles. This contraction produces movements or postures which appear abnormal or excessive and which are beyond the control of the affected individual. These muscle contractions can give rise to discomfort and pain and can make normal movements difficult or impossible. Dr Okka Kimmich’s fellowship was focused on discovering new genes associated with the commonest form of Dystonia, adult onset primary torsion Dystonia. Dr Kimmich was mentored by Professor Michael Hutchinson and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Aoibhlinn O’Toole’s fellowship focused on examining the role of dendritic cell function in bowel diseases. It is currently unknown what function dendritic cells play in different stages of colorectal cancer development or in patients with a familial form of colorectal cancer, Hereditary Non Polyposis colorectal cancer who exhibit very good survival rates. Dr O’Toole was mentored by Professor Diarmuid O’Donoghue and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr O’Toole’s fellowship was supported by Abbott Ireland. Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to discovering new medicines, new technologies and new ways to manage health.

Dr Elizabeth Ryan’s fellowship was focused on understanding which cellular and molecular factors drive disease progression and treatment sensitivity in colorectal cancer patients. Dr Ryan was mentored by Professor Diarmuid O’Donoghue and was based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve leaflets become restricted in their movement, and form an obstruction to normal blood flow from the left ventricle, thus impairing the cardiac output of the heart. To date, there has been limited information available on the estimated burden of aortic stenosis disease in Ireland. Dr Catherine McGorrian’s fellowship examined the prevalence of aortic stenosis in Ireland from 1999-2008 in order to provide estimates of the impact of the disease in future and the potential for intervention and better treatment. Dr McGorrian was mentored by Dr Mary Codd and based in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science. Following her Newman Fellowship, Dr McGorrian was appointed as consultant cardiologist and physician in the new Acute Medicine Unit and the Family Heart Screening Clinic in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Dr McGorrian’s fellowship was supported by Edwards Lifesciences. Edwards Lifesciences is a global leader in the science of the heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve leaflets become restricted in their movement, and form an obstruction to normal blood flow from the left ventricle, thus impairing the cardiac output of the heart. To date, there has been limited information available on the estimated burden of aortic stenosis disease in Ireland. Dr Dima Abdallah’s fellowship examined the prevalence of aortic stenosis in Ireland from 1999-2008 in order to provide estimates of the impact of the disease in future and the potential for intervention and better treatment. Dr Abdallah was mentored by Dr Mary Codd and was based in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science. Dr Abdallah’s fellowship was supported by Edwards Lifesciences.

Edwards Lifesciences is a global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring.

Inflammatory arthritis is a chronic, progressive disorder associated with joint angiogenesis, inflammation infiltration, synovial tissue proliferation resulting in degradation of articular cartilage. It afflicts over 80,000 people in Ireland alone. The mechanisms involved in synovial inflammation and invasion are not fully understood, however oxidative stress and angiogenesis are recognized as important events in the perpetuation of joint destruction in inflammatory arthritis. Dr Biniecka’s fellowship was focused on determining the link between angiogenesis, oxidative stress and mitochondrial mutagenesis. Dr Biniecka was mentored by Dr Ursula Fearon and based in the Rheumatology Group of the Dublin Academic Medical Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Biniecka’s fellowship was supported by MSD. MSD is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world providing vaccines, medicines and consumer and animal health products.

Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine tumours are hormone producing tumours found in the digestive system. They are very rare and can differ widely from each other in how they affect the body. They can be slow growing or aggressive and they can secrete hormones which cause symptoms. In recent years more knowledge about how these tumours work has been learned and efforts are being made to recognize how aggressive these tumours can be and also to predict the possible response to treatment. The main treatment of gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine tumours is with drugs called somatostatin receptor ligands. They bind to receptors in the tumours and can alter their hormone production and cause reduction of the tumour itself. Dr Gaoatswe’s fellowship investigated the possible differences in the expression of somatostatin subtype receptor status in gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine tumours in patients from Ireland and Italy, two ethnically distinct populations. Dr Gaoatswe was mentored by Professor Donal O’Shea and based in the Education Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Gaoatswe’s fellowship was supported by Ipsen, a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company specializing in healthcare solutions for targeting debilitating diseases.

Dr Edward Fox’s Fellowship was focused on improving surveillance and control of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in the food processing environment. Through the use of molecular sub-typing techniques such as Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis, Dr Fox characterised the molecular ecology of L. monocytogenes strains at a facility and subjected persistent strains to further physiological and genetic analysis. His research elucidated mechanisms involved in persistence of that strain, allowing more effective targeted control measures to be employed. Dr Fox was mentored by Professor Séamus Fanning and based at the UCD Centre for Food Safety. He is now a Research Microbiologist at the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia. Dr Fox’s fellowship was supported by Moy Park, Northern Ireland’s largest food processing business – and one of Europe’s leading poultry providers.

Obesity is a significant problem worldwide. In Ireland, almost one quarter of the adult population are obese. It is estimated that over 300,000 children on the island of Ireland are overweight or obese and this is projected to increase annually by 10,000. Obesity is associated with an increase in mortality and also increases the risk of developing complications such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other co-morbidites. With the sanofi-aventis Newman Fellowship, Dr Conor Woods investigated the clinical problem of obesity, with particular focus on its metabolical and immunological effects. Dr Woods was mentored by Professor Donal O’Shea and based in the Education Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Wood’s fellowship was supported by sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company which discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Dystonia is a condition which causes an involuntary contraction of certain muscles. This contraction produces movements or postures which appear abnormal or excessive and which are beyond the control of the affected individual. These muscle contractions can give rise to discomfort and pain and can make normal movements difficult or impossible.

Dr Anna Molloy’s fellowship was focused on discovering new genes associated with the commonest form of Dystonia, adult onset primary torsion Dystonia. The discovery of genes that cause Dystonia has the potential to improve greatly our understanding of the disorder and efforts to develop more targeted therapies. Dr Molloy was mentored by Dr Sean O’Riordan and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Since 1976, the Ireland Fund and the American Ireland Fund, as part of a global network of Ireland Funds, have raised over $300 million in support of four key goals; peace and reconciliation; arts and culture, community development; and education in Ireland. With the John Moore Newman Fellowship, Dr Andrew Sanders‘ investigated the involvement of the American Ireland Fund in influencing peace building across Ireland. Dr Sanders was mentored by Professor Liam Kennedy and based in the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies.

Dr Andrew Sanders’ three year fellowship was funded from the proceeds of the John Moore Endowment Fund. The Fund was established in 1989 in memory of John D. J. Moore, a friend of Ireland, and most especially, of University College Dublin. John Moore was a distinguished businessman and diplomat, serving as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland in the 1960s.

Dr Sanders is currently a visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Sam Houston State University, Texas.

Read Dr Sander’s article on dissident republicanism in The Telegraph.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterised by inflammation and neurodegeneration. MS is the most common disabling, non-traumatic, neurological condition affecting young adults and affects over 8,000 people in Ireland alone. The cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown. Dr Karen O’Connell’s fellowship is focused on establishing the incidence of multiple sclerosis across the island of Ireland and examining the role of potential aetiological factors. Dr O’Connell is mentored by Dr Chris McGuigan and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr O’Connell’s fellowship is supported by Biogen Idec Ireland Ltd. Biogen Idec is the oldest independent biotechnology company in the world.

Dystonia is a condition which causes an involuntary contraction of certain muscles. This contraction produces movements or postures which appear abnormal or excessive and which are beyond the control of the affected individual. These muscle contractions can give rise to discomfort and pain and can make normal movements difficult or impossible. Dr Laura Williams’ fellowship is focused on discovering new genes associated with the commonest form of Dystonia, adult onset primary torsion Dystonia. The discovery of genes that cause Dystonia has the potential to improve greatly our understanding of the disorder and efforts to develop more targeted therapies. Dr Williams is mentored by Dr Sean O’Riordan and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Williams’ fellowship is supported by Novartis Ireland Ltd. Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies.

Cronobacter spp. is an opportunistic pathogen that causes meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteremia and sepsis, predominantly in infants less than one month old. Infection has been linked to the consumption of contaminated powdered infant formal. Therefore this pathogen is of concern to powder manufacturers, and the dairy industry in relation to consumer confidence, as well as to health care professionals responsible for the protection of infant health. Dr Power’s fellowship extended the current understanding of how Cronobacter adapts to a food production environment and determined whether biocontrol is a viable option to limit dissemination along the food chain. Dr Power was mentored by Professor Séamus Fanning and was based in the UCD Centre for Food Safety in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science.

Dr Power’s fellowship was supported by the Danone Group and Nutricia. Danone is the world leader in dairy, water and baby nutrition products.

Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are long term illnesses where inflammation in the bowel lining leads to symptoms such as diarrhoea, pain and weight loss. There is no known cure for these diseases and they can persist for years, sometimes requiring surgery to remove parts of the intestine. Sometimes these diseases can burn themselves out over many years, but these changes that take place over time are not well understood. The inflammation in the gut in these illnesses is caused by an overactive gut immune system. In many cases, these illnesses can be controlled with use of medication. Some patients fail to get better with medication and in other cases medication can lose effect over time and this may be caused by changes in cells of the gut immune system which develop over time, particularly a failure to establish a proper ‘memory’ of what has happened before. Dr Gibson’s fellowship examined cells in the immune system taken from patients with these diseases to understand how they change over the course of the illness and to better understand why some medications work better earlier or later in the course of illness, leading to better, targeted drug treatments. Dr Gibson was mentored by Dr Glen Doherty and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Gibson’s fellowship was supported by AbbVie Ltd. AbbVie is a global biopharmaceutical company with the focus and capabilities to address some of the world’s greatest health challenges.

Dr Gibson is now Specialist Registrar at St James’ Hospital and a member of the board of The Irish Society of Gastroenterology.

Genetic analysis has been revolutionised by whole genome association, but these are revealing many variants of unknown function. This creates a bottle neck for scientists who then spend many years in the laboratory trying to work out what these variants are doing. The ICON Newman Fellowship in Genomics will focus on variants of known function, relying on information regarding the expression of the genes altered by the variant, and on information regarding the potential of the variant to alter the sequence (and therefore the structure or function) of the protein itself that is encoded by the gene. The subset of variants that are identified computationally will then be tested in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. This research will provide an important alternative strategy for advancing disease understanding using modern genetics approaches. Dr Ryan was mentored by Professor Denis Shields and Dr Sean Ennis and based in the UCD School of Medicine and the UCD Complex and Adaptive Systems Laboratory.

Dr Ryan was recently awarded the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in Systems Biology at UCD. Dr Ryan seeks to improve the understandings of synthetic lethality treatments in cancer therapeutics.

Dr Ryan’s fellowship was supported by ICON plc. ICON plc. is a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.

Chemotherapy induced diarrhoea (CID) is a common and extremely debilitating side effect of many chemotherapeutic regimes. Not only does CID negatively impact on cancer patients’ quality of life but also can cause delays in giving treatment or dose reductions; this can have an adverse effect on the overall treatment and efficacy and ultimately patient survival. Furthermore, patients with more severe CID require hospitalisation and this greatly increases the number of patient admissions and has a significant impact on the cost of providing cancer care. Dr Chun Seng Lee’s fellowship sought to determine the prevalence of CID in colorectal cancer patients and ascertain if there are certain risk factors and markers of intestinal failure that could guide earlier interventions; thus reducing morbidity, chemotherapy dose reductions and ultimately improve patient survival. Dr Chun Seng Lee was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and part of a vibrant research group that included Dr Glen Doherty, Dr Elizabeth Ryan and Dr Dermot O’Toole. He was based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Lee’s fellowship was supported by Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Helsinn is a privately owned, self-financing pharmaceutical group with headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland and premises in Ireland and USA.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases of the gut which affect over 18,000 people in Ireland. They most often affect young adults and may lead to considerable disability and emotional stress. There are a number of treatments available for active disease, but less attention has been paid to recognising and treating chronic aspects of these conditions such as pain, anxiety, depression, social functioning, family life or the economic burden coping with these chronic diseases for patients. Dr Edel McDermott’s fellowship studied the interactions between physical symptoms, mental health, financial stress and genetic phenomena so that patients can be identified early in the course of their disease who are likely to have poorer health related quality of life. Dr McDermott was mentored by Professor Hugh Mulcahy and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr McDermott’s fellowship was supported by Boston Scientific Ireland Ltd.. Boston Scientific is a leading innovator of medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world.

Controlling zoonotic pathogens associated with the modern food chain such as Salmonella and others is an important challenge for public health professionals and stakeholders in the food industry. Developing scientific-based strategies to limit the dissemination of these human pathogens not only protects a food company’s brand, it also contributes to public health by reducing numbers of food-borne illnesses. Dr Matthew McCusker’s fellowship is investigating the genomics of Salmonella Agona a food-borne pathogen that emerged from the food processing chain. Dr McCusker was mentored by Professors Séamus Fanning and Patrick Wall and based in the UCD Centre for Food Safety in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science.

Dr McCusker’s fellowship was supported by Dawn Farm Foods. Dawn Farm Foods is the leading multi species cooked ingredients company in Europe.

Infectious disease is a major veterinary public health challenge. Antimicrobial compounds have been an important class of drugs, used in the fight against infection. Since their discovery, at the turn of the last century, these drugs have had a major impact on both animal and human health alike. Their efficacy in improving animal and human health, by eliminating infectious agents, led to their widespread use. Consequently, the selective pressure imposed upon various ecological niches, resulted in the evolution of bacteria, expressing resistance to these drugs. Such a development has seriously compromised the future efficacy of these drugs, a situation that demands action by all stakeholders. Dr Martin’s fellowship explored the key genetic mechanisms that contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria, of food-animal origin. Dr Martins was mentored by Professors Séamus Fanning and Patrick Wall and based in the UCD Centre for Food Safety in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science.

Dr Martin’s fellowship was supported by Vétoquinol S. A. Vétoquinol, an independent, family-owned business, is the 10th largest veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world and the 3rd largest dedicated to animal health.

Colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the western world. Cetuximab is an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor which significantly prolongs survival rates in some colorectal cancer patients. Dr Caiazza used the Merck Serono Newman Fellowship to investigate how cetuximab modulates the tumour microenvironment and to what degree this differs in responders and non-responders to cetuximab therapy. The research resulting from this fellowship will benefit late stage colorectal cancer patients receiving targeted molecular therapies. Dr Caiazza was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Caiazza’s fellowship was supported by Merck Serono. Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.

Obesity is fast becoming a very common aspect of modern living and increases the risk of developing diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. In a healthy lean person, the immune system is equipped with mechanisms to deal with insults such as infection or malignant cells. Obese people are at greater risk of disease as their immune system is defective. Chronic inflammation plays a major role in obesity, inflammation normally occurs in response to infection or injury. The body produces substances to fight the infection and heal the injury. This mechanism is exaggerated in obesity and results in inflamed tissues and exhausted immune cells. GLP-1 is a medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 has been shown to have a positive effect on inflammation and the immune system. Under the guidance of Professor Carel Le Roux, Dr Michelle Corrigan sought to determine how GLP-1 affects immune cells and whether it may have the potential to reverse some of the adversities associated with obesity. Dr Corrigan was based in the Education and Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Obesity now impacts one in four Irish adults and is associated with increased risk of co-morbid diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Underpinning each of these co-morbid conditions is sterile inflammation and defective immune cells. This research is built on an earlier study that identified an important immune cell, the invariant Natural Killer T, which became depleted in obesity and consequently promoted the development of diabetes and fatty liver. With the sanofi-aventis Newman Fellowship, Dr Laura Tobin is investigating the impact of obesity on two further immune cells, the Vdelta3 T cell and the Mucosal Associated Invariant T cell, in adult and childhood obesity. This study, mentored by Professor Donal O’Shea and based at the Education Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital, may provide new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for obesity and metabolic disease.

Dr Tobin’s fellowship was supported by sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company which discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and leading cause of neurological disability in the developed world. Survivors of transient ischaemic attack (brief stroke-like symptoms which quickly resolve) and minor stroke are at a high risk of having a disabling second stroke. Similarly, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) is linked with a five-fold increase in stroke risk and a much higher risk of having a second stroke. Dr van der Poel used the Bayer Newman Fellowship to explore whether advanced scanning techniques (such as MRI) can be used to identify those patients at higher risk of a second stroke, leading to improved daily medical care and better designed medical trials to evaluate new treatments for stroke prevention. Dr van der Poel was mentored by Professor Peter Kelly and was based in the Neurovascular Research Unit at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Dr van der Poel’s fellowship was supported by Bayer, one of the world’s foremost innovators of pharmaceutical and medical products.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and leading cause of neurological disability in the developed world. Survivors of transient ischaemic attack (brief stroke-like symptoms which quickly resolve) and minor stroke are at a high risk of having a disabling second stroke. Similarly, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) is linked with a five-fold increase in stroke risk and a much higher risk of having a second stroke. Dr Hayden used the Bayer Newman Fellowship to explore whether advanced scanning techniques (such as MRI) can be used to identify those patients at higher risk of a second stroke, leading to improved daily medical care and better designed medical trials to evaluate new treatments for stroke prevention. Dr Hayden was mentored by Professor Peter Kelly and was based in the Neurovascular Research Unit at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Dr Hayden’s fellowship was supported by Bayer, one of the world’s foremost innovators of pharmaceutical and medical products.

Kidney disease, including kidney cancer, is a major health problem for which, unfortunately, there are relatively few effective pharmacological treatments. There is, therefore, a need to develop better and earlier diagnosis of kidney disease, and to limit the number of carcinogens and exposure to carcinogens in day-to-day life. The major output of this project, namely a human renal cell based system to predict carcinogens present in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and environmental toxins, was a major step forward in advancing human cancer risk assessment. This novel human renal cell system, based on CarcinoGENOMICS, an earlier successful research project at UCD, is designed to predict carcinogens based on modes of action and adverse outcome pathways using high throughput cell biology and systems biology will advance our knowledge in this area and ultimately lead to better outcomes for patients. Dr Cassidy was mentored by Professor Michael Ryan and Dr Tara McMorrow and based in the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research.

Dr Hilary Cassidy’s Fellowship was supported by Baxter Healthcare, a global leader in delivering critical therapies for patients with life threatening conditions.

While there are well-established codes of ethics around human medicine, the veterinarian faces many ethical challenges and dilemmas each day in both farming and small animal practices, such as convenience euthanasia, without a similar support structure. This is a threat to the reputation of the veterinary profession, as well as the trust that society places in veterinarians to maintain high standards in animal welfare, which is linked to the well-being of society as a whole. Veterinary ethics is also becoming an increasing legitimate concern for other regulatory bodies and research funders. Dr Manuel Sant’Ana’s fellowship focused on identifying the ethical issues faced by the veterinary profession in Ireland and developed a practical toolbox to support veterinary decision-making, policy and regulation. He was mentored by Dr Alison Hanlon and based at UCD School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr Sant’Ana’s fellowship was supported by the Veterinary Council Educational Trust, set up by the Veterinary Council of Ireland to promote the development of veterinary education in Ireland.

Dr Sant’Ana has been recognized as a European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law by the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. He is a lecturer at the University of Porto.

Dr Maria Karczmarczyk investigated the genomics of Salmonella Agona a food-borne pathogen that emerged from the food processing chain. Her fellowship aimed to examine the efficacy of industrial detergents as well as novel biocides on the survival of this bacterium along with an investigation of its genetic diversity using pulsed-field gel electrophroesis, optical mapping and in selected cases whole genome sequencing. Dr Karczmarczyk was mentored by Professor Séamus Fanning and based at the UCD Centre for Food Safety.

Dr Karczmarczyk’s fellowship was supported by Dawn Farm Foods. Dawn Farm Foods is the leading multi species cooked ingredients company in Europe.

Giant cell arteritis is the most common type of vasculitis, a group of conditions characterised by inflammation of and damage to blood vessels. It may affect up to 1 in a hundred Irish people causing headaches, blindness, stroke and aneurysms. High-dose steroids are the only effective treatment although they can only partially control the blood vessel inflammation and cause significant side effects in 85% of treated patients. There is a major need for new, effective and safe treatments. Dr Conway’s study was designed to examine the potential of blocking toll-like receptor 2 to treat giant cell arteritis. This inflammatory pathway may play a role in many diseases, including giant cell arteritis. He assessed the levels of toll-like receptors and other important factors in patients with giant cell arteritis and compared these to how active the disease is in the patients and in their biopsy samples. He then used a toll-like receptor 2 blocking drug on samples in the laboratory to see if it would stop the inflammation and damage that occurs in giant cell arteritis. The aim behind Dr Conway’s fellowship was to assess the possibility that a drug that blocks toll-like receptor 2 could be used in the future to treat giant cell arteritis. Dr Conway was supervised by Professor Eamonn Molloy and based at UCD School of Medicine and the Education and Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Conway’s fellowship was supported by the Centre for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (CARD). CARD is located at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services in Harold’s Cross.

Psoriasis is a chronic cutaneous disease that causes rapid multiplication of skin cells, characterised by the formation of inflammatory plaques. The disease currently affects over 100,000 people in Ireland. Dr Anna Malara’s fellowship focused on understanding the impact of obesity in patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis through clinical and translational research. Dr Malara studied the effect of anti-IL-17 therapy on the microenvironment of psoriasis. The project addressed how anti-IL-17 therapies regulate inflammation in psoriasis. The skin is one of the most active immune organs, and understanding IL-17 signalling is key to the design of more individualised inflammation therapies. Dr Malara was mentored by Professor Brian Kirby, Consultant Dermatologist, and based in the Education Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Malara’s fellowship was supported by Novartis. Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies.

Cervical dystonia is a movement disorder characterised by neck muscles contracting involuntarily, causing abnormal movements and posture of the head and neck. This condition is treated with injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) every three months. The cause of cervical dystonia remains unknown. The Irish Dystonia research group are working to discover the cause of this disorder, which is presumed to be genetic in origin with a number of environmental precipitants, including injury. Dr McGovern studied Adult Onset Idiopathic Isolated Focal Dystonia (AOIFD), in patients with the condition and their relatives. Dr McGovern was supervised by Professor Michael Hutchinson and based at the Education and Research Centre in St Vincent’s University Hospital

Dr McGovern’s fellowship was supported by the Merrion Neuroscience Foundation.

About 2,200 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year and it ranks as the fourth most common cancer. Unfortunately, more Irish men and women die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. Lung cancer cases can be divided into two types; small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Most lung cancers are of the non-small cell type. NSCLC’s can be further divided into Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Large cell carcinoma. There are many mutations that happen in lung cells that are currently being examined by scientific researchers. These mutations can contribute to the development of lung cancer. Two proteins can become involved in cancerous mutations, Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (Alk). Dr Nadarajan aims to determine the frequency of EGFR and Alk mutations in an Irish population, and correlate this with clinical outcome, cancer stage and smoking status. This translational medicine project aims to use exosome biology to identify potential biomarkers to allow the potential development of targeted therapies defined by the patient’s tumour profile. The ultimate aim is to improve patient care. Dr Nadarajan was mentored by Professor Michael Keane and based at the UCD Conway Institute of Bimolecular and Biomedical Research.

Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in Ireland in both men and women, with approximately 2000 new cases diagnosed each year. CRC remains an important contributor to cancer mortality. Approximately 50% of all patients diagnosed with CRC will die as a result of their cancer. New therapeutic regimens are improving outcomes. But with an array of molecular targeted therapies and immunotherapies in the pipeline (e.g. anti-PD1, Nivolumab), a much deeper understanding of the molecular mutations that underlie cancer pathogenesis and the resulting immune micro-environment of the tumour will greatly help in selecting the right drug combination for the right patient.
In particular a type of tumour (called KRAS mutant) has very few effective drugs available and new drugs urgently need to be found. To help understand important differences between patients’ tumours, Dr Elliott developed a method to culture small biopsies of patients’ tumours in the lab and profile their molecular composition. She used this information to classify patients tumours according to their degree of inflammation as this can dictate response to therapy. This research project particularly focussed on why the KRAS mutant tumour type is difficult to treat and her experiments overcame this by changing the local inflammation levels. Dr Elliott was mentored by Dr David Fennelly and based in the Centre for Colorectal Disease in St Vincent’s University Hospital.
Dr Louise Elliott’s Fellowship was supported by Merck Serono. Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.

Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) is a common chromosomal disorder that occurs in approximately 1 in 600 live births per year in Ireland. Children with Down syndrome are at increased risk of a number of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory arthritis. However, a delay in diagnosis is a feature consistently reported in the limited literature available. There is a general lack of awareness about the risk of this condition, reflected in the significant paucity of data available for reference. Delayed diagnosis undoubtedly contributes to unnecessary disability and functional impairment in a group of children who are already at significant clinical risk.

Dr Foley conducted the largest study to date on Down’s arthropathy, thus yielding new and informative results that will help to improve the provision of care and quality of life for children with Down’s arthropathy. Dr Foley was mentored by Professor Gerry Wilson and based in St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Dr Charlene Foley’s fellowship was made possible through a partnership between Arthritis Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin.

Arthritis Ireland http://www.arthritisireland.ie/

Down Syndrome Ireland http://www.downsyndrome.ie/

Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin http://www.olchc.ie/

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterised by inflammation and neurodegeneration. MS is the most common disabling, non-traumatic, neurological condition affecting young adults. The cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown. It is widely assumed that there is interplay between genetic and environmental factors combining to result in the development of MS, although the relative importance of each of these factors continues to generate debate.

Dr McNicholas’ work was a case-control observational study on new MS cases recruited from the MS clinic in St. Vincent’s University Hospital. The MS clinic in St. Vincent’s is the largest MS specialist clinic in Ireland. A primary aim of this study was to examine the potential impact of smoking history, body mass index, previous Epstein-Barr virus exposure, preceding Herpes Zoster infection and serum vitamin D levels on the risk of developing MS in a case-control population of 100 new cases of clinically definite MS against age sex matched controls. Dr Mc Nicholas measured Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS) cognitive screen in the study and control populations to identify early differences in cognitive processing in MS patients versus controls. Due to the complexity of MS, Dr Mc Nicholas’ study of predisposing factors for the development of MS required a stable population with a high prevalence of the disease. Ireland is recognised internationally as a high risk area for the development of MS with specific geographical regions having been studied in Ireland previously. The high rates of MS in Ireland made it an ideal place for Dr Mc Nicholas to carry out research into the potential environmental agents implicated in the development of the disease.

Dr McNicholas was mentored by Dr Chris McGuigan and based in the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s University Hospital. Dr McNicholas’s Newman Fellowship was supported by Biogen Idec Ireland Ltd. Biogen Idec is the oldest independent biotechnology company in the world.