New Players in Ubiquitination: Relevance to innate immunity and inflammatory diseases

MCT Research Forum – March 25th 2019 at Cheyne Lecture Theatre at 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Prof. Paul Moynagh – “New Players in Ubiquitination: Relevance to innate immunity and inflammatory diseases”
Prof. Moynagh obtained his B.A. (Mod) and PhD from Trinity College Dublin and took up a lectureship in UCD Department of Pharmacology in 1995. During his time in UCD Prof. Moynagh became Associate Professor of Immunology and held the position of founding Head of the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. In 2006 he joined National University of Ireland, Maynooth as Director of its Institute of Immunology and currently holds the positions of Head of Department of Biology and Director of the Human Health Research Institute at Maynooth University. Prof. Moynagh has published extensively in the area of immunology-related research and in 2009 was awarded the NUI Centennial Prize for Academic Publishing in Medical and Health Sciences. He was also awarded the 2014 Irish Area Section Biochemical Society (IASBS) medal. This medal is awarded annually to an Irish-based researcher who has made an outstanding contribution during his/her career in the broad area of Biochemistry. Prof. Moynagh’s research focuses on innate immune signalling and the identification of novel regulators of inflammatory pathways with his most recent findings revealing immunomodulatory roles for the Pellino E3 ubiquitin ligases in inflammasome activation (Humphries et al; Nature Communications (2018), antiviral immunity (Siednienko et al; Nature Immunology (2012)), controlling intestinal homeostasis (Yang et al; Nature Immunology (2013)) and regulating insulin resistance (Yang et al; Immunity (2014)). He has generated >€10M of independent research funding and has directed a number of major research initiatives including the coordination of European Commission-funded research programmes. Prof. Moynagh has also played a leading role in the training of PhD students and directed 2 large structured PhD programmes

Dr. Stephanie Annett –“Unravelling the role of FKBPL in obesity”

Dr. Jennifer Dowling – “The Inflammasome: a novel therapeutic target of Hypoxic Brain Injury in Neonates”

All Welcome

Tea/Coffee and Cookies sponsored by

New Advances in Microscopy

MCT Research Forum – Monday 11th March 2019

Microscopic examination of cells

Prof. Judy Harmey: ‘Using in vivo imaging to evaluate a cancer therapeutic’

Dr. Olga Piskareva: ‘ Seeing is believing’

Dr. Ingmar Schoen: ‘Beyond belief: Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy’

Start Time: 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Chair: Dr. Cormac McDonnell

Sponsored by:

Translating Bio-Repositories into New Clinical Insights

MCT Research Forum – February, 25th 2019 at 12.00, Cheyne LT

Prof. Paul McNally – “Biorepositories in Childhood Cystic Fibrosis: A Journey of Discovery”
Paul graduated from the UCD School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his paediatric medical training in Ireland, and subsequently completed a 2-year MD in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) lung disease in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Paul undertook pulmonology fellowship training in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2007 to 2009. He was appointed as a consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital (OLCHC) in 2009. In August 2015, Paul was appointed as Associate Professor of Paediatrics at RCSI. Paul is director of the CF centre in OLCHC and leads the CF research group at NCRC. Paul is clinical lead for Paediatric Respiratory Medicine in the Dublin Paediatric Hospitals. He is a board member of the CF Registry of Ireland and the National Children’s Research Centre. Paul is a member of the working group of the National Clinical Programme for Cystic Fibrosis and is a member of the advisory board for the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics. Paul has recently been appointed as the director of research and innovation for Children’s Health Ireland (Dublin’s three children’s Hospitals). Paul’s main research interest is early CF lung disease, in particular around the question of why some children have more severe lung disease, and how we can detect these children earlier and modify their treatment.

Dr. Michelle Lavin – “The future of data repositories and e-Health in Irish clinical research”
Dr. Michelle Lavin is a Consultant Haematologist and the Clinical Lead for the Irish Personalised Approach to the Treatment of Haemophilia (iPATH) study, based in the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, RCSI. She completed her PhD in Trinity College Dublin, focused on the pathophysiology and clinical impact of Low Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) levels. Her research is centred on inherited bleeding disorders; developing insights into phenotypic variability and working to improve clinical outcomes. She serves a Co-Chair on the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) VWF Scientific Subcommittee and a clinical advisor to the World Federation of Haemophilia.

Chair: Soracha Ward
A light lunch will be served after the talks

Sponsored by Biosciences

Fantastic achievements of Lisa Dwane and Lauren Fagan

Dr. Lisa Dwane post doc with Prof. Darran O’Connor’s group, is Irish Cancer Society’s PhD Scholar of the Year 2019. She presenting her research in layman’s terms to compete for the prize at the ICS Research Awards held on Friday 15th February, at the House of Lords, Bank of Ireland College Green, Dublin 2.

Lisa also received the EACR Young Scientist Award, in the Junior category, for her research in cancer research. This Young Scientist award is granted to the two applicants with the highest scoring abstracts. This year, both recipients are RCSI researchers; the second applicant Dr. Sara Charmsaz, Dept. of Surgery, received the Senior award. Awards will be presented at the IACR Annual Conference, on Friday 22nd February, in Belfast.

Lauren Fagan (co-supervised by Dr. Oran Kennedy and Dr. Annie Curtis) was awarded Best Musculoskeletal Research Oral Presentation – Early Researcher Category for her early stage work on the chondrocyte clock and post-traumatic osteoarthritis at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Section of Bioengineering 25th Annual Conference (BinI 2019), UL, 18th – 19thJanuary 2019.

Hot Chocolate Morning for International Childhood Cancer Day

Dr Olga Piskareva’s team ran the Hot Chocolate Morning on February, 15th. Every year that day, we celebrate the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) to raise awareness of childhood cancer, its consequences for children and their parents and make it as a priority for Governments and research.

Olga’s research is focused on neuroblastoma biology. This is a solid tumour of undeveloped nerves. Some forms of neuroblastoma spread quickly and become very aggressive and challenging to treat. Her team is searching for the weaknesses in cancer spread that can be targeted with drugs.

Ciara, John, Tom, Nele and Olga (l-r)

Olga teamed up with Amorino to offer authentic traditional Italian hot chocolate to raise funds for childhood cancer research charities – Children’s Medical Research Foundation/National Children’s Research Centre and the Conor Foley Neuroblastoma Cancer Research Foundation.  Research advances our knowledge and helps to develop new treatments.

A guessing game was a part of the event. Everyone had a chance to guess how many marshmallows fitted in the cell culture flask T75. The guesses ranged from as low as 95 to as high as 500. Fortunately, one of the participants gave an absolutely correct answer. Micheal Flood put on 173 and won. Her fantastic ability to guess is incredible! Congratulations!!! Well done to all!

Olga’s team raised 698.91 Euros for childhood cancer research! They thank everyone who came along and supported the Hot Chocolate Morning & the International Childhood Cancer Day 2019! They thank Amorino for delicious chocolate & tasty bites contributors!

And the winners are:

1st place – Micheal Flood (173)
2nd place – Rebecca Watkin (175)
3d place – Lisa Dwane (180)
4th place – Billy Cahill (165)
5th place – Martin Kenny (185)
6th place Brona Murphy (160)

 

Ciara, Nele, John, Tom and Olga

Genomes and Genome Modification

MCT Research Forum – Monday 11th February 2019 at 3.00pm Houston Lecture Theatre

Chair: Martin Kenny

Speakers:

Prof. Gianpiero Cavalleri

Genome-wide mega-analysis in the epilepsies”

Dr. Cormac McDonnell

“CRISPR strategies for protein engineering”

Dr. Elspeth Ward

“Editing the genome using CRISPR/Cas9”

 Tea/Coffee and Cookies at 2.45pm sponsored by

MCT Research Forum – Friday 25th January at 3.00pm

Professor David Ray

“Circadian control of inflammation; stories from the lung”

David trained in general internal medicine in North West England, and obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester. He was a research fellow at UCLA for two years, working on neuroendocrine-immune interaction, before returning to the UK, and obtaining a GSK fellowship to work on glucocorticoid action, and sensitivity in inflammatory disease. He was promoted to Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester in 2005, and went on to study nuclear receptor and circadian biology in inflammation, and energy metabolism. This work attracted Wellcome Investigator and MRC programme grant support. David is a passionate advocate of research training, serving on the MRC clinical fellowship panel for seven years, three as deputy chair.

Circadian mechanisms regulate most mammalian physiology, with particular importance in the regulation of innate immunity, through the macrophage in particular, and energy metabolism, regulating liver, adipose and muscle. These circuits are also regulated by a number of nuclear receptors, which show a striking interdependency on the circadian machinery; some having ligand availability regulated by the clock, others varying in expression level through the day. We have employed a range of approaches to address the physiological importance of the circadian: nuclear receptor system, ranging from population genetics, experimental medicine studies, CRISPR engineered mice, and cell biology. These approaches have discovered how the important dimension of time regulates metabolism, and coordinates diverse tissues to deliver optimal organismal performance. Importantly, we are identifying how external stressors can decouple these systems, with deleterious effects.

Dr. Judith Coppinger

“Increased extracellular vesicles mediate inflammatory signalling in Cystic Fibrosis”

Judith obtained her PhD from Department of Clinical Pharmacology, RCSI in 2004 before undertaking postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, on new folding mechanisms in Cystic Fibrosis. In 2011, she joined the University of California, San Diego as a faculty member before receiving an SFI award and returning to Ireland. In 2013 she became a principal investigator at University College Dublin where she set up basic/translational research programs in Cystic Fibrosis and Cancer (lung/breast). Judith’s overall research has focused on using omics-based approaches to decipher protein interaction networks dysregulated in disease and identify new therapeutics to target these pathways. Her research projects include examining the therapeutic restoration of CFTR using kinase inhibitors in Cystic Fibrosis and examining exosomes in regulating inflammatory signalling in Cystic Fibrosis at the National Children’s Research Centre. Other projects include investigating BAG3 as a therapeutic target regulating signalling transduction pathways in breast/lung cancer subtypes. Dr. Coppinger is a senior lecturer at the RCSI and a principal investigator at National Children’s Research Centre since 2017.

George Timmons

“Mitochondria – A link between innate immunity, metabolism, and the clock”

George Timmons is a PhD student of the Curtis Clock Lab, led by Dr. Annie Curtis and is part of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics and Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI. George began his PhD in October 2016 and is now in the 3rd year of his studies. The Curtis Clock Lab focuses on circadian immunometabolism – a new field which looks into the relationship between the molecular clock, cellular metabolism, and immune responses. Specifically, George’s project is investigating how the core clock gene Bmal1 impacts upon mitochondrial metabolism and how these metabolic changes can impact upon the inflammatory response of macrophages.

When: January 25th 2019 at 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Where: Cheyne Lecture Theatre

Tea Coffee and Cookies sponsored by Biosciences will be at 2.30pm

Merry Christmas!

Dear All,

It’s been another very successful year for MCT. May I take the opportunity to thank you all for your hard work, you’ve all been a real pleasure to work with and I am grateful for your tremendous efforts and dedication this year. Now it’s time to relax with your family and friends over the Christmas break.

Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with health, happiness and more spectacular success!!!!

Best wishes,

Tracy Robson

Professor & Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics (MCT)

Ancestral origins of increased breast cancer risk and mortality: blame the parents

MCT Research Seminars – 19th December 2018

Leena A. Hilakivi-Clarke, Ph.D. is a professor of Oncology at Georgetown University. She received PhD in 1987 from University of Helsinki, Finland, where she studied the role of maternal exposures during pregnancy in affecting offspring’s later brain development and behaviour. Next, she was a Fogarty postdoctoral fellow (1987-1990) at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1991, she joined the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington DC. Since then, Dr. Hilakivi-Clarke has been investigating how maternal dietary exposures or exposures to the endocrine-disrupting chemical during pregnancy affect daughter’s breast cancer risk, response to endocrine therapy and risk of recurrence. She discovered that the effects of maternal exposures are not limited to F1 generation but extend to at least F3 generation (great granddaughters). In addition, she has studied the effect of these exposures on mother’s breast cancer risk as well as the impact of childhood exposures on breast cancer risk and recurrence. Exposures include ethinyl estradiol, plant-derived phytochemicals, dietary fats and obesity. Her current goals include being able to identify breast cancer patients who have been ancestrally exposed to factors that may impair their response to endocrine therapy and/or increase their risk of recurrence using their pretreatment tumours. She is also exploring combination therapies, including HDAC/DNMT inhibitors and immune therapies that would prevent recurrence in daughters ancestrally exposed to factors that impair their response to antiestrogens. Her publication record consists of over 160 journal articles. She is a recipient of multiple grant awards through her research career, including being a program director for NCI funded U54 program project entitled “Timing of dietary exposures and breast cancer risk” to investigate nutritional modulation of genetic pathways leading to breast cancer.

Time: 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Bouchier-Hayes Auditorium, No 26 York St

Lunch will be at 12.30 outside the Auditorium

All Welcome!

Gut Feelings: The Microbiome as a Regulator of Brain and Behaviour across the Lifespan

MCT Research Seminars – November 19th,  2018.

Ever had a “gut feeling” about something? It turns out, the connection between our gut and our brain might be stronger than we think. John F. Cryan, Prof. & Chair of Anatomy & Neuroscience and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland, Cork Ireland will share surprising facts and insights about how our thoughts and emotions are connected to our guts. As a TEDMED speaker, Prof. Cryan shares his fascination with biomedicine and why it offers a perfect way to explore the interaction between the brain, gut and microbiome, and how this relationship applies to stress- and immune-related disorders such as depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism.

Prof. Cryan has published over 440 articles and is a co-author of “The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection” (National Geographic Press, 2017). He has received numerous awards including UCC Researcher of the Year in 2012; UCC Research Communicator of the Year 2017, the University of Utrecht Award for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research in 2013 and being named on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher list in 2014 and Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher list in 2017 and 2018. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2017. He has received a Research Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterology Association and the Tom Connor Distinguished Scientist Award from Neuroscience Ireland in 2017. He was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium in 2018 and is currently President of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society.

Date: November, 19th 2018

Time: 3.00pm

Venue: Tutorial Room 4

All Welcome