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UCD Conway SPHERE is a novel translational research group which combines expertise from across the UCD School of Medicine, the UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science (SBBS) and the UCD Conway Institute focused on inflammatory-based diseases including thromobotic disorders. The group was launched in September 2015 at an international thrombosis conference (www.vtedublin2015.com) co-organised by SPHERE co-Director Dr Ní Aínle. The launch of SPHERE was welcomed by the Irish Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar in his address to conference delegates. SPHERE brings together clinical and academic collaborators nationally and internationally, harnessing unique tools to diagnose and understand a host of inflammatory-based diseases, including thrombotic disorders. The acronym SPHERE describes the state-of the art translational interests of the group, which will focus upon “Systemic inflammatory disorders: role of blood Particles, Haemostatic factors and ExtRacEllular vesicles”.

SPHERE research group

L-R: Dr Patricia Maguire, Dr Karl Egan, Dr Seamus Allen, Dr Barry Kevane, Ms Paulina Szklanna, Ms Brid Holohan, Dr Fionnuala Ní Áinle, Mr Martin Parsons

Principal Investigators

Dr Patricia Maguire 

• Principal Investigator and Fellow, UCD Conway Institute
• Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science

E: patricia.maguire@ucd.ie
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Dr Fionnuala Ní Áinle 

• Consultant Haematologist & Director of Laboratory Medicine, Rotunda Hospital, Parnell Street, Dublin 1
• Consultant Haematologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin 7
• Clinical Associate Fellow, University College Dublin, UCD Conway Institute
• Senior Clinical lecturer, UCD

E: fniainle@mater.ie
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Current Research

Current SPHERE research projects, including lead research staff include:

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Karl Egan
Project Title: Novel approaches to determining the procoagulant state in early-onset pre-eclampsia: diagnostic relevance and therapeutic opportunities
Funding: Health Research Board

Dr Seamus Allen
Project Title: Characterisation of plasma in adults with pulmonary hypertension secondary to congenital cardiac disease
Funding: Actelion Pharmaceutials Ltd

Dr Barry Kevane
Project Title: Beneficial anticoagulant and cytoprotective properties of low molecular weight heparin in cancer
Funding: Leo Laboratories

PhD Students

Mr Tim Donlon
Project Title: WNT signalling in platelets
Funding: Science Foundation Ireland

Ms Paulina Szklanna
Project Title: The platelet releasate in Early-onset Preeclampsia
Funding: Irish Research Council PhD scholarship award

Mr Martin Parsons
Project Title: The platelet releasate in Multiple Sclerosis
Funding: UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science



• Prof. Peter Kelly and Prof. Sean Murphy, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dept. of Stroke Medicine
• Dr Stephen Stewart, Consultant Hepatologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
• Professor Fergal Malone, Master, Rotunda Hospital
• Professor Naomi McCallion, Consultant Neonatologist, Rotunda Hospital
• Dr Jennifer Donnelly, Consultant Obstetrician, Rotunda Hospital
• Dr Chris McGuigan, Consultant Neurologist, St Vincent’s University Hospital
• Prof. Brian Cleary, Chief Pharmacist, RCSI and Rotunda Hospital
• Dr Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
• Dr Tomás Breslin, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and Chair, Mater Hospital Venous Thromboembolism Working Group
• Professor Louise Kenny, Infant Research Centre, University College Cork
• Dr Jogin Thakore, Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Fairview
• Professor Sean Gaine, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

International Collaborators

• Prof Saskia Middeldorp, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
• Prof. Beverley Hunt, King’s College, London, UK
• Prof Willem Ouwehand & Dr Cedric Ghevaert, Cambridge University, UK
• Dr Alastair Poole, Bristol University, UK
• Prof Johan Heemskeerk, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
• Prof. Denisa Wagner, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusets, USA


Publications by UCD Conway SPHERE directors and group include:

1. Crowley M, Kevane B, O’Shea S, Quinn S, Egan K, Gilligan O, Ní Ainle F. Plasma thrombin generation and sensitivity to activated protein C among patients with myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. Clinical and Applied Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2016 (in press)
2. Husarova V, Donnelly G, Doolan A, Garstka M, Ní Áinle F, McCaul C. Preferences of Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding haematological supports in an obstetric setting: experience of a single university teaching hospital. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2015 Sep 25. pii: S0959-289X(15)00133-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijoa.2015.09.005. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26597403
3. Neary E, McCallion N, Kevane B, Cotter M, Egan K, Regan I, Kirkham C, Mooney C, Coulter-Smith S, Ní Áinle F. Coagulation indices in very preterm infants from cord blood and postnatal samples. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2015 Nov;13(11):2021-2030. doi: 10.1111/jth.13130. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID:26334448
4. Egan K, Kevane B, Ní Áinle F. Elevated venous thromboembolism risk in preeclampsia: molecular mechanisms and clinical impact. Biochem Soc Trans. 2015 Aug 1;43(4):696-701. Epub 2015 Aug 3. Review. PMID: 26551715
5. Werth S, Breslin T, NiAinle F, Beyer-Westendorf J. Bleeding Risk, Management and Outcome in Patients Receiving Non-VKA Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs). Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2015 Aug;15(4):235-42. doi: 10.1007/s40256-015-0123-6. PMID: 25940651
6. Neary E, Ni Ainle F, Cotter M, McCallion N. Coagulation values in extreme premature infants. Transfusion. 2014 Aug;54(8):2134. doi: 10.1111/trf.12734 2014 Aug;54(8):2134. doi: 10.1111/trf.12734. PMID: 25130336
7. Langabeer SE, Haslam K, Linders J, Percy MJ, Conneally E, Hayat A, Hennessy B, Leahy M, Murphy K, Murray M, Ni Ainle F, Thornton P, Sargent J. Molecular heterogeneity of familial myeloproliferative neoplasms revealed by analysis of the commonly acquired JAK2, CALR and MPL mutations. Fam Cancer. 2014 Dec;13(4):659-63. doi: 10.1007/s10689-014-9743-2. PMID: 25103330
8. Donnellan E, Kevane B, Bird BR, Ainle FN. Cancer and venous thromboembolic disease: from molecular mechanisms to clinical management. Curr Oncol. 2014 Jun;21(3):134-43. doi: 10.3747/co.21.1864. PMID: 24940094
9. Kevane B, McKenna P, Walsh K, Donnelly JC, Flood K, Cullen M, Bowen M, Thornton P, Loughrey J, Coulter-Smith S, Ainle FN. Haemorrhagic and thrombotic complications in pregnant women with acquired and congenital cardiac disease. J Perinat Med. 2015 Mar;43(2):165-9. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2014-0088. PMID: 25014516
10. Scully M, Thomas M, Underwood M, Watson H, Langley K, Camilleri RS, Clark A, Creagh D, Rayment R, Mcdonald V, Roy A, Evans G, McGuckin S, Ni Ainle F, Maclean R, Lester W, Nash M, Scott R, O Brien P; collaborators of the UK TTP Registry. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and pregnancy: presentation, management, and subsequent pregnancy outcomes. Blood. 2014 Jul 10;124(2):211-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-02-553131. Epub 2014 May 23. PMID: 24859360
11. Macaulay IC, Thon JN, et al, He X, Fitzgerald DJ, Italiano Jr. JE, Maguire PB. (2013) Canonical Wnt signaling in Megakaryocytes regulates Proplatelet formation. Blood. 121,88-96.
12. Steele BM, Harper MT, Smolenski AP, Alkazemi A, Poole AW, Fitzgerald DJ, Maguire PB (2012) WNT-3a modulates platelet function by regulating small GTPase activity. FEBS Lett. 586:2267-2272.
13. Maguire PB, Steele BM, Fitzgerald DJ (2011) Novel Platelet Signalling Pathways Identified via Proteomics. Current Proteomics. 8: 208-215.
14. Johnston O, Cassidy H, O'Connell S, O'Riordan A, Gallagher W, Maguire PB, Wynne K, Cagney G, Ryan MP, Conlon PJ, McMorrow T (2011). Identification of β2-microglobulin as a urinary biomarker for chronic allograft nephropathy using proteomic methods. Proteomics Clin Appl. 5:422-431.
15. Ní Áinle F, O’Donnell JS, Johnson JA, Brown L, Gleeson EM, Smith OP, Preston RJ. Activated protein C N-linked glycans modulate cytoprotective signaling function on endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 14;286(2):1323-30. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.159475. Epub 2010 Nov 2. PMID: 21044954
16. Goodall AH, Burns P , Salles I, Macaulay IC, Jones C, Ardissino D, de Bono B, Bray SL, Deckmyn H, Dudbridge F, Fitzgerald DJ, Garner SF, Gusnanto A, Koch K, Langford C, O’Connor M, Rice CM, van der Schoot E, Stemple D, Stephens J, Trip MD, Samani NJ, Watkins NA, Maguire PB, Ouwehand WH, on behalf of the Bloodomics Consortium (2010) Transcription Profiling in Human Platelets Reveals LRRFIP1 as a Novel Protein Regulating Platelet Function. Blood. 116:4646-4656.
17. Steele BM, Harper MT, Macaulay IC, Morrell CN, Perez-Tamayo A, Foy M, Habas R, Poole AW, Fitzgerald DJ, Maguire PB. (2009) Canonical WNT signalling negatively regulates platelet function. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106, 19836-19841.
18. Bernimoulin M, Waters EK, Foy M, Steele BM, Sullivan M, Falet H, Walsh MT, Barteneva N, Geng JG, Hartwig JH, Maguire PB, Wagner DD. (2009) Differential stimulation of monocytic cells results in distinct populations of microparticles. J. Thromb. Haem. 7, 1019-1028.
19. Ní Áinle F, Preston RJ, Jenkins PV, Nel HJ, Johnson JA, Smith OP, White B, Fallon PG, O'Donnell JS. Protamine sulfate down-regulates thrombin generation by inhibiting factor V activation. Blood 2009 Aug 20;114(8):1658-65. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-05-222109. Epub 2009 Jun 16. PMID: 19531655
20. Preston RJ, Tran S, Johnson JA, Ní Áinle F, Harmon S, White B, Smith OP, Jenkins PV, Dahlbäck B, O'Donnell JS. Platelet factor 4 impairs the anticoagulant activity of activated protein C. J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 27;284(9):5869-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M804703200. Epub 2009 Jan 6. PMID: 19129181
21. Harmon S, Preston RJ, Ní Áinle F, Johnson JA, Cunningham MS, Smith OP, White B, O'Donnell JS. Dissociation of activated protein C functions by elimination of protein S cofactor enhancement. J Biol Chem. 2008 Nov 7;283(45):30531-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M802338200. Epub 2008 Sep 8. PMID: 18779332
22. Ní Áinle F, Wong A, Appleby N, Byrne B, Regan C, Hassan T, Milner M, Sullivan AO, White B, O'Donnell J. Efficacy and safety of once daily low molecular weight heparin (tinzaparin sodium) in high risk pregnancy. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2008 Oct;19(7):689-92. doi: 10.1097/MBC.0b013e32830b14ef.
PMID: 18832911
23. Behan AT, Foy M, Wynne K, Clarke M, Sullivan M, Cotter DR, Maguire PB. (2008) Analysis of membrane microdomains-associated proteins in the insular cortex of human brain. Proteomics Clinical Applications, 1, 1324-1331.
24. Feighery R, Maguire P, Ryan MR, McMorrow T. (2008) A proteomic approach to immune-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Proteomics Clinical Applications, 2, 1110-1117.
25. O'Riordan A, Johnston O, McMorrow T, Wynne K, Maguire P, Hegarty J, McCormick A, Watson AJ, Cagney G, Gallagher WM, Ryan MR. (2008) Identification of Apolipoprotein AI as a serum biomarker of chronic kidney disease in liver transplant recipients, using proteomic techniques. Proteomics Clinical Applications, 2, 1338-1348.
26. Kerrigan SW, Jakubovics NS, Keane C, Maguire P, Wynne K, Jenkinson HF, Cox D. (2007) Role of Streptococcus gordonii surface proteins SspA/SspB and Hsa in platelet function. Infect Immun. 75, 5740-5747.
27. Coppinger JA, O'Connor RI, Wynne K, Flanagan M, Sullivan M, Maguire PB, Fitzgerald DJ, Cagney G. (2007) Moderation of the platelet releasate response by aspirin. Blood. 109, 4786-92.
28. Foy M. & Maguire PB. (2007) Recent advances in the characterisation of the platelet membrane system in platelets. Curr. Pharm. Des. 13, 2647-2655.
29. Coppinger JC & Maguire PB. (2007). Insights into the platelet releasate. Curr Pharm Des. 13, 2640-2646.
30. Maguire PB, Belton O, O’Donoghue N & Coppinger JC. (2007) “Platelet-endothelial interactions” in, The Endothelium: A Comprehensive Reference. Edited by William C. Aird. Cambridge Univerity Press, Cambridge, UK.
31. Foy M., Harney D.F, Wynne K.J & Maguire PB (2007) Enrichment of phospho-tyrosine proteome of human platelets by immunoprecipitation. Methods Mol. Biol. 357, 313-318.
32. Coppinger JC, Fitzgerald DJ & Maguire PB (2007) Analysis of the platelet releasate. Methods Mol. Biol. 357, 307-312.
33. Kelly P, Maguire PB, Bennett M, Fitzgerald DJ, Edwards R, Thiede B, Treumann A, Collins J, O'Sullivan GC, Shanahan F, Dunne C. (2005) Correlation of probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius growth phase with its cell wall-associated proteome. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 252, 153-159.
34. Maguire PB, Foy M & Fitzgerald DJ (2005) Using proteomics to identify potential therapeutic targets in platelets. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 33, 409-412.
35. Coppinger JA, Cagney G, Toomey S, Kislinger T, Belton O, McRedmond J, Cahill D, Emili A, Fitzgerald DJ & Maguire PB. (2004) Proteomic characterization of the proteins released from activated platelets leads to localization of novel platelet proteins in human atherosclerotic lesions. Blood. 103, 2096-2104.
36. Maguire PB. (2004) Platelet proteomics: identification of potential therapeutic targets. Pathophysiol. Haemost. Thromb. 33(5-6):481-6.
37. Maguire PB, Moran N, Cagney G & Fitzgerald DJ. (2004) Application of proteomics to the study of platelet regulatory mechanisms. Trends Cardiovasc. Med. 14(6):207-20.
38. McRedmond J, Park S, Reilly D, Coppinger JA, Maguire PB, Shields D, Fitzgerald DJ. (2004) Integration of transcriptomics and genomics in platelets: a profile of platelet proteins and platelet-specific genes. Mol. Cell. Proteomics. 3, 133-144.
39. Maguire PB & Fitzgerald DJ. (2003) Platelet proteomics. J. Thromb. Haemost. 1, 1593-1601.
40. Maguire PB, Wynne KJ, & Fitzgerald DJ. (2002). The phosphotyrosine proteome isolated from human platelets. Bioforum International, 6, 326-327.
41. Maguire PB, Wynne KJ, Harney DF, O’Donoghue NM, Stephens G, Fitzgerald DJ (2002) Identification of the phosphotyrosine proteome from thrombin activated platelets. Proteomics, 2, 642-648.
42. Ohlendieck K, Froemming GR, Murray BE, Maguire PB, Leisner E, Traub I & Pette D. (1999). Effects of chronic low-frequency stimulation on Ca2+-regulatory membrane proteins in rabbit fast muscle. Pflugers Arch, Eur. J. Physiol. 438, 700-708.
43. Culligan K, Mackey A, Finn D, Maguire PB & Ohlendieck K. (1998) Role of dystrophin isoforms and associated proteins in muscular dystrophy (review). Int. J. Mol. Med. 2, 639-648.
44. Murray B. E., Froemming G. R., Maguire P. B. & Ohlendieck K. (1998) Excitation-contraction-relaxation cycle: role of Ca2+-regulatory membrane proteins in normal, stimulated and pathological skeletal muscle (review). Int. J. Mol. Med. 1, 677-687.
45. Maguire P. B., Briggs F. N., Lennon N. & Ohlendieck K. (1997) Oligomerization is an intrinsic property of calsequestrin in normal and transformed skeletal muscle. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 240, 721-727.
46. Maguire P.B. & Ohlendieck K. (1996) Oligomerization of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase from rabbit skeletal muscle. FEBS Lett. 396, 115 -118.

Conference Proceedings

Recent International Oral Presentations

1. Cooley S, Donnelly JC, Deering M, Raman A, O’Reilly M, Gannon G, Holland A, O’Shaughnessy F, Brady M, Hayes N, Ní Áinle F, Cleary B. Thrombocalc: Personalized postpartum VTE risk assessment in a high-throughput environment. Oral presentation, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 2016
2. Neary E, McCallion N, Kevane B, Egan K, Cotter M, Ní Áinle F. The anticoagulant action of activated protein C in very preterm infants. Oral poster presentation, Joint European Neonatal Societies Congress, Budapest, Sept 2015
3. Egan K, Dillon A, Galvin Z, Kevane B, Neary E, Stewart S, Ní Áinle F (presented by Fionnuala Ní Áinle). Thrombin generation varies with fibrosis score in patients with well-compensated liver cirrhosis of mixed aetiology. Oral presentation, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Congress, Toronto, June 20-25, 2015
4. Maguire PB, Dervin F, Dempsey E, Bennett C, Guerrero J, Ghevaert C. Platelet exosomes, plexosomes, are targeted to platelet alpha-granules and can modulate canonical WNT signalling in target cells. Oral Presentation & Young Investigator Award to Dr Maguire, International Society of Extracellular Vesicle (ISEV) meeting (23-26 Apr 2015) in Washington DC
5. D.P. Mitchell, M. Rowan, M. Crockett, F. Ni Ainle, P. Mac Mahon CTPA bolus timing techniques in pregnancy: an underappreciated contributor to breast radiation dose. European Congress of Radiology, Vienna, March 2015

Recent International Poster Presentations

1. Egan K, Ma Hui, Kevane B, Lennon A, Allen S, Neary E, Wynne K, O’Shea S, O’Kennedy R, Ní Áinle F. Platelet-derived beta thromboglobulin: a potential novel activator of coagulation factor X. Poster presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of American Society of Hematology, Orlando, Florida 05-08 December, 2015
2. Egan K, Dunne E, Dillon A, Kevane B, Galvin Z, Kenny D, Stewart S, Ní Áinle F. Increased soluble GPVI levels in cirrhosis: evidence for collagen induced platelet activation in vivo. Poster presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of American Society of Hematology, Orlando, Florida 05-08 December, 2015
3. O’Connor H, Egan K, Kevane B Malone F Cooley S, Geary M, Maguire P, Sklanna P, Tully E, Neary E, O’Loughlin J, Allen S, McCallion N, Ní Áinle F. Coagulation balance in early onset preeclampsia (EOP). Poster presentation, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 2016

National Conference Presentations

1. Platelet-derived β-thromboglobulin: a potential novel activator of coagulation factor X. Egan K, Hui Ma, Kevane B, Lennon A, Allen S, Neary E, Wynne K, O’Shea S, O’Kennedy R, Ní Áinle F. Oral Presentation, Haematology Association of Ireland Annual Meeting, Galway, October 2015. (Awarded joint first prize for best oral presentation)
2. Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) & fractions of LMWH with diminished anticoagulant activity support endothelial barrier function. Kevane B, Egan K, Maguire P, Neary E, Allen S, Lennon Á, Ní Áinle F. Poster Presentation, Haematology Association of Ireland Annual Meeting, Galway, October 2015.
3. Plasma thrombin generation in platelet-rich plasma is enhanced in patients with Eisenmenger syndrome. Kevane B, Walsh K, Allen S, Egan K, Szklanna P, Maguire P, Savage R, Doran E, Neary E, Ní Ainle F. Poster Presentation, Haematology Association of Ireland Annual Meeting, Galway, October 2015
4. Platelet-derived β-thromboglobulin: a potential novel activator of coagulation factor X. Egan K, Hui Ma, Kevane B, Lennon A, Allen S, Neary E, Wynne K, O’Shea S, O’Kennedy R, Ní Áinle F. UCD Conway Institute Research Festival September 2015 (Oral moderated poster session)
5. Dillon A, Egan K, Galvin Z, Kevane B, Neary E, Ní Áinle F, Stewart S. Thrombin generation varies with fibrosis score in patients with well-compensated liver cirrhosis of mixed aetiology. Irish Society of Gastroenterology Summer Meeting June 2015, Co Kildare. Awarded First Prize for Best Poster

Recent News

Launch of SPHERE; a New UCD-based Vascular Research Group

September 2015
A new UCD-based research group, SPHERE aims to harness unique haematological tools to diagnose and understand a host of inflammatory-based diseases. The officiall launch of SPHERE coincided with the recent VTE Dublin 2015 conference that took place at the Croke Park Conference Centre in Dublin on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September 2015. Read more>>

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