June 2014

UCD Scientist Awarded Wellcome Trust Fellowship for Cancer Research

Wed, 18 June 14 10:18

Dr Colm J. Ryan has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship worth €300,000 over four years to work in Systems Biology Ireland at University College Dublin. Dr Ryan will be the first recipient of this prestigious award, funded under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Health Research Board (HRB) and Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership, to be hosted in an Irish laboratory.

Dr Ryan’s research aims to improve our understanding of synthetic lethality treatments in cancer therapeutics. These novel treatments aim to kill tumour cells without harming other cells in the body by identifying and targeting genes whose function is only essential for survival in the presence of a specific cancer-associated mutation. Dr Ryan’s work will focus on understanding the effect of genetic differences in individuals on their responsiveness to these promising treatments.

(L-R) Dr John Williams, Wellcome Trust, Dr. Colm J. Ryan, UCD and recipient of the Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Dr Roger Blake, Wellcome Trust

(L-R) Dr John Williams, Wellcome Trust, Dr. Colm J. Ryan, UCD and recipient of the Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Dr Roger Blake, Wellcome Trust

 

"The Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowships provide early career scientists with the opportunity to work in the very best research institutes, enabling them to build an international reputation and develop into the next generation of research leaders,” said Dr Candy Hassall, Head of Basic Careers at the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Hassall added,

“Many of the Sir Henry Wellcome Fellows funded to date have already made important discoveries and we look forward to Dr Ryan’s ongoing success."

Dr Ryan completed a PhD in Bioinformatics in UCD under the supervison of Conway Fellow, Prof. Denis Shields in 2012 and is currently the ICON Newman Fellow in Genomics in the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences. His primary research host during the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship will be Prof. Walter Kolch, Director of Systems Biology Ireland in UCD, and he will also spend time working with Prof. Alan Ashworth at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. This Fellowship therefore facilitates the meeting of minds from multiple disciplines and multiple institutes to address a problem of immediate clinical importance.

Prof. Kolch welcomed the announcement: “This Fellowship is a great achievement. We are delighted to be the first Irish institution to host a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow under the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership, and SBI is very pleased to welcome Colm to our research team. This prestigious award is a recognition of the value of systems biology approaches to cancer therapy, and will significantly enhance our research on the development of new and improved drug combinations for cancer treatment.”

Dr. Colm J. Ryan said,

“I am delighted to be awarded this fellowship as it offers me the freedom and financial support to research why a particular type of personalised cancer treatment, known as synthetic lethality, might work in some individuals but not in others. During the Fellowship, I will collaborate with some of the leading experts in the field, in laboratories in multiple countries, to address this important question.”


Original article by UCD Conway Institute.