September 2019 | Meán Fómhair 2019

Prof Godson Honoured by International Science Society

Fri, 13 September 19 13:49

UCD Investigator Recognised with Women in Science Award

Congratulations to Professor Catherine Godson, UCD Full Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director, UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre who has been honoured by the International Association of Inflammation Societies (IAIS) in recognition of ‘outstanding research and leadership contributions’.  The UCD Conway Institute researcher is to be presented with the Women in Science award that the 14th World Congress on Inflammation 2019 which takes place from the 15-19th September 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

The IAIS Executive Committee consider potential awardees for the annual Women in Science Award which is approved by the organisations Steering Committee representing member societies.  The award recognises an outstanding scientist in the field of inflammation who has also inspired and facilitated the scientific and career advancement of women scientists in inflammation research.  Prof Godson will present an award lecture at the WCI2019 meeting at which she will be presented with an award recognition plaque.

On learning of the award announcement, Prof Godson noted,

“I am really delighted that this international award recognises the quality of the research produced by my lab in UCD over the years. It is great that our sustained contributions are recognised in a global context. The award reflects the wonderful graduate students and research fellows in my group, past and present,  my colleagues in The Conway Institute, and  our collaborators.

I am especially flattered that this award recognises leadership in inspiring and facilitating career development especially of women scientists. Throughout my career I have benefitted from several brilliant and generous mentors.  Having received the support of such distinguished academics in my career, I am naturally inclined to follow their lead.  Whatever contributions I have been fortunate enough to make, I owe to this community and to my supportive family.”

“We are also grateful to the funding for  our research which we have received over the years from from  The HRB, SFI, The Irish Research Council, The EU, Wellcome Trust and the US Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. ”

About Prof Catherine Godson

Professor Catherine Godson is Full Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of the UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre at the UCD Conway Institute.  She obtained her BSc (Biochemistry) and PhD (Pharmacology) from UCD and, following postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Geneva and at University of California San Diego, joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1994. She returned to UCD in 1997 where she was appointed Professor of Molecular Medicine. Professor Godson served between 2004–2007 as the University’s Vice President, Innovation and Corporate Partnerships.

In 2007, she was appointed Director of UCD Diabetes Research Centre, where she leads a major research programme funded by Science Foundation Ireland and collaborators in biopharmaceutical industry. Professor Godson has an international reputation in research on inflammation and its resolution, microvascular complications of diabetes and extracellular signal transduction. She has authored or co-authored more than 150 research papers, review articles, patents and book chapters. Professor Godson’s research activities are supported by grants from Science Foundation Ireland, Wellcome Trust, Health Research Board and the European Union.

Professor Godson has served on the board to the Health Research Board, Ireland; The European Medical Research Council and The Wellcome Trust Physiological Sciences Committee between 2007 and 2010.  In 2011, she was elected as a member of the Royal Irish Academy, one of the highest academic honours available to Irish scientists and chairs the RIA Life and Medical Sciences Committee [2014-2019].  She is a member of the editorial board of J Biol Chem and  Mol Pharmacol  and currently acts as an adviser to the Board of Bart’s Charity, London and on the Executive of the European Diabetic Nephropathy Subgroup of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

At the UCD School of Medicine, Prof Godson teaches Principles of Pharmacology and Molecular Cell Biology to undergraduate and graduate entry medical students. She leads an international, multidisciplinary group of investigators including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, clinicians, clinical fellows, graduate students and undergraduates whose research focuses on innate immunity and chronic complications of diabetes. A principal investigator at the UCD Conway Institute, her group’s research centres on the molecular mechanisms underlying the initiation, progression and potential regression of diabetic kidney disease have identified several novel therapeutic targets, susceptibility genes and potential modulators of disease. {see details below]

Prof Godson’s Research Profile 

Research Activity in Prof Godson’s Group

Our work focuses on understanding the regulation of inflammation. Inflammation is an essential process for the body to protect itself from trauma and infection. Inflammation is a tightly regulated process and in healthy conditions inflammation resolves and this results in what we can describe as scarless healing.

In contrast to this beneficial response we now know that the drivers of many chronic prevalent diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and kidney disease are essentially persistent low level inflammatory responses.

For many decades we have known the drivers of inflammation and conventional treatment has focused on blocking these drivers. More recently our lab and our collaborators have discovered that the inflammatory response does not merely fade away but the body produces special messenger molecules that actively promote resolution and repair following inflammation.

Conventional therapies for inflammation focus on blocking the process with anti-inflammatory drugs but, given the importance of inflammation in defending the body, long term treatment with anti-inflammatories is associated with side effects including reducing the body’s defences. Our work that has investigated the drivers of resolution of inflammation suggests that mimicking the activity of these molecules might be an alternative, safer and more effective treatment.

Working with Prof Pat Guiry at UCD and we have designed and investigated several new molecules that promote resolution. Together with our international collaborators we have shown that these molecules are effective treatments in various pre- clinical models of diseases including diabetic kidney disease, sepsis and arthritis.

These investigations are led by Professor Catherine Godson of the Diabetes Complications Research Centre, Conway Institute and School of Medicine UCD.  This work is recognised by presentation of the Woman in Science Award at The World Congress of Inflammation, Sydney . This Award is made bi-annually to recognise an outstanding scientist in the field of inflammation who also helped inspire and facilitate the scientific and career advancement of women scientists in inflammation research. 

About IAIS

The International Association of Inflammation Societies aims to foster cooperation with national inflammation societies for the purpose of organising high quality international scientific meetings and teaching courses focusing on inflammation research and to support the organisation of a biennial international inflammation research conference, the ‘World Congress on Inflammation’. 

More about IAIS                              14th World Congress on Inflammation 2019