UCD Centre for Arthritis Research

UCD Centre for Arthritis Reserach (UCD- CAR)

The centre is based at UCD Conway Institute and consists of researchers in UCD and St Vincent’s and Mater University Hospitals.  Our interdisciplinary research covers proteomics, computational biology, genetics, stratified medicines, sports and exercise, immunology/mechanisms of disease and animal models of RA.

Our centre has proven highly successful in developing translational experimental approaches including training and performance of mini-arthroscopy and tissue biopsy. The programme based across the UCD Clinical Research Centre, provides whole tissue biopsy explant cultures for research that is an entirely unique resource. Our teams’ ability to perform this research has led to both academic and industry collaborations attracting significant non-exchequer funding from both the EU and the US.

The expertise for this highly developed research programme has led to novel translational research outputs including presentations at the highest quality international research meetings and publication in high impact factor peer-review journals.

Research Team

Rheumatology Research Group, University College Dublin

Gerry Wilson, Professor of Rheumatology & Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: Rheumatoid arthritis, mediators of tissue damage

Link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/professorgerrywilson/


Emma Dorris, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Education & Research Centre, St Vincent’s University Hospital

Doug Veale, Professor of Rheumatology & Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: inflammatory arthritis, biopharmaceutical therapy and biomarkers.

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/professordouglasveale/


Eamonn Molloy, Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interest: vasculitis

link to webpage  http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/dreamonnmolloy/

Hannah Convery, Research Assistant

Monika Biniecka, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Richard Conway, Newman Fellow


Biomedical Proteomics Group

Steve Pennington, Professor of Proteomics


Research interests: Biomarker Discovery and Development

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/professorstephenroypennington/

Melissa Jones, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Aisha Butt, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


Other affiliated staff:

Geraldine McCarthy, Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: osteoarthritis and crystal arthropathies

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/professorgeraldinemccarthy/


Anne Barbara Mongey, Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: Rheumatoid Arthritis; Psoriatic Arthritis; Other Inflammatory Arthopathies; Systemic  Lupus  Erythematosus and other Connective Tissue Diseases; Osteoporosis

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/dranne-barbaramongey/


Suzanne Donnelly, UCD Director of Medical Education & Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: systemic autoimmune disease and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/assoc%20professorsuzannedonnelly/


Conor McCarthy, Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: arthritis and injury prevention, concussion, exercise interventions in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases.

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/drconormccarthy/


Sinead Ryan, UCD Lecturer in Veterinary Biosciences


Research interests: identifying novel targets and therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/veterinarymedicine/drsineadryan/


Oliver FitzGerald, Newman Clinical Professor & Consultant Rheumatologist


Research interests: psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathies

link to webpage http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/medicine/professoroliverfitzgerald/

UCD-TCD Monthly Rheumatology Research Meetings

The Centre for Arthritis Research holds monthly rheumatology research meetings alternately at UCD Conway Institute and TCD Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.

The meetings take place on the third Friday of each month and cover the latest research for a clinical and scientific audience, and they feature guest speakers from universities across Ireland and Europe.

Please email rheumatology@ucd.ie to be added to the meeting mailing list.

Arthritis Research Coalition Biobank

The primary aim of the Arthritis Research Coalition Biobank is to recruit patients with common rheumatic diseases and obtain biosamples that will underpin clinical research. 

A secondary aim is to increase national involvement in clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents.

LINK: http://www.molecularmedicineireland.ie/research/arthritis-research-coalition/

Ongoing Projects

1.    C5orf30:  a novel modulator of tissue damage and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis

The variant rs26232 was identified as an RA susceptibility variant in a GWAS (Stahl et al., 2010).

In a study of 3 large RA population we reported an allele-dose association of rs26232 with severity of radiological damage (Teare et al., 2013).

This variant lies in the first exon of Chromosome 5 opening reading frame 30 (C5orf30) that encodes a 206 amino acid disordered protein.  Single C5orf30 orthologues are only present in vertebrates, where the protein sequences show a high degree of conservation; chimpanzee (99.5%), mice (94%), and chicken (89%) with the most distant orthologue found in bony fish (72% identity to human sequence).

It is predicted to be a disorder protein:

Variant rs26232


Our studies have also shown (Muthana et al., 2015):

  • Highest expression in monocyte/macrophages and RA synovial fibroblasts (RASF)

In the latter cell type:

  • Expression reduced by TNF and increased by hypoxia
  • Highly expressed in RA synovial tissue
  • siRNA-mediated inhibition of C5orf30 in RASF leads to increased invasiveness and migration in vitro
  • siRNA-mediated inhibition in CIA model resulted increased arthritis and joint damage with increased IL-1 and TNF and reduced IL-10 expression


Ongoing studies :

  • Examination of role of C5orf30 in monocyte/macrophage biology
  • Identification of binding partners
  • Characterisation of mechanisms linking rs26232 genotype with RA severity


Funded by Arthritis Ireland and Health Research Board


Muthana, M., S. Hawtree, A. Wilshaw, E. Linehan, H. Roberts, S. Khetan, G. Adeleke, F. Wright, M. Akil, U. Fearon, D. Veale, B. Ciani, and A.G. Wilson. 2015. C5orf30 is a negative regulator of tissue damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 112:11618-11623.



Stahl, E.A., S. Raychaudhuri, E.F. Remmers, G. Xie, S. Eyre, B.P. Thomson, Y. Li, F.A. Kurreeman, A. Zhernakova, A. Hinks, C. Guiducci, R. Chen, L. Alfredsson, C.I. Amos, K.G. Ardlie, A. Barton, J. Bowes, E. Brouwer, N.P. Burtt, J.J. Catanese, J. Coblyn, M.J. Coenen, K.H. Costenbader, L.A. Criswell, J.B. Crusius, J. Cui, P.I. de Bakker, P.L. De Jager, B. Ding, P. Emery, E. Flynn, P. Harrison, L.J. Hocking, T.W. Huizinga, D.L. Kastner, X. Ke, A.T. Lee, X. Liu, P. Martin, A.W. Morgan, L. Padyukov, M.D. Posthumus, T.R. Radstake, D.M. Reid, M. Seielstad, M.F. Seldin, N.A. Shadick, S. Steer, P.P. Tak, W. Thomson, A.H. van der Helm-van Mil, I.E. van der Horst-Bruinsma, C.E. van der Schoot, P.L. van Riel, M.E. Weinblatt, A.G. Wilson, G.J. Wolbink, B.P. Wordsworth, C. Wijmenga, E.W. Karlson, R.E. Toes, N. de Vries, A.B. Begovich, J. Worthington, K.A. Siminovitch, P.K. Gregersen, L. Klareskog, and R.M. Plenge. 2010. Genome-wide association study meta-analysis identifies seven new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci. Nat. Genet. 42:508-514.



Teare, M.D., R. Knevel, M.D. Morgan, A. Kleszcz, P. Emery, D.J. Moore, P. Conaghan, T.W. Huizinga, A.W. Morgan, A.H. van der Helm-van Mil, and A.G. Wilson. 2013. Allele-dose association of the C5orf30 rs26232 variant with joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 65:2555-2561.