01-02 October 2020 - UCD Conway Festival of Research & Innovation 

Virtual event via Zoom

Download the 2020 UCD Conway Festival schedule with Zoom links

Kindly supported by platinum sponsors BioSciences and Cruinn Diagnostics


2021/2022 CLASS sponsors 


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Welcome & Plenary 1: ‘The trouble with medical research'

Chair: Professor Brendan Loftus

Professor Seamus O’Mahony
Visiting Professor, Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London. 
Author: Can Medicine Be Cured?: The Corruption of a Profession 
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General Research Review

Parallel sessions with early career researchers presenting ongoing work. 

Download the 2020 UCD Conway Festival: General Research Review Listing

Spot prizes sponsered by BioSciences



Gold Medal Moderated Research 

Parallel thematic sessions with authors shortlisted in this competition.

Download the 2020 UCD Conway Festival: Moderated Research Listing

Thematic prizes sponsered by BioSciences



‘COVID-19 Epidemic in Ireland; Scientific Response & Lessons Learnt’

Panel discussion chaired by Professor William Gallagher

Professor Patrick Mallon, UCD Full Professor of Microbial Diseases and Consultant in Infectious Diseases at St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Philip Boucher-Hayes, RTE

Dr Virginie Gautier, Clinical Scientist, UCD Centre for Experimental Pathogen Host Research (CEPHR)

Dr Ricardo Segurado, Associate Professor, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Dr Nicola Fletcher, Assistant Professor, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine


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Plenary 2: ‘Ultra-high sensitivity proteomics for digital cancer pathology’

Chair: Professor Walter Kolch

Professor Matthias Mann
Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry; 
Director, Clinical Proteomics, Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research
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UCD Allergan Innovation Award

Dr Paulina Szklanna; Flavia Messina, PhD candidate; Emilie McCormack, MD & PhD candidate; Dr Stephen Fitzsimons.

Judging Panel
Professor William Gallagher, UCD & Executive Director, Oncomark (Chair)
Professor Therese Kinsella, UCD & Founder, CEO, ATXA Therapeutics 
Dr Jennifer Melia, Enterprise Ireland
Dr Ena Walsh, NovaUCD



Festival Gold Medal Award 

Sponsored by Cruinn Diagnostics



Plenary 3: 'Consequences of evolved microbial heterogeneity in chronic infections' 

Chair: Assoc Professor Siobhán McClean

Professor Deborah A. Hogan 
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine  
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Award ceremony

Professor William Gallagher, Director
Dr David Gomez, Chair, 2020 Festival Committee
Lorna Donlon, 2020 UCD Conway artist-in-residence

The UCD Allergan Innovation Award will again feature as part of the 2020 UCD Conway Festival with a bursary of up to €8,000 available to the early career researcher(s) whose research shows greatest innovative potential.  

The award will be made following a showcase session on Friday, 02 October, 11.30am when shortlisted authors will present their research with innovative potential. 


PresenterProject Title
Paulina Szklanna  In-depth platelet releasate proteome profiling: a novel source of biomarkers for multiple sclerosis. 
Flavia Messina  Evaluation of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone as an ocular drug for retinal degeneration.
Emilie McCormack   A novel perfusion solution for use in ex-vivo lung perfusion for lung transplant. 
Stephen Fitzsimons  Extracellular vesicles and their microRNA contents are potential novel biomarkers to diagnose the progression of stenosis in the context of coronary artery disease.

Judging Panel

2020 UCD Allergan Innovation Award - Judging Panel

Pictured (l-r): Professor William Gallagher, UCD; Dr Jennifer Melia, Enterprise Ireland; Dr Ena Walsh, NovaUCD; Prof. Therese Kinsella, UCD.

Professor William Gallagher (Chair)
Director, UCD Conway Institute; Deputy Director, Precision Oncology Ireland; Co-Founder/Chief Scientific Officer, OncoMark Limited

Prof. Gallagher's research aims to identify and validate candidate biomarkers of breast cancer and melanoma, with particular emphasis on translation of transcriptomic and proteomic datasets into clinically relevant assays. In 2007, he co-founded OncoMark Ltd, which focuses on the development and application of biomarker panels and associated technologies, on both tissues and biological fluids.

Dr Jennifer Melia
Divisional Manager - High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland

Jenny Melia joined Enterprise Ireland as a commercialisation specialist in 1996 after completing a BSc and PhD in Chemistry in UCD. As the Irish liaison for EU nanotech and advanced materials funding programmes, she was appointed by the EU Commissioner to their high-level advisory group. Jenny worked with EI food and beverage clients – including start-ups, quickly scaling companies and global players – before joining the High Potential Start-Up team in May 2019.

Dr Ena Walsh
Technology Transfer, NovaUCD

With over 25 years’ experience in the life science area, 15 years of which were spent in the international pharmaceutical industry, Ena has significant senior management experience in both multinationals and start-ups. Ena is responsible for managing the identification, protection and commercialisation of University College Dublin research outputs within the life sciences area.

Professor Therese Kinsella
UCD; Founder & CEO ATXA Therapeutics

Professor Kinsella is a leading expert in the field of prostanoid biology, focusing on the vasculature and, more recently, on cancer. She is the lead inventor on an extensive portfolio of patents based on the discovery of novel thromboxane receptor antagonists in clinical development for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and other clinical indications. Having begun her research career in industry, Therese has a strong appreciation of the underlying processes of product/drug development.

This competition was open to UCD early career researchers in the life sciences with research interests in areas aligned to those specified by Allergan namely; dermatology & aesthetics, central nervous system, eye care, women’s health & urology, gastroenterology, cardiovascular disease and infectious disease.

Allergan logo

Following a competitive process, shortlisted authors will give an outline of research work in an elevator pitch format (3 slides, 5 minute) to category judging panels on 01 October.

Download the 2020 UCD Conway Festival: Moderated Research Listing

Winners in each category will compete for the UCD Conway Festival Gold medal in a dedicated showcase session on Friday,  02 October.

All other authors will give an outline of research work in an elevator pitch format (3 slides, 5 minute) to a 2-person panel comprising senior postdoctoral researchers and/or Conway Fellows in a general review session on Thursday, 01 October, 11.30am.

Download the 2020 UCD Conway Festival: General Research Review Listing

2021/2022 CLASS sponsors
Kindly supported by platinum sponsors BioSciences and Cruinn Diagnostics