Prof. Breandán Kennedy appointed interim Director, UCD Conway Institute


Professor Breandán Kennedy has been appointed to the interim role of Director, UCD Conway
Institute effective from 01 June 2023, following a competitive process in the wake of Prof. Helen
Roche's transition to interim Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact within UCD.

Breandán Kennedy is Professor of Pharmacology at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical
Science and has led a research team in UCD Conway Institute since 2003. His research focuses on
developing genetic and pharmacological treatments for human blindness and metastatic ocular

portrait photo of Professor Breandán Kennedy standing in Conway Institute Foyer
Professor Breandán Kennedy

Using zebrafish as an in vivo system, his UCD Ocular Pharmacology and Genetics Group have
generated models of inherited or age-related blindness and used these to characterise disease
progression. They have also developed in vivo assays enabling novel drug discovery with specific
neuroprotectant, anti-angiogenic or anti-cancer properties.

In collaboration with clinical teams, his group incorporates patient samples into research and are
actively investigating potential prognostic biomarkers and new pharmacotherapies for ocular cancer.
Breandán Kennedy has coordinated three EU funded industry-academia consortia in the last 10
years to improve available treatments for cancer and ocular disease by enhancing collaborative drug
discovery-development and delivery. He has supervised 20 Ph.D. students to completion, published
more than 140 research articles and is an inventor on three patents awarded in the US, and two
patents awarded in EU through NovaUCD. In 2020, Breandán was appointed to the European
Science Foundation’s College of Expert Reviewers and is an invited guest advisor for Open Research

A strong advocate for pubic and patient involvement in research as well as communicating with
public audiences on STEM topics, Breandán Kennedy’s team work closely with the charities, Fighting
Blindness and Breakthrough Cancer Research as well as the patient advocacy group, Ocular
Melanoma Ireland. His team have created a series of high quality awareness animations on eye
disease created with FIRECREST/ICON.

Breandán received his Ph.D from University College Dublin in 1998 after conducting doctoral
research in UCD and at the W Alton Jones Cell Science Center, Lake Placid in the USA. He held
postdoctoral fellowship positions at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (1998 -2000) and
University of Washington, Seattle (2002 – 2003) before returning to Ireland and UCD in 2003.

Commenting on his appointment, Prof. Kennedy said, “I look forward to supporting the research
programmes of Conway Fellows and continuing to promote a culture of research excellence within
UCD Conway Institute over the coming months, particularly as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of
the Institute's opening.”