Call 3 Academic Supervisors

Supervisors available for open application call

Prof. Jonathan Bond

UCD Brendan McGonnell Professor of Paediatric Molecular Haemato-Oncology, Systems Biology Ireland, University College Dublin

Jonathan Bond is the UCD Brendan McGonnell Professor of Paediatric Molecular Haemato-oncology and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin. He originally trained as a clinical haematologist in Ireland before pursuing a scientific research career in the UK (UCL Institute of Child Health, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and Imperial College London) and France (Institut Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris). His main research focus has been to try to understand transcriptional and epigenetic dysregulation in acute leukaemia.

Prof. Bond returned to Ireland in 2018 to lead a new collaborative paediatric leukaemia research programme between the National Children’s Cancer Service at CHI and Systems Biology Ireland at UCD. His group uses systems biology approaches to study the biology of paediatric blood cancers, with the ultimate aim of finding more precise and effective cures for children and adolescents with these diseases.

For more information see:

Dr. Melinda Halasz

Assistant Professor in Pathology at UCD School of Medicine & Group Leader at Systems Biology Ireland, University College Dublin

Melinda Halasz is an Assistant Professor in Pathology in the UCD School of Medicine and a Group Leader at Systems Biology Ireland. She trained as a medical doctor (MD) before completing her PhD in Immunology at University of Pecs in Hungary. Melinda joined SBI in 2012 to participate in a European consortium which focused on identifying new treatments for aggressive embryonal tumours. She was appointed as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Melinda was awarded a UCD Teaching Excellence Award and recently secured an SFI/CHF Frontiers for the Future project grant to study metabolism and epigenetics in neuroblastoma.
The Halasz Group is focusing on understanding the pathogenesis of cancer, identifying prognostic markers and novel therapeutic targets in MYC/MYCN-driven paediatric malignancies (such as neuroblastoma and Burkitt's lymphoma) by using -omics and systems biology approaches. The current team members are lab-based researchers and the group has close collaborations with computational scientists and clinicians.

Assoc. Prof. Rory Johnson

Associate Professor, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin

The fields of genomics and genome-editing hold the keys to revolutionising healthcare. The Laboratory for Genomics of Long noncoding RNAs in Disease (GOLD Lab) aims to elucidate non-protein coding RNA regulatory pathways in cancer, and employ this knowledge for next generation therapies. We are an interdisciplinary team, bringing together expertise in molecular biology, clinical research and computer science. We have developed a suite of tools based on CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing, designed for powerful screens for novel drug targets. In particular, we focus on a huge but mysterious class of genes: long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). LncRNAs have been linked to diverse cancers, yet our genome contains tens of thousands more that remain to be characterised. We aim to develop ever more powerful CRISPR tools to comprehensively discover and drug lncRNAs in cancer.

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Prof. Michael Keane

Dean of Medicine and Head of School, UCD School of Medicine; Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics, University College Dublin and Consultant Respiratory Physician, St. Vincent’s University Hospital

Professor Michael Keane graduated from UCD in 1989 and following initial clinical training in Dublin, moved to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine in 1995. He subsequently took up a faculty position at University of Michigan in 1998 and in 2000 moved to University of California, Los Angeles where he was Professor of Medicine and Programme Director for the UCLA Interstitial Lung Disease Center.

Professor Keane returned to UCD and St Vincent's University Hospital in 2007 where he is an SFI Principal Investigator at the UCD Conway Institute and SVHG Lead Clinical Coordinator for Lung Cancer services.  He is Chairman of the Medicine Division, Chair of the SVHG Medical Executive and a member of the hospital Board of Directors. He is Clinical Director of the UCD Clinical Research Centre and a member of the Molecular Medicine Ireland Board of Directors. His research interests centre on molecular investigation into, and treatment of, inflammatory lung diseases; particularly pulmonary fibrosis.

For more information see: A DevelopMed Fellow who wishes to be supervised by Prof. Keane will also be co-supervised by Prof. Cormac McCarthy (

Prof. Walter Kolch

Director Systems Biology Ireland and Precision Oncology Ireland, School of Medicine, University College Dublin

Prof. Walter Kolch is Director of Systems Biology Ireland. He is also the Programme Coordinator for DevelopMed and Director of Precision Oncology Ireland. A leading international proponent of precision medicine, he is internationally recognised for his cutting-edge research using systems approaches to understand signalling networks and is ranked 2nd in the world in precision medicine, 6th in systems medicine, 23rd in signal transduction and 40th in proteomics (Google Scholar). His current interest is focusing on using computational modelling and omics approaches to analyse biological networks to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of cancer and other diseases in order to design new approaches to personalised diagnostics and treatment based on a systems level, molecular mechanistic understanding. Using mathematical and computational modelling to analyse the network structure of cell signalling, the aim is to predict responses to perturbations (such as drugs), define the most sensitive points for interference by drugs, and analyse the specificity of signalling and adaptation processes.

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Assoc. Prof. Cormac McCarthy

Associate Professor/Consultant Respiratory Physician, School of Medicine, University College Dublin and Education & Research Centre, St. Vincent’s University Hospital

Cormac McCarthy is a clinician scientist with a specific interest in the pathogenesis of rare lung diseases and interstitial lung disease. Prior to his appointments in UCD and SVUH in 2018, he was the National Institutes of Health Rare Lung Disease Scholar at the Rare Lung Disease Consortium in the United States, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a particular interest in innate immunity, exosomes, glycobiology of plasma proteins, cholesterol homeostasis in macrophages and lipidomics in the lung. His research uses translational and clinical approaches to better understand the pathogenesis of lung diseases (e.g. pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP)), as well as novel therapeutic targets and disease epidemiology; ultimately contributing to ongoing clinical trials.

His group investigates diffuse cystic lung diseases, particularly lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). He established a National Cystic Lung Disease Referral Centre for Ireland and a national registry of patients with LAM. His group is currently focused on determining the role of exosomes and immune cells in the development of the pre metastatic niche in LAM.

Further information: A DevelopMed Fellow who wishes to be supervised by Prof. McCarthy will also be co-supervised by Prof. Michael Keane (

Dr. Eoin O’Cearbhaill

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the UCD Centre for Biomedical Engineering

Eoin O'Cearbhaill leads the UCD Medical Device Design Group and is Director of the UCD Centre for Biomedical Engineering. He is the 2023 NovaUCD Innovation Champion of the Year Award, based on his work in Medical Device Innovation. Dr. O’Cearbhaill is a former Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow. He received his BE and PhD from the University of Galway and after spending time working in the medical device industry, completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School (Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Division; Dept. of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital) in the laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey Karp.

Dr. O’Cearbhaill’s research group is focused on the development of medical devices, with a particular emphasis on platform technologies, offering smart ways of diagnosing diseases and delivering next-generation therapeutics through minimally invasive approaches. 

For more information see:

Dr. Claire Robinson

Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Physiology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin

Dr. Claire Robinson is a Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Physiology in University College Dublin (UCD) and leads a research group investigating cell stress responses in cancer. She completed her PhD in
the Conway Institute in UCD. Claire did Post-Doctoral training at the University of Toronto in
Canada, where she subsequently worked as a Research Associate investigating the role of the
oxygen sensing system in renal cancer. Claire returned to Ireland in 2020 to work in the Apoptosis
Research Centre in University of Galway. In 2023 she became a Lecturer in Physiology in UCD.

Her research aims to understand the roles of cell stress responses in cancer. In particular, her group is focused on understanding how cells stress responses in pancreatic cancer cells and cancer
associated stellate cells can influence the activity and cytotoxic behaviours of natural killer cells.

For more information see: Google Scholar and Research Gate

Prof. Afshin Samali

Professor of Cancer Biology and Director of Apoptosis Research Centre at the University of Galway

Afshin Samali is a Professor of Cancer Biology and Director of Apoptosis Research Centre at the University of Galway.  He received a PhD in Biochemistry from University College Cork and did postdoctoral training in Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. He joined the faculty at the University of Galway in 2000. He was awarded the NUI Galway University President’s award for Excellence in Research Supervision (2014) and for Excellence in Research –Established Researcher (2015). He was elected a member of Royal Irish Academy in 2020.

His research focuses on cellular response to stress in general, and he has made an impact in delineating how cells respond to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the consequences of activation of the Unfolded Protein Response.  In particular, his group are exploring how IRE1’s RNase activity regulates the hallmarks of cancer through post-transcriptional regulation of the XBP1 transcription factor, and also through selective degradation of other mRNAs and microRNAs.

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Dr. Eva Szegezdi

Research Lecturer in Cancer Biology at the Discipline of Biochemistry, University of Galway and Head of Blood Cancer Network Ireland

Dr. Eva Szegezdi is a senior lecturer in biochemistry at the University of Galway. She has over 20 years research experience in cell stress and death signalling in cancer. She is the director of the M.Sc. programme in Cancer Research, and co-ordinator of the Doctorate School in Integrative Genomics (EU-H2020-MSCA-COFUND) and the DISCOVER H2020-RISE programme. She also leads Blood Cancer Network Ireland, a nationwide research network for blood cancer research, focusing on pre-clinical research, biobanking, early-stage clinical trials and registry in blood cancers.

Research in her laboratory focuses on the molecular wiring of cancer cells and the tumour-microenvironment driving drug resistance at single cell level using genomic, biochemical and cell biology assays. A particular focus is how clonal heterogeneity drives drug resistance and how interactions between malignant cells and the tumour microenvironment evolve with disease progression underpinning drug resistance and leukemia relapse.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 945425