UCD School of Medicine has announced details of appointments and promotions under the UCD Medicine Clinical Pathway 2019/2020 scheme. The Clinical Pathway scheme is designed to recognise clinicians from across our clinical training network who support our research and teaching programmes despite not having any protected academic time.
Fifty three first time appointments were made and 32 promotion applications were considered from a total of 93 applications. 22 individuals were promoted to higher academic ranks including two individuals who advanced by two ranks based on the assessment of the Review Panel. We congratulate all appointees and thank them for their continued contribution to our programmes and welcome new appointees to our academic community.
We are delighted to announce that there will be 15 funded places (covering 90-100% of tuition fees) for students on the Graduate Diploma programme and these funded places have been made possible under the HEA & Government of Ireland (July Stimulus Package) Postgraduate Skills Provision as announced by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science on 27/10/20.
Applications are open now for the January 2021 intake. In order to be considered eligible for one of the free places, completed applications must be submitted online by 1st December.
Please see further information and application details on the Graduate Diploma in Primary Care (Mental Healthcare) here
New network for Graduate Researchers completing a MSc, PhD or MD
The new GRAM which will provide a supportive network for the 170+ Graduate Researchers linked to the School of Medicine but working across a range of academic and clinical sites, was launched today. The main aims of the Association are to recognise and celebrate milestones of postgraduate students including publication of papers, submission, successful defence and graduation and to promote and celebrate diversity, equality, and inclusion within the postgraduate student community.
Speaking about the launch, Professor Peter Doran, Associate Dean for Research, Innovation and Impact, UCD School of Medicine said “Research, science and a commitment to enquiry and discovery inform every aspect of the School's mission and the establishment of GRAM supports this ethos and allows us, in turn, to support our Graduate Researchers enhancing their experience at our School and the advancement of their careers.”
“Essentially GRAM is the engine of our research productivity and the research interests and areas of focus of our Graduate Researchers are vast and diverse. Currently examples of their research include examining minimally invasive tissue engineered heart valve protheses for paediatric applications, novel approaches to overcoming drug resistance in targeted melanoma therapy, how sperm sexing affects sperm quality, gameto-maternal interaction and embryonic development and effects of gynaecological cancers in the morphology and function of the human fallopian tube.”
Also speaking about the launch, Heather Steele, Final Year PhD Candidate and GRAM Auditor said ‘GRAM will host a range of event throughout the year under three pillars; social, academic and careers. These will include orientation days for new graduate researchers, academic careers days, social lunches and the sharing of graduate research news through a monthly newsletter.”
The GRAM Committee comprises the following Graduate Researchers;
For further information and/or to join GRAM please follow us on GRAM_UCD or email email@example.com
UCD School of Medicine has a strong tradition of enquiry-based research. Our 140+ investigators generate approximately €15 million in annual research income and have grants under management worth more than €90 million. Our undergraduate students are always encouraged to immerse themselves in structured medical research throughout their studies. This approach is consistent with our desire to shape not just world-class healthcare professionals, but also scientific innovators, who will advance the boundaries of medical understanding and contribute to the development of new approaches to treatment and care to benefit patients.
Congratulations to Dr Patrick Felle, VPI, UCD College of Health and Agricultural Science and Associate Dean of Medicine, who was appointed as the Honorary Consul of the Sultanate of Oman to Ireland on 21st Oct. In this role, Dr Felle will act as the official representative for Oman, in consultation with the supervising Omani Embassy in London. An increasing number of students from Oman have in recent years been studying at UCD. Dr Felle’s appointment was on the recommendation of His Majesty, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, and approved on 21 October 2020 by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence.
In this role, Dr Felle will promote Oman's global engagement with Ireland. He will provide consular services and assistance to Omani citizens in the Republic of Ireland; will assist with trade promotion between Ireland and Oman; and will support activities of the Omani community in Ireland.
Dr Felle’s first official engagement as Honorary Consul was the online celebration of Oman National Day on 18 November. This was co-hosted with HE Ambassador alHinai, HE Cultural Attaché Musallam, and the Omani Student Association of Ireland.
Since 1989, leading Irish and multinational corporations, semi-state bodies, voluntary organisations and individuals have sponsored high-calibre postdoctoral research across the humanities and sciences through the UCD Newman Fellowship Programme. Each Fellowship offers financial support for a period of two years, allowing the Fellow the freedom to pursue their particular area of research. Working alongside their academic mentors, the Fellows contribute greatly to the academic research agenda of their particular discipline and to university life in general.
The Newman Fellowship Programme celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019. This remarkable milestone was achieved thanks to the generosity of those who supported and championed the programme over the last three decades. Now more than ever, the continued financial support for the programme to deliver fundamental and breakthrough research to address some of the most pressing healthcare challenges is paramount.
The School of Medicine currently hosts 16 Newman Fellows working on a range of research projects, with nine new appointments in recent months, as outlined below. We are delighted to highlight this special achievement and wish each Newman Fellow the very best during their time at UCD.
The full list of Fellows and projects can be viewed here: https://www.ucdfoundation.ie/newman-fellowship/current-newman-fellows/
Dr Jane Cudmore, AbbVie BowelScreen Newman Fellow in Gastroenterology
Mentored by Professor Padraic MacMathúna, UCD School of Medicine and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.
Dr Jane Cudmore graduated from UCC in 2015 with a degree in medicine and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 2019. She is currently working as a Gastroenterology Research Registrar in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.
Jane will use her Newman Fellowship to continue the work that Dr Timothy Ryan commenced to evaluate the current approach to the management of familial colorectal cancer in Ireland, which has one of the highest mortality rates for the disease in Europe. Jane will expand the work into primary care and will also look critically at the modelling to maximise the incorporation of Clinical Genetics into cancer screening in general with a focus on colorectal cancer.
Dr Sarah Cullivan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Newman Fellow in Pulmonary Hypertension and Translational Medicine
Mentored by Professor Sean Gaine and Professor Fionnuala NíAinle, at UCD School of Medicine, the Conway Institute and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
Dr Sarah Cullivan graduated from UCD in 2013 with a degree in medicine and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 2015. She has since gained extensive clinical experience in respiratory medicine, with a particular interest in pulmonary hypertension.
Sarah will use her Newman Fellowship to carry out a detailed characterisation of blood clotting and plasma extracellular vesicles in patients with pulmonary hypertension and in healthy control volunteers. Ultimately, these data may improve clinical management of patients with competing thrombotic and bleeding risks.
Dr Áine Gorman, AbbVie CARD (Centre for Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease) Newman Fellow in Rheumatology
Mentored by Professor Doug Veale, UCD School of Medicine and St. Vincent’s University Hospital
Dr Áine Gorman has a degree in medicine from NUI Galway and specialist training and experience in rheumatology. She also holds a master’s degree in clinical education.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects 2.3 million EU citizens and some 40,000 people in Ireland, and many of these will receive expensive treatments that have sub-optimal or adverse effects. Áine’s Newman Fellowship project will investigate the underlying mechanisms of disease onset and progression in patients with early inflammatory arthritis, leading to the development of a more efficient and affordable precision medicine approach to identify appropriate treatments for individual patients at an earlier stage of the disease.
Dr Daniel Johnston AbbVie Newman Fellow in Dermatology
Mentored by Professor Desmond Tobin and Professor Brian Kirby, UCD School of Medicine and Charles Institute of Dermatology
Dr Daniel Johnston graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA (Mod) in biochemistry with immunology in 2012, and a PhD in immunology in 2017. He subsequently held the Bryan Warren Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford, and carried out postdoctoral research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford. His work in Oxford focused on IBD and the interactions between the gut microbiota and host innate immune cells, with a particular focus on macrophages.
Daniel’s research as a Newman Fellow aims to examine the systemic and local (hair follicle-associated) inflammatory environment in the severe cutaneous immune-mediated inflammatory disease hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Systemic inflammation is a recognised feature of this disease. The project will examine the body-wide inflammation status of patients with HS and assess skin-specific inflammation that targets the hair follicle – the origin site of the disease.
Dr Hugo Moreiras, Janssen and City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity Newman Fellow in Dermatological Sciences
Mentored by Professor Desmond Tobin, UCD School of Medicine and Charles Institute of Dermatology
Dr Hugo Moreiras graduated with a BSc in biotechnology in 2012 and an MSc in genetics and molecular biology in 2015. In 2013 he was conferred with a PhD from NOVA Medical School, Lisbon, for his research on ageing and chronic diseases.
Hugo’s Newman Fellowship project will focus on vitiligo, the most common skin pigmentation disorder, affecting 1% of people worldwide. Vitiligo is difficult to treat and carries a significant psychological burden and social stigma, especially in those with skin of colour. Melanocyte damage/death in vitiligo appears to be due to a defective redox balance in the epidermis and associated (auto)immune factors. Hugo aims to explore how melanocyte-maturation status (including redox-reactive melanin synthesis) may trigger cytopathic change in vitiligo skin.
Dr Dáire O’Leary, AbbVie SOBI Nordic Pharma Newman Fellow in Paediatric Rheumatology
Mentored by Professor Gerry Wilson and Dr Orla Killeen, UCD School of Medicine and Conway Institute
Dr Dáire O’Leary studied medicine at UCD and graduated with an MB BCh BAO in 2006. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in child health and a master’s degree in clinical education, and has completed specialist training in paediatrics.
Dáire’s Newman Fellowship project will examine the molecular pathogenesis of chronic nonbacterial osteomyelitis (CNO), a rare autoinflammatory bone disease that predominantly affects children and adolescents. She will investigate whether there is an association between genetic variants found in patients with CNO, their bone biopsy findings and disease severity. This work will increase understanding of the cause of the disease, and ultimately allow the personalisation of treatments to suit individual patients and control the disease more effectively.
Dr Shameer Rafee, Merrion Neuroscience Newman Fellow in Cervical Dystonia
Mentored by Professor Michael Hutchinson, UCD School of Medicine and St Vincent’s University Hospital
Dr Shameer Rafee studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin and subsequently worked as a senior house officer in neurosurgery in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
Shameer’s Newman Fellowship research will inform the development of appropriate treatments for patients with cervical dystonia, a condition characterised by muscle spasms and pain in the head, neck and shoulders; most commonly the head and neck twists to one side. It is proposed that people with cervical dystonia have a disorder in a neural pathway between the colliculus and the amygdala, which may be relevant to disordered social cognition and perhaps result in a secondary mood disorder. Shameer will investigate the functioning of this pathway in cervical dystonia patients.
Dr Roisin Stack, Pfizer Newman Fellow in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Mentored by Professor Glen Doherty, UCD School of Medicine and St Vincent’s University Hospital
Dr Roisin Stack was conferred with a degree in medicine from NUI Galway in 2011. She has a special interest in gastroenterology and has gained extensive clinical expertise in this field of medicine.
Roisin’s Newman Fellowship project will investigate the impact of dietary supplements on intestinal microbial diversity and quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. There is no known cure for these diseases, but dietary supplements could potentially improve how leaky the gut is, stimulate a more normal variety to gut bacteria and improve patient wellbeing overall.
Dr Mei Yap, Novartis Newman Fellow in MS
Mentored by Dr Christopher McGuigan, UCD School of Medicine, and St Vincent’s University Hospital
Dr Mei Yap studied medicine at UCC and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland in 2014. Since then she has gained extensive clinical experience, most recently as Neurology Registrar in Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin.
About 65% of people with multiple sclerosis develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) approximately 15 years after diagnosis. It is characterised by a gradual progression of the condition and an incomplete recovery from relapses. Mei is using her Fellowship to evaluate the role of multimodal evoked potentials, posturography, neurofilament level and magnetic resonance (MR) volumetric analysis as potential prognostic and treatment response biomarkers for people with progressive multiple sclerosis. She will measure the level of disability accumulation in MS over time using four novel methods that reflect various aspects of the disease process in MS.
To get involved in the Newman Fellowship Programme please contact:
Órfhlaith Ford, Newman Fellowship Programme Coordinator
In mid Sept 2020, Dr Cliona McGovern Head of Subject, Forensic & Legal Medicine, was approached by a freelance journalist who was researching an ethical and legal related piece focusing on the case of Charles Byrne, the Derryman and so-called ‘Irish Giant’, whose skeletal remains have been displayed for 200 years in the Royal College of Surgeons of England's (RCS Eng.) Hunterian Museum in London, against Byrne's living wishes. The journalist’s interest was shared by the English writer, Dame Hilary Mantel (who has researched and written on this issue). The long-standing request was for the RCS Eng. to remove Byrne's remains from public display and either bury him at sea or repatriate his skeleton to Ireland.
The journalist was specifically interested as whether there was any ethical, legal, or medical reasons for the skeleton to be kept on display. Dr McGovern considered these questions and advised that there is no ethical reason, as we know that Byrne did not consent to his body being on display and used by anatomists. In fact, he had explicitly asked to be buried at sea and therefore it was ethically wrong that his wishes were ignored. Dr McGovern also confirmed that modern laws cannot be applied retrospectively. Unfortunately there was no law at that time which explicitly prevented John Hunter (surgeon and anatomist) from ‘body-snatching’, but his covert actions, especially bribing someone to acquire Byrne’s body and then Hunter subsequently keeping it hidden for years, suggests that he knew that what he had done was morally wrong. Hunter also interfered with a burial, which was (and is) a legal right. Hunter died in 1793 and in 1799, his collection was bought by the British government and eventually given to the RCS Eng., where Byrne’s skeleton continues to be displayed in the Hunterian Museum. Finally, Dr McGovern argued that there is no medical reason to keep the body on display and it should be noted that Byrne’s DNA has already been extracted, sequenced, and used in medical research in 2011. Apart from his DNA, Byrne’s skeleton has been scanned and can easily be replicated with a 3D printer. 3D printed bones and organs are common in anatomy teaching today. Dr McGovern’s views were widely carried in articles relating to the campaign initiated by Dame Mantel, in the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/oct/15/hilary-mantel-calls-for-skeleton-of-irish-giant-to-be-repatriated) The Times, Irish Times, Irish Examiner, BBC, Irish Central.
200+ UCD medical students who had completed their psychiatry clinical placements, in St Vincent’s University Hospital, D4 and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, D1 undertook their clinical skills exams (the first in a series of four) on-line in Sept 2020. Traditionally such students would have undertaken these exams in a face to face fashion, using the staged Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) model, which is used to test clinical skills in teaching hospitals across Ireland. But given COVID-19 restrictions and in an effort to ensure that the exams were not compromised, the Psychiatry Faculty at UCD School of Medicine had to consider running these clinical skills exams on-line, which was the first time in the history of the School that such a decision was made.
Speaking about the decision to run the Clinical Skills exams on-line, Professor Allys Guérandel, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Research, SVUH and UCD said ‘These exams are crucial for our medical students to ensure that they are competent, well equipped, and fully assessed to practice clinical medicine. We have been using Qpercom software since 2013 to effectively support our OSCE but adopting Qpercom‘s video integration software solution for assessment in Sept 2020 allowed us to carry out our usual clinical assessment to the highest standard, albeit within an online framework. I coordinated the delivery of these clinical skills exams using this video technology, with the support of Dr Katherine Stroughair and Prof Kevin Malone from SVUH, Prof Anne Doherty, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Mater Hospital and Chris Carr, UCD Psychiatry Coordinator.’
Speaking about the option of facilitating the exams using the Qpercom video technology, Dr Thomas Kropmans, CEO, Qpercom & Senior Lecturer, Medical Infomatics & Medical Education, NUIG said “Zoom, MS Teams and Google Meet have changed the world of communications lately, however this particular exam requires a flow of students going through a series of consecutive stations (video rooms) with simulated patients or actors and their examiner. This functionality is missing in these established platforms but Qpercom’s platform for OSCEs and MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews), Observe, can manage the process with ease.”
“Moving students from one video station to the next, while all parties participate remotely, be they actor/patients or examiner/interviewer and the retrieval of assessment data, all represent major logistical and technical challenges but they are challenges which we believe we have solved using Qpercom Observe” continued David Cunningham, CTO & Co-Founder, Qpercom.
Qpercom Observe is an advanced digital assessment solution used in medicine, nursing, veterinary, dentistry and health sciences by universities across the globe. With video integration added to help universities maintain their exam schedules during the pandemic, the technology is seen as crucial and is now available to a wider educational community. Please see https://www.qpercom.com
The UCD School of Medicine, founded in 1854, is one of the Ireland’s leading medical schools. At undergraduate level, we offer programmes in medicine, radiography, Biomedical Health & Life Sciences (BHLS) and physiology and at graduate level, we offer up to 40 programmes for healthcare professionals including hospital doctors, GPs, radiographers, forensic scientists and mental health professionals and for managers and administrators working in healthcare settings. All of our undergraduate and graduate programmes are delivered by specialist staff across an extensive network of academic and clinical locations. Our student populational also comprises more than 60 nationalities, and international students now account for one-third of the total undergraduate student cohort. This diversity is one of the defining features of life at UCD, and one that enriches the student experience by delivering a truly international campus. Please see https://www.ucd.ie/medicine/
Qpercom Observe VI, a cloud based remote observational assessment solution piloted at UCD School of Medicine Dublin based hospital partner settings on Friday the 25th of September 2020
For further information and/ or to organise an expert interview, please call Jamie Ralph, Marketing, Qpercom Ltd, Tel.: +353 91 395416 or Jane Curtin, UCD School of Medicine, Tel.: 087 938 0779
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, we have had over 100 students undertaking SSRA projects throughout the Summer this year, with the best nine competing on October 7th for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
The SSRA programme provides students with invaluable experience in investigative medical science, setting foundations for life-long learning and future careers as world clinician-researchers.
Please join us for what will be a wonderful evening of research produced by our SSRA Finalists in 2020.
We look forward to seeing you on the night.
Please see the SSRA page for more information.
The SSRA Committee 2020