Dr Dearbhla Moore, Class of 2021, awarded 2020 Peter Dervan Memorial Medal for Excellence in Cancer Pathology

Focus on role of molecular MDT in advancing precision medicine in cancer care


(Tues 7th Sept 2021) UCD Pathology is pleased to announce that the *2020 Peter Dervan Memorial Medal for Excellence in Cancer Pathology has been awarded to Dr Dearbhla Moore, who graduated from UCD School of Medicine in June 2021. Dr Moore is now an Intern in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Cardiology Department.

Dr Moore presented to the viva voce panel in March 2021 at the medal competition on ‘The role of the molecular MDT in advancing precision medicine in cancer care.’ 

Speaking about the medal competition, Dr Moore said ‘Precision medicine is a specialty in its infancy, experiencing a period of rapid growth. With rapid genomic technological advancements, decreasing sequencing costs and increasing targeted drug treatments, molecular diagnostics are being incorporated more and more into clinical practice, particularly in the field of oncology but also more and more amongst other specialties.’

‘The molecular MDT is a trans-disciplinary approach that can be used to ‘shepherd’ precision medicine into cancer care. My presentation focused on their role in bridging the gap between clinical practice and advances in genomic technology, improving interpretation of molecular profiling results, patient selection and access to target therapies, creating an ethical and legal framework for the use of genomic information and establishing and quality improving a global genome data set. The panel then proceeded to ask questions and started a discussion on precision medicine including its current application in clinical practice, trials pertaining to it and its limitations’ continued Dr Moore.

Dr Moore was pleased to be awarded the opportunity to sit this medal exam, which meant that she could explore the intricacies of precision medicine in cancer care in detail and appreciate the difficulties and challenges faced between scientific advancement and its application to real world clinical practice. Dr Moore is confident that precision medicine is likely to infiltrate the work of many practicing doctors, healthcare professionals and the scientific community over the years to come.

Prof Peter A. Dervan who died on Nov 10th 2013, was appointed Consultant Pathologist to the Mater (and initially Richmond) Hospitals, Dublin in 1978 and Professor of Pathology at UCD and the Mater Hospital in 1991. During his tenure, until his retirement in 2008, he excelled as a histopathologist; he achieved recognition as a leading medical researcher and was acknowledged as an outstanding and innovative teacher. In addition to this pre-eminence among pathologists in Ireland, he was esteemed by this professional colleagues internationally. He was a role model for UCD students who were drawn to the pathology speciality and he mentored many young professionals in training.

Over the course of Prof Dervan’s career, he was author of approx. 150 original research articles on a diverse range of topics that reflected his wide clinical interests and expertise. His main research focus was breast cancer and in collaboration with his UCD Conway Institute colleague, Dr Amanda McCann, he made many important contributions to this field. In his research, he enjoyed using cutting edge molecular technologies and displayed a biomedical engineer’s interest and aptitude.

The Peter Dervan Memorial Medal for excellence in cancer pathology is awarded following a competitive viva voce to the student who demonstrates excellence in cancer pathology by achieving the highest combined GPA score in core medicine modules with a significant cancer pathology content.

Dr Moore concludes this announcement by sending her thanks to the examining panel and to Prof Dervan’s family for making this annual medal exam possible, as she considers it a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved in rapidly evolving research in pathology and cancer care. 




*The awarding of the 2020 Peter Dervan Memorial Medal for Excellence in Cancer Pathology was delayed by a year due to C-19