June 2019 | Meitheamh 2019

UCD Medicine Conferring 2019

Mon, 10 June 19 10:04

The 2019 UCD Medicine Conferring took place at UCD O'Reilly Hall on Thursday 6th June 2019 with 29 graduands being conferred with undergraduate, graduate masters or doctoral degrees.  Always a special day in the School calendar, we were delighted to welcome the graduating Class of 2019, their family, friends and supporters.

The proceedings were led by UCD President, Prof Andrew J Deeks and Prof Michael Keane (Dean of Medicine and Head, UCD School of Medicine) supported by Prof Cecily Kelleher (College Principal, UCD College of Health & Agricultural Sciences).

As has become customary, there was a large number of academic and clinical faculty in attendance on the dais from a number of UCD Schools including Medicine, Public Health and Physiotherapy.  Several of those in attendance witnessed their sons or daughters received their medicine degrees.  Among them was a former Dean, Prof Bill Powderly who travelled from the University of Washington at St Louis with his wife Betsy to celebrate their daughter, Ailis receive her undergraduate Medicine degree.


While it is not unusual for staff or alumni to have their children among the graduating class, some graduates are the first in their families to have completed third level education.  We are delighted to congratulate each on their success.  It was a special day for a number of our research staff who witnessed masters or doctoral students complete their research degrees.

Undergraduate Degrees

A total of 209 graduands were conferred with undergraduate Medicine (MB BCh BAO) degrees.  Consistent with previous year trends, this group comprised 53% female, 47% male and 32% of the graduates hail from 10 non-EU countries. Once again among the graduating class were numerous students who have excelled in other fields.  We counted at least three inter-country gaelic footballers among the Medicine graduating class including six-time All-Ireland Senior Footballer with Dublin, Dr Michael Fitzsimons who was conferred with his second UCD undergraduate degree having completed a BSc in Physiotherapy in 2011.   Also among the class were Donegal Ladies footballer, Dr Deirdre Foley and Roscommon defender, Dr Niall McInerney.  Olympian and 800m European Medallist Dr Mark English was also conferred with his Medicine degree in the 2019 Conferring Ceremony.  Given the plethora of sporting, cultural and artistic talent that they display, we have no doubt that there may be many more distinguished students among the class.

Graduate Degrees

A total of 42 students were conferred with Master of Science degrees in subject areas including Psychotherapy (1), Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (20), Coaching Science in Sport (2), Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (3), Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy (8), Sports Management & Exercise (1), Sports Physiotherapy (2) and by Research (5).  38 doctoral degrees were also conferred comprising 7 Doctor of Medicine (MD) and 31 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Conferrings are red letter days for our academic staff with a 29 of them seeing their graduate students complete Masters (MSc) or Doctoral (MD or PhD) degrees.  Three PhD students from Professor Wenxin Wang's group were conferred along with those from Prof Paul McLoughlin's team (2 PhD), Professor Walter Kolch's team (2 PhD), Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe's group (1 MD, 1 MSc), and from Dr Noreen Sheehy's research group (1 MSc, 1 PhD).

Research Theses Titles

Candidate Degree Thesis Title Supervisor 
 Maher, Siofra MSc Dietary Intakes in Early Pregnancy and the Maternal Gut Microbiome  Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe
A, Sigen PhD Functionalisation and fabrication of hyaluronic acid based smart hydrogels for tissue engineering and regenerative medi cine Professor Wenxin Wang
Alasiri, Ahlam J PhD Molecular Characterisation of Novel Interactions between the HTLV-1 HBZ antisense protein and the SWI/SNF family: Implic ations for Viral Latency Dr Noreen Sheehy
Alsharif, Walaa M PhD An Investigation of MRI Service Quality Management in Saudi Arabia and the Establishment of Best Practice in MRI Quality Assurance and Associated Training Requirements Dr Michaela Davis
Alvey, Luke M PhD Stretch-Enhanced Elongation of Peripheral Nerve Axons and its Relation to the Bands of Fontana Dr Mark Pickering
Carter, Suzanne MD Understanding Pulmonary Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis Professor Edward McKone
Chiquero-Leon, Estefania PhD Regulation of the human Hippo/MST2 pathway in drug-resistant melanoma Professor Walter Kolch
Cosgrave, David W MD Naloxone infusion and adverse events with intrathecal morphi ne in Hepatobiliary surgery The NAPRESSIM Trial Prof Alistair Nichol
Crosby, David MD Endometrial markers of implementation and subsequent pregnan cy - is dysregulation of inflammatory pathways the key? Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe
Crowley, Niamh MSc Targeting HIV Latent Reservoirs with new classes of Latency Reversing Agents Dr Noreen Sheehy
Delahunty, Niall MSc The role of differential ubiquitin-dependent signalling in CO2 modulation of the NF-kB pathway Dr Eoin Cummins
Devlin, Siobhan PhD The Role of Alveolar Epithelium derived Gremlin 1 in the Development of Hypoxic Pulmonary Hypertension Professor Paul McLoughlin
Douglass, Alexander P PhD Genomics analysis of Pichia kudriavzevii and the Pichiaceae yeast family Professor Geraldine Butler
Duffy, Patrick J PhD Design and Development of bio-reasorbable polymers from a 'green" method and their application in a peripheral nerve guidance conduit. Professor Wenxin Wang
Hickey, Caitriona MD Virulence analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from different host microenvironments. Dr Kirsten Schaffer
Iglesias Martinez, Luis Fernando PhD Inference of Gene Regulatory Networks with Bayesian Model averaging in Breast Cancer Professor Walter Kolch
Kavanagh, Emma PhD The role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and N-linked glycos ylation in therapy induced senescent triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)  Professor Amanda McCann
Longhurst, Georga MSc A molecular and morphological assessment of cryopreserved ovarian tissue Dr Lynne O'Shea
Manguy, Jean PhD Data visualisation and analysis of milk protein evolution and proteolysis  Professor Denis Shields
McCall, Karen MD Optimisation of sustained inflation delivery by the use of novel techniques to individualize delivery Dr Colm O'Donnell
McNamara, Eugene PhD Comorbidities in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fract ion: Exploring Common Inflammatory Pathways as Novel Therape utic Targets Assoc Professor John Baugh
Morley, Ursula MSc The Molecular Epidemiology of Human Parechovirus in Ireland, 2015-2017 Dr Cillian F De Gascun
Mthunzi, Liberty PhD The Effects of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins and their Antagonist Gremlin-1 on Alveolar and Bone Marrow Derived Macrophages Professor Paul McLoughlin
Nair, Meera PhD Investigatiing the impact of Roux-en-Y gastric by-pass surgery on the metabolic milieu, podocyte injury and progression of kidney disease Dr Neil Docherty
O Brien, Aisling PhD The Impact of Obesity on Mucosal Associated Invariant T Cell Function and Metabolism Professor Donal O'Shea
O’Halloran, Eoghan MSc Development and Application of Ancestry Mapper in Population , Metagenomic and Ancient Genomic Analyses Dr Sean Ennis
Portelli, Jonathan L PhD  Paediatric Imaging in Malta: A mixed-methods case study exploring radiation dose awareness, benefit-risk communication and consent practices.  Professor Louise Rainford
Ryan, Eanna J MD Improving the histopathological diagnosis and management of colorectal cancer with mismatch repair deficiency Professor Desmond Winter
Tobin, Helen P MSc Mental disorders in primary care: A database study of 31,613 patients  Professor Walter Cullen
Turner, Keira PhD The role of the spinal cord in the action of sacral neuromodulation of anorectal inputs in the female rat Professor James Jones
Twohig, Aoife PhD Preterm Infant Attachment: An exploration of the social -emotional development of preterm infants and the implications of preterm birth for infant mental health  Dr Eleanor Molloy
Watchorn, Richard E MD The Balanopreputial Microbiome in Male Genital Lichen Sclerosus Professor Brian Kirby
Whelan, Stephanie PhD Investigation into the Therapeutic Potential of Erythropoietin and Erthropietin Mimetic, ARA 290, in Emphysema and Associateed Pulmonary Vascular Disease Dr Katherine Howell
Williams, Laura J MD Epidemiological, clinical and genetic aspects of adult onset isolated dystonia; expanding our knowledge of phenotype and endophenotype Dr Sean Finbarr O'Riordan
Xu, Qian PhD Accelerated Diabetic Wound Healing by Hyperbranched Macromer -Composed Injectable Hydrogels Encapsulating ADSCs Professor Wenxin Wang

School Medals and Prizes

In a break from usual tradition, the School took the opportunity to present a range of subject-specific School medals and prizes.  These included:

John McGrath Memorial Medal in Forensic and Legal Medicine

In honour of the late Professor John McGrath, this award is given to the student who obtains the highest marks in Forensic & Legal Medicine

Winner: Dr Cillian Michael Casey

Geoffrey J. Bourke Medal

Named after Dr Geoffrey Bourke, UCD Professor of Public Health Medicine & Epidemiology, this medal is awarded to the student who takes first place in the module – Public Health Medicine, Epidemiology & International Health

Winner: Dr Diarmuid Casey

Brian McGovern Perpetual Medal and the DK Donovan Medal in Medicine

Established by his UCD classmates in memory of Dr Brian McGovern, the Brian McGovern Perpetual Medal is awarded to the student who obtains the highest marks in the Medicine I and Medicine II modules. 

The student who has won this medal also claimed the D.K. O’Donovan Medal in Medicine for securing the highest combined scores in modules Medicine I, Medicine II, Medicine in the Community and our capstone Professional Completion module.

Winner: Dr David Connellan

Professor Niall O’Higgins Medal for Surgery and the Surgeon Hugh Boyle Kennedy Prize

A recent medal created to honour our Emeritus Professor of Surgery, the Professor Niall O’Higgins Medal and the long-established Surgeon Hugh Boyle Kennedy medal recognise first place in Surgery

Winner: Dr Mark Dowley

Eimear Walsh Memorial Medal

Named in memory of one of three UCD students who lost their lives in the 2015 Berkeley Balcony tragedy in California, the Eimear Walsh Memorial Medal is award to the student with the highest combined GPA in the module of Clinical Diagnostics & Therapeutics

Winner: Dr Cormac Edward Everard

Dr Mary J Farrell Medal for General Practice

This is the inaugural awarding of the Dr Mary J Farrell Medal for General Practice.  We are delighted to welcome Dr Farrell’s niece, Ms Patricia O'Kelly and members of the Farrell family here today.  Their generous donation has allowed the School establish the medal in honour of an exceptional UCD Medicine Alumna. Dr Mary J Farrell graduated with first class honours in 1911 and with a distinguished career in England, Africa and Ireland, she laid the foundations for modern general practice care in Ireland.  The Farrell family are also supporting a research elective for a medical student in a country general practice in her honour. 

The winner of the inaugural Dr Mary J Farrell Medal for General Practice is Dr Sean Gerard Griffin

The 1941 Medal

Created by the Class of 1941, this medal is awarded annually to the candidate with the highest GPA across the final two years of the Medicine programme

Winner: Dr Molly McGuckin

Lorcán Miller Memorial Medal

A classmate of Eimear Walsh, Lorcán Millar also died in 2015 in the Berkeley accident.  The Lorcán Miller Memorial Medal in Professional Clinical Practice and Clinical Skills is awarded to the student with the highest combined GPA in these two clinical modules.

Winner: Dr Alison McHugo

UCD Colman Saunders Medal

The UCD Colman Saunders Medal is awarded by Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin following a written examination in Paediatrics.  Receiving a certificate in recognition of his achievement in this competition is

Winner: Dr Lukas O’Brien

Paediatrics Medal

We award the next medal for the student who took the first place in the subject of Paediatrics

Winner: Dr Anthony James O’Riordan

Professor Sean Malone Medal in Psychiatry

Named in memory of the legendary UCD Professor of Psychiatry, the late Professor Sean Malone, this medal is awarded to the student who takes first place in the subject of Psychiatry

Winner: Dr Ellen O’Rourke

Professor Aongus J Curran Medal in Otolaryngology

The student who attains first place in the subject of otolaryngology receives the Professor Aongus J Curran Medal which is named in honour of our former colleague who we lost in 2016.

Winner: Dr Stephanie Christine Pfister

Kirwan Medal and Prize in Ophthalmology

Named in memory of the late Lt. Col. E.W. O’G Kirwan, one of the first medical graduates of this University, the Kirwan Medal recognises performance in the subject of Ophthalmology

Winner: Dr Sinéad Ryan

Honorary Degree Awarded to Dr Kate Coleman

An honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine honoris causa was conferred on a former member of School staff, Dr Kate Coleman, consultant ophthalmologist in recognition of her tireless philanthropic work that has contributed to the elimination of preventable blindness across the globe, through her charity, Right to Sight.  The charity has restored sight to over half a million people in developing countries since its establishment in 2006 by training local surgeons and support staff and through the provision of clinical equipment.  The citation was read by Professor Colm O'Brien, UCD Professor of Ophthalmology at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. [Report here]

Presidential Address

The formal ceremony was concluded with a Presidential address to new graduates by UCD President, Prof Andrew Deeks in which he outline the changes in medical education since the School first opened its doors in Cecilia Street over 164 years ago.  He highlighted the global perspective which the School of Medicine has long since adopted, the changing demographics of student intake and the enduring demands and expectation on our healthcare professionals.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our clinical training partners.  In the latter years of your education, you have spent many, many hours in clinical placement at Ireland's finest teaching hospitals and with general practitioners. These relationships work because together we place our focus on three priorities - patient care, professional education and translational research.  It is fitting to pay tribute to the GPs and the staff of these hospitals and to thank them for the role they play in your training.

Professor Deeks also acknowledge the support which our students have received from parents, families, partners and friends throughout their studies at UCD.

And finally, as you prepare for the next stage in your life journey, please remember that you are now a member of a very proud network of 279,000 UCD alumni in 165 countries worldwide who will offer you friendship and support wherever your journey takes you.

The day you joined this great university you were given a scarf of St Patrick's Blue and Saffron as a welcome gift. I hope that the pride of those colours - which you wear again today – remains with you and that whenever you see the UCD crest or colours in the future you will remember your teachers, your friends and classmates.  I hope also that you keep in touch with your university and let us know how your career is progressing.  It is your success which establishes our reputation.

Once again congratulations, I hope that you enjoy celebrating this special day with your families and friends!

Event Photographs

A selection of photographs from this event is available here and a larger collection can be found on the School's Flickr account.  High resolution copies may be downloaded for private, non-commerical use.