October 2020 | Deireadh Fómhair 2020

Warm congrats to nine newly appointed Newman Fellows who will be hosted at UCD School of Medicine

Tue, 20 October 20 10:35


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

Email: orfhlaith.ford@ucdfoundation.ie