UCD Centre in Translational Oncology

The UCD Centre in Translational Oncology (UCTO) consolidates and gives a unified identity to cancer research across basic and clinical academic staff affiliated to UCD (~80) who are dedicated to foster excellence in cancer research, with the ultimate goal of improving personalised patient treatment and care.

UCTO membership spans across two UCD Colleges (College of Health and Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) and the College of Science), five UCD Schools (School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Science, School of Public Health Physiotherapy and Sports Science, School of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems, School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, affiliated institutes (for example UCD Conway Institute, Systems Biology Ireland and UCD Hospital Cancer Centres of Excellence/affiliated teaching Hospital sites (including Saint Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC). These hospitals represent 3 of the 9 designated cancer centres of excellence in Ireland. The amalgamation of this critical mass of clinical and research expertise in the UCTO, continues to foster multidisciplinary research and collaboration into the future, to the benefit of increasing knowledge about cancer and enhance patient care across all ages and cancer types.

The UCTO has established channels of communication with patients, through clinical members, and through the director’s (AMcC) additional role as Chair of the Patient Voice in Cancer Research (PVCR) committee for which she was awarded a UCD Values in Action (VIA) award in 2019. These links give UCTO colleagues unprecedented possibilities to implicitly involve patients in the research journey from hypothesis inception to grant application and project implementation, through to public/scientific/funder dissemination. Patient involvement is a key strategic vision for UCTO.

UCTO was approved in February 2017 and officially launched by Professor Cecily Kelleher (CHAS Principal) and UCTO Director 21st September 2018.


UCTO has representation from:

(i) Two Colleges (CHAS) and the College of Science)

(ii) Five Schools with its primary membership from the UCD School of Medicine (SoM) (47/69 aligned colleagues), representing a collective, of academic staff with a passionate clinical and research commitment to delivering basic, and translational/precision oncology for our patients.

Current Representatives from four affiliated UCD Schools include:

1. School of Veterinary Science (SVS)

2. School of Public Health Physiotherapy and Sports Science (SPHPSS)

3. School of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems (SNMHS)

4. School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science (SBBS)


UCTO has an Advisory Board representing all 5 affiliated Schools, affiliated institutes, cancer centres of excellence and SVUH/MMUH Clinical Research Centres:

1. Walter Kolch:-SoM/Systems Biology Ireland (SBI)

2. Kieran Sheahan:-SoM/SVUH/Director of Centre for Colorectal Disease

3. Aurelie Fabre:-SoM/SVUH/UCD Conway Institute

4. Melinda Halasz SoM/SBI

5. Denis Shields:-SoM/UCD Conway Institute

6. Peter O'Gorman:-SoM/MMUH

7. Owen Smith:- SoM/Children’s Hospital Ireland at Crumlin

8. William Watson:- SoM/UCD Conway Institute

9. Bruce Moran:- SoM/SVUH

10. Donal Brennan:-SoM/SVUH/MMUH/Holles Street Maternity Hospital

11. Sean Ennis:-SoM

12. Agnieska Blum:-SoM/MMUH

13. William Gallagher:-SBBS/UCD Conway Institute

14. Despina Bazou:-SoM/MMUH

15. Rory Kennelly:-SoM/SVUH

16. Brendan Loftus:- SoM/UCD Conway Institute

17. Michaela Higgins:- SoM/MMUH

18. Tommy Bracken:-CRCs SVUH/MMUH

19. Mirjam Heinen:- SPHPSS

20. Austin Duffy:-SoM/MMUH

21. Steve Gordon:- SVS/SoM

22. Patricia Fox:-SNMHS

23. Eileen Furlong:-SNMHS


Patient Voice in Cancer Research

Patient voice

This initiative began in 2016 with the aim of actively engaging cancer patients, cancer researchers and others (patient advocates, families, carers, healthcare professionals and policy-makers) in discussions and decision-making processes that positively impact on cancer research and outcomes for patients.

Our Vision is to build connections between patients and cancer researchers. We provide education and training for patients and cancer researchers to improve communication and ensure that cancer research is seen as a joint venture to overcome the disease and improve quality of life during and post treatment.

PVCR - Starting the Journey of INVOLVEMENT in Ireland (Publication in Research Involvement and Engagement Sept 2021)