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Posted 26 January 2010

Walter Kolch appointed Director of UCD Conway Institute

Professor Walter Kolch has been appointed Director of the UCD Conway Institute (for a 3 year term). Professor Kolch is currently Director of Systems Biology Ireland, a CSET funded by Science Foundation Ireland, which is based in the UCD Conway Institute.

A recognised leader in systems biology, Walter’s work uses the strength of computers and mathematics to understand biology and to unravel the complexities of cells through the use of models that predict biological behaviours. The research being undertaken at Systems Biology Ireland aims to enable quicker and better treatments of a range of medical conditions, including various cancers and should allow for better therapies to be delivered more effectively to patients.

Prior to his appointment to Systems Biology Ireland in 2009, Walter Kolch has spent his academic career in Austria, the US, Germany and more recently in Scotland where he was appointed Group Leader of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow in 1998. He became Professor of Molecular Cell Biology, University of Glasgow, in 2000 and within this role was Director, Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility, which integrates bioinformatics, proteomics, genomics and transcriptomics infrastructure for the university from 2001-2004. From 2005 to 2009 he was Scientific Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) Proteomics Technologies between the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee which developed innovative proteomics technologies and a doctoral training centre.
Welcoming his appointment, the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, said that Walter Kolch would provide leadership and vision for the strategic development of the Conway Institute in line with UCD’s Strategic Plan to 2014.

“The Conway Institute has an excellent track record in primary research alongside close collaboration with industry researchers. Walter’s role, as Director, will be to promote an intellectual and cultural environment that fosters academic excellence, research impact, and top level education; promoting the Institute to external stakeholders and industry partners, as well as developing funding opportunities.

The President expressed his thanks and appreciation to Professor Des Fitzgerald, who has acted at Director to the UCD Conway Institute since 2008.


Note on UCD Conway Institute

Founded in 1999, the UCD Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research was established with funding from the Higher Education Authority and private donors under the first three cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI).

The Institute was named after the first professor of biochemistry & pharmacology in UCD, Professor Edward J. Conway FRS (1894-1968) and currently brings together over 550 research staff from throughout the University and its associated teaching hospitals.

The research focus of UCD Conway Institute is the identification of molecular mechanisms underlying human and animal diseases in the areas of inflammation and infection; microvascular diseases; neuroscience; diabetes; and developmental biology. The close collaboration of scientists and clinicians underpins the translational nature of this research from the ‘bench to bedside’. The longer term objectives of the Institute are set on the integration of the biological sciences with those sciences not traditionally associated with biology with a view to realising the synergistic benefits of such associations. These include computer science, applied mathematics, engineering and economics - the latter linking with UCD Geary Institute.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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