University College Dublin partners to create Ireland’s first National Preclinical Imaging Centre

Posted 17 June, 2020

University College Dublin has partnered to create Ireland’s first National Preclinical Imaging Centre (NPIC), which will provide enhanced research data aimed at improving patient outcomes nationwide.

The NPIC is being established and co-funded by UCD, RCSI, and CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway following funding of €3.4 million from Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Research Infrastructure Programme.

The Centre’s imaging infrastructure will support the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics in human disease areas including cancer, neurology, dementia, psychiatry, cardiology, medical devices, diabetes, tissue engineering, nanomedicine and inflammatory disease.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said:"UCD is delighted to be part of this significant development in national research infrastructure.

“As the host university to Precision Oncology Ireland and home to a number of medical and biomedical centres of research, including the UCD Conway Institute, we aim to stay at the forefront of pre-clinical research and personalised medicine, driving discoveries in diagnostics and treatments and innovation for better patient outcomes.”

UCD will receive just over €2m of the awarded funding, and has committed to complementing this with additional co-funding of €645k to support equipment purchase, refurbishment and technical support.

NPIC will provide a national pre-clinical imaging resource open to all academic, industry and not-for-profit researchers, and will have locations in Dublin and Galway.

“This infrastructural funding provided by SFI, which is complemented by financial support from each of our partner institutions, along with in-kind contributions from industry, will provide an unparalleled national resource for advancing in vivo imaging,” said Professor William Gallagher, Associate Director of NPIC, Director of UCD Conway Institute and Deputy Director, Precision Oncology Ireland.

“Our research in the area of precision oncology will benefit considerably from being able to image non-invasively tumour growth and spread, leading to improved understanding of disease and associated therapeutic options.”

The NPIC establishes a national pre-clinical magnetic resonance (MR) facility, a national high-field preclinical MR / chemical imaging platform and incorporates a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (CT) and Optical Imaging laboratory.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)