European Training Network 14 PhD Student Positions available

Applications are invited for a pan-European academic/private sector research training network in the fields of diagnostic and therapy development for brain disorders. please see the link below for further information. Submission: applicants should submit the documentation to writing on the subject line number of their selected projects (Ex: Projects 3 and 10) by Friday, November 3rd, 2017 at 5 pm (GMT).

PurinesDX_job_description 26-7-17

Young Neuroscientists Symposium September 2016


The Neuroscience Ireland Young Neuroscientists Symposium was held on September 1st 2016 in the Hamilton building of Trinity College Dublin. The symposium was highly attended, including undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral scholars from all over Ireland and Europe. Delegates were treated to a welcoming address from Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., three captivating keynote presentations, a number of high quality presentations from postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, and a career panel open discussion. Poster presentations and exhibitor stands were attended during lunch and coffee breaks. Overall the symposium was a great success!

“I wanted to thank very much the whole YNS organising committee for a wonderful conference. The symposium was a well balanced mix of pharmaceutical industry oriented talks and strictly scientific topics, giving a rare opportunity to directly see the relationship between both of these sectors and how they complement each other.”

Pawel Matulewicz, TCD

The symposium was kindly supported by Neuroscience Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. Gold sponsors: Alkermes, Failte Ireland, the Health Research Board in Ireland, Novartis, Pfizer, Rett Syndrome Ireland and Transpharmation Ireland. Silver sponsors: AnaLab, Bayer, BioSciences, Eppendorf, Lonza, Merck, Teva and ThermoFisher Scientific. Bronze sponsors: Exiqon and Fannin.

Following a welcoming address from the president of Neuroscience Ireland Prof. David Henshall, we were delighted to welcome the Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D, who gave an empowering opening address emphasising the Government’s commitment to the development of a smart economy and the role researchers will play in its continued development.

 Dr. Jack Prenderville, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. (Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise) and Prof. David Henshall (president of Neuroscience Ireland)

Our keynote presentations were delivered by Prof. Alon Chen, the Director of the Institute of Pharmaceuticals at the Max Planck Institute (‘Genetic and optogenetic dissection of the central stress response’), Dr. Dara Cannon, the Director of the Centre of Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics at NUI Galway (‘The role of neuroimaging in biological psychiatry’), and Dr. Lee Dawson, the head of CNS research at Astex Pharmaceuticals (‘Neuroscience drug discovery – the search for a needle in a haystack?’).


 Prof. Alon Chen delivering his keynote presentation


“The Young Neuroscientist Ireland Symposium 2016 was my first conference here in Ireland and it was a great experience. The diverse mixture of both industry and academic leaders in their fields with students/post-docs allowed for an amazing learning and networking opportunity. I will definitely be returning to this conference in the future” – Sarah Jarrin, NUIG


In the afternoon we hosted an open career panel discussion, where 5 members of staff from both academia (Prof. Mani Ramaswami, Dr. Dara Cannon, Dr. Stella Vlachou) and industry (Dr. Lee Dawson, Dr. Niamh Murphy, Novartis) briefly introduced their distinctive career paths, before addressing questions from the audience.

 Career Panel members (from l-r): Dr. Lee Dawson, Prof. Mani Ramaswami, Dr. Niamh Murphy, Dr. Dara Cannon, Dr. Stella Vlachou


“…I have recently returned from a number of years working abroad so the wide range of topics covered in the poster and talk sessions was particularly useful for me to get a snapshot of the excellent neuroscience research taking place nationally. I thoroughly enjoyed the career panel discussion, the speakers were candid and honest and I was reassured that there are many career paths out there for us…” – Teresa Moloney, RCSI

“I thoroughly enjoyed attending the YNS symposium. For me, the highlight was the career panel discussions which I found extremely beneficial affording a snapshot of the paths undertaken to establish a successful career in both industry and academia…This symposium also provided a unique platform for young inter-disciplinary researchers to interact in an easy-going environment and I look forward to attending again next year.” – Katie Togher, UCC

Throughout the day we heard presentations from postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. Dr. Shane Hegarty (UCC), the winner of the Neuroscience Ireland Early Career Award, also presented his research on the ‘Characterisation of the role of canonical BMP-Smad 1/5/8 signalling in the development of ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons’. A number of other awards were also presented for best oral and poster presentations.


 Dr. Min Liu, winner of best postdoctoral oral presentation, with Prof. David Henshall

Dr. Shane Hegarty, winner of the Neuroscience Ireland Early Career Award, with Prof. David Henshall


The symposium also included a data blitz, where delegates were invited to introduce their research to the audience in two minutes. Many of the attendees also stayed on after the conference to join us in Xico on Baggot Street, and we would like to thank the management and staff of Xico for their hospitality.

“Thoroughly enjoyed YNS 2016…My favourite section of the day was the data blitz section: I think other conferences should adopt these into their schedules more often as they are a great way for presenters and attendees alike to absorb the most important elements of ongoing research…I will definitely return next year.” – Chloe Farrell, TCD


Prof. David Henshall with some of the award winners from the day (from l-r): Rana Raoof, Dr. Cristina Ruedell Reschke, Dr. Teresa Moloney, Luiz Fernando Almeida Silva)



The YNS 2016 organising committee (from l-r): Anand Gururajan, Laura Olsen, Sinead Ryan, Tudor Munteanu, Shane Hegarty, Charlotte Callaghan, Niamh Connolly, Gary Brennan, Jennifer Rouine, Jack Prenderville

Full list of award winners:

Dr. Min Liu, NUIG (Postdoctoral oral presentation)

Rana Raoof, RCSI (Postgraduate oral presentation)

Chai Jairaj, TCD (Data Blitz presentation)

Pawel Matulewicz, TCD (Postdoctoral poster winner)

Cristina Ruedell Reschke, RCSI (Postdoctoral poster winner, sponsored by Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience)

Jo-Hanna Ivers, TCD (Postdoctoral poster runner-up)

Carmela Belardo, Napoli/NUIG (Postgraduate poster winner)

Shauna Wallace, UCC; Meadhbh Brosnan, TCD; Niamh Moriarty, NUIG; Luiz Fernando Almeida Silva, RCSI (Runner-up postgraduate poster)

Allison McIntosh, TCD; Teresa Moloney, RCSI (Best question, sponsored by Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience)

Departmental Award Winners at RCSI Research Day 2015

RCSI Research Day 2015 concluded on the 13th of March with an awards ceremony
which took place in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre. Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri,
Research Day 2015 Academic Co-Ordinator, hosted the ceremony which saw awards
being presented to winners across twelve categories.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the Mr Kamal Sayed Prize in Neurosurgery to Ms. Zaitun Zakaria currently undertaking a PhD in the Dept. of Physiology and Medical Physics under the supervison of Prof. Jochen Prehn. The medal, which is generously supported by Dr Yacoob Kadwa, Class of 1965, isawarded to a neurosurgery trainee in recognition of outstanding work and excellence in the field of neurosurgery. This is a prestigious award of RCSI and is run in conjunction with the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience.
The prize pays special tribute to the memory of Mr Kamal Sayed, a graduate of RCSI
(Class of 1960). The award was presented by Amos Sayed, on behalf of Dr.
Camilla Carroll (FRCSI and Class of 1985) and Dr Jacintha More O’Ferrall (Class
of 1990).


In the postgraduate scholars – first year category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in first year of fulltime registration or equivalent. The poster presentation prize winner in the category was Mariana Alves, RCSI Department of Physiology & Medical Physics.

In the postgraduate scholars category, which was open to any postgraduate group, including PhD, Msc, MD in second or later year of fulltime registration or equivalent. The poster presentation prize winner in the category, which is sponsored by Fannin, was awarded to Sergej Susdalzew, RCSI Department of Physiology & Medical Physics.



In the Early Career Investigators category which was open to all RCSI post-doctoral fellows. The award is named after Dr Joe Barnes, Professor Emeritus of Tropical Medicine in RCSI and was presented by his son Mr. Matthew Barnes. The poster prize winner in this category, which is sponsored by Fannin, was awarded to Dr David W Murray, RCSI Department of Physiology & Medical Physics. The judges noted that the standard of science in this category was exceptionally high.


RCSI Neuroscientists make breakthrough in understanding gene activity in epilepsy

Neuroscientists from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) have made a breakthrough in understanding what controls gene activity in epilepsy, a disease associated with excessive electrical activity in the brain that gives rise to seizures. The findings may also help explain why epileptic states can be so persistent. The research will be published in the March edition of the leading neurology journal Brain. Today marks International Epilepsy Awareness Day, to raise awareness of this condition that affects approximately 37,000 people in Ireland.
Epilepsy is often associated with altered levels of genes in the brain and this is thought to make the brain more excitable. The researchers looked for a chemical change to DNA called methylation which acts as a long-lasting on / off switch for gene activity and is thought to be one way that brain cells store biochemical memories. More than 30,000 gene sites were studied using brain tissue from patients with epilepsy. The research found that a number of human genes are controlled in this way and many were not previously linked to epilepsy. In some cases, the more DNA methylation that occurred, the more gene activity was turned off. The research also found that certain types of genes are more likely than others to be under this type of control.
Brain Image
The epigenetic landscape of human temporal lobe epilepsy 
Dr Suzanne Miller-Delaney, lead author of the study said “This study is the first of its kind in human epilepsy. It specifically aligns deterioration of parts of the brain with structural changes in patient DNA and gene activity. The study can help us to understand what is controlling gene activity in epilepsy and why the epileptic state can be so persistent.”
Professor David Henshall, from the RCSI Department of Physiology & Medical Physics and Principal Investigator for the study adds “Epilepsy affects about 37,000 in Ireland and this study could potentially offer new targets for reversing epilepsy once established”.
The research was supported by a grant from Epilepsy Ireland, The Health Research Board (HRB) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Additional researchers involved in the study included Prof Ray Stallings group from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics at RCSI and researchers in Seattle, USA.

SFI funding to support early career researchers

Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. The funding is being awarded through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes.

Four RCSI researchers were among those to be awarded funding. Two senior post-doctoral researchers from RCSI were recipients of the Starting Investigator Grants: Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel. Both work in the epilepsy research laboratory in the Physiology Department at the RCSI and are mentored by Professor David Henshall. Both projects focus on molecules called microRNAs which work to control of protein levels in cells.

Career Development Awards were announced for two RCSI Senior Lecturers: Dr Annette Byrne, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a project on metastatic colorectal cancer; and Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), for research into genetic biomarkers for epilepsy.

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: “RCSI welcomes the announcement to provide major funding to four RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Programmes. This is a fantastic achievement and underlines the cutting-edge and competitive research work performed at RCSI. The funding will enable the SIRG awardees to develop new research interests and establish themselves as independent researchers, while CDA awardees will have the opportunity to further develop and strengthen their independent research programmes. These awards reflect the immense hard-work and outstanding research and translational achievements being carried out by the awardees.”

A further 12 projects were also deemed scientifically excellent by the International Review Panel and are on a reserve list to be funded by SFI, if budgets permit later in the year. RCSI researchers on the reserve list were Drs Steven Kerrigan, Markus Rehm and Stephen Madden.

European Month of Brain

Prof. Jochen Prehn and fellow researchers of Centre for Systems Medicine and Centre for the Study of Neurological Disorders are participating in a Neuroscience meeting next week at RCSI.

As May is European Month of the Brain, the aim of this event is to promote neuroscience among researchers within the 3U Partnership.

The early afternoon talks will be delivered by Professors Jochen Prehn, John Waddington, David Henshall, and David Cotter of RCSI, as well as a talk by Dr Stella Vlachou of DCU. Evening talks will be given by Dr Mary Clarke and Dr Hans-Georg Koenig of RCSI and Drs Andrew Coogan and Richard Roche of NUI Maynooth.

The lectures will focus on topics including the molecular basis of neurological and psychiatric diseases, emerging drug targets, as well as basic research into brain function. The evening guest lecture will be delivered by Prof Kevin Mitchell of Trinity College Dublin at 6pm. Undergraduate students and researchers from other institutions are also welcome to attend the meeting.

Prof David Henshall, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI, and organiser of the seminar said, ‘It is increasingly important to promote synergy and exploit shared strengths in the field of neuroscience and this meeting is a great opportunity to do with our 3U partners. The range of topics in today’s meeting will be very interesting and hopefully stimulate discussion and collaboration in shared areas of study.’

Date: May 21st 2013, RCSI, Cheyne Lecture Theatre at 2pm.

updated: Impressions of the event can be seen at the website of RCSI.

Seminar: Heads up: Revising Concepts of Brain Trauma and Sport Related Head Injury

Professor Alan Faden

Director, Organized Research Centre for Shock, Trauma, and Anesthesiology Research, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

The Centre for the Study of Neurological Disorders is pleased to announce another interesting seminar which will take place here in RCSI.  Dr. Alan Faden’s research focuses on mechanisms and modulation of cell death and neuroinflammation after experimental brain or spinal cord injury. His research is highly interdisciplinary, utilizing molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology, pharmacology, behaviour, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, and quantitative histological analysis. There are 3 major lines of investigation that he and his team are interested in:

1. examining mechanisms of cell death in CNS injury, using both in vivo and in vitro models with particular emphasis on caspase-dependent versus caspase-independent programmed cell-death;

2. Elucidating the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) in posttraumatic cell death and microglial modulation, and delineating the signal transduction pathways involved.

3. Investigating the role of cell cycle pathways in the pathobiology of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury

The talk will be held in the Cheyne Theatre, RCSI on Monday 20th of August at 4 pm.

You are all very welcome to attend.


Seminar: Radiotherapy, Neural Stem Cells and Cognitive Function

Professor Klas Blomgren

Perinatal Brain Research, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health,
Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Professor Klas Blomgren is a Professor of Perinatal Brain Research at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health in the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. His research is aimed at developing protective treatments as well as strategies to promote regeneration after injury to the developing brain.  The focus if his research is primarily on two types of brain injuries, those that occur around birth and those that occur after radiation therapy (cancer treatment). Rehabilitation after brain injuries in children is an area where current research clearly shows that there is great potential for improvement.

Professor Klas Blomgren earned his MD in 1990 and his PhD in neurobiology in 1994 from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. After Postdoctoral training at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan, he has focused on mechanisms of perinatal brain injury, radiation-induced brain injury and neurogenesis. The title of his talk is “Radiotherapy, neural stem cells and cognitive function’’.

The talk will be held in the Cheyne Theatre on Tuesday 08th of May 2012 at 2.30 pm.

You are all very welcome to attend.