Dr Chris Shortt has joined the Department on a two year Postdocturate with Dr Farouk Marcus
Dr Mohamed Abdulla, started a Post-Doctorate position in our department on a grant from welcome trust by Professor Edward Johns
Ms Fiona O'Connor, awarded master degree, under supervision of Dr Ahmad Ahmeda
We would like to congratulate Kim O'Brien who received SEFS funding for a summer scholarship with Dr Mark Rae
Louise O'Sullivan also received SEFS funding and Amy Kelliher received HRB funding both Physiology students for a summer scholarship in Dr Dervla O Malley's Laboratory
Ashling Lavery, 3rd Year Physiology BSc, on a Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship on 'Ryanodine Receptors and Breast Cancer', with Dr John Mackrill
Tom Rice, 3rd Year BioMed BSc, on a SEFS-TLSE Undergraduate Summary Research Bursary on 'Oxysterols and Calcium Signalling in a Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell-line with Dr John Mackrill
New Grants For Professor Edward Johns
Professor Edward Johns has received two major funding awards to support projects in the Renal Research Laboratory in the Department of Physiology. The first was and SFI Research Frontiers Programme grant which is to investigate the contribution of the angiotensin 1-7/ACE2 system in the regulation of renal haemodynamic and excretory function in models of hypertension. Knowledge of this system is sparse but the proposed research could open up avenues for translation into novel therapeutic development. The second award form the Wellcome Trust will investigate the contribution of brain angiotensin type 2 receptors (AT2R) in the reflex control of renal sympathetic nerve activity. There is evidence that activation of these receptors result in the generation of nitric oxide which may be a key mediator of AT2R activation and determine neuronal activity within the autonomic control centres of the brain.
New Head of Department
Professor Ken O' Halloran has been appointed Head of the Physiology Department and will start in his new position in October.
Dr F Markos
The research is focused on the development of functionalized nanoparticles for early stage detection and treatment of breast and pancreatic cancer, where cancer stem cells are the key target.
Msc in Physiology
Ms Miriam O' Sullivan with Dr Patrick Harrison and Dr Elizebeth Gebruers after her conferring (March 2011)
Graduate Achievements (Science)
Physiology graduate Fred English (B.Sc. 2009) was awarded the gold medal in the "Medicine & Health Sciences" category at the inaugural Undergraduate Awards Ireland which took place at the Royal Irish Academy by President Mc Aleese, for an essay entitled, How do we run on bumpy ground
· Undergraduate Achievements (Science)
Five 3rd year Physiology BSc students, Julie O'Neill, Liam Healy, Eoin Reidy, Kate English and Rob Ryan, all successfully completed summer projects with financial support from learned societies and research charities.
· Undergraduate Achievements (Medicine)
Antoinette O Connor (Med) was awarded 3rd prize in the Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarship and Ming-Youn Lee (Med) was awarded the Kate Flynn Medal.
· Celebrating Retirement
Physiology witnessed the loss of four senior academic staff, including Drs. Anne-Marie Harris, Elizabeth Gebruers and Gerry O Regan; it is almost impossible to receive medical treament in Cork without having a physician who was trained by them. Indeed, Gerry O Regan gave tutorials and lab training to the current UCC President as a medical student.
Physiology also marked the retirement of Professor Edward James Johns with a two-day festschrift symposium, organised by Dr. John Mackrill, which was attended by speakers from four different continents, reflecting the global scale of Edwards infuence.
· New Physiology Teaching Labs
After over 150 years of Physiology teaching in the Windle building, from August 2009, all 1st year students in the College of Medicine and Health, and nearly half the 2nd year students from the Faculties of Science and Food Science, will now receive their laboratory training in Physiology in the new Western Gateway Building.
· European Association for Predictive, Preventive & Personalised Medicine
In November 2008, Dr. Patrick Harrison (Department of Physiology), was appointed the representative for Ireland at the inaugural meeting of the European Association for Predictive, Preventive & Personalised Medicine (EPMA) in Brussels. Amongst the most important goals of EPMA are: well-organised population screening, targeted prevention of frequent pathologies, non- or minimally-invasive diagnostics, optimal therapy planning, personalised patient treatment, substantial improvement of the quality of life and plausible solutions for particular social, ethical as well as serious economic problems. There is substantial overlap between these aims and the new HRB Strategic Business Plan 2010 - 2014 launched on 4 November 2009. Dr. Harrison is also a reviewer for the EPMA Journal which will be launched in 2010 (see www.epmanet.eu).
· Molecular Techniques Workshop 11th year
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, the Physiology department played host to an annual series of two-week residential workshops to train physiology researchers from across Ireland and the UK in molecular biology techniques. The workshop was funded by the Physiological Society and Wellcome Trust, and was organised by Dr. Patrick Harrison. After a total of 10 workshops, Dr. Harrison in collaboration with the Physiological Society and colleagues across the UK, has revamped the workshops format and split it into six smaller 2-3 day workshops which will be hosted In UCC, University of East Anglia, and Kings College London (see www.physoc.org). The two UCC workshops are entitled Introduction to Molecular Techniques and Transfections and Functional Studies. The courses will bring together another cohort of research active physiologists to Cork and continue a tradition of collaboration and networking established during the first 10 years of these workshops.
Dr Ahmad Ahmeda and his wife with Professor Edward Johns in the Department of Physiology after his conferring (January 2008)
American Physiological Society meeting 2008
Professor Edward Johns and Belinda Houghton,
Belinda a third year post-graduate student in the Department of Physiology at University College Cork, gained a major prize from the American Physiological Society at its recent meeting at Experimental Biology 2008. The award was from the American Physiological Society Water & Electrolyte Homeostasis Section and was a Recognition Award that Belinda was the top Graduate Student at this yearâ€ï¿½s meeting. The selection was based on the quality and interest of the abstract she submitted, chosen out of several hundred abstracts, and judged in a competitive run off presentation by the top three candidates in front of the awarding panel and membership of the Society.
Physiology Staff on a site visit to the new IT building where we will be moving to when the building is completed.
Presidents Report 2006-2007
President's Report 2006/2007
Dr. Faruk Markos, BSc PhD, was appointed as lecturer in the Department from November. His research interests are in the regulation of vascular tone and the vagal control of the heart.
Dr. Mark Rae was appointed to assist with managing the practical laboratories and developing computer assisted programmes. He is an electrophysiologist with research interest in glutamate and GABA receptors in the hippocampal areas of the brain and is working closely with Dr. Gordon Reidâ€�s research group.
- Teaching.The Department has continued to contribute to the teaching in all five Schools of the College of Medicine and Health and in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science. New computer assisted MCQ data bases have been developed and are being trialed to allow instant feedback to Medical/Dental/Pharmacy/Nursing/Science students. 2006 was the best year so far for students studying Physiology at all levels. Six new students enrolled for PhDs, two for MScs, and the 4th year BSc class of 23 students was the largest so far, with three students awarded a 1H in June 2007.
The Department research activity continues to expand and was particularly successful in the last round of SFI Research Fronters Programme. Dr. John Mackrill was awarded two grants, one to investigate the expression of ryanodine receptors in trophoblasts (collaborating with Dr. L. Kenny in Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and the second to examine how ryanodine receptors channel activity is modulated. Dr. Vincent Healy was also successful in being awarded a SFI research Frontiers grant to investigate regulation of g-MSH receptors in the renal papilla and medulla (Collabrating with Professor Johns, Physiology). Professor Johns was also a Collabrator with Dr. L. Kenny on a grant to investigate pre-eclampsia of pregnancy using an animal model. Dr. C. Huang was also awarded a HRB grant to study the role of leptin in the neural control of the kidney obesity.
Dr. Fionnuala Ní Chiardha was appointed Chair of the College of Medicine and Health library committee and is now also on the University library committee. Dr Patrick Harrison was appointed Chair of the Teaching and Development Committee in the Faculty of Science. Dr. Elizabeth Gebruers was appointed to represent the College of Medicine and Health at Academic Council. Dr AnneMarie Harris was appointed to the UCC International Education Committee, and continues as the College of Medicine and Health representative on the University Mitigation Committee.
- Awards, Honours, etc.
Dr Ahmed Ahameda successfully defended his PhD thesis in the Summer and is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology. Rowan Flynn has also completed his PhD but crossed the pond to Seattle for a post-doc position in the lab of Professor David Dichek at the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle to develop virus vectors to deliver therapeutic genes in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Mr. William Pierce was awarded his MSc degree with a first class grade and is now pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Dr. John Mackrill.
The Department of Physiology hosted the Summer meeting of the Biomedical Sciences section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland in June which was attended by some 60 investigators. William Pierce was awarded second prize and Caroline Lane was awarded third prize in the Donegan medal competition which is for those young investigators and students presenting an oral communication for the first time in their career.
Professor Johns was invited to join the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Physiology (Regulatory section) by the newly appointed Editor.
Professor Johns, Dr. Chunlong Huang and Belinda Houghton attended Experimental Biology 2007 which was held in Washington DC in April. Presentations were made on their studies dealing with the importance of the neural control of the kidney and the significance of the brain rennin-angiotension system.
April 2007 marked the end of a five-year programme of 10-day residential Molecular Techniques Workshops, organised by Dr. Patrick Harrison and hosted by the Department of Physiology, UCC. Since 2002, some 80 post-graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and the odd professor or two from across the UK and Ireland have visited UCC to gain hands-on expertise in how to extract, amplify, characterise and modify genetic material, and then learning how to apply this knowledge to physiologically important problems. To facilitate long-term learning and adoption of the molecular biology skills into workshop participantsâ€� research programmes, the techniques were introduced in the context of a physiology research project. The development of the workshop in this format was achieved in collaboration with Prof. Rod Dimaline (University of Liverpool) and Dr. Stan White (University of Leeds), both of whom have also actively participated in the delivery of all five Cork workshops.
Research Recognition Award
Dr. Belinda Houghton was one of four individuals who received a Research Recognition Award from the Neural Control and Autonomic Regulation section of the American Physiological Society at the April 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans. The research presentation was based on studies undertaken during the course of her PhD studies (2005-2008) in the Department of Physiology at University College Cork and under the supervision of Professor Edward Johns. The presentation reported on the interplay between vasopressin and glutamate at the spinal level in regulating sympathetic nerve activity to the kidney under different conditions of dietary sodium intake.This is the second prestigious award made to Dr. Houghton for her research at UCC by the American Physiological Society. She is now a research fellow in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Oregon Helath and Science University in Portland, Oregon, USA and continuing her research into the neural control of the kidney in the research latoratories of Dr Virginia Brooks. ( photo Prof E.Johns/ Dr B. Houghton)
Recent PhD graduates
Dr. Evelyn Flanagan
Dr. Evelyn Flanagan successfully defended her PhD thesis on 5th November 2010 and graduated at the Christmas 2010 conferring. Her thesis, entitled ‘Cytokine Regulation of Kidney Function in Pathophysiological States’ was concerned with the role of the inflammatory cytokine TGB-b in contributing to the deterioration in kidney function that occurred in rodent models of chronic renal failure. The research also explored the potential of siRNA to downregulate TGF-b as a potential prophylactic/therapeutic tool for the management of chronic renal disease. Supervisor: Prof. Edward Johns. Examiners: Dr. John Haylor from the Academic Nephrology Unit, School of Medicine, University of Sheffield, UK and Dr. John Mackrill, Dept. of Physiology, UCC.
Mr. Ciaran Lee
Mr. Ciaran Lee successfully defended his PhD thesis on 22nd June 2011 and intends to graduate in September 2011. His thesis, entitled ‘Cystic fibrosis gene repair: Development of Zinc finger nucleases for homology directed repair of the cftr gene’ investigated the use of a novel strategy for repair of disease causing mutations in the cftr gene. This approach has potential for use in the treatment of cystic fibrosis and of other diseases that have underlying genetic causes. Supervisors: Drs. Patrick Harrison and Martina Scallan Examiners: Prof. Charles Coutelle, Emeritus Professor of Gene Therapy at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and Dr. Paul O’Toole Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Microbiology, UCC.
Ms. Maria Buckley
Ms. Maria Buckley underwent her viva voce on her PhD thesis on 27th June 2011 and aims to graduate in September 2011. The thesis, entitled ‘Neural control of the kidney in heart hypertrophy’ was concerned with how cardiac hypertrophy was associated with derangements in the reflex regulation of renal sympathetic nerve activity and renal nerve dependent excretory responses. The knowledge has significance not only in relation to the deficits that may arise in a pre-heart failure state but also raises the question of how regulation of cardiovascular homeostasis may alter during extreme exercise training where cardiac hypertrophy may develop.
Supervisor : Prof. Edward Johns. Examiners: Dr. Alan Noble, Dept. of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Southampton, UK and Dr. Vincent Healy, Dept. of Physiology, UCC.
Research Funding from Cystinosis Research Foundation
Ciaran Lee will embark on a two-year research fellowship in October 2010, jointly supervised by Dr Patrick Harrison and Dr Martina Scallan (Dept of Microbiology). The fellowship is funded by a grant of $146,000 from the Cystinosis Research Foundation to further develop zinc finger nuclease gene repair for cystinosis.
Phd in Physiology
Dr Evelan Flanagan received her Phd in Physiology at the cermoney which took place in Aula Maxima in December 2010
Rowan Flynn awarded PhD
24 students awarded BSc in Physiology
3 students with 1H
Niamh Goulding, Ciara Stafford, Ana Marie Landin,
Will Pierce and Limian Zheng enrol for post-gradaute
degrees within the department
Dr. Farouk Markos appointed as new lecturer.
Younas Margham, John Young, Ciara Doran, Miriam O'Sullivan
and Ciaran Lee enrol for post-gradaute degrees within the department
17 students awarded BSc in Physiology
3 students with 1H
Roisin Kelly awarded PhD
Dave O'Sullivan awarded PhD
Maria Buckley begins MSc with Prof. Johns.
Belinda Houghton begins PhD with Prof. Johns.
Dr. Gordon Reid and Dr. John Mackrill appointed as new lecturers.