Robert Hayes

Contact Details:


PhD Student


Dr. Sharon McKenna, Dr. Tracey O'Donovan

Research Area:

Oesophageal Cancer

Robert graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and subsequently attained his MSc working under Dr. Justin McCarthy studying the ACE2 receptor and gamma-secretase substrates. Like everyone, cancer has impacted his life with the loss of his grandfather to lymphoma. He is driven to study cancer biology to improve patient outcomes, especially for those cancers that have poor survival rates. He began his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Sharon McKenna and Dr. Tracey O’Donovan in 2019, researching oesophageal cancer to identify novel treatment pathways with the potential of improving patient outcomes.


Many oesophageal cancers develop resistance to the drugs currently used to treat this disease. This allows the cancer cells to survive and the cancer can come back again at variable times after the initial treatment. Research already performed by this group has identified genetic differences between cancer cells that respond well to treatment and those that do not. My project is examining how the genes involved can re-program cancers and influence their response to treatment. We have already identified a novel gene pathway that can influence the way cancer cells respond to chemotherapy. Understanding how these genes regulate death and survival in cancer cells will enable us to develop more effective anti-cancer agents for the future. The overall aim of this project is to identify new ways of targeting resistant cancers, so that chemotherapeutic regimes can be improved and recurrent disease eliminated in cancer patients.

Cancer Research @UCC

4th floor, Western Gateway Building , Western Road, Cork