Dr. Aileen Houston is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Medicine, University College Cork (UCC) and a Faculty Member of the APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC. She has a B.Sc. in Biomedical Science and a Ph.D. in Medicine from UCC. Her thesis research investigated the role of death receptors in colon carcinogenesis. In 2005, she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Health Research Board of Ireland to investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating the expression of apoptotic death receptors in colon cancer and was awarded in 2006 the St. Luke’s Young Investigator Award from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.
Dr. Houston’s current research interests are in the areas of Inflammation and Colon cancer. Despite evidence that the immune system can initiate an immune response against colon tumours, such immune responses are often not only ineffective but may even promote tumour growth. Ongoing research projects focus on members of the interleukin-1 family, in particular investigating how signalling by members of this family modulates intestinal tumorigenesis and the inflammatory response. Moreover, given the accumulating evidence suggesting that the human intestinal microbiota contributes to the aetiology of CRC, we also have ongoing active research projects in the interplay between the host and the microbiota in both intestinal health and colon cancer development. Our investigations combine in vitro cell and molecular biology-based approaches, functional genomics approaches, human biopsy tissue and in vivo pre-clinical models of cancer. The ultimate aim of her research is to identify potential targets for the development of anti-inflammatory reagents and anti-cancer therapies. Research in her laboratory is currently funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland.
Research theme: Theme 4 Host-Microbe dialogue
SDGs: SDG3: Good Health and wellbeing
Research key words: Inflammation, colon cancer, tumour microenvironment, microbiome and microbioal metabolites