Postgraduate Spotlight Roisin Cassidy

15 Nov 2021

The third student under the spotlight Roisin Cassidy 

Róisín is a PhD student with the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Cancer Research at University College Cork under the supervision of Dr Órla Barry and Dr Sharon McKenna. Róisín graduated as the top student with a first class honours degree in Biochemistry. She was initially awarded a Research Masters on Oesophageal Cancer within the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Cork Cancer Research Centre with Dr Barry and Dr McKenna, funded by Breakthrough Cancer Research. This Research Masters was then converted into a 4 year PhD scholarship from Breakthrough Cancer Research.


Oesophageal cancer is an aggressive cancer which is poorly studied. The clinical challenge with oesophageal cancer is limited effectiveness of the current anti-cancer drug regimens resulting in recurrence and metastasis of the cancer. Thus, new strategies are necessary to improve treatment options for patients with oesophageal cancer. Recent genome sequencing has identified widespread epigenetic dysregulation in oesophageal cancer. Epigenetics is a relatively new field of molecular biology. Epigenetic changes are reversible and thus can be manipulated pharmacology. Presently, they are investigating whether epigenetic modifiers can chemosensitise oesophageal cancer cells to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs. They will focus particularly on oesophageal cancer that currently does not respond well to anticancer drugs. It is their desire that epigenetic therapy may be identified as an efficacious adjuvant treatment strategy for patients with oesophageal cancer.


When we asked Róisín what it is like studying with the department this is what she had to say

"Studying with the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics means that I can devote my time to cancer research, in particular the pharmacologic aspect, and allows me to follow my passion by doing some" 


Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

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