Dr Orla Barry
Cancer cell signaling and its modification (therapeutic or environmental)
Our laboratory focuses on the study of different families of serine/threonine kinases that play key roles in signalling mechanisms following activation of seven-transmembrane and tyrosine-kinase receptors. In particular our area of research focuses on the role of Paks, p38 MAPKs, and PKCs which exert a variety of cellular effects including changes in proliferation, malignant transformation, cell death and differentiation. Briefly, we have exploited the activation of PKC as a pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative agent in oesophageal cancer. In addition we have re-introduced p38delta MAPK into different cancers which lack this isoform including oesophageal, renal, prostate, lung and liver which has profound effects on cell proliferation and apoptosis. Finally, we have identified different Pak isoforms which are pro-apoptotic in oesophageal and renal cancer. An important aspect of our research is to elucidate the signalling pathways underlying the apoptotic effect of these kinases using both pharmacological and molecular strategies. In addition the use of athymic nude mice to study their effects is necessary to translate in vitro results to in vivo models of tumourigenesis in order to validate our experimental hypothesis in a physiological setting.
I welcome enquires from students interested in discussing MSc or PhD opportunities and post-doctoral researchers wishing to join the research group. If you have ideas for collaborations on existing work or would like to discuss your own research interests then there are a number of PhD studentships, Postdoctoral fellowships and other funding schemes available which I am more than happy to discuss this with you in the first instance by email O.Barry@ucc.ie