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Current Research

Current Research

A number of research projects are ongoing which are mutually supportive at different technical levels investigating the functioning of nerve, muscle and epithelial cells, at molecular, cellular, organ and whole animal levels.  They are focussed on:

Professor O'Halloran

Professor O’Halloran's primary research interest is the control of breathing in health and disease with additional interests in cerebrovascular physiology. His research group primarily utilise experimental models of human respiratory diseases including  muscular dystrophy and sleep apnoea, but studies extend to observational and interventional studies in humans including field studies at high altitude.

Dr Mohammed Abdulla

Primary research is the neuro-humoral control of the kidney and how it is deranged in renal and cardiovascular diseases.

Dr Patrick Harrison

Development of CRISPR gene editing as a potential Future Medicine for cystic fibrosis, cystinosis, and other rare diseases.

Dr Vincent Healy

The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of salt reabsorption in the kidney.

Dr John Mackrill

Investigation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control calcium signalling within cellular organisms. Current projects are exploring how calcium signalling mechanisms regulate the physiology of human oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells and of Phytophthora infestans, the causative pathogen of late blight of potatoes and tomatoes.

Fiona McDonald

Dr. McDonald’s primary research interest is in understanding how the neonatal mammal responds to perinatal stressors such as hypoxia and inflammation using animal models. Our lab is also collaborating with INFANT to analyse clinical near infrared spectroscopy data, that provides information on the cerebral oxygenation of neonatal infants, to examine if there are correlations between the signal features and poor clinical outcomes of the infants. 

Dr T. Ruane O' Hora and Dr Farouk Markos

Invivo cadiovascular physiology & pharmacology with a focus on endothelium and vascular function.

These areas of studies are undertaken at a basic scientific level but all impact, to a greater or lesser degree, on the cardiovascular system and its regulation and may contribute to understanding the progression of a range of cardiac and vascular diseases.  Thus, these areas of research are poised to take advantage of post-genomic era and to open up investigations in translational research.

Dr Dervla O Malley

My research group are focussed on investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning neurally-regulated physiological and pathophysiological events in the central nervous system and in the intestines. Neuro-immune and neuro-endocrine signalling are being investigated in the context of functional bowel disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the dystrophinopathy, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Dr Niall Hyland

Dr Hyland has over 20 years’ experience in gastrointestinal physiology and enteric neuroscience and his fields of interest include enteric physiology and pharmacology, the brain-gut axis, and microbiota-host interactions. His laboratory has developed expertise in assessing gastrointestinal physiology using the Ussing chamber technique. Niall is also a Funded Investigator in the ‘Gut Brain Microbe Axis’ theme at APC Microbiome Ireland and has long-established collaborations with global leaders in the microbiome-gut-brain axis field.

Dr Mark Rae

The roles that metabotropic glutamatergic and muscarinic cholinergic receptor signalling play in modulating function within central neurones and in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Down Syndrome primarily using electrophysiological and calcium imaging techniques. 


Physiology Department


Western Gateway Building Western Road University College Cork