News 2024

Professor Aoife Ryan - Inaugural Professorial Lecture

18 Apr 2024
Prof Sarah Culloty, Head, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science; Prof Aoife Ryan; Prof Alan Kelly, Head, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences. Photo: Ruben Martinez, UCC.

We were delighted to host Professor Aoife Ryan's inaugural professorial lecture "Cancer-Associated Malnutrition: The Skeleton in the Hospital Closet". Aoife Ryan is Professor in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the School of Food and Nutritional Science, UCC.

She graduated from Trinity College Dublin/Dublin Institute of Technology with a BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2000 and was the recipient of a Trinity College Gold Medal and a Flora Post-Graduate Scholarship Award.

Aoife initially worked as a surgical oncology dietitian at St. James's Hospital for eight years during which time she completed her PhD on the topic of nutrition post major upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery at the Department of Surgery, Trinity College Dublin. She then moved to New York and took up a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics at New York University in 2008.

In 2011 she returned to Ireland and joined the academic staff at UCC as a lecturer in Nutritional Sciences and later played a key role in the establishment of the MSc Human Nutrition & Dietetics programme, which she directed from 2019-2022. Aoife is a CORU Registered Dietitian and also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education from UCC.

Her main area of interest is the effect of cancer on nutritional status, specifically muscle wasting. Her research programme focuses on cancer cachexia (wasting) and sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and how these impact on how patients tolerance to chemotherapy, quality of life and overall survival. She also conducts hospital-based clinical trials with patients undergoing either major cancer surgery or those on chemotherapy to investigate novel tube feeds and foods for special medical purposes to slow down weight loss and muscle wasting.

Aoife is also very interested in swallowing disorders (dysphagia) in cancer. She is currently principal investigator on a number of randomised controlled trials in cancer populations and her work has attracted over €4 million in research income. She has received a number of awards for her research including: 'Research Dietitian of the Year' from the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute; Irish Healthcare Awards, a UCC Impact Award, and both the Julie Wallace Medal and the Cuthbertson Medal from the Nutrition Society.

Aoife has published many scientific journal articles and 13 cookbooks books for cancer patients which have all been professionally endorsed and available free of charge through the health service. Her latest book "The Anti-Cancer Cookbook: Recipes to reduce your risk" is on sale in bookshops with proceeds going to Breakthrough Cancer Research.

College of Science, Engineering and Food Science

Coláiste na hEolaíochta, na hInnealtóireachta agus na hEolaíochta Bia

Block E, Level 3, Food Science Building, UCC, Cork, T12 YN60.