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Today's date: September 23, 2014

'Research at the Interface' Discussed at TBSI Annual Symposium

News feed for Trinity College Dublin.

May 14, 2014

Ground-breaking research at the interface of immunology, cancer and medicine was recently discussed at the third annual symposium in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) at Trinity College Dublin. The event was organised by Associate Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Danny Kelly (Trinity Centre for Bioengineering). Distinguished keynote speakers from the USA and UK spoke about their research and met with the many academics and researchers working at TBSI in related fields.

Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity and Academic Director of TBSI, Luke O’Neill, opened the conference with Professor of Chemical Biology and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science at Trinity, Clive Williams. Professor O’Neill said: “The annual symposium this year was core to our mission of encouraging interdisciplinary approaches and was a very informative and stimulating event. We are very grateful to our external speakers for attending.”

The plenary speakers from the USA were Professor Hidde Ploegh, Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Professor Stanley Appel, Professor of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University.

Professor Ploegh currently works on developing protein engineering methods and genetic tools to manipulate the immune response. He talked about the exciting possibility of using highly specific bacterial components in studying the immune response and characterising the proteins involved. Professor Appel focuses on providing insights into how neurodegenerative diseases (especially ALS) function. He spoke about the link between nerve cell inflammation and progression of such diseases.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering at the University of Nottingham, and Professor Dennis McGonagle, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Leeds were the plenary speakers from the UK.

Professor Shakesheff, who also worked at MIT previously, has focused on research devoted to tissue engineering and stem cell technologies. He is a passionate communicator of science to non-specific audiences and talked about using specialised materials, which enable cell-to-cell communication and highly controlled drug delivery, in orthopaedic, cardiovascular and neurological settings. Professor McGonagle focuses his research on better understanding arthritis and on treating the condition with stem cell therapy. He spoke about his work in this area and his hopes for how cost-effective treatments could soon be developed.  

Additionally, a host of Trinity-based researchers presented their key research at the annual symposium. Prizes were awarded for the best presentations by graduate students (congratulations to Martin Holmes, Henrique Almeida and Tariq Mesallati), and the best postdoc (Dr Eva Palsson McDermott). The event was rounded off with a reception in the Knowledge Exchange.

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| sharon.campbell@tcd.ie | Last updated: May 14, 2014