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Human Molecular Genetics

Prof. Jane Farrar

Jane Farrar’s research interests are focused in the areas of human molecular and medical genetics with particular interest in hereditary neurodegenerative diseases of the retina (including Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) & Age Related Macular Degenerations (AMD)) and inherited brittle bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta). Interests include the generation of transgenic animal models that simulate these human inherited disorders and the utilization of such animal models in novel therapeutic development. Therapeutic approaches being explored include the use of gene suppression technologies (such as RNAi and ribozyme technologies) to suppress the primary genetic defect in the case of dominant gain of function mutations or to modulate the disease process. Additional areas of research include the exploration of neural and retinal stem cells as a potential means to rescue retinal degenerations, investigation of novel neurotrophic / neuroprotective compounds (such as TRH and TRH-DE inhibitors) as possible therapies for neurodegenerative conditions and the use of mesenchymal progenitor stem cells (MPCs) in the development of therapeutic approaches for OI.

Commercial Interests:

Jane Farrar is a director of a recently formed campus company in Trinity College Dublin called Genable. Genable is developing a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of disease through suppression and/or replacement of genes involved in the disease process. The technologies utilise inherent features of the genome to circumvent mutational diversity present in many genetic disorders. Such approaches have potential in the development of treatments for a wide range of genetic disorders. Genable's technologies have arisen from the research of Dr Jane Farrar, Prof Peter Humphries and Dr Paul Kenna. This suite of molecular tools are now being adapted to explore the development of potential treatments for inherited blindness and brittle bone disease and are being commercialised under the direction of Dr Gearoid Tuohy, CEO. The technologies while focused towards two initial lead disorders, are platform in nature, and may in principle be applied in the exploration of therapies for a myriad of diseases.