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Research

This is a landmark time for the Discipline as in 2011 it transferred all its teaching and research facilities to the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. This state of the art facility provides huge potential for teaching excellence and research growth.

Research perspectives in the Discipline are rapidly expanding, and our major themes now span the health sciences, thereby facilitating diverse undergraduate and graduate research opportunities. These include musculoskeletal research, exercise science, sports medicine, neuroscience, muscle biochemistry and medical education research. Our focus on clinically relevant anatomy has also extended into research, with human biological samples now being incorporated into the Department's research portfolio.

Featured Project: Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Research Program

In response to a request by Mark Pollock for the continuation of rehabilitation protocols initiated in UCLA for his spinal cord injury in 2014 the Discipline of Anatomy’s Human Performance Laboratory team lead by Dr Nick Mahony, Mr Bernard Donne and Dr Neil Fleming in collaboration with TCIN / Bioengineering Professor Richard Reilly, embarked on a one-year one person pilot study on the use of exoskeletal robotic walking and transcutaneous spinal stimulation.  A growing body of research supports the use of robot assisted step training and spinal stimulation as novel therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. However, these interventions have only ever been examined in isolation. More recently, the study is now in the process of being extended to a full clinical trial status in the Clinical Research Facility in St James’s Hospital. An expanded multi-disciplinary team of researchers has been put together to examine the effects of combining both therapeutic approaches in the training and rehabilitation of SCI patients. Results of initial pilot testing indicate significant improvements in cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular function during exercise and plans to expand the project to a larger patient cohort are currently underway and due to be submitted for HPRA clinical trial approval shortly.

Research Facilities

Human Performance Laboratory

The Discipline of Anatomy’s Human Performance Laboratory under the scientific and clinical leadership of Mr Bernard Donne and Dr Nick Mahony respectively; and with our new Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Neil Fleming currently supports over a dozen research projects, at PhD, MSc and final year BSc levels in the areas of exercise science, exercise physiology and sports and exercise medicine. As well as our primary research area in SCI rehabilitation described above other current and planned projects include examination of functional threshold power in cyclists, rehabilitation protocols in children and adolescents with scoliosis, biomechanical evaluation of a new type of carbon fibre crutches and training responses in age group female triathletes to name but a few. MSc research project work is presented at national and international meetings such as the FSEM annual scientific conference, FSEM Spring Study Day and at the European Congress of Sports Science.

Neuroscience Research Laboratory

The anatomy research space is a purpose built laboratory designed by Dr. Denis Barry to primarily accommodate neuroscience and anatomic research studies. It includes three work benches and two office spaces with ample storage and shelving areas. The laboratory’s generous work space can host up to four researchers. The growing list of experimental facilities include centrifuge, laminar flow cabinet, Brunel video light microscope, gel preparation and electrophoresis rigs, tissue chopper, dissection microscope, chemical cabinet, shaker, stirrers, sinks, pipettes, fridges and freezers, dedicated computers and mobile TRILUX Aurinio LED examination lights. Experimental procedures ongoing within the laboratory include tissue preparation, microdissection, cell culture preparation, immunochemistry, protein measurement, bright field imaging and image analysis. An adjoining reading and meeting room is capable of accommodating four researchers and staff.