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Public Lectures

Biomedical Frontiers - Public Lecture Series 2017/18

We are delighted to welcome you to the Biomedical Frontiers lecture series in the School of Biochemistry & Immunology

This series of public lectures will describe how biomedical research has increased our understanding of human health and disease. The lectures will be presented by researchers from the School of Biochemistry & Immunology who will highlight some of the research carried out in the School and will discuss recent advances in their field.

All lectures will take place at 6:30 pm in the Stanley Quek Theatre, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, 152-160 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. All welcome; admission free. Directions



21 March 2018

Fuel for cancer killers: how do Natural Killer cells destroy tumours?
by Professor David Finlay

Natural Killer cells are important in protecting our bodies from cancer. They can detect and directly kill tumour cells. However, in cancer patients these killer cells are not working properly. We want to understand why this is and how the function of these Natural Killer cells can be restored. Given that the success of many cancer immunotherapies, such as Herceptin, require functional Natural Killer cells, any intervention that increases the tumour killing capabilities of these cells would lead to better therapeutic outcomes.

The tumour killing functions of Natural Killer cells require energy and to meet this demand NK cells take on more fuel, which they burn within a metabolic engine to drive energy production. When this metabolic engine is disrupted, for instance if there is a lack of fuel, these Natural Killer cells have a significantly reduced ability for killing tumour cells. We believe this is a key reason why these killer cells are not working properly in cancer patients. My research is working towards developing ways to kick-start this metabolic engine in patients’ Natural Killer cells in order to restore their capacity to kill tumours.


24 January 2018

The Glycobiology World
Why sugars are good for you and how they have revolutionised medicine and biotechnology
by Professor Gavin Davey

Glycobiology is the science that studies glycans or sugars in the body. These sugars hold cells together, they allow cells to communicate together and they are extremely important across medicine and biotechnology. Without sufficient sugar our brains rapidly degenerate and communication ceases. Too much sugar and diabetes and cancer can develop. For many years inadequate technologies have hampered our understanding of glycan complexity. Fortunately this has recently changed and glycobiology researchers are revealing amazing new aspects of how the natural world works. This lecture will explore some of these discoveries and demonstrate why glycobiology is one of the most fascinating biomedical frontiers.


25 October 2017

In Search of Lost Time - What Makes a Memory?
by Professor Tomás Ryan

How are are our memories, thoughts, and experiences stored in the brain? The search for memory and the physical basis of self is older than science, psychology, or modern medicine. It predates the theory of evolution and over the centuries has been led by priests and physicians, philosophers and physicists. Only in recent time has a basic understanding of memory emerged from modern scientific investigations. Though such investigations are still in their infancy, some surprising findings have emerged. In this lecture I was discuss recently developed technology that allows us to label and switch on (or off) specific memories. I will then describe how such technology has allowed us to gain unprecedented insights into the true nature of memory loss, amnesia, and depression. I will then elaborate on the implications of such studies for our understanding of aging, dementia, mental health, and the nature of our own individuality.


For further information on research carried out in the School see
For further information on the public lecture series contact Nóirín:

Podcasts of the 2016-17 Lecture series are available

Last updated 13 March 2018 (Email).