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Dr Colm Cunningham

Neurodegeneration and CNS Inflammation

C. Cunningham photo

Dr Colm Cunningham
Research Lecturer/Wellcome Trust Fellow
Phone: +353-1- 896 3964
Fax: +353-1- 896 3183
Location: Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute: Room 6.05; TCIN Room 4.04


View audio/video clip of Dr Cunningham talking about his research (mp4, 79.2MB)

My main research interests are in neurodegeneration and in brain inflammation. In particular, I am interested in how systemic insults such as infection, inflammation and injury interact with, and influence, ongoing neurodegeneration and associated brain inflammation. I have an ongoing interest in sickness behaviour responses induced by bacterial and viral infections/mimetics and our observation of an exaggeration of these responses in animals/persons with ongoing brain inflammation has brought 2 of my major interests together: Such responses in the aged or demented incorporate episodes of delirium, a phenomenon that remains unexplained and which now represents a major research interest for me. I have been awarded Fellowships by the Wellcome Trust to develop animal models of delirium during dementia and I maintain long-standing collaborations, with the department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford University and the CNS inflammation group in the University of Southampton, exploring some of these issues. More recently we have been funded by the NIH and Simon’s Foundation (USA) to study the interactions between systemic inflammation, brain metabolism and cognitive function in models of hypocholinergic function, brain amyloidosis and autism. Collectively, these avenues are aimed at moving towards defining the role of activated microglia in ageing and neurodegenerative disease, while considering the impact of systemic infections on the brain in multiple vulnerable neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental states. As an experimental approach, I believe in the need for the combined molecular, behavioural and neuropathological / neuroanatomical study of animal models of disease and CNS dysfunction.


Post Doctoral Fellows:
Ana Belen Lopez Rodriguez
Arshed Nazmi

Research Students:
Daire Healy
Carol Murray (part time)

Research Assistant:
Carol Murray


The Wellcome Trust
Simon’s Foundation
Alzheimer’s Research UK


Prof John Lowry, Maynooth University
Dr David Bannerman, Oxford University
Prof Alasdair MacLullich, University of Edinburgh
Prof Siddarthan Chandran, University of Edinburgh
Prof Daniel Davis, University College London
Leiv Otto Watne/Torgeir Bruun Wyller, University of Oslo
Henrik Zetterburg, University of Gothenburg
Prof Chris Fox, University of East Anglia
Prof Hugh Perry, University of Southampton

Interested in working with us?
Informal enquiries from talented and enthusiastic researchers are welcome and we are interested in supporting personal PhD and Fellowship applications.



Last updated 16 January 2017 (Email).