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Dr Gavin Davey

Neurodegeneration & Systems Biology

G. Davey photo

Dr Gavin Davey B.A.(Mod.), Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Phone: + 353-1-896-8408
Fax: + 353-1-6772400
Location: Room 5.10, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute


View audio/video clip of Dr Davey talking about his research (mp4, 35.5MB)

The  molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie neurodegeneration are the focus of research and in particular, the discovery of molecules that regulate energy  metabolism and bioenergetics in the nerve terminal. The group uses a range of compuational  and experimental techniques to characterize how enzymes control metabolic events inside cells and how new drugs and biotheraputics may be designed.

The role of mitochondria in controlling brain function is approached by examining:

  • Energy metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Nerve terminal function using mathematical and computational analysis.
  • Molecules that control mitochondrial fusion/fission and transport dynamics.
  • Production of reactive oxygen species by the Electron Transport Chain.
  • New mitochondrially-targetted drugs for use in Parkinson’s disease.

Neurodegeneration in a dish: Using the latest cell reprogramming technologies, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines are generated from fibroblasts extracted from patients with neurodegenerative disorders, and reprogrammed using a mixture of reprogramming factors. Once stable iPS cell lines are generated, they are differentiated into neurons for biochemical analysis of mitochondrial function and dysfunction. These neurons are also used for drug discovery and toxicity screening.

Biotherapeutics Design: A Systems Biology approach of mathematical and computational modelling of glycosyltransferases and metabolic networks is used to build models of N- and O-linked glycosylation inside CHO cells. Experimental validation of novel control points has allowed us to develop a platform technology for glycotailoring biotherapeutics and making them more human-like and more biologically active.


Post Doctoral Fellows
Dr Jerrard Hayes
Glycosylation of biotherapeutics & receptors

Dr Oliviero Gobbo
MRI imaging and blood brain barrier function

Dr Olga Abramczyk
Metabolic flux control & glycosylation in CHO cells

Dr Jongjing Xie
NMR metabolomics and glycoprotein structures

Dr Andrew McDonald
Systems Biology & Glycosylation

Dr James Connolly
Computational modelling

Research Students
Laura O’Farrell
Immune cell metabolism in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Andy Cheung
Bioenergetics of immune cells in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Ryan McGarrigle (Jointly with Dr James Murray)
Mitochondrial dynamics in cancer cells and neurons

Darren O’Hara
Novel proteins that control mitochondria fusion dynamics and transport in neurons
Laura Brady
Regulation of synaptic mitochondrial function and neurodegeneration

Natalie Adlesic
The effect of alpha-synuclein on bioenergetics in the nerve terminal

Cecile Cres
Lysosomal-mitochondria crosstalk in dopaminergic neurons


Enterprise Ireland (EI), Health Research Board (HRB), European Union (EU) Marie Curie ITN Programme, Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI), IDA/National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT).


Prof Keith Tipton, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Prof Kemal Yelekci, Kadir Has University, Istanbul.
Prof Massimo Valoti, Department of Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy.
Prof Simon Heales, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, England
Prof Patrick Schloss, Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany
Prof Pauline Rudd, National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) & Conway Institute, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
Dr Rashmi Upadhyar, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India
Dr Alexander Fraser, University Hospitals Limerick, Ireland
Dr Jonathan Bones, National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) & Conway Institute, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland



Last updated 18 December 2014 (Email).