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Professor Colm BerginProfessor Colm Bergin

Research Summary

Professor Colm Bergin is a Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases, St James’s Hospital, Dublin and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin.  He is the Associate Director of the Wellcome-Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility, St. James’s Hospital Dublin, the National Specialty Director, Infectious Diseases, Royal College of Physicians Ireland (RCPI) and the Dean of Postgraduate Medical Training, RCPI.
Prior appointments have included Clinical Director of the Surgical and Medical Subspecialties Directorate at St. James’s Hospital, Dublin (2006-2012), President of the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland (IDSI) (2009-2012) and National Lead for Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy Programme, Health Services Executive, Ireland (2010-2012).

Professor Bergin graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1989 and completed General Medicine and Specialist Training in GU Medicine. Subsequently, Professor Bergin completed a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Boston University Hospital (1996-1999) and returned to Dublin in 1999 when he was appointed to his present consultant position in St. James’s Hospital.

My translational research programme focuses on:

  1. Disease surveillance (HIV, hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, staphylococcal aureus bacteraemia (SAB), syphilis, TB, varicella). 

I have taken a lead role in the clinical and molecular surveillance of HIV infection. The clinical surveillance programme has included the establishment of the Dublin HIV Cohort (HRB funded – 2million euro) and the recent partnership with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to detail the changing epidemiology of HIV in Ireland (PACHI -1) (Helen Tuite, MD, TCD – Supervisor). Molecular surveillance was addressed by a research partnership with the National Virus Reference Laboratory studying both the molecular epidemiology of HIV in Ireland (Cillian DeGascun, MD, UCD, 2010, Clinical Supervisor) and the emergence of drug resistance in this country (lead, SPREAD project).  Other surveillance projects have focused on Staphylococcal Aureus Bacteraemia (SAB), TB, varicella and sexual health.

  1. Disease treatment (HIV-HCV co-infection, SAB, HIV in pregnancy).

The Department’s Clinical Research Unit has participated in therapeutic drug trials and other trials addressing strategies for management of HIV infection with approximately 550,000 euro funding generated. These studies have been pivotal in the establishment of international strategies for the management of HIV infection. In partnership with colleagues in UCC and NCPE I am co-supervising a PhD programme addressing the cost structure of ambulatory HIV care in Ireland (Aline Brennan, PhD, UCC) and with partners in Hepatology and NCPE a cost evaluation of HCV treatment ( Jenny Kieran, PhD, TCD)

  1. The management of disease complications (neurocognitive disease in HIV, renal disease in HIV, oncology outcomes in HIV, HIV and bone disease)

I established the first treatment clinic for HIV-Hepatitis Co-infection and the centre is now a recognised international study site for Hepatitis C infection. We have established a multidisciplinary service with hepatology, pathology and transplant medicine.
Outcome: We have advocated successfully for access to liver transplantation for HIV-infected patients, 3 patients to date have undergone elective transplantation in the latter years. I am the lead provider for HIV and hepatitis care to Haemophiliac patients attending the National Haemophilia Centre.
Hepatitis C related projects have included the development of strategies to manage co-infected patients (Colm Bergin, MD, TCD 2009), the study of viral kinetics and fibrosis markers (HRB grant, 2003), investigator initiated studies addressing therapeutic management of co-infection (2000, 2003 and 2009 - 300,000 euro) and the role of host genetics in disease outcome (IHS Award 10,000euro and HRB grant award 2011, co-applicant). In 2012 we successfully secured ~4.3million euro in funding from a FP7 grant focusing on HCV vaccine development (Dr Ciaran Bannan, PhD TCD). I am co-supervisor of a further thesis project addressing host predictors of HCV outcomes (Dr Daire O Shea, MD, TCD).

  1. The development of changing models of care delivery (Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT), vaccinology (vaccine unit development, FP-7 grant for HCV vaccine, vaccine strategies in immuno-compromised hosts) and use of integrated IT systems to enhance patient care delivery (EPR system, patient self-registration, Skype clinics).

In 2000 I established a designated vaccine unit for the administration of vaccinations to patients attending the HIV, ID and sexual health clinics. The service has recently expanded to provide advice to and medical review of general medical patients commencing immunosuppressant therapy with the establishment of a Chronic Inflammatory Diseases Assessment Clinic (CIDAC), this occurred prior to the establishment of national registries for the audit of infectious complications on biologic therapies.

Outcome: We have published on clinical outcomes from the vaccine programme. I am the supervisor for Dr Corinna Sadlier’s PhD thesis (TCD) addressing Vaccine Prevention Strategies in HIV Positive Patients. This research includes a partnership with Clinical Immunology addressing the innovative role of use of conjugate vaccination in immunosuppressed patients. In the last year we have partnered with colleagues in molecular cytology, general surgery and immunology to address the role of HPV vaccination in men.

  1. I am a co-supervisor of a study programme addressing the Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Continuum in HIV Related Cognitive Impairment (Dr Patricia McNamara, PhD, TCD) successfully awarded 160,000 euro funding in 2011.
  2. I am the clinical lead in SJH on a research programme addressing the complications of bone disease in HIV infection, I am the co-applicant on an IIS grant awarded in 2009 (540,000 euro) and a HRB Grant awarded in 2010 (284,000 euro) in this area.
  3. I am a member of the supervising committee of an international research programme (TCD, UCD, St George’s London, University of North Carolina and Malawi) addressing cryptococcal co-infection in HIV infected patients, work from which will be submitted for MD (TCD), Dr Arthur Jackson.
  1. Model of Care Delivery

OPAT programme (Dr Dave Gallagher, MD, TCD)

For further information about Professor Bergin please view his CV

Antibiotic Stewardship - HIV Medicine - Sexual Health Images