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Dr. Fionnuala Hickey
Visiting Research Fellow, Clinical Medicine


I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Clinical Medicine and Lab Manager of the Meath Foundation Research Labs at Tallaght Hospital. My translational research focuses on the role of mitochondria and metabolism in human inflammation.

I graduated from TCD with a degree in Human Genetics in 2000. Following graduation I worked for a year as a Research Assistant in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. I then returned to Ireland where I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry from UCC in 2005. I began my postdoctoral research in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, TCD with Prof. Kingston Mills (2005-2007) where my research focussed on the evaluation of bacterial toxins as potential therapeutic immunomodulators. I subsequently worked with Prof. Catherine Godson in the Diabetes Complications Research Centre at the Conway Institute in UCD (2007-2009). In 2009 I was awarded a Postdoctoral career Development Fellowship from the Health Research Board to study the role and mechanisms of regulation of IHG-1, a novel mitochondrial mediator of fibrosis. From 2013-2016 I was the senior scientist within the Trinity Health Kidney Centre investigating the role of immune cell metabolism in the autoimmune condition ANCA vasculitis.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Dearbhaile Dooley, Mirjan M. van Timmeren, Vincent P. O'Reilly, Gareth Brady, Eoin C. O'Brien, Barbara Fazekas, Fionnuala B. Hickey, Emma Leacy, Charles D. Pusey, Frederick W.K. Tam, Thomas Mehrling, Peter Heeringa and Mark A. Little, Alkylating histone deacetylase inhibitors may have therapeutic value in experimental myeloperoxidase-ANCA vasculitis, Kidney International, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Hickey FB, Martin F., Role of the Immune System in Diabetic Kidney Disease., Current Diabetes Reports, 18, (4), 2018, p20- Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Fazekas B, Moreno-Olivera A, Kelly Y, O'Hara P, Murray S, Kennedy A, Conlon N, Scott J, Melo AM, Hickey FB, Dooley D, O'Brien EC, Moran S, Doherty DG, Little MA., Alterations in circulating lymphoid cell populations in systemic small vessel vasculitis are non-specific manifestations of renal injury., Clinical & Experimental Immunology, 191, (2), 2018, p180 - 188 Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Al-Ani B, Fitzpatrick M, Al-Nuaimi H, Coughlan AM, Hickey FB, Pusey CD, Savage C, Benton CM, O'Brien EC, O'Toole D, Mok KH, Young SP, Little MA., Changes in urinary metabolomic profile during relapsing renal vasculitis., Scientific Reports, 6, 2016, p38074- Journal Article, 2016 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Coughlan AM, Harmon C, Whelan S, O'Brien EC, O'Reilly VP, Crotty P, Kelly P, Ryan M, Hickey FB, O'Farrelly C, Little MA., Myeloid Engraftment in Humanized Mice: Impact of Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor Treatment and Transgenic Mouse Strain., Stem Cells and Development, 25, (7), 2016, p530 - 541 Journal Article, 2016 DOI URL

O'Reilly VP, Wong L, Kennedy C, Elliot LA, O'Meachair S, Coughlan AM, O'Brien EC, Ryan MM, Sandoval D, Connolly E, Dekkema GJ, Lau J, Abdulahad WH, Sanders JS, Heeringa P, Buckley C, O'Brien C, Finn S, Cohen CD, Lindemeyer MT, Hickey FB, O'Hara PV, Feighery C, Moran SM, Mellotte G, Clarkson MR, Dorman AJ, Murray PT, Little MA., Urinary Soluble CD163 in Active Renal Vasculitis., Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 27, (9), 2016, p2906 - 2916 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

O'Brien EC, Abdulahad WH, Rutgers A, Huitema MG, O'Reilly VP, Coughlan AM, Harrington M, Heeringa P, Little MA, Hickey FB, Intermediate monocytes in ANCA vasculitis: increased surface expression of ANCA autoantigens and IL-1ß secretion in response to anti-MPO antibodies., Scientific reports, 5, 2015, p11888 - Journal Article, 2015 DOI URL TARA - Full Text

Hickey FB, Corcoran JB, Griffin B, Bhreathnach U, Mortiboys H, Reid HM, Andrews D, Byrne S, Furlong F, Martin F, Godson C, Murphy M., IHG-1 Increases Mitochondrial Fusion and Bioenergetic Function, Diabetes, 63, (12), 2014, p4314 - 4325 Journal Article, 2014 URL DOI

Murphy M, Hickey FB and Godson C, IHG-1 amplifies TGF-β1 signalling and mitochondrial biogenesis and is increased in diabetic kidney disease, Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, 22, (1), 2013, p77-84 Review, 2013 URL

Corcoran JB, McCarthy S, Griffin B, Gaffney A, Bhreathnach U, Börgeson E, Hickey FB, Docherty NG, Higgins DF, Furlong F, Martin F, Godson C, Murphy M. , IHG-1 must be localised to mitochondria to decrease Smad7 expression and amplify TGF-β1-induced fibrotic responses, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA), 1833, (8), 2013, p1969 - 1978 Journal Article, 2013 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Hickey FB, Martin F, Diabetic kidney disease and immune modulation., Current opinion in pharmacology, 13, (4), 2013, p602-12 Review, 2013 DOI URL

O'Donovan HC, Hickey FB, Brazil DP, Kavanagh DH, Oliver N, Martin F, Godson C and Crean J, Connective tissue growth factor antagonizes transforming growth factor-1/Smad signalling in renal mesangial cells, Biochemical Journal, 441, (1), 2012, p499 - 510 Journal Article, 2012 TARA - Full Text URL

Curran SP, Hickey FB, Watson A, Godson C, Brazil DP, Deletion of Gremlin1 increases cell proliferation and migration responses in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, Cellular Signalling, 24, (4), 2012, p889 - 898 Journal Article, 2012 URL DOI

Carew RM, Browne MB, Hickey FB, Brazil DP, Insulin receptor substrate 2 and FozO3a signaling are involved in E-Cadherin expression and transforming growth factor-β1-induced repression in kidney epithelial cells, FEBS Journal, 278, (18), 2011, p3370 - 3380 Journal Article, 2011 URL TARA - Full Text

Hickey FB, Corcoran JB, Docherty NG, Griffin B, Bhreathnach U, Furlong F, Martin F, Godosn C, Murphy M, IHG-1 promotes mitochondrial biogenesis by stabilising PGC-1α, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 22, (8), 2011, p1475 - 1485 Journal Article, 2011 URL TARA - Full Text

Ryan A, Murphy M, Godson C, Hickey FB, Diabetes mellitus and apoptosis:inflammatory cells, Apoptosis, 14, (12), 2009 Review, 2009 URL TARA - Full Text

Hickey FB, Brereton CF, Mills KH. , Adenylate cyclase toxin of Bordetella pertussis inhibits TLR-induced IRF-1 and IRF-8 activation and IL-12 production and enhances IL-10 through MAPK activation in dendritic cells., Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 84, (1), 2008, p234 - 243 Journal Article, 2008 TARA - Full Text URL

Hickey FB, Cotter TG, Bcr-Abl regulates phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-p110gamma transcription and activation is required for proliferation and drug resistance, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 281, (5), 2006, p2441 - 2250 Journal Article, 2006 TARA - Full Text URL

Hickey FB, Cotter TG, Identification of transcriptional targets associated with the expression of p210 Bcr-Abl, European Journal of Haematology, 76, (5), 2006, p369 - 383 Journal Article, 2006 URL TARA - Full Text

Hickey FB, England K, Cotter TG, Bcr-Abl regulates osteopontin transcription via Ras, PI-3K, aPKC, Raf-1 and MEK, Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 78, (1), 2005, p289 - 300 Journal Article, 2005 TARA - Full Text URL

Research Expertise


My research focuses on the role of mitochondria in cell signalling and function, particularly in inflammation. I work very closely with clinical coleagues and my current translational research is investigating the role of mitochondria in a number of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions including neonatal encephalopathy, ANCA-associated vasculitis and sarcoidosis.


  • Title
    • UNICORN group: Underlying mechanisms in Neonatal Immune metaboliC dysregulatiOn and bRain iNjury
  • Funding Agency
    • National Children's Hospital Foundation
  • Date From
    • May 2017
  • Date To
    • April 2019
  • Title
    • Investigating the role of immune cell metabolism in Sarcoidosis
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Lung Foundation
  • Date From
    • July 2018
  • Date To
    • July 2019




Awards and Honours

Brian Keogh Festschrift 2014

Enterprise Ireland - Co-ordinator support grant 2014

Burroughs Wellcome Travel Scholarship. 2011

HRB Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2009

Best poster presentation award, Irish Nephrology Society 2009

UCD Seed Funding - Dissemination and Outputs 2008

Best oral presentation award, Irish Cytometry Society 2008

Best oral presentation award, Medical Research Day, Cork University Hospital 2004