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CBT Lab – Research Team

Postdoctoral/Research Fellows

Dr Arman Rahman MD PhD

Dr Arman Rahman a research fellow with an MD, obtained his PhD in the field of Immunology from Umea University, Sweden in 2007. His primary research area was mucosal immunology specially the adaptive and innate immune involvement in inflammatory bowel diseases. Dr Rahman joined Dublin City University in 2008 as a senior post-doctoral fellow and worked extensively in the field of protein transport machineries and later on antibody engineering. Arman spent almost two years working with Dr John McCafferty in Cambridge University, UK on a collaborative project developing antibodies against therapeutic target. Arman has extensive experience in tissue-based detection techniques such as Immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization etc.

Arman joined OncoMark as a senior scientist in November 2012 to work on protein biomarker validation for the APO-DECIDE project focusing on colorectal cancer. His role in APO-DECIDE included antibody validation, TMA staining, digital image analysis using in-house and commercial software. Later Arman worked extensively on ANGIOPREDICT to establishing an in situ hybridization platform for mRNA biomarker validation in large cohort of patient samples using the RNAScope® technologies.  Arman is seconded to UCD Conway institute from February 2016 for one year on a Marie-Curie fellowship. During this period Arman will focus primarily on the protein biomarker validation under the SYS-MEL project.

Dr. Maria Prencipe PhD

Dr. Maria Prencipe was awarded her Degree in Biology with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2001 from L’Aquila University, Italy. After 3 years as a research scientist in the research hospital “Casa SollievodellaSofferenza”, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, she moved to Ireland where she was awarded her PhD in Cancer Biology from University College Dublin, studying the mechanisms of resistance to taxane treatment in breast and ovarian cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow within the SFI funded Molecular Therapeutic for Cancer Ireland (MTCI) research cluster, she studied the molecular mechanisms of resistance to advanced prostate cancer treatments, identifying novel transcription factors as potential new therapies for advanced prostate cancer.  She was awarded an Irish Cancer Society research fellowship in 2012 to carry on her work on transcription factors’ role in prostate cancer. During her fellowship she was seconded to OncoMark Ltd as part of the Fast-Path Maria Curie FP7 People work programme. She joined the CBT lab in September 2017 as a senior research fellow. Her research interests are around the mechanisms of resistance to hormone therapy in prostate and breast cancer.

 

Bruce Moran MSc PhD

Bruce is a core bioinformatician supporting the Irish Cancer Society collaborative research centre BREAST-PREDICT. Previously he worked on the FP7 funded ANGIOPREDICT consortium focusing on metastatic colorectal cancer. His broad research interest is the application of next generation sequencing data to the study of cancer development and progression. This involves but is not limited to RNAseq, exome and methylation data types. He has also collaborated on projects involving medullary carcinoma and cardiomyopathy.

 

 

Nebras Alattar PhD, MSc., BSc. Physics

Nebras is working as part of OPTi-PREDICT project funded by SFI. His responsibility centers on analysis, quantification and validation of digital images from IHC stained tissues and developing automated quantification.  Previously he worked on developing optical systems and coherent algorithms for the investigation of pathological bacteria in Nonphotonics & Nanoscopy research group /School of Physics/UCD. This project was funded by SFI/ TIDA.

 

 

Charles C. Weige PhD, BSc Genetics

Charles is a senior postdoctoral fellow under the breast cancer arm of the OPTi-PREDICT project. He is involved in the immunohistochemical validation of the OncoMasTR panel and the interrogation of how each of the proteins impact breast cancer development individually. He received his PhD in Genetics from Texas A&M University in 2012, under Dr. Clinton D Allred, studying the role of estrogen receptor beta activation in reduced risk of colon cancer incidence in women. He held a previous postdoctoral position with Dr. Phillip J Buckhaults at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of South Carolina from 2013-2016, conducting synthetic lethal screening in combination with loss of TP53. His research interests focus on personalized medicine approaches to cancer treatment.

 

 

Niamh Russell PhD, BSc.

Niamh is a biostatistician and is project manager of the OPTi-PREDICT project, which aims to predict risk of recurrence for first time cancer patients in the hope of reducing the number of patients treated with unnecessary chemotherapy. She received her PhD in Statistics in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Brendan Murphy in UCD. Her research interests were in classification, clustering and Bayesian model averaging with a particular focus on food data. She is hoping to use and extend these interests in the field of cancer diagnostics and risk prediction.

She was awarded a BSc in Maths and Statistics from the Open University in 2010 and is also interested in alternative methods of delivery of education, particularly distance learning and online platforms.
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Seodhna Lynch PhD, MSc., BSc., MRSB

Seodhna is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow working as the translational research co-ordinator under the OPTi-PREDICT project funded by SFI. She achieved her PhD in 2016 under the supervision of Dr Declan McKenna in the Genomic Medicine Research Group at Ulster University on the role of microRNAs and epigenetic regulation in prostate cancer. Her research interests focus on identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in cancer for directing personalised cancer therapy. She is hoping to use these interests to help in the fast-tracking of clinical decision support systems for both prostate and breast cancer using clinical cohorts in both the prognostic and predictive settings. She was awarded her BSc degree in Biomedical Sciences from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2010 and her MSc degree in Biomedical Sciences with Specialist Study in Haematology and Transfusion Sciences in 2011.

Dr. Michael Kitching

Dr. Michael Kitching is a post-doctoral researcher, who graduated from Dublin City University in 2016 with a PhD in biotechnology under the supervision of Dr. Enrico Marsili and Prof. Paul Cahill. In 2016 he joined APC Microbiome institute in University College Cork to work on developing a stable probiotic for bovine mastitis and to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate its effectiveness.   Michael is employed under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme working on validating a series of 22 biomarkers, in collaboration in RandoxTeoranta in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The selected biomarkers will be included in a risk calculator to screen for the presence of prostate cancer and risk of metastasis.

 

 

 

Fiona Lanigan PhD

Dr. Fiona Lanigan obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from University College Cork, and subsequently received a scholarship from IRCSET to complete a PhD under the supervision of Prof. William Gallagher in the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Laboratory in University College Dublin.The focus of her PhD research was the identification and validation of breast cancer progression-related biomarkers. Following this, Dr. Lanigan was recruited as a postdoctoral researcher to the laboratory of Dr. Adrian Bracken in Trinity College Dublin, to study the epigenetic regulation of cellular senescence. Based on her work there, she received funding from Enterprise Ireland for the development of a novel progostic assay for breast cancer. Dr. Lanigan joined the Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre BREAST-PREDICT as the Centre Co-ordinator in October 2013.

Claire Kilty PhD

Dr. Claire Kilty obtained a 1st class honours degree in Genetics from Trinity College Dublin, and subsequently undertook an IRCSET-funded PhD scholarship under the supervision of Prof. Jane Farrar in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin. Her PhD research involved the optimisation of a gene therapy for an inherited form of blindness, Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Upon completion of her PhD in 2012, Dr. Kilty moved to Dr. Breandán Kennedy’s laboratory in the Ocular Pharmacology and Genetics group, University College Dublin. In 2013, Dr. Kilty was awarded a highly prestigious two year Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship studying sustained release drug delivery systems in the retina.
Dr. Kilty joined the Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre, BREAST-PREDICT as the Project Officer in October 2015. She is currently Programme Manager for BREAST-PREDICT, working specifically on communications, outreach, and the sustainability of the Centre.

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PhD Students

Bo Li MB MSc

Bo Li is a PhD student in the CBT lab under the supervision of Professor William Gallagher. His project focuses on identification of kinase targets in triple-negative breast cancer funded by FP7/EU Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer (RATHER). He is also interested in developing novel combination therapies for breast cancer patients harbouring PIK3CA mutations.

 

Alexandra Tuzova

Alex was awarded her undergraduate degree in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin in 2012. She then began a two year research assistant position at Dr Perry’s Prostate Molecular Oncology Group (Institute of Molecular Medicine, TCD) and completed her M.Sc by research through the Irish Research Council-Enterprise Partnership Scheme (IRC-EPS) focusing on urinary miRNA profiling for early detection of aggressive prostate cancer. In 2015, Alex joined the CBT lab and was awarded an Irish Cancer Society PhD scholarship to decipher the epigenetic regulation of enhancers in aggressive prostate cancer.

 

 

Dr. Karima Kahlifa

Dr. Karima Khalifa graduated with an MD from at AlgabalAlgharbi University, Libya in 2008. She had worked as a senior house officer and as a teaching assistant in a teaching hospital for almost 5 years when she was awarded a scholarship to undertake an Msc degree in Translational Oncology at Trinity College Dublin.  In 2017 she joined the CBT LAB starting her PhD project in chemoprevention and chemotherapy of prostate cancer.

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Research Engineers

Emer Conroy MSc

After an undergraduate degree in Experimental Physics (Trinity College Dublin) and a Masters degree in Optical Imaging and Optical Information Processing (Queens University Belfast) Emer started out as an Engineer working in R&D focusing on testing and transitioning new products (spectrometers, CCD, and ICCD cameras) from R&D to production.  After  completion of a European Masters in Molecular Imaging (Paris Sud University) Emer joined the CBT lab in order to establish nuclear and CT imaging technologies in UCD.   Emer currently co-ordinates Nuclear, CT and Optical Imaging activities for the CBT lab; training, technical support, imaging protocol design, ethical approvals, local radiation safety officer, licensing etc.

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Research Assistants

 

Romina Silva

Romina received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences in Aveiro University (Portugal) in 2012. She then completed her MSc in Molecular Oncology in 2014 (University of Porto, Portugal), with a thesis that focused on finding new mutations that might act as negative predictors of anti-EGFR therapy in metastatic colorectal patients. She joined the CBT lab as a research assistant in 2016, where she is currently working on a project that focuses on the understanding of epigenomic alterations in disease progression and drug resistance in castration resistant prostate cancer.

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Former Lab Members

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

 

Rut Klinger BSc MSc PhD

Rut is the translational res earch co-ordinator within the Irish Cancer Society collaborative research centre BREAST-PREDICT.  Previously as part of the FP7 funded ANGIOPREDICT programme Rut investigated novel biomarkers for metastatic colon cancer (mCRC) working with retrospective and prospective clinical samples from patients across Europe.

 

 

 

Laoighse Mulrane BSc MSc PhD

Laoighse Mulrane completed her PhD in the CBT lab in 2013. Currently funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Laoighse’s research interests include microRNAs involved in tumourigenic processes in breast cancer, controlling factors in endocrine resistant breast cancer and identification and validation of breast cancer biomarkers.

 

 

 

 Triona NiChonghaile PhD

Triona Ni Chonghaile started her scientific career with 1St class honours degree in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) in 2002. She then went on to receive her PhD in Biochemistry from NUIG in 2007 under the supervision of Prof. Samali. Her PhD studies sparked an interest in the BCL-2 family of proteins, which led her to pursue a clinically relevant postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Anthony Letai at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, Boston. Triona joined the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Laboratory in March 2014.  Triona’s research interests involve utilising novel technologies to try and understand why certain cancers are resistant to chemotherapy and deciphering how best to treat the resistant cancers.

 

Sudipto Das, B.Tech, M.Res, PhD

Sudipto completed his Bachelors of Technology (B.Tech) in Biotechnology with distinction in 2007 from India, followed by a Masters in Research (M.Res) in Biomedical Sciences from University of Glasgow, U.K. In 2012, Sudipto completed his PhD in Cancer Genetics from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland under the supervision of Prof. Ray Stallings. Through his doctoral studies, Sudipto developed a strong interest in epigenetic mechanisms underlying cancer development and progression. Since, 2013 as an Irish Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow he is currently investigating the role of DNA methylation in regulation of the angiogenic switch and response to anti-angiogenic agents in metastatic colorectal cancer patients using novel next-generation sequencing approaches.

 

Girish Mallya Udupi MSc

Girish finished his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2010 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, with a focus on Signal/Image Processing. He carried out research at the Medical Imaging Research Center (MIRC) in IIT, focusing on prostate cancer localization from multispectral MRI.  Between July 2011 and June 2014, he worked in the CBT lab and in OncoMark Ltd. He has considerable experience in digital scanning of tissue slides, and in image analyses. A large part of his work has been the development and implementation of image segmentation algorithms for IHC images (e.g., Nuclear, Membrane, Micro-vessels).  His responsibilities in the CBT lab included the creation of a digital repository of slides, and automated image analyses for the BREAST-PREDICT project. He continues research on image processing, especially image segmentation, which is his primary area of interest.

 

 

PhD Students

Lisa Dwane BSc

Lisa received the Bachelor of Science degree from UCD in 2013, majoring in Pharmacology. Funded by Breast-Predict, the Irish Cancer Society’s Collaborative Cancer research centre, she began her PhD in the CBT lab in October 2013. Her research is mainly focused on the deubiquitinating enzyme, USP11, and its role as a potential novel therapeutic target in ER+ breast cancer.

 

 

 

 Brian Mooney BSc

Brian completed his undergraduate studies in Biochemistry in UCD. He was then awarded an Irish Cancer Society Scholarship to carry out the research project titled “The role of the anorectic neuropeptide CART in breast cancer”. Brian’s main research interests include biomarker discovery and development, functional genomics and dissecting cell signalling networks.

 

 

 

 Kate Connor BA (Mod)


Kate completed her undergraduate degree in Medicinal Chemistry in Trinity College Dublin, and began her PhD in the CBT lab in 2011. Her research focuses on two main areas; 1. The effect of PI3K mutations on the response to treatment in Invasive lobular Carcinoma. 2. Determing the structure of the receptor for the cocaine and amphetamine regulated transctript, a molecule which is associated with poor response to tamoxifen in ER positive, lymph-node negative tumours.

 

 

 Louise Walsh BSc

Louise received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 2013 graduating top in her class with a 1st class honours degree. Louise joined the CBT laboratory in October 2013 and her interests lie in the in vitro and in vivo validation of novel kinase variants for therapy in the Invasive Lobular Carcinoma subtype of breast cancer.

 

 

Finbarr Tarrant