UCD Centre for Arthritis Research (UCD- CAR)

UCD Centre for Arthritis Research (UCD- CAR)

The centre is based at UCD Conway Institute and consists of researchers in UCD and St Vincent’s and Mater University Hospitals. Our interdisciplinary research covers proteomics, computational biology, genetics, stratified medicines, sports and exercise, immunology/mechanisms of disease and animal models of RA.

Our centre has proven highly successful in developing translational experimental approaches including training and performance of mini-arthroscopy and tissue biopsy. The programme based across the UCD Clinical Research Centre, provides whole tissue biopsy explant cultures for research that is an entirely unique resource. Our teams’ ability to perform this research has led to both academic and industry collaborations attracting significant non-exchequer funding from both the EU and the US.

The expertise for this highly developed research programme has led to novel translational research outputs including presentations at the highest quality international research meetings and publication in high impact factor peer-review journals.

Dr Jean Fletcher

In the past decade or so, Th17 cells, have emerged as key players in autoimmune disease, as well as certain cancers and allergies. These potentially dangerous cells are normally regulated by endogenous mechanisms that include Treg cells, which serve to prevent autoimmunity. However in people who develop autoimmune disease, the regulation of Th17 cells goes awry, resulting in inappropriate and damaging inflammation. Dr Fletcher’s research career has focussed on understanding the role and regulation of Th17 cells in human diseases including MS, RA, psoriasis, cancer and hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), which is a debilitating yet under recognised skin disease. Importantly, studying the role of these cells in different diseases allows for greater understanding of common underlying mechanisms that can be translated to benefit for patients. The overarching research aim is to understand the role of Th17 cells in human disease and how they can be targeted to develop new or improved therapies.

Dr Orla Killeen

Dr Orla Killeen graduated from NUIG in 1996. She established the National Centre for Paediatric Rheumatology (NCPR) in 2006, providing care for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders both on a local and national level.  Dr Killeen does a joint adolescents transition clinic with prof Eamonn Molloy in SVUH.  She also collaborates with Prof Ursula Fearon/Prof Douglas Veale, on immune cell responses and synovial pathology in children with arthritis associated downs arthropathy. Her area of interest include care of the Young person/Adolescent Rheumatology focusing in particular on Transition as well as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), Down’s Arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) and Auto-Inflammatory Syndromes.

Phil Gallagher

Phil Gallagher is a Clinical Nurse specialist in Rheumatology SVUH, and is key to the coordination of clinical trials and the establishment of the biologic registries. Phil is critically involved at the interface between the clinical and basic science research teams, in relation to stratification, disease outcomes and  potential new treatment strategies.

Phil also coordinates  RABRI and ASRI, which are the National Rheumatoid Arthritis and AnkSpon registries. In addition, Phil coordinates the National Arthritis Research coalition (ARC).

Dr Aisling Dunne

Our work is focused on assessing inflammatory pathways driven by Osteoarthritis (OA)-associated alarmins or DAMPs (damage-associated molecular patterns). We are currently exploring the signalling events triggered by DAMPs in macrophages and synovial fibroblasts and have identified a number of molecules/pathways activated by OA-associated basic calcium phosphate crystals and S00A8/A9 proteins. We are also conducting a detailed study assessing the impact of traditional and novel orthopaedic implant materials on the host immune system, stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration.

Louise Moore

Candidate Advanced Nurse Practitioner based at The Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Disease Unit, Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, Harolds Cross.

Louise, former Clinical Nurse Specialist provides direct care to patients with complex arthritis related problems. She has completed an MSc in Rheumatology Reproductive
Medicine and founded the innovative Maternal Medicine Rheumatology clinic with colleagues at Holles St, National Maternity Hospital.

Dr. Kieran Murray

Kieran Murray graduated from UCD Medical School in 2010. He is a fourth year specialist registrar and has previously worked in Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, Beaumont Hospital and University College Hospital Galway. His main research interest is improving outcomes in inflammatory arthritis, through analysing biomarkers, infection risk and management in pregnancy.

Prof Eamonn Molloy

Prof Eamonn Molloy

Prof Eamonn Molloy is a Founder and Director of The Centre. Prof Molloy is a Consultant Rheumatologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and an honorary Professor at University College Dublin. His special interest is in the field of Vasculitis, especially Giant Cell Arteritis and Large Vessel Vasculitis, potentially serious systemic rheumatic diseases that cause inflammation of the circulation. Prof. Molloy provides a state-of-the-art clinical service for these patients, in addition to patients with inflammatory, degenerative and crystal-induced arthritis. He is the principal investigator on a number of active clinical trials and has led a number of translational and interventional innovative studies aimed at delivering novel therapies in these complex conditions

Dr Anne-Barbara Mongey

Dr Anne-Barbara-Mongey is a Member of the Board of The Centre, a Consultant Rheumatologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and a Lecturer at University College Dublin. Her special interest is in the field of arthritis connective tissue diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, potentially serious systemic rheumatic diseases. Dr. Mongey provides a state-of-the-art clinical service for these patients. In addition, as Lecturer in UCD she is deeply involved in teaching, organising and delivering the medical curriculum.

Prof Doug Veale

Douglas J. Veale is Director of Translational Research of the DAMC, Professor of Medicine and Consultant Rheumatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital and a Principal Investigator at The Conway Institute for Biomedical and Biomolecular Research, University College Dublin (UCD). He is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (1997) and the Royal College, London (1999). Professor Veale graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1984 and obtained his MD by thesis from UCD in 1992. Professor Veale has established an international reputation in translational research with a research focus on angiogenesis, early arthritis, biopharmaceutical therapy, biomarkers and scleroderma. He has oversight on a research team of senior scientists, post-doctoral scientists, clinical research fellows and PhD students funded by peer-reviewed grants from The American Federation for Ageing Research, the European Union FP6 programme and Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), The Health Research Board of Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions and several industry partnership programmes.