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.

Hannah Darcy

Hannah Darcy is a research nurse based in the Clinical Research Centre.

Having obtained a dual qualification as an RGN and Midwifery, Hannah has worked in a number of diverse clinical areas.  She has considerable experience in general nursing, working as a ward based nurse manager at St. Vincent’s university hospital.   Following graduate training in midwifery, she worked as a midwife in the National maternity hospital (NMH).  During her time working in the clinical field, Hannah has developed a key interest in the area of clinical research. Hannah co-ordinates clinical trials at our research centre alongside her colleague Phil Gallagher.

Dr Carl Orr

Dr Carl Orr, Consultant Rheumatologist, with a specific interest in understanding molecular disease networks, particularly focusing on Rheumatoid Arthritis in relation to disease stratification, mechanisms and targets, incorporating both clinical and basic science foci. Dr Orr also has an interest in clinical management, and completed an MSc in Leadership and Management Development (Hons) at the Institute of Leadership at RCSI.

Dumitru Anton

Dumitru obtained a B.A in Physiology from Trinity College Dublin in 2020. In his his final year project he investigated the immunomodulatory effects dimethyl fumarate on the glial cells of aged mice. He worked as a research assistant on a project that aimed at the development of a quick and easy to use in the field Sars CoV2 assay. He works between St. Vincent’s University Hospital and Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, coordinating the arthroscopy programme between the two facilities.

Claire Kinneavy – Patient Partner

Claire is a patient co-investigator on the Centre of Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases grant “PRedicting Onset, Variation and Effect of treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis (PROVE RA)”. Claire was also involved in the HRB funded KEDS (Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme) grant entitled “Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Awareness INitiative (RA-PAIN)” where she contributed to the project as co-chair and co-presentor in a national series of interactive patient engagement workshops.

Alex Donnelly – Patient Partner

Alex is a public representative on the Centre of Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease board of management and a co-investigator on the HRB funded KEDS (Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme) grant entitled “Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Awareness INitiative (RA-PAIN)”. Alex contributed to the project as co-chair and co-presentor in a national series of interactive patient engagement workshops.

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. Lorraine O’Neill

Lorraine O’Neill is a graduate of the National University of Ireland Galway. Having completed higher speciality training in both Rheumatology and General Internal Medicine she undertook an MD with University College Dublin on the pathogenesis of vascular inflammation and re-modelling in giant cell arteritis. A vasculitis fellowship with the University of Oxford followed. Lorraine subsequently practiced as a Consultant Rheumatologist in the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust for 4 years before returning to St Vincent’s University Hospital in 2019. Lorraine interests include systemic vasculitis and connective tissue disorders.

Dr. Sonia Sundanum

Dr Sonia Sundanum graduated from RCSI in 2013. She is a final year specialist registrar. Her main research interests are in early arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, prognostic biomarker discovery and musculoskeletal ultrasound. She is currently undertaking an MD by thesis and an MSc in Clinical Research and Translational medicine.

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.

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.