University College Cork – National University of Ireland Office of the VicePresident for Research & Innovation
Brief description of the entity
University College Cork (UCC) has 21,000 students, supported by 2,800 academics, research and administrative staff. It is one of Ireland’s leading research institutes and was named Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times on five occasions. It was also named as top performing university by the European Commission funded U-Multirank system. UCC’s College of Medicine and Health provides future medical and healthcare professionals with a world-class, student-centred education based on knowledge, informed by research and with an awareness of societal needs. Delivering positive patient benefit is a key driver of our research and is supported by our network of hospitals and associated research institutes, centres and units. These include for example the APC Microbiome Institute, the Biosciences Imaging Centre, the Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, the Cork NeuroScience Centre and the Cancer Research at UCC, as well as the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility Cork.
Activities and services offered
UCC’s aim is to enhance research and innovation. In 2009, the university was ranked in the top 3% of universities worldwide for research. UCC’s published research strategy proposed to create “Centres of Excellence” for “world class research” in which the researchers and research teams would be given “freedom and flexibility to pursue their areas of research”. These Research centres cover a range of areas including: Nanoelectronics with the Tyndall Institute; Food and Health with the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) , Technology-Enhanced Learning including Simulation Based Training and Virtual Reality Based Training in the ASSERT Centre and, within the Cork Neuroscience Center, a cohesive network of excellence in Neuroscience empowering innovative multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists, clinicians, technologists, industry, and educators
The differentiating value
Our group has extensive experience with animal models of stroke and well as in vitro cell models of ischemia reperfusion and neurogeneration. This experience dovetails and integrates with cutting edge technologies and approaches existing with Cork Neuroscience Center that aim at improving our knowledge of brain function with major application to leading societal health care issues including: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, seizures, and multiple sclerosis. Together we maximize strategic interactions and innovative collaborations with national and international teams, industrial partners, and patient groups to accelerate progress in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and care for these primary, neurological and psychiatric disorders for the benefit of both the individual and society.
Your role in neuroATLANTIC project
Our role is to define novel protein biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease, and to characterize factors (we hypothesise that suppressive lymphocytes levels may be an important one) that could be predictive for the occurrence of a secondary stroke, and finally to develop therapeutic modalities able to influence these factors and either prevent the occurrence of a secondary stroke, decrease stroke-induced damage and disability or improve functional recovery.
The results you expect to achieve
Specifically, we expect the characterization of antibodies specific for various using Amyloid precursor protein degradation products, and the characterization of the temporal profile of immunosuppressant lymphocyte population in animals models or stroke and in stroke patients. We will also examine in rodent stroke models the potential therapeutic effect of pharmacological interventions aimed at boosting the levels of regulatory T cells.
Your thoughts about the importance and the opportunity this project represents and your main goal by participating in it
The various collaborators in this international collaboration offer a unique set of skills and expertise that is impossible to find in a single institution. This will give us access to tools and technique that we would not be able to use without this collaboration. In addition, preclinical research has so far typically been done by individual research groups in isolation, each working with specific animal models with which they are familiar; this is very different from the way clinical studies are done in the field of dementia and stroke, in which most trials involved several centers in different countries, and the patient population is highly heterogenous. This international collaboration will enable us to apply to preclinical studies the methodology that is used clinically, by having research groups in different centers test the same interventions in their own animal model(s).
Your thoughts about the impact that this project will have on the ecosystem
This project, integrating clinical and preclinical research, and a wide variety of research tools, has the potential to introduce a paradigm shift in the way stroke and neurodegenerative disorders are diagnosed and treated.
Christian Waeber, Ph.D.
School of Pharmacy