Administrative Coordinator: Prof William Gallagher (UCD)
Prof. Gallagher originally graduated from the Biochemistry Dept., UCD and subsequently, obtained a PhD in the Cancer Research UK Beatson Laboratories in Glasgow. He then undertook a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (currently, Sanofi-Aventis). Afterwards, he returned to Ireland as a post-doctoral fellow and, in 2001, he was employed in a permanent capacity as College Lecturer at UCD within the former Dept. of Pharmacology. In 2005, he was appointed Senior Lecturer within the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and was promoted to Associate Professor of Cancer Biology in 2006. In September 2009, he took up the position of Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation at the UCD College of Life Sciences. A major of focus of Prof. Gallagher’s research work is the identification and validation of candidate biomarkers of breast cancer and melanoma, with particular emphasis on translation of transcriptomic and proteomic datasets into clinically relevant assays. In addition, his group applies TMA technology to validate candidate biomarkers and utilizes lentiviral-based approaches to investigate the functional relevance of candidate tumor progression-associated genes at both in vitro and in vivo levels, as well as engages in pre-clinical evaluation of novel anti-cancer agents. In 2007, he co-founded OncoMark Ltd., a company centered on development and application of biomarker panels (www.oncomark.com).
Scientific Coordinator: Prof René Bernards (NKI)
Prof. Bernards received his PhD in 1984 from the University of Leiden where he studied cell transformation. He then joined the group of Prof. Robert Weinberg, Cambridge, USA for his postdoctoral training. While there, he was involved in the identification of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene and studied the role of myc oncogenes in tumor progression. He joined the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as an Assistant Professor in 1988, after which he was appointed Senior Staff Scientist at the NKI in 1992, where he studies mammalian cell cycle regulation. More recently, his group has focused on the development of new tools to carry out genome-wide genetic screens for the identification of genes that act in cancer-relevant pathways. His laboratory employs both retroviral cDNA expression libraries in gain-of-function genetic screens, as well as RNA interference to carry out large-scale loss-of-function genetic screens. He also established a large-scale DNA microarray facility to study gene expression patterns in cancer. This seminal work demonstrated that breast cancer patients with poor clinical outcome have a distinctive 70-gene “poor prognosis” gene expression signature. In 2003, he co-founded AG to introduce microarray technology in the clinical management of cancer.