Dr. Tríona Ní Chonghaile is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Link to RCSI principal investigator page). She completed her PhD in Biochemistry (NUIG) in 2008, studying the role of BCL-2 family members in endoplasmic reticulum stress. Her interest in the BCL-2 family members led her to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School with Prof. Anthony Letai. There she received a Multiple Myeloma Research Fellowship to develop novel tools for personalised medicine. During her postdoc she was involved in numerous collaborative multi-disciplinary projects and published first-author papers in high-impact journals, including Science and Cancer Discovery.
Dr. Ní Chonghaile joined RCSI as a StAR research lecturer in 2015. Dr. Ní Chonghaile’s main research interests are in targeting cell death in cancer through harnessing mitochondrial apoptosis and epigenetic regulation of apoptosis. Our lab discovered a novel Histone deacetylase 6 inhibitor Science advances . Our goal is to develop the small molecule HDAC6 inhibitor BAS-2 from a compound in the lab, to potentially a drug and to understand the mechanism of action in both tumour and normal cells.
Ludovica Di Martino earned her Master’s Degree in pharmaceutical Biotechnology cum Laude at University of Bologna in 2019. She then moved to University of Ghent, Belgium, as a visiting scientist, in Professor Pieter Van Vlierberghe’s laboratory. During this time she had the opportunity to develop interest in analysing gene expression data and epigenetic regulation data and learned related laboratory techniques. She subsequently pursued a PhD program in Immunology and Experimental Oncology at University of Padua, with a project focused on amino acids metabolism in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). Her research as a doctoral student was focused on the role of Branched Chain Amino Acid Transaminase I (BCAT1) in T-ALL, with the aim of mechanistically investigating its up-regulation and its function in the disease. During her doctoral studies, Ludovica published three original research articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals, one as first-author. She was awarded her doctorate in 2023 upon successful defence of her thesis. Ludovica then recently moved to the Targeted Therapeutics in Cancer Research Group of Dr. Ní Chonghaile in 2023 to pursue research focusing on metabolism and epigenetic mechanisms related to multiple myeloma.
Dr.Graeme Sullivan received an Entrance Exhibition Scholarship Award from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2001 and successfully completed B.A. B.Dent.Sc. degrees in Dental Science in 2006. After a number of years in clinical practice he returned to work in the molecular cell biology laboratory of Prof. Seamus Martin (TCD). He was awarded a prestigious GOIPG IRC Scholarship Award to pursue these studies and obtained his Ph.D. in 2018. During his doctoral studies, Graeme published nine original research articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals, three as first-author and is a co-inventor on an approved patent. Underpinning his research career thus far is an intellectual curiosity examining the interplay between (a) cell death, (b) cell stress and (c) inflammation in health and disease.
Graeme joined Dr. Ní Chonghaile’s research group in 2021 and he is now employed as a post-doctoral researcher with funding from Leukemia Research Foundation.
Dr. Aisling Coughlan completed her Bachelors degree in Genetics in Trinity College Dublin in 2013. She graduated first in her class and was also awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of Honour for Outstanding achievement in degree examinations. She went on to work in Prof. Ken Wolfe’s Molecular Genetics lab in University College Dublin, where she obtained her Ph.D in 2019. During her doctoral research, Aisling published 12 original research articles, including 4 as first author. Aisling then moved to Milan, Italy where she completed her Postdoctoral Research in Prof. Giuseppe Testa’s lab in the European Institute of Oncology. There, she focused on epigenetic dysregulation in ovarian cancer, for which she was published on the cover of the International Journal of Cancer, and was awarded 3 prestigious fellowships from Fondazione Umberto Veronesi and Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca Biomedica. Aisling joined Dr. Ní Chonghaile’s research group in 2022 as a post-doctoral researcher, supported by the Irish Research Council.
Daniel Alencar Rodrigues obtained a B.Sc. degree in Pharmacy in 2013 from the Federal University of Goiás (Goiás – Brazil). He obtained a M.Sc. degree in Sciences (Chemistry) in 2015 and Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2019 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ – Brazil). His M.Sc. and Ph.D. were focused on the design, synthesis, molecular modeling studies and pharmacological evaluation of novel HDAC inhibitors and multi-target ligands based on HDAC inhibitors.
Daniel joined Dr. Ní Chonghaile’s research group in 2020 and he is now employed as a post-doctoral researcher with funding from the Science Foundation Ireland at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin where he is involved in the project HDAC6i: Understanding the function and targeting HDAC6 in triple-negative breast cancer.
I completed a BSc in Biochemistry in 2017 and an MSc in Neuropharmacology in 2018 at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). The research project focused on the investigating the effects of Peroxiredoxin 6 siRNA knockdown on mitochondrial dynamics in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. From then I worked as an assistant scientist in PPD gaining GMP laboratory experience, allowing me an opportunity to gain technical experience and fuel my passion for research.
I started a Breakthrough Cancer Research Funded PhD in Dr. Ní Chonghaile’s research group in 2020. I am investigating the apoptotic BCL-2 family in multiple myeloma, with the aim of identifying novel therapeutic combinations using innovative BH3 profiling technology.
My name is Andrew Roe and I joined the group in October 2020 to pursue a PhD project. I completed my BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Manchester, UK, with a placement project investigating the role of HDACs in sodium transport. To gain more cancer-specific training I then undertook a Master’s in Cancer research at Newcastle University where I evaluated CDK2 dependencies in ovarian cancer.
Within the Ní Chonghaile group I’m currently investigating the role of HDAC6 in triple-negative breast cancer utilising a novel small molecule inhibitor. Using transmission electron microscopy, CRISPR/Cas9, 3D organoid models, and flow cytometric analyses I will be dissecting the basis of HDAC6 inhibitor-induced cell death. Through this work I hope to guide safer, better, and more selective therapies to patients in the clinic.