Nanomaterials: Inflammation and Cancer Symposium
Join us on 12th December
The immune response of acute inflammation is vital for wound healing and fighting infection. Dysfunction of those same immune response cells, however, can lead to chronic inflammation, which is associated with an alarming range of conditions and diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. In addition to biochemical pharmacology, advanced materials have found roles in biology and medicine, including inflammation and cancer, for biophysical routes to addressing disease.

This ½-day Symposium brings together experts in cancer and inflammatory response who employ nanomaterials in novel ways to interact with cells and tissue in such ways as to suppress tumour progression and/or control the inflammatory response. Cosponsored by Boston College, the All Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI), the Ireland-America Science Forum (IASF), and AMBER -Trinity College Dublin, this gathering of minds is an opportunity to share recent advances and forge new collaborations at a critical materials-medicine nexus.

This event is part of a week of events to celebrate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Boston College and Trinity College Dublin.
CRANN, Naughton Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, D02 W9K7
Date & Time
December 12, 2023, 10:45 AM - 4:05 PM

Please note that this event is by invitation only and due to capacity constraints invitations should not be forwarded
Draft Agenda

Start TimeSpeakerAffiliationTopic
10:45Lorraine ByrneAMBERWelcome Address
10:50Mike NaughtonBCEvent Launch
10:55William GallagherAICRIThe All-Island Cancer Research Institute: An Overview
11:05Helen McCarthyQUB
11:30Roisin Dwyer University of GalwayEmploying nanoparticles for targeted therapy of metastatic breast cancer
11:55Seamas DonnellyTCDNanotherapeutics targeting Lung Cancer
12:20Ciarán SeoigheSFI

13:05Ed LavelleTCDPolymer based adjuvants for cancer vaccines
13:30Caroline CurtinRCSICollagen-based scaffolds as 3D cancer models
13:55Tim ConnollyBCBiophysical macrophage polarization control with piezoelectric nanoparticles
14:20Tea / Coffee Break

14:30Fiona FreemanUCDAddressing the unmet scientific challenges in osteosarcoma treatment through innovative engineering techniques
14:55Aisling DunneTCDEngineering an anti-inflammatory environment in the diseased joint
15:20Chris ScottQUBOvercoming therapy resistance through antibody targeted therapies
15:55Mike NaughtonBCWrap Up

Hosted By
Michael J. Naughton, Boston College
Evelyn and Robert Ferris Professor
Michael J. Naughton is Evelyn and Robert Ferris Professor in the Department of Physics at Boston College. He received a B.S. in Physics from St. John Fisher College and a Ph.D. from Boston Univ. He served 12 years as Physics chair and 2 as VP for Research at BC, was an NSF Young Investigator Awardee (back when he was young) and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. A condensed matter experimental physicist with over 200 publications and 25 patents, Naughton’s research is on nanoscale properties of matter, including bio, chemical and neuroelectronic sensors, solar cells, and plasmonics.
Professor Naughton received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Ireland and conducted research with colleagues at Trinity College Dublin’s AMBER Centre (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research), in support of projects on bioelectronics and nanostructured photovoltaics using a perovskite mineral compound.
William Gallagher, UCD
Professor & Co-Lead AICRI
Professor William Gallagher is Full Professor of Cancer Biology at University College Dublin (UCD) and Deputy Director of Precision Oncology Ireland, a large-scale Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme involving 5 academic institutions, 6 cancer charities and 8 companies ( He previously led OPTi-PREDICT, an SFI Investigator Programme focused on identification and validation of prognostic biomarkers for early stage breast and prostate cancer. 
Currently, Prof. Gallagher is a primary driving force behind the All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI), which is creating an overarching framework for cancer research across the entire island of Ireland ( AICRI-linked programmes were recently awarded over 12 million euro under the recent HEA North-South Research Programme, including an all-island Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Training Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine (AICRIstart) which Prof. Gallagher leads.
From 2016-2021, Professor Gallagher was Director of the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, one of Ireland’s largest biomedical research facilities. From 2013-2019, he was the Director of BREAST-PREDICT, which was the first Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) to be funded ( This country-wide CCRC, which was supported to the level of 7.5 million euro and involved 6 academic institutions, as well as Cancer Trials Ireland, focused on developing more personalised treatment approaches for breast cancer.
Over the last 15 years, Prof. Gallagher has speared-headed several large-scale research infrastructure projects providing state-of-the-art instrumentation for researchers nationwide in the areas of cell, tissue and in vivo imaging, as well as molecular profiling (see and for recent examples).
Prof. Gallagher has received a number of awards for his research and innovation achievements in the oncology arena, including the NovaUCD 2011 Innovation Award, the inaugural Irish Association for Cancer Research Medal in 2017, the SFI Entrepreneurship Award in 2019 and the SFI Researcher of the Year Award in 2021. He has filed/been awarded multiple patents and has acted as consultant for a wide variety of industrial parties within the biomedical sphere. Prof. Gallagher has co-founded two molecular diagnostics companies, OncoMark Ltd. and OncoAssure Ltd., the former being acquired in March 2021 by the US company Danaher (Cepheid division).
Timothy Connolly, BC
Research Professor
Timothy J. Connolly is Research Professor in Biology at Boston College, where also he works closely with Physics colleagues. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the UMass Medical School. Formerly Lead Research Scientist at Sanofi-Aventis, Dr. Connolly has extensive experience in leading novel technology development and implementation to advance novel biomarker discovery programs. He identified, evaluated and implemented innovative protein engineering methods for therapeutic drug development. In addition, he led global genomic profiling efforts and advanced novel methods to deliver highly sensitive, automated, high throughput delivery of genomic data. He successfully identified and leveraged novel biomarkers to gain insight into human disease and advance novel therapeutics. He received the Sanofi-Aventis Impact Award for outstanding contributions that resulted in new insights and fundamental change in their approach to drug development. His comprehensive understanding of technology and evaluation of new methods and disease pathophysiology is currently used in collaborations toward controlling macrophage polarization by biophysical means, and contributing to discovery of a biophysical code.

Caroline Curtin, RCSI
Senior Lecturer
Dr Caroline Curtin obtained her BSc in Biomedical Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) in 2004 followed by her PhD in 2010 from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUIG. During this time, she also worked as a Research Assistant for Cellular Arthroplasty for Regeneration in Arthritis (CARA), NUIG in collaboration with an industrial partner, Smith & Nephew, a global leader in medical technology, and the Irish Industrial Development Authority, assessing the potential of adult stem cells as a treatment for arthritis with a strong translational, commercialisation and fast-track product development focus. She was recruited as a post-doctoral researcher to the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 2010 assessing smart scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration under the supervision of Professor Fergal O’Brien. Dr. Curtin is currently employed as a Lecturer in Anatomy and Principal Investigator in the TERG. Her research focuses on development of gene-activated scaffold systems for tissue engineering with a particular focus on bone and cartilage, and utilising scaffolds as 3D tumour models for development of novel cancer treatments.
Seamas Donnelly, TCD
Professor Seamas Donnelly is Professor of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. He is an international leader in Translational Medicine and his research epitomizes classical bench to bedside on an international stage.  He was recently awarded an Honorary Professorship by the University of Edinburgh for international leadership in Translational Medicine.  One of the key pillars of his research group is developing of novel anti-inflammatory compounds and packaging them in nano-carriers particularly as potential inhaled/nebulised therapies in lung diseases. 
He is a co-applicant on the Trinity Wellcome Trust/HRB Clinical Research Facility. He is the Trinity Lead-PI on the Dublin-Midlands Health Innovation Hub Ireland based and is responsible for both the assessment of early-development technologies in the healthcare sector and the delivery of a boutique of postgraduate educational offerings in the healthcare innovation space. He is currently a serving board member of the HRB. He is the outgoing President of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain & Ireland. Prof. Donnelly is also the current Editor-in-Chief of the Quarterly Journal of Medicine (Oxford University Press), an international medical journal (Impact Factor: 14 (2022)).
Aisling Dunne, TCD
Associate Professor 
Professor Dunne is an Associate Professor with the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and the School of Medicine in Trinity College Dublin. She graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry from TCD and held postdoctoral positions in Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne and TCD. She was also head of Molecular Biology and Protein Biochemistry at Opsona Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on the development of novel Immunotherapeutics. Prof Dunne’s work to date has focused on endogenous damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) that are associated with a number of sterile inflammatory diseases. Her research group has carried out a significant amount of work delineating the molecular/inflammatory pathways driven by osteoarthritis (OA) and atherosclerosis-associated DAMPs. They have identified potential new therapeutic targets to treat OA-associated inflammation and have now extended their work to assess immune responses to orthopaedic implant materials. Furthermore, as a funded investigator with AMBER, Prof Dunne’s research group is now assessing the ability of novel biomaterials to modulate immune cell metabolism and promote tissue repair. Finally, she has received significant funding to examine novel anti-inflammatory molecules with a particular focus on compounds that can induce the Heme Oxygenase System. She has received funding from the HRB, Enterprise Ireland and SFI.
Róisín Dwyer, University of Galway
Associate Professor
Dr Róisín Dwyer is Associate Professor in Translational Science and a PI in the Discipline of Surgery at University of Galway. Her research focuses on cell communication in the breast tumour microenvironment, with a view to harnessing this knowledge for development of novel gene therapy approaches for advanced breast cancer.
Tumours actively recruit stromal cells including Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs), and stromal-epithelial crosstalk plays a critical role in tumour development and progression. Dr Dwyer is interested in paracrine and autocrine mediators of this crosstalk, including chemokines/cytokines, microRNAs and extracellular vesicles (EVs). Understanding this environment will facilitate harnessing the potential of MSCs or their secreted EVs as vehicles for targeted delivery of therapy to breast tumours. In Vivo imaging to track MSC/EV migration is an important element of this.
Multidisciplinary collaboration is key to Dr Dwyer's work and she is a member of national and international research consortia, including Precision Oncology Ireland and the Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN). Her research has been recognised through a variety of honours including the inaugural Irish Cancer Society Researcher of the Year award.
Fiona Freeman, UCD
Ad Astra Fellow and Assistant Professor
Dr Fiona Freeman is an Ad Astra Fellow and Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at UCD. A graduate of Biomedical Engineering, she was awarded a PhD from University of Galway in 2016, focusing on developing new strategies for bone tissue regeneration. Since then Dr Freeman has won two prestigious postdoctoral fellowships, the Government of Ireland IRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and the Marie Curie Global Fellowship, which allowed her to work as postdoctoral researcher in prestigious labs in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins and Trinity College Dublin. Her postdoctoral work focused on using novel engineering techniques to understand and develop new therapeutics to treat injured and diseased musculoskeletal tissue.  Dr Freeman's current research is investigating the use of innovative biomedical engineering techniques to better understand and develop novel therapeutics to treat a paediatric bone cancer called osteosarcoma.  
Ed Lavelle, TCD & AMBER
Professor Ed Lavelle is Professor of Vaccine Immunology at Trinity College Dublin. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) in 2021, is currently President of ECI2024 and former President of the Irish Society for Immunology and head of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He graduated with a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Galway and a PhD in Immunology from the University of Plymouth and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Nottingham, Rowett Research Institute, Maynooth University and Trinity College Dublin on vaccine adjuvants and immunomodulation. He was appointed at Trinity College Dublin as a lecturer in 2004, associate Professor in 2012, Professor in Immunology in 2015 and Professor of Immunology in 2022. His research has led to the development of adjuvants for injectable and mucosal vaccines for infectious diseases and his group have a major focus on resolving the mode of adjuvant action. The lab is also focused on developing therapeutic vaccines for cancer and investigating vaccine strategies that promote immunogenic cell death, leading to enhanced protective immunity.
Helen McCarthy, QUB
professor & Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Professor Helen McCarthy of Queens University Belfast is Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Pharmacy Material and Advanced Technologies for Healthcare. Prof McCarthy’s research team have focused on the development of non-viral delivery systems for nanomedicine applications in the School of Pharmacy. These biomimetic peptide systems are designed to overcome the extra and intracellular barriers, so that the macromolecular payload can be delivered at the destination site in order to exert the optimal therapeutic effect. Helen has designed and patented several nucleic acid delivery systems. Current research projects involve gene therapy for metastatic deposits; miRNA therapeutics for oncology and wound healing applications; mRNA and DNA vaccination strategies; and regeneration of bone by increasing the bioavailability of ceramics.

Christopher Scott, QUB
Following a primary degree in Biochemistry Chris undertook a PhD and post doctoral training at Queen’s in molecular enzymology.  In 2001, Chris was one of the founding members of QUB spinout company Fusion Antibodies Ltd., before returning to Queen’s in 2003 to take up an academic position.  Chris is internationally renowned for his work in development of antibody and nanomedicine-based therapies for the treatment of cancer and other conditions.  Work in his laboratory is funded by agencies such as Medical Research Council, US-Ireland, and various industrial sources such as AstraZeneca and Immunocore.  He also held a Royal Society Industrial Fellowship with GSK from 2012-15, and won the Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Innovation in 2015 with his group’s work on developing a novel nanomedicine for the treatment of sepsis and other inflammatory conditions. Chris is a scientific co-founder of Aviceda Therapeutics and AilseVax Ltd as well as a member of the Medical Research Council Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme Panel.
 Join us on 12th December 2023

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