Research Blog

02-11-2017

The MRCG/HRB Joint Funding Scheme Research Call 2017-18

Opening Date: November 1st 2017

Closing date for pre-application form: November 30th 2017
Closing date for full applications (if shortlisted): January 31st 2018

 

Level of funding: Up to €100,000 per annum

Duration of Funding: Up to 3 years

Focus of the call: Clinical markers of disease progression, Clinical outcome measures,

Devices and technology, Clinical trial design and Genomic markers of disease heterogeneity

 

Introduction

The Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG) supports charities in Ireland to increase both the quality and quantity of healthcare research. Since 2006, the MRCG has collaborated with the Health Research Board Ireland (HRB) in co-funding of research projects of particular strategic relevance to the medical research charities.

 

The MRCG/HRB Joint Funding Scheme 2018 is now open. The deadline for submission of applications via Research Motor Neurone is 5pm Thursday 30th November 2017.  All applications must be submitted by email to rmngrants@gmail.com.

 

Research Motor Neurone

Research Motor Neurone is committed to supporting Irish MND and has recently partnered with the Health Research Board under the HRB/MRCG Joint Funding Scheme.

 

We are delighted to launch our first Research Call and we now invite applications for MND focused research projects of up to a three-year duration to a maximum of €100,000 p.a. Proposals funded under this call will begin in September 2018.

 

Application Requirements

 

For this round of funding we invite fellowship applications that cover one or more of the following research areas:

 

  • Clinical markers of disease progression
  • Clinical outcome measures
  • Devices and technology
  • Clinical trial design
  • Genomic markers of disease heterogeneity

 

Key Dates

 

Deadline for Submission of Proposals 30th November 2017 (5pm)
Charity Peer Review November 2017 – January 2018
Right to Reply Phase Early-Mid February 2018
HRB Application Deadline 9th April 2018
Applicant Notification July 2018
Research Project Start September 2018

 

Application Procedure

 

Stage 1 Pre-application forms must be submitted by email to rmngrants@gmail.com by 5pm on November 30th 2017.

 

Please note the following:

  • the application form (MRCG/HRB Part B1 Application Form below) must be submitted as a single file in Word Format;
  • a Gantt Chart may be submitted as a single word or pdf file;
  • figures supporting the proposal may be submitted as a single word or pdf file;
  • where applicable, the additional forms attached must be submitted as separate pdf files;
  • signature pages must be submitted as a single collated pdf file.

 

Review Process

 

Stage 1: Internal Review of pre-application submissions to develop shortlist for full application.
Stage 2: International Peer review of full applications including Applicant’s Right to Reply.
Stage 3: Evaluation and ranking by Research Peer Review Board.
Stage 4: Highest ranking proposals submitted for consideration under the HRB/MRCG Joint Funding Scheme.

 

Note

 

Successful projects will be funded jointly by RMN and the HRB from September 2018.

Application forms, HRB guidance notes can be downloaded below.

Contact

Ms. Aileen Barrett

Chair, Research Motor Neurone

Email: aileenbarrett140@gmail.com.

 

Documents

 

MRCG/HRB Instructions to Applicants 2018 (.docx)
MRCG/HRB Part B1 Application Form 2018 (.docx)
MRCG/HRB Part C1 Collaboration Agreement (.docx)
MRCG/HRB Part C2 Infrastructure Agreement (.docx)
MRCG/HRB Part C3 Warrant for International Host Institutions (.docx)
MRCG/HRB Part D1 PI Signature Page (.docx)
Part D2 PI Host Institution Signature Page (.docx)

 


14-09-2017

Research Funding

Professor Orla Hardiman is awarded €7,945 from Enterprise Ireland to “Redefine the syndrome of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A network based approach toward novel biomarkers”. 


20-06-2017

ENCALS meeting 2017 Ljubljana, Slovenia

This year’s ENCALS meeting took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia from the 18th-20th May. ENCALS, (European Network to Cure ALS), is a network of ALS centres in Europe. The annual ENCALS meeting is an important forum for the European MND community. This meeting is aimed at getting younger researchers in the area to present their data and meet with more established researchers in the field.

ENCALS 2017 provided an excellent cross-section of ongoing work into MND across Europe and, indeed, further afield. The MND Research Group from Trinity College, Dublin was well represented with a plenary talk entitled, ‘The Panorama of ALS Genetics’, delivered by Dr. Russell McLaughlin. Oral presentations were also given by Dr. James Rooney, (‘Euro-MOTOR: a multi-centre population-based case-control study of metals and solvents exposure as risk factors for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’), and Marta Pinto Grau, (‘Assessing behaviour in ALS: the importance of using disease-specific tools’), from the Irish group. A summary of the contents of these and all of the other talks and posters presented at ENCALS 2017 can be viewed at ENCALS 2017: Book of Abstracts.

Lots of photos from this year’s ENCALS meeting can also be found by clicking here.


27-03-2017

Irish scientists find link between Motor Neurone Disease and schizophrenia

RTE article 27th March:

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and schizophrenia have been shown to have a shared genetic origin by a Trinity College Dublin (TCD) led study that has wide implications for research into and treatment of the illnesses.

The research found many of the genes that are known to be associated with MND and schizophrenia are the same, implying a biological connection between what are currently considered very different conditions.

Although previous studies had identified likely genetic connections between schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric illnesses like autism and bipolar affective disorder, this is first time a shared biological link has been identified with MND.

Earlier research in 2013 by a team led by Professor Orla Hardiman had noted that the families of those suffering from MND were also more likely to have had a family member die by suicide or have schizophrenia than those families where MND was not present.

This prompted the scientists to look in more detail for a biological link, in particular a genetic connection between MND and schizophrenia.

The researchers teamed up with other scientists at the University of Utrecht, Kings College London and the Project MinE and Psychiatric Genome Consortia.

Together they examined the genetic blueprints of 30,000 schizophrenia patients and 13,000 people with MND or ALS as it is also known.

The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, show an overlap of 14%  in genetic susceptibility to the adult onset of MND and the development of schizophrenia.

The team says this does not mean that those with MND will develop schizophrenia, or vice versa – more that MND is not only a disorder of individual nerve cells, but a disorder of the way the nerve cells communicate either individually or over neural pathways and networks.

“So instead of thinking of ALS/MND as a degeneration of one cell at a time, and looking for a ‘magic bullet’ treatment that works, we should think about ALS/MND in the same way we think about schizophrenia,” said Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor in Neurology at TCD and Consultant Neurologist at the National Neuroscience Centre at Beaumont Hospital.

“It is a problem of disruption in connectivity between different regions of the brain and we should look for drugs that help to stabilise the failing brain networks”.

The team also says that the findings show that the divide between neurology and psychiatry is a false one.

“This study demonstrates the power of genetics in understanding the causes of diseases,” said Dr Russell McLaughlin, Ussher Assistant Professor in Genome Analysis at TCD.

“While neurological and psychiatric conditions have very different characteristics and clinical presentations, our work has show that the biological pathways that lead to these diverse conditions have much in common.”

The findings could have implications for future treatment of MND/ALS, suggesting drugs that focus exclusively on motor neurons may not be the right approach and that looking at drugs that impact the brain network might be better.

“We welcome these new findings and hoped this will be one step towards developing new drugs that will help to stabilise these brain networks and ultimately prevent the progression of MND in our families,” said Aisling Farrell, CEO of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.


25-03-2017

Motor Neurone Disease and Schizophrenia are genetically and biologically linked

Article in the Irish Times from 24th March:

TCD researchers’ findings cast doubt on divide between psychiatry and neurology.

Irish-based researchers have shown for the first time that motor neurone disease and schizophrenia are genetically and biologically linked.

The finding, which casts doubt on traditional assumptions about the divide between psychiatry and neurology, could have major implications for the treatment of these conditions and the training of doctors in related specialties.

The researchers from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) discovered the association after analysing the genetic profiles of almost 13,000 motor neurone and more than 30,000 schizophrenia cases.

Their analysis showed a 14 per cent overlap in genetic susceptibility to adult onset neurodegenerative condition, motor neurone disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and the developmental neuropsychiatric disorder, schizophrenia.

Senior author of the study, Dr Orla Hardiman, professor of neurology at TCD, said the research showed motor neurone disease was not just a disorder of individual nerve cells, but a disorder of the way these nerve cells talk to one another as part of a larger network.

“So instead of thinking of motor neurone disease as a degeneration of one cell at a time, and looking for a ‘magic bullet’ treatment that works, we should think about it in the same way that we think about schizophrenia, which is a problem of disruptions in connectivity between different regions of the brain, and we should look for drugs that help to stabilise the failing brain networks.”

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, pointed to the divide between psychiatry and neurology being a false one, Dr Hardiman added.

“We need to recognise that brain disease has many different manifestations, and the best way to develop new treatments is to understand the biology of what is happening.

“This will have major implications for how we classify diseases, and in turn how we train our future doctors in both psychiatry and neurology.

“That will have knock-on consequences for how society understands, approaches and treats people with psychiatric and neurological conditions.”

Earlier TCD studies showed people with motor neurone disease were more likely to have family members with schizophrenia, and to have had a family member who took their own life.

This finding prompted the latest research, in order to establish whether this link was due to a genetic overlap between the two conditions.


11-01-17

Managing MND: The Impact of Cognitive and Behavioural Change

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Research Group at Beaumont Hospital and Trinity College is developing an educational programme for Healthcare professionals treating patients and families of people with MND. As part of this educational programme the Trinity/Beaumont research team hosted a free Study Day for 250 Healthcare Professionals on Friday 25th November 2016 around the cognitive, behavioural and personality changes that can occur in MND, and how to recognize and better manage these changes  in the context of the overall management of MND.

The purpose of the study day was to help those affected by MND in their professions to recognize the impact of our evolving understanding of cognitive and behavioural change on disease management.

It is now recognized that up to 30% of people with MND experience cognitive and behavioural changes, and up to 13% experience a dementia-like syndrome. More subtle behavioural changes can be demonstrated in up to 50% of patients.

Research by the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Research Group at Beaumont and Trinity College Dublin has shown that these changes can increase the burden of care for families, and there is evidence to suggest that this burden may be under-reported by families and under-recognized by healthcare professionals.

It is hoped that similar study days will be hosted in the future by the group to continue to disseminate our research in the area as it evolves. Alongside the information presented on the day each attending healthcare professional (HCP) received a booklet entitled Best Practice Guidelines for HCPs. This document is available for download by clicking the link below. This is intended for use as a reference for those who attended on the day as well as a resource to any interested healthcare professional who was not able to attend.

Best Practice Guidelines for HCPs


12-12-2016

Dublin hosts major International MND Conferences

The 27th International Symposium on ALS/MND and the 7th International Symposium on Neuro-Imaging, (NISALS), both took place this month in Dublin. The Convention Centre played host to the more than 1,100 delegates attending 27th International Symposium on ALS/MND from 7th-9th December. This was followed by the Neuro-Imaging conference which took place in Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, (Trinity College), on December 10th and 11th. Images from both events can be found in our gallery.

For a round up of some of the highlights of the work presented at the main conference click here for the conference organiser’s blog.

A summary of all talks and poster presentations can be found by following this link.


3-10-16

Project aims to help people with motor neurone disease (MND) to maintain a sense of identity after they lose their ability to speak

The way we speak and our unique turn of phrase helps us to connect with friends and family in a more personalised way. Losing this ability can therefore have a devastating impact.

MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which there is progressive degeneration of the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurones are the nerve cells that control muscles, and their degeneration leads to weakness and wasting of the muscles.

This causes an increasing loss of mobility in the limbs and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. There is currently no cure for the disease and around 110 people are newly diagnosed in Ireland every year. Over 300 people and their families are currently living with the disease.

A project led by assistant professor in clinical speech and language studies at TCD, Caroline Jagoe, and senior speech and language therapist in Beaumont Hospital, Lesley Doyle, is focusing on the concept of message banking.

This is when people record themselves speaking while they still have a good quality of speech, with the aim of using their own unique phrases if their speech quality deteriorates.

The speech and language therapists are developing a toolkit to guide other therapists and people with MND through the process of banking their own messages. These messages can then be used on electronic communication devices to help maintain a sense of identity.

“The way in which we communicate is key to how we portray our identity and connect with others. Preparing for a possible loss of speech abilities is very challenging for people with progressive communication disorders. It is our experience that people who decide to engage in message banking feel an increased sense of control and value the opportunity to capture aspects of their identity as they ‘bank’ their unique ways of interacting with loved ones,” Ms Jagoe explained.

She noted that one of the participants taking part in this project described the process perfectly.

“If you think about how you convey your personality, it’s through your voice, your facial expression and your gestures and MND takes all of them away from you potentially. So if you can’t move your facial muscles you can’t express, and if you can’t move your arms you can’t gesture, and if you lose your voice you can’t convey your sentiments. So at least having the message banking there you are trying to retain a small portion of that, rather than just a synthesised voice. You don’t want to lose everything,” the participant said.

The idea behind message banking is that the process of recording and then using their messages when needed, may help people to feel more in control and keep some sense of identity.

If speech quality deteriorates at a later stage, the person may decide to use an electronic communication device such as a tablet, that utilises software with built-in computer-generated voices. This will enable the person’s ‘message bank’, i.e. the recordings made in their own voice, to be used alongside the computer-generated voice.

This project is funded by Research Motor Neurone and is supported by consultant neurologist and MND expert, Prof Orla Hardiman.


16-9-16

Managing MND: The Impact of Cognitive and Behavioural Change

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Research Group at Beaumont Hospital and Trinity College is developing an educational programme for Healthcare professionals treating patients and families of people with MND

The purpose is to help those affected by MND to recognize the impact of our evolving understanding of cognitive and behavioural change on disease management.

It is now recognized that up to 30% of people with MND experience cognitive and behavioural changes, and up to 13% experience a dementia-like syndrome. More subtle behavioural changes can be demonstrated in up to 50% of patients.

Research by the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Research Group at Beaumont and Trinity College Dublin has shown that these changes can increase the burden of care for families, and there is evidence to suggest that this burden may be under-reported by families and under-recognized by healthcare professionals.

The Trinity /Beaumont research team will host a Study Day for Healthcare Professionals around the cognitive, behavioural and personality changes that can occur in MND, and how to recognize and better manage these changes  in the context of the overall management of MND.

The event will be held on Friday 25 November 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Registration is free and lunch will be provided.

Register here


25-7-16

Geneticists pinpoint three new genes with important roles in MND

Researchers in Trinity College Dublin have helped to isolate three new genes that shed light on the underlying causes of motor neurone disease (MND).

A large team led by researchers in the Netherlands and London conducted the largest-ever MND genetic analysis, which brought together the efforts of over 180 scientists from 17 different countries. Using DNA samples donated by over 12,000 patients with MND and over 23,000 by healthy individuals, millions of common genetic variations were profiled in all subjects. These were compared between MND patients and healthy individuals to help to understand what genetic variation may cause the disease. Both genetic and environmental factors are known to play a role in the development of MND, but pinpointing and understanding the genetic causes will help to hasten the development of effective treatments for what is currently an incurable disease.

The new study, published in leading journal Nature Genetics, pointed the scientists towards three previously-unknown genes, and also provided the best indication yet of how exactly scientists should continue their search for the causes of MND.

Dr Russell McLaughlin of Trinity is one of the lead authors of the study. He said: “Some diseases, like schizophrenia, appear to be caused by the added effects of thousands of genes commonly seen in the population, each of which could not cause the disease on its own. With MND, it seems that a similar mechanism may be at play, but the genes that add up to cause the disease are much more rare.”

This apparent rarity of genes that cause MND means that scientists are now tasked with conducting even larger and more fine-grained studies to uncover the remainder of what causes the disease. Research is already under way in Trinity and several other countries that will expand the search beyond common genetic variation to include genes only seen in a small number of people.

Project MinE (www.projectmine.com/country/ireland) is a crowd-funded initiative that will examine the full DNA profile, including rare genetic variation, in 1,000 Irish individuals to determine all of the genetic causes of MND. But genetic research is costly, and Professor Orla Hardiman, who leads the Irish MND Research Group, hopes that the public will help to fund the initiative.

Professor Hardiman said: “With Project MinE, everyone has the opportunity to get involved in helping to discover the many causes of MND, in the hope that one day we will have a cure for this devastating disease.”


21-05-16

Peter Bede Silver Medalist ENCALS meeting 2016

Congratulations to Peter Bede, Research Fellow In Neurodegeneration, Academic Unit of Neurology TCD, who was awarded the ENCALS Young Investigator Silver Medal at the European ALS Consortium meeting in Milan on May 21 2016.

Pictured with Prof Ammar Al Chalabi, Chair of the Awards Committee
Pictured with Prof Ammar Al Chalabi, Chair of the Awards Committee


09-03-16

Behavioural Changes in MND: What Families Need to Know

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Research Group at Beaumont Hospital and Trinity College is developing an educational programme for families of people with MND.  The purpose is to help those affected by MND to recognize the thinking, behaviour and personality changes that can occur as part of the condition, to identify how best to understand these, to help those affected by these changes to manage problems that might arise, and to take care of their own health and wellbeing.

It is now recognized that up to 30% of people with MND experience changes in thinking and behaviour and some people may also experience a dementia-like syndrome.Research has shown that these changes can increase the burden of care for families. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that this burden may be under-reported by families and under-recognized by healthcare professionals.

Over the coming months, the Trinity /Beaumont research team will host a series of “town meetings” for families of those with MND around the cognitive, behavioural and personality changes that can occur in MND, how to recognize and better manage them. They hope to help families recognize the increased burden associated with thinking and personality changes.

During the meeting the Research Team will give some examples drawn from real life of the types of thinking and behavioural changes that can happen with MND, and will provide information on how to better manage them. The team will provide an opportunity for families to share information about their own experiences and any other comments they may have regarding cognitive and behaviour changes.

The information provided during these sessions will form the basis of a question and answer booklet that will be available online through the Research Motor Neurone and IMNDA websites.

Meeting 1 Dublin

Date: Saturday 16th April

Time: 1pm – 4pm

Location: Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport

Register here

Meeting 2 Athlone

Date: Saturday 30th April

Time: 1pm – 4pm

Location: Hodson Bay Hotel

Register here

Meeting 3 Cork

Date: Saturday 18th June

Time: 1pm – 4pm

Location: Clayton Hotel Silver Springs

Register here

For further information or to register by phone, call 089 470 8675


03-03-16

Mind Matters: Understanding and Protecting Your Brain

Please see the information below about an upcoming event organised by the NAI and the Irish Brain Council, which may be of interest:

Are you interested in hearing from leading Irish experts about the latest research on understanding your brain and lifestyle factors that can protect it?

To coincide with the launch of the EU wide “Under the Umbrella” campaign aimed at raising awareness of brain conditions, the NAI and the Irish Brain Council have organised a FREE evening lecture on Tuesday 15th March in Trinity College Dublin entitled “Mind Matters: Understanding and Protecting Your Brain”.

The speakers are Professor Sabina Brennan (creator of the Hello Brain health promotion campaign), Dr Niall Pender Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist in Beaumont Hospital and Professor Tim Lynch Consultant Neurologist from the Mater Hospital Dublin.

You can register for this FREE event here


10-1-16

26th ALS/MND symposium
Prof. Orla Hardiman
Prof. Orla Hardiman

The 26th ALS/MND symposium was held in Orlando, Florida from 11 – 13th December 2015 . More than 800 international researchers attended to hear the latest clinical and scientific ALS/MND research news.

The Trinity College ALS research group was well represented with presentations from Prof. Orla Hardiman (“ Multidisciplinary care in ALS: measuring the immeasurable?”), Dr. Geraldine Foley (“The impact of family on decision-making in ALS care: The patient perspective”), Dr. Russell McLaughlin (“Genetic overlap between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and schizophrenia”) and Mr Tom Burke (“A prospective population-bases investigation of cross-modal emotional processing in ALS “), as well as poster presentations from multiple Irish researchers.

Summaries of the oral and poster presentations are freely available online:


16-11-15

Neuropsychology research update

Mr Tom Burke
Mr Tom Burke

Mr. Tom Burke is a member of the Neuropsychology research division at the Academic Unit of Neurology, Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Beaumont Hospital, who is researching aspects of thinking and behaviour in MND under the supervision of Professor Niall Pender and Professor Orla Hardiman. Tom recently presented an aspect of his MND research to the Psychological Society of Ireland, which investigated visual and verbal short-term memory processes in MND. In recognition of his work, Tom was presented with the Deirdre McMackin Memorial Medal for Excellence in the Field of Neuropsychological Research, alongside an honorarium.

The McMackin medal is an early career award made to an individual judged by the Division of Neuropsychology to have made a significant contribution to the field of Neuropsychology in Ireland, as evidenced by the submission of new research findings.

This research continues to build on our understanding of MND and how it affects the brain and thinking processes. This research was originally funded (blog post 7-4-14), and Tom has subsequently received individual awards from the British Neuropsychological Society (BNS), Federation of the European Societies of Neuropsychology (F-ESN), and EHDN for his work.


4-11-15

Today with Sean O’Rourke: Project MinE

Listen back to RTE Radio 1 to hear MND patient Tim Sheehy and Prof Orla Hardiman discuss why they are supporting Project MinE Ireland, a crowdfunding project that aims to find the genes that cause MND.

20151029_rteradio1-seanorourke-motorneuro_c20871190_20871198_232_


2-11-15

Neurophysiology research awards

Dr Bahman Nasseroleslami
Dr Bahman Nasseroleslami

Dr Bahman Nasseroleslami works with the EEG (electroencephalography) research team in the Trinity MND group, researching the use of measurements of brain activity to allow early and accurate diagnosis of MND. Dr Nasseroleslami was awarded an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (€91,790) to study a new potential diagnosis for MND. The new study uses both EEG and EMG (which measure the activity of the brain and muscles) to study the impaired communication between the brain and muscle in MND.
The research team was also awarded the Dean’s Awards for Innovation in Teaching. The award by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Trinity provides €10,000 support for the development of interactive computer apps. The project will help students to understand and use complex neurophysiological measures in neurological research.


27-10-2015

Tim Sheehy and Project MinE Ireland

Project MinE is a groundbreaking crowdfunding initiative that aims to find the genetic mutations which cause Motor Neurone Disease. In this video, Tim Sheehy, a well known businessman who was diagnosed with MND earlier this year, explains the importance of the Project MinE initiative to MND research in Ireland and worldwide. You can make a direct contribution to this important scientific research or find out more at www.projectmine.com/country/ireland/


1-6-15

ENCALS meeting 2015

From 21st to 23rd of May 2015 more than 260 ALS/MND researchers attended the 13th international ENCALS (European Network for the Cure of ALS) meeting in Trinity College Dublin.
“The ENCALS meeting is an important forum for the European MND community.  The aim of the meeting is to encourage younger researchers to present their data, and to meet and interact with more established members of the community,” explained Prof. Orla Hardiman in her introduction speech.
The program highlighted state-of the-art science and clinical practice in the field of ALS/MND. Speakers from the Irish group included Dr Russell McLaughlin, “Genetic Overlap between Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Schizophrenia”, Dr Marwa Elamin, “The Predictors of Behavioural Change in ALS Patients without Dementia”, Tom Burke, “Cognitive Deficits in Pure ALS: A Data Driven Approach” and Christina Schuster, “Imaging Signatures of ALS”.

Multiple sessions of the 2015 ENCALS meeting are summarized in the RECCOB blog, the ALS/MND Research and Care Community Blog covering ALS conferences.


22-10-2014

Dr Kevin Kenna
Dr Kevin Kenna

Trinity’s MND research group make the news

In a ground breaking paper just published in the international journal Neuron, an international consortium involving scientists and clinicians from Trinity College Dublin, led by their long term collaborator Dr John Landers of the University of  Massachusetts has reported a new Motor Neuron Disease -associated gene (TUBA4A). Dr Landers’ group examined the DNA from 363 people with MND, each of whom also had another family member with the condition. They performed an analysis of every gene in the genome of these patients which generated trillions of individual DNA base cells. Piecing these together, they searched for patterns of rare damaging mutations that appeared more frequently in patients with MND than in people without the disease. They found that more people than expected with MND had an unusual change in the code for a protein in nerve cells that transport vital building blocks from one part of the nerve cell to another. Damage to this transport system leads to dysfunction of the nerve, and understanding this may help scientists to find new treatments for MND.

This important discovery from Dr Lander’s laboratory, which required advanced DNA analysis by Irish scientist Dr Kevin Kenna, and used samples from the MND Research Group in Trinity College and other centres, has added another piece to the jigsaw of the understanding of the causes of MND.

A video describing this discovery and featuring Dr Kevin Kenna is available here

Read the Irish Times article here



16-09-14

Professor Hardiman’s inaugural lecture and opening of the Academic Unit of Neurology, Trinity College Dublin
On September 11th 2014, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Mary McCarron welcomed colleagues, family & friends to the opening of the Academic Unit of Neurology, in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin. Professor Orla Hardiman addressed those in attendance for her Inaugural Lecture entitled “Evolving Dimensions of Motor Neuron Disease: The Irish Story”. A food and drinks reception was enjoyed by all following the event.Read more here

03-09-14
A Health Research Board Research Training Fellowship of €251,449 has been awarded to Dr James Rooney and Prof. Orla Hardiman (Prinicipal investigator). The three year project titled “Environmental and genetic epidemiology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” aims to identify specific geographic or environmental factors that increase the risk of developing MND/ALS. It will use data collected as part of the Euro-MOTOR project which comprises 1500 MND/ALS cases and 3000 controls from Ireland, The Netherlands and Italy.

26-5-14

The 12th ENCALS MeetingA number of members of the Academic Unit of Neurology attended the annual conference of ENCALS (European Network for the Cure of ALS) at the University of Leuven, Belgium from May 22nd – 24th. The diverse program highlighted some of the exciting research being carried out in the field and was an excellent platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.Dr.Marwa Elamin, Post Doctoral Clinical Fellow in the Academic Unit of Neurology, was awarded Best Oral Presentation in her section at the
The title of her presentation was “The role of behavioural change  in ALS as a phenotypic marker for disease subtypes”.Prof.Hardiman (Dublin) , Deputy Chair of ENCALS congratulated Dr.Elamin stating that “Cognitive and behavioural phenotyping of ALS is extremely important as it helps us to select people correctly for new clinical trials.  Dr.Elamin’s work is trulygroundbreaking , and  her contribution is recognized internationally, making Dublin one of the leading centres of cognitive research in ALS.


7-4-14Funding for neuropsychology researchRecently Dr. Niall Pender, Principal Clinical Neuropsychologist at Beaumont Hospital, was awarded sizable research funding to further investigate very specific neuropsychological processes thought to decline as a result of Motor Neurone Disease. This research will also investigate the prevalence of these deficits in people with Huntington’s disease. The funding for this research was awarded by the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience (IICN), and also funds a Clinical Research Fellowship for Mr. Tom Burke – currently completing his PhD investigating cognitive decline in MND.
25-3-14
Tirasemtiv Clinical Trial

The phase II Tirasemtiv clinical trial has recently been completed.  The results are expected to be reported during the forthcoming American Academy of Neurology (AAN) conference in Philadelphia from April 26th to 3rd May 2014.

 We would like to thank all our participants.


25-3-14

Be Brain Aware: Learn to Value this Wonderful Organ and How to Look After Your Brain

 

Leading experts Professor Orla Hardiman and Professor Ian Robertson gave a  free public talks in the Science Gallery Dublin last Thursday 13th March as part of Events for National Brain Awareness Week.
The event started at 6.15pm and the event was extremely well attended. Thank you to all who attended on the night and we hope that you enjoyed the evening’s discussion.


November 2013

European Science TV and New Media Awards

On the 22nd of November 2013, Professor Orla Hardiman delivered the keynote speech on Science, Medicine & the Media at the European and Science TV and New Media Awards which was held in Lisbon. She also successfully picked up the Best Presentation of/or by a Woman Scientist/Engineer for MND: The Inside Track, Independent Pictures for RTE Ireland.

Read more here

 Science Gallery, Lisbon with Anna Rodgers, Director of MND the Inside Track,  the presenter of the EUROPAWS Award, and Prof. Orla Hardiman, keynote speaker on Science, Medicine & The Media.


 

5-9-13
MND Research trial

We are recruiting for a Phase II clinical trial until October 2013.  This is a multi-national study called BENEFIT-ALS.  Tirasemtiv is a tablet being developed to improve skeletal muscle function in diseases associated with muscular weakness or fatigue.

The clinical research study is being conducted at The Clinical Research Centre, Smurfit Building on Beaumont Hospital campus. http://www.rcsicrc.ie/

If you would like further information please contact the Research Nurses on 01 809 3874.


6-8-13
MND research group awarded European grant to find ways to improve patient care
The MND research group at Trinity College Dublin have been awarded a €200,000 grant by the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND). The grant is part of a European wide initiative to improve health care policies, strategies and interventions. This accomplishment was recently discussed in the Irish Times alongside commendation of the work of Colm Murray to raise awareness of MND.
Prof Hardiman was quoted as sayimg, “What he did for motor neurone disease was very important. For everybody within MND, it is a tragic disease and Colm’s tragedy was the same as others, but the fact that he was so well loved by people made a big difference.”

7-6-13

The 11th ENCALS Meeting
The 11th ENCALS (European Network for the Cure of ALS) Meeting was held in Sheffield, United Kingdom from Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June 2013. Investigators in ALS research presented their work, covering a range of topics including genetics, patient prognosis, diagnosis and therapy. From the Irish ALS research group, talks were given by Kevin Kenna (“The frequencies of ALS gene variants: Evidence of oligogenic aetiology and heterogeneity across Europe.”) and Dr. Marwa Elamin (“Predicting prognosis in ALS patients: A data-led approach.”). Research was also presented by Dr. Peter Bede, Dr.Russell McLaughlin, Dr. Paramesh Iyer and Kevin Kenna in the form of posters.
Annual meeting of the Irish Neurological Association
The 49th Annual meeting of the Irish Neurological Association (INA) was recently hosted on May 9th and 10th during the European Month of the Brain by Trinity’s Academic Unit of Neurology in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.
The keynote address entitled ‘Value Encoding in the Brain’ was delivered by Professor Ray Dolan,   Mary Kincross Professor of Neuropsychiatry at University College London and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. Ranked in the top five most cited neuroscientists in the world, Professor Dolan’s research group seeks to identify the critical determinants of human decision making,   particularly relating to a variety of emotional contexts. In his presentation, he outlined how human decision making is greatly influenced by emotional pathways within the brain, and that much of the process is in fact highly irrational. 

Trinity’s Head of Academic Neurology at the School of Medicine current INA President Professor Orla Hardiman stated that: “The scientific rigour and academic communication skills of the younger generation of clinical neuroscientists is a testament both to the mentoring they receive from established clinicians, and the continued and considerable latent talent of those attracted to careers in Clinical Neuroscience.”
There were over 30 platform presentations during the two day meeting. Trinity College’s Academic Unit of Neurology was well represented by Dr Peter Bede’s presentation on multimodal imaging of the brain in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS ) (also known as Motor Neurone Disease), showing that the C9orf72 genotype has a characteristic imaging signal and Dr Parames Iyer’s novel work using spectral EEG showing that ALS is associated with increased neuronal connectivity.

Multidisciplinary Education Day

Please find below the presentations from the  MND Education Day: A Guide to Management of MND in Ireland Today recently held in Beaumont Hospital.

Professor Hardiman

Dr Marwa Elamin

Ms Geraldine Foley

Guide to Breath Stacking

Patient Guide to Breath Stacking

Dr. Sinead Maguire


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