Winner of the ICO/Novartis Eye Research Bursary 2018-19 Announced

Dr Emily Grennan has been awarded the ICO/Novartis Research Bursary for 2018-19 for her research project ‘Targeting Ocular Inflammation in Dry eye Disease with Novel MicroRNA-based Therapeutics’.

The research focusing on ocular inflammation in dry eye disease will be carried out between the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland as part of Dr Greenan’s PhD under the supervision of Professor Conor Murphy, Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology at the RCSI and Dr Joan Ní Gabhann at the Department of Ophthalmology and Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, RCSI.

The annual ICO/Novartis Research Bursary is an unrestricted educational grant awarded to a doctor who wishes to undertake a research project or specific training in the field of ophthalmology. The bursary has been instrumental in facilitating eye doctors in Ireland to undertake pioneering research into potential cures and treatments for sight-threatening conditions.

Explaining the rationale of the study and the significance of the being awarded funding for his project, Dr Grennan said,

“I am both delighted and honoured to be this year’s recipient of the ICO/ Novartis Research Bursary grant. Our research is aimed at inflammation of the ocular surface, seen to be the key driving factor underlying the pathogenesis of dry eye disease. By identifying the dysregulated panel of microRNA, short sequences of mRNA that normally control the production or inhibition of inflammatory proteins, we hope to offer new therapeutic targets for the disease. We will combine this knowledge with recently developed nanoparticle drug delivery systems to provide a more effective and targeted treatment option for patient use in the future.”

Speaking at the announcement of the award at the Annual Adare Retinal Meeting, spokesperson for the ICO and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at University Hospital Limerick, Miss Marie Hickey- Dwyer, said,

“We are delighted to congratulate Dr Greenan. The focus on potential new novel therapeutic targets in the management of ocular inflammation in dry eye disease is a very exciting and most worthy project for this funding, particularly in light of the prevalence of this condition. We wish Dr Greenan and the team at Department of Ophthalmology and Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, RCSI, every success with their research. The ICO thank Novartis for their continued support and we look forward to an update on Dr Greenan’s work at ICO Annual Conference in May 2019.”

Dr Bishember Kathuria MD, MBA, Chief Scientific Officer, Novartis Ireland Ltd said,

“Novartis strongly believes that no one should have to wait for access to better health. To live our mission, we are proud to partner with the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) to fund this bursary that supports the development of the future leaders in ophthalmology. As in previous years, this year’s entries were of a very high calibre. I would like to congratulate Dr. Emily Greenan on winning the 2018 ICO/Novartis Bursary and wish her well in her future career.”

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