Translational Biomedical Sciences
Our research develops, examines and validates models of human disease, specifically for cancer, viral or immunological illness. It integrates patient sample analyses with state-of-the-art laboratory techniques to generate new treatment hypotheses for evaluation in human studies and clinical trials.
In virology, the focus is on increasing our understanding of human immune responses to viral infection, to design safer, more effective therapies and vaccines, including for Influenza, Human Parainfluenza Virus (HPIV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Rhino Virus (RV).
We have funding from the Wellcome Trust, Health Research Board and Irish Research Council to investigate the role of anti-viral immune responses in the development or exacerbations of secondary conditions such as bacterial super-infections, asthma and autoimmune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. Understanding these mechanisms will enable us to design better therapeutic strategies to combat both the infections themselves and their associated syndromes.
In the cancer field, Dr Buchanan has an interest in understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of castrate resistant prostate cancer. This work has involved a translational bedside to bench approach using prostate cancer patient samples from which to generate new targets of investigation. One current target includes the calcium channel CaV1.3, which was found to be significantly upregulated in prostate cancer patients. It is known that CaV1.3 can be targeted using existing drugs and is hoped that by understanding its role in prostate cancer these existing drugs can be repurposed to improve patient survival.
The Translation Bioscience laboratory found within the School of Nursing and Human Science houses both Dr Johnson and Dr Buchanan. This self-contained state of the art facility includes a number of key pieces of research equipment. This includes work for cell biology such as tissue culture and cell isolation, Molecular biology equipment for example western blot, PCR and FACS and also electrophysiology techniques such as patch clamp and calcium imaging.