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Full NameProfessor Noel F. Lowndes

Department:Centre for Chromosome Biology

Organisation:National University of Ireland Galway

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields

  • genetics, genomics and molecular biology
  • cell and developmental biology/regenerative medicine
  • cancer/oncology

Postgrad Medical Specialties

  • Medicine
  • Pathology

Medical Subspecialties

  • Oncology
  • Radiology

My Work

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin (Genetics, 1983), Professor Lowndes completed post-graduate studies at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research (Glasgow) and Columbia University (New York), receiving his PhD from the University of Glasgow (Molecular Pathology, 1987). His post-doctoral work was conducted at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London. In 1993 Professor Lowndes established his own laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Clare Hall laboratories (London) before returning to Ireland to take up the Chair of Biochemistry at NUI Galway in 2001, where he is the founding director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology ( In 2003, Professor Lowndes was elected to the membership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

Professor Lowndes is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying the DNA damage response (DDR) of human cells. Defects in which are among the earliest events in the oncogenic process. Emerging mechanistic understanding of the DDR is significantly impacting upon the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Publications are available from:

Potential Projects

Clinician interested in spending a period of their training working in a fundamental area of science underpinning modern clinical oncology are encouraged to contact Prof Lowndes ( to explore areas of mutual research interest related to a mechanistic understanding of the DNA damage response. Beyond the expected focussed knowledge gained from a period in fundamental science, the development of advanced and complementary problem solving skills will benefit a future career in more translational and applied areas of oncology.

More specifically, projects available in Prof Lowndes’ group are focussed on the early signalling of DNA double strand breaks (DSB) and the transduction of this signal to the distinctive DSB repair pathways, Non-Homology End Joining (NHEJ) and Homologous Recombination (HR). The mode of action of the giant ring kinases, ATM and ATR, that are apical to DDR signalling and their downstream mediators, such as the tumour suppressors, 53BP1 and BRCA1, are of particular interest to the Lowndes group. In cancer cells while ATM and BRCA1 are frequently mutated to generate the so-called “BRCA” phenotype, in which such cells become dependent upon HR for their survival, they become addicted to ATR function. Both HR dependency and ATR addiction can be exploited therapeutically. It is an expectation of our research that additional therapeutic targets functioning in these responses will be identified and exploited for future therapeutic interventions.