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Full NameProfessor Aoife Lowery

Department:Surgery

Organisation:National University of Ireland Galway

Webpage:nuigalway.ie

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
  • Surgery
Medical Subspecialties
  • Endocrinology
  • Oncology
My Work

The work undertaken by this research group, is translational research focused on improving diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for cancer patients. There are two predominant themes:

1. Evaluation of novel imaging and biomarkers for detection and prognostication in early breast cancer. This work focuses on identification of miRNA biomarkers which have the potential to stratify early breast cancer according to disease type and response to therapy. We propose that combining information relating to the molecular properties of tumours and image phenotype information, with clinical data will more accurately predict treatment response or prognosticate. Ultimately this approach will aim to facilitate better selection of breast cancer patients for individualized therapy

2. Development of innovative approaches to post-surgical reconstruction for breast cancer patients. This is an interdisciplinary approach utilising recent advances in regenerative medicine, biomaterials and clinical sciences to develop alternative cell-based approaches to breast reconstruction, the oncological safety of which will be assessed in pre-clinical models, which will be fundamental for successful clinical translation. This work is performed in collaboration with Professor Garry Duffy (http://www.curamdevices.ie/curam/about-us/our-people/investigators/professor-garry-duffy-.html) and collaborators in Surgery and Regenerative Medicine.

Hydrogels in adipose tissue engineering-Potential application in post-mastectomy breast regeneration. O'Halloran NA, Dolan EB, Kerin MJ, Lowery AJ, Duffy GP.
J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2018 Dec;12(12):2234-2247.PMID: 30334613

Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in Novel Approaches to Breast Reconstruction: Their Suitability for Tissue Engineering and Oncological Safety. O'Halloran N, Courtney D, Kerin MJ, Lowery AJ. Breast Cancer (Auckl). 2017. PMID: 29104428

Role of micro-RNAs in breast cancer surgery. McAnena P, Lowery A, Kerin MJ.
Br J Surg. 2018 Jan;105(2):e19-e30. doi: 10.1002/bjs.10790.PMID: 29341144

Potential Projects

The candidate will work on a project that builds on our current work investigating the suitability of adipose derived stem cells in novel breast reconstruction strategies. The candidate will work with a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research, on the hospital campus at NUI Galway.

Specifically, breast cancer patient derived adipose stem cells will be combined with clinically relevant biodegradable hydrogel scaffold in an injectable format that will be developed to address both tissue volume and site morbidity issues associated with current reconstructive techniques. Elucidating the oncological safety of the newly developed system in suitable preclinical models will be an integral part of the study as this is fundamental for successful clinical translation.

Techniques to be used include but not limited to: in vitro stem cell culture, immunocytochemistry analysis, protein / gene analysis, scaffold fabrication, pre-clinical models, histology. The work is multidisciplinary in nature, involving colleagues and collaborators in Bioengineering, Surgery and Regenerative Medicine. The research environment at the Department of Surgery and Translational Research Facility (TRF) in NUIG is ideally suited to support translational research as described in this project - with the Department of surgery bio-bank which stores, biospecimens from over 5000 cancer patients, and research laboratory co-located on the same site as the hospital, transport and processing of clinical bio-specimens occurs in a streamlined and timely manner, making the use of patient derived ASCs feasible, which is a unique strength of the study.