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Full NameDr Emma J O'Neill
School of Veterinary Medicine
University College Dublin
- infectious disease and the immune system
Canine liver disease, Medical education
- Veterinary Medicine
- Infectious diseases
Neutrophilic cholangitis (NC) is increasingly identified in dogs but the aetiopathogenesis is poorly understood. Initial work centred on a descriptive studies of this condition, aiming to characterise key clinical features. A small case series (O'Neill et al 2006) and then a retrospective, multi-centre study and larger case series (Tamborini et al 2016) identified an association of NC with gallbladder (GB) disease suggesting a common aetiopathogenesis or that one condition predisposes to the other. Multidrug resistant bacteria were also commonly identified in these cases with important One Health implications.
More recent work, performed as a DVMS study, focussed on the use of fluorescence in situ hybridisation to further characterise the role of bacteria in NC and gallbladder disease. Nanostring technology allowed characterisation of the gene expression pattern in a series of NC cases, helping to start investigation of aetiopathogenesis of this condition. The final part of this study was an ultrasound study aimed at establishing a reference interval for the normal thickness of the gallbladder wall (Martinez 2021).
Another area of study is use of the virtual learning environment as aid the development of metacognitive skills in students. This study was performed as a UCD Fellowship in Teaching and Academic Development.
Investigation of canine inflammatory liver disease
Two main areas of investigation stem from previous work in this group;
• Further characterisation of the aetiopathogenesis of canine inflammatory liver disease using Nanostring technology. An initial focus will be on gene expression features and potential markers that aid differentiation between canine cholangitis and reactive hepatitis. The work will also be extended to look at chronic hepatitis, one of the most common canine liver diseases, which despite its frequency of occurrence is very poorly understood.
• Characterisation of the bacteria involved in canine cholangitis and cholecystitis. The bacteria involved in these conditions frequently show multidrug resistance with important implications from an antimicrobial stewardship perspective. Investigation of the virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance markers in these bacteria will help to further characterise them and valuable information to guide their effective management.
Development of metacognitive skills in students
Having trialled our Metacognition Design Framework in three case studies in three very different academic disciplines (Veterinary Medicine, Social Science and Sports Science), we have a plot study looking at extending this approach into four further disciplines (Architecture, Maths, Nursing and Nutrition). The plan is to roll out a more extensive campus-wide study investigating the transferability of this approach to a variety of disciplines. The work will use mixed methods approaches to evaluate both the staff and student experiences of the value of the learning interventions. The aim is also to further refine the framework informed both by the results of these studies and use of an external teaching module to gather stakeholder feedback on experiences of using the Metacognition Design Framework.