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Full NameDr Gary Moran

School of Dental Science

Trinity College Dublin

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Research Fields
  • genetics, genomics and molecular biology
  • infectious disease and the immune system
  • cancer/oncology
Postgrad Medical Specialties
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine
Medical Subspecialties
  • Infectious diseases
  • Oncology
My Work

I run the Oral Microbiome research group in the School of Dental Science. My research focuses on the role of the microbiome in health and disease:
1. How the microbiome can be used to predict the degree of oral dysplasia.
2. How the oral microbiome influences malignant progression.
3. The interaction of the oncocbaterium Fusobacterium nucleatum and oral cells.
4. The biology of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.

Potential Projects

Project 1: Metagenome of oral cancer. My group is part of a European consortium studying oral cancer development (INTERCEPTOR). We have access to saliva samples from oral cancer patients throughout Europe. This project will analyse the microbiome in patients with early stage premalignancies to identify microbial risk factors for oral cancer. This project will involve:
1. Liaising with a large group of European researchers
2. Isolation of DNA and metagenome analysis
3. Machine learning to develop predictive models of precancer progression

Project 2: Characterisation of the acetaldeyde (ACH) generating capacity of the oral microbiome. ACH is a carcinogen that can be generated from alcohol by microbial cells. Oral bacteria and fungi can generate carcinogenic levels of ACH and may contribute to cancer development. This project will involve:
1. Microbiome analysis of oral cancer patients using Illumina sequencing
2. Metabolomic analysis of saliva for ACH
3. Characterisation of ACH generating microbes
4. Examination of the link between ACH production and oral cancer development

Project 3: Analysis of the interaction of the oncobacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum and human cells. F. nucleatum has been found at high levels in many human tumours and high levels are associated with lower patient survival and metastases. We have a collection of F. nucleatum from oral malignancies. This project will involve:
1. Characterisation of the interaction with F. nucleatum and oral cells using RNA seq, immunoprofiling and Western blot analysis
2. Characterisation of adhesin proteins on F. nucleatum that can induce cell motility, tumour invasion and negative immune reactions.
3. Analysis of microRNAs expression in cells exposed to F. nucleatum.