Prof. Dolores J. Cahill, Professor of Translational Science at UCD School of Medicine, University College Dublin
Prof. Dr Dolores Cahill has over 25 years expertise in high-throughput protein array, antibody array, proteomics technology development,
automation and their biomedical applications, including in biomarker discovery, diagnostics and personalised medicine. She is Professor of Translational Science, School of Medicine and at the Conway Institute at the University College Dublin (UCD) (2005-present). With her research group & collaborators, she has achieved key breakthroughs in developing and demonstrating applications of high throughput array technology in biological, diagnostics & medical research. Prof. Cahill pioneered this research at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany (1996-2003) and holds several granted international patents in this vital field. Some of her activities include:
In 1996, she co-founded Protagen AG (https://protagen.com/) in Dortmund, including with Prof. Helmut Meyer, as a spin-out of the Max-Planck-Institute to commercialise her discoveries. Protagen Protein Services (https://protagenproteinservices.com/) a 2014 spin-off company of Protagen delivers expert protein, antibody, proteomics & peptide contract services to the pharmaceutical industry & health care sectors. Both companies have advanced these technologies & applications; Protagen has screened and profiled the autoantibody repertoire of over 20,000 patients (https://protagen.com/data-and-insight/scientific-publications/). Protagen AG and Protagen Protein Services have over 200 employees in 2018. Since 2016, Prof. Cahill is a shareholder & Advisory Board member of Atturos Ltd, Prof. Stephen Pennington’s UCD spin-out company nvolved in improved Prostate Cancer diagnosis (http://atturos.com/ and http://atturos.com/company/advisors/).
She received her Honours degree in Molecular Genetics from Trinity College Dublin (1989) and her PhD in Immunology from Dublin City University (1994). While studying in Trinity, she was awarded the Irish American Fellowship Prize (1988) to research at Prof. Pringle’s laboratory in the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. During her undergraduate & PhD studies, she worked, including as Assistant Manager, in fine-dining Country Clubs in Long Island, New York (4 summers) & in Tenafly, New Jersey (4 summers). On obtaining her PhD, she obtained an EU ‘Human Capital & Mobility’ Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Technical University, Munich, Germany (1994-1995). Prof. Cahill became Group Leader of the Protein Technology Group in the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Genetics, Berlin (1996-2003). She obtained an Associate Professor position, in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Director of Proteomics Core, RCSI, Dublin (2000-2005). Since 2005 – present, she is Full Professor of Translational Science in the School of Medicine, University College Dublin and she has extensive management experience, including successfully obtaining funding from the European Commission (FP4, FP5, FP6, FP7 and Horizon 2020), Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Health Research Board & successfully writing, project managing, publishing & reporting on all financial & regulatory aspects in academic & private sectors, in the companies she co-founded.
She has over 100 peer reviewed publications, with over 5000 citations and a H-index is 31, which is in the top 10% globally for the Biomedicine discipline. Prof. Cahill is internationally recognised for her biomedical research, publications and patent record in life sciences, biotechnology, personalised healthcare, personalised medicine, diagnostics, biomarker discovery and validation, proteomics, biotechnology, high content protein and antibody arrays and their biomedical, diagnostic and clinical applications. Her publications have demonstrated utility and applications in the research, commercial & clinical sectors and include characterisation of antibodies specificity (including therapeutic antibodies), biomarker discovery, diagnostics, assay development, protein-interaction studies, proteomics, large scale/systems biology research, validating biomarker panels in diagnostic clinical trial, personalised medicine and assessing immune related adverse events.
She has given over 100 Keynotes Lectures in Ireland, UK, Europe, USA, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, South America. For example, she is invited to the ‘5th Precision Medicine and Biomarkers Leaders’ Summit’ in Munich in September 2018 & will Chair a Roundtable on Personalised Medicine and Adverse Events to discuss whether lessons can be learned from cancer immunotherapy and immune related adverse events to provide insight into understanding adverse events and personalised medicine and finding adverse event predictive biomarkers (http://www.giiconference.com/gel560004/catalog.pdf?1528437050). She has organised many national & international conferences over 20 years. In 2017 for example, she was a member of the Organising Committee of the World Proteome HUPO Organisation 2017 conference, chaired by Prof. Stephen Pennington, held in Dublin, which had over 1300 attendees, with 90% from outside Ireland (http://hupo2017.ie/?team=prof-dr-dolores-cahill). USA Vice-President Joseph R. Biden Jr. launched the Cancer Moonshot at the Opening Gala dinner at this event (http://www.ucd.ie/innovation/newsevents/news/2017/september/hupogloballeadershipgalaevent/).
She has been an expert in the EU European Commission for over 20 years, for example, she is an Expert in the EU Future and Emerging Technologies FETOPEN as an Innovation Radar expert (2016-2018), EU Horizon 2020 expert TWINNING calls (2017-2018), Personalised Medicine and H2020 Societal Challenges 1 (Health) calls, in 2018. She has been an expert for European Research Council (2014-2017) and Chair or Observer of European Commission Calls in: the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI; 2014-2015); FP7 Health, FP7 Health- Innovation, FP7 Infrastructure, FP7 Energy & Smart Cities (2007-2013), BMBF/DLR in Germany (2003-present); BBSRC in the UK UK: Genes & Developmental Biology Committee (GDB) and their Strategic Reviews (2005, 2007 & 2011); Vinnova in Sweden (2009-present), IWT in Belgium (2011). She is a Science Advisory Board of Human Protein Altas, (2002-present), ProNova Research Excellent Institute, Sweden (2007-present) and Complexinc, Switzerland (2010-present).
She is interested in Research, Innovation & Enterprise policy development & implementation for over 15 years. For example, from 2005 to 2014, she was a Member of the Irish Government’s Advisory Science Council (ASC) (www.sciencecouncil.ie) appointed by the Irish Government Minister for Health. In this role, she was involved in developing the Irish Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation (2006- 2013) working with the Council, the Irish Government departments of Health, Education, Enterprise & Finance. She Chaired the ASC Task Force on the Irish Government Policy document ‘Towards a Framework for Researcher Careers’ & as a Task Force member in ASC Policy Reports on ‘Promoting Enterprise-Higher Education Relationships’ (2009) & ‘Sustainability of Research Centres’ (2012).
Following her nomination in 2012 to the European Commission in Brussels, by the Irish Prime Minster (Taoiseach) and Enterprise Ireland, she succeeded in obtaining a Policy Expert role as a Seconded National Expert (SNE) (2013-2014) in the European Commission Research and Innovation (HORIZON2020) (DG RTD) Directorate. She was the Health Thematic Correspondent for health strategy & policy in this Global Coordination (C1) Unit This role had an emphasis on International Cooperation for Strategy and Policy coordination, between the EU and Asia where she was responsible for international policy coordination & development between the EU and South Korea, ASEAN & China, including working on Framework Conditions, Commercialisation aspects & International Cooperation Dialogue with China.
Since 2016, she was elected as a Member of the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Science Committee (2017-2019) having been nominated to represent Ireland by Enterprise Ireland and having been elected by the EU Member States Committee (https://www.imi.europa.eu/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/About-IMI/Governance/sc/Bio_Cahill_Nov16.pdf). She has been advisor to multiple countries, for example, from 2010-2017, she was a member of the German International Science Advisory Review Board of the German Translational Medicine in Cancer (2010-2017) Strategic Programme funded by the German Department Health and the BMBF/DLF in Germany http://www.dkfz.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/2011/dkfz-pm-11-24-German-Consortium-for-Translational-Cancer-Research- Gets-Started.php). This Board had oversight of the strategic planning, development & integration of genomics, proteomics, systems biology, genome screening and integration of cutting edge personalised medicine technologies into the German hospital and health care systems, which has been an outstanding success in the German Cancer Centres. Since 2016, Prof. Cahill is a member of the German Cancer Aid Scientific Review board to review the research funding of Clinical Trials that are embedded into these German Cancer Centre Networks (https://www.krebshilfe.de/informieren/ueber-uns/deutsche-krebshilfe/about-us-deutsche-krebshilfegerman-cancer-aid/). In Ireland, since 2004 to present, she has been supporting initiatives to integrate biobanking, electronic health records & research with the health care sector. For example, since 2010, she has been involved in developing a Biomarker Network (http://education.crdi.ie/page/g/s/91), a supporter of Biobanking Ireland, led by Prof. Eoin Gaffney (http://www.biobankireland.com/) & the Clinical Research Development Ireland (https://www.crdi.ie/research/innovation/innovation-biographies/).
Prof. Cahill has received a number of awards for her research, such as, the prestigious BMBF BioFuture Prize (2000) from the German Minister of Science while in the Max-Planck-Institute, Berlin. She was honoured with a lifetime award from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies 2009 Award in Norway, for her research & its significance. Other award recipients that year were Prof. J. Craig Venter & Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Robert Huber.