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Research & Academia


Dr Marcus Kennedy 

Dr Marcus Kennedy’s main area of research is in the development of diagnostic and therapeutic devices for bronchoscopy. He is currently funded by a Health Research Board research grant in collaboration with the Dept of Engineering at UCC (www.ucc.ie/en/biodesign). Dr Kennedy and Dr Padraig Cantillon-Murphy (http://research.ucc.ie/profiles/D013/pcantillonmurphy) have previously collaborated on a number of projects:

(1) Health Research Board Ireland (HRB) supported development of Magnetic Navigation Platform for Bronchoscopy. This involved the co-mentorship of an MD pulmonary research fellow to completion of thesis (www.ucc.ie/en/biodesign).

(2) An Enterprise Ireland funded adapted mouth piece for Endoscopy (https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/News/PressReleases/2014-Press-Releases/Vascular-surgical-device-wins-the-Clinical-Innovation-Award-2014.html)

(3) co-mentors of the UCC Masters in Bioinnovation Program 2014-2015 (http://www.bioinnovate.ie/) 

Dr. Kennedy has authored or co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1l9myeqJult51/bibliography/48092715/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending) and book chapters (http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=1LW5nKcAAAAJ&hl=en) and is on the editorial board of the “Advances in Therapy” medical journal and the World Association of Bronchoscopy and Interventional Pulmonology (http://www.wabip.com/). 



Dr Michael Henry MD, MSc, FRCP\(Lond), FRCPI.

Dr Michael Henry has developed a wide range of research interests. With publication of his MD thesis is research interests forcussed on the inflammatory processes involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, cystic fibrosis and COPD. While in the UK, he was the lead author of the British thoracic Society international guidelines for the diagnosis and management of spontaneous pneumothorax. More recently he is developing research projects examining potential biomarkers in IPF and scleroderma related fibrosis, use of CT in predicting suitability for lung cancer surgery and novel therapies in the management of inoperable lung cancer. He is the author of over 53 peer reviewed publications – he is currently investigating the role of Pirfenidone on potential biomarkers in IPF and ultra low radiation dose monitoring of solitary pulmonary nodules. He has co-supervised several postgraduate students for MD theses.


Dr Des Murphy 

Dr Des Murphy’s research interests include airway and vascular remodelling and potential modulation of pulmonary immunity. He is extensively published in airway remodelling in the post-transplant and asthmatic airway, asthma pathophysiology, transplant immunity, pulmonary vascular disease and airway immunomodulation. He is currently supervising 2 PhD students examining the role of the airway microbiome and aspiration in asthma. He is a co-investigator on a HRB funded study examining the utility of a device monitoring inhaler technique and compliance in the management of asthma (INCA). He also has a clinical trial in COPD currently underway with 3 clinical trials in asthma due to commence shortly. These trials are co-ordinated via the Clinical Research Facility in UCC. Dr Murphy has authored or co-authored 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters


Professor Barry Plant 

Professor Plant is the Director of the E.L.D.R.G. (Extreme Lung Disease Research Group) at Cork University Hospital/ University College Cork. With the support of the HRB-CFR, UCC, the E.L.D.R.G’s mission statement is “Focusing on extreme clinical phenotypes will enhance our understanding of all phenotypes”. Presently it has a number of active research streams including:


  • The microbiome: Professor Plant recently coordinated and was successfully awarded an FP7 award (6 million euros over 3 years) from the EU commission, to lead 12 partner sites across Europe and the USA. This project CFMATTERS (Cystic Fibrosis Microbiome-determined Antibiotic Therapy Trial in Exacerbations: Results Stratified) will provide a randomised multi-centre control trial of microbiome-derived antimicrobial treatments (next generation detection methods) versus current empirical therapy (standard hospital methods) for lung infection.  
  • CFTR Modulation: Personalised medicine is gaining importance particularity in the area of lung disease. The CORK (Clinical Outcomes in Real-world Kalydeco) Study is presently examining the downstream consequences of ‘new’ personalised CFTR modulatory therapies in the area of Cystic Fibrosis.  
  • Biomarkers of response to therapy in Lung disease: Currently the group is exploring the utility of different novel blood biomarkers for CF lung disease and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (in collaboration with Dr. Michael Henry, CUH). Equally the development of radiological imaging as a biomarker of response to treatment is on-going in collaboration with Professor Michael Maher, UCC. 
  • Clinical Trials: The group participates in increasing numbers of clinical trials. To date a number of studies in the area of inhaled antibiotics and CFTR modulation therapies have been the primary focus. Recently Professor Plant assumed a Global PI role for the Next Generation CFTR Vertex Modulation Therapy Program.  
  • Exercise in Elite athletes: In collaboration with Dr. Eanna Falvey/Professor Michael Molloy and the IRFU the group continues to prospectively monitor immune and lung function in elite athletes during competition to understand the mechanism behind acute sepsis and exercise induced bronchospasm in this group of ‘healthy’ patients. 
  • The Lung-Gut axis: The relationship between these two organs in health and disease is gaining importance with certain bacteria presaging the gut prior to the lung and the emergence of antibiotic related gastrointestinal diarrhoea post therapy for lung sepsis. In collaboration with the APC Microbiome Institute, Professor Fergus Shanahan and Teagasc. The group is gaining significant expertise in the area of Clostridium Difficile infection in CF, the CF gut microbiome and potential future role of probiotics in this cohort.  

Professor Plant is extensively published in international medical journals and textbooks in all areas of lung disease. He has been an invited speaker by many international societies including the American Thoracic Society, the Irish Thoracic Society, the European Respiratory Society, the Australasian CF Society, the European CF Society and the Food and Drug Administration USA.