Immunity and Infection is a key priority area for the NCRC, and has been for many years. Building on the substantial reputation of the Centre, gained through the earlier work of Prof Denis Reen, the current team of researchers within this theme continue to push the boundaries of our understanding of childhood disease across a number of disease areas. We are fortunate in that Ireland ranks among the top 3 countries in the world in the field of Immunology; our aim is to be world leaders in paediatric research.
Immunological responses are the basis of almost all disease pathology, therefore, this is a key pillar area of research for the NCRC. Areas currently under investigation include the lung damage in cystic fibrosis; the damage caused to the skin in eczema; the basis of childhood allergy; the nature of sepsis in the very young and how to improve outcomes; rheumatological diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, arthropathies of Down Syndrome; and vaccine design and development. Diseases with global impact, such gastrointestinal infection in children and inflammatory bowel disease are also studied within this focus area. The investigators involved are drawn from across the University sector, with active partnerships in place with TCD, UCD, RCSI, UCC, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, and UL, and across the hospitals, including OLCHC, NCH Tallaght, CUH Temple St, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, and St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin.
We are already having impact: for example, the discovery of a mutation in the Filaggrin gene as a key defect in eczema by the team led by Prof Alan Irvine changed the global understanding of that disease. Two key longitudinal, biobanks – SHIELD CF for cystic fibrosis and DOCHAS for childhood IBD, are ensuring that new discoveries in these fields will be made into the future. Please explore the huge body of research taking place in the NCRC under this essential priority area.