SHIELD CF (The Study of Host Immunity and Early Lung Disease in Cystic Fibrosis) is an ambitious, long term translational research programme. Great progress has been made in the treatment of CF lung disease over the last 20 years, and survival continues to improve; however, it is still a life shortening disease. Given the complexity of this disorder, we feel that the optimal way to study and understand it is with a well-designed, long term, and wide ranging clinical research programme. Our ultimate aim with SHIELD CF is to include all children born in Ireland with CF, and to follow them through until adulthood. Ireland is a perfect setting for this, given our small geographical area, high incidence of CF, and small network of CF centres.

SHIELD CF is based around our annual assessment service, which includes a range of blood tests, x-rays, lung function tests, and a bronchoscopy in children who cannot produce sputum specimens. All samples that are taken are catalogued and stored in a specialised biobank for current and future use. In parallel to our clinical sample collection, we are collecting a wide array of clinical information about our patients, including complications of the disease and access to medical care. This data is collected each time the child interacts with our service. In line with the principles of research ethics, protection of samples and data is of the highest standard.

The design of the program allows for a significant degree of collaboration with national and international colleagues in an effort to gain a greater understanding of lung disease in children with CF and get maximum benefit from the samples and information we have collected.

Professor Paul McNally carries out a bronchoscopy on a child with CF.

Structure and Governance

SHIELD CF was set up in 2010 by Prof Paul McNally and Dr Barry Linnane at OLCHC and the NCRC. Currently the study is active in 3 paediatric Centres, OLCHC, Tallaght Hospital, and the University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Clinical samples are stored centrally at NCRC where the administration of SHIELD CF is based. SHIELD CF has been fully funded by NCRC since its inception. SHIELD CF has a steering committee that oversees the study, provides governance and direction, and assesses the scientific merit of potential collaborations. SHIELD CF employs local research assistants and research co-ordinators involved in both SHIELD CF and CF Clinical trials.


Steering Group

Clinical Investigators


Tallaght Hospital

  • Dr Peter Greally
  • Dr Basil El Nazir

UH Limerick

Research Co-ordinators

OLCHC Crumlin

  • Dr Jenny Lennon
  • Dr Rebecca Reilly
  • Aine Fleming

Tallaght Hospital

  • Aine Fleming

UH Limerick

  • Ellen Obande


Collaborations with SHIELD CF should be well thought out, clinically relevant and preferably prospective. Collaboration is encouraged as it broadens the scope and standing of SHIELD CF but most importantly advances our understanding of early CF lung disease and maximises the potential of the collected data and samples. Potential collaborations will be assessed by the steering group on the basis of scientific quality, clinical relevance to early CF lung disease, ease of execution and cost management.

The collaboration process is outlined in the following document:

SHIELD CF governance, collaboration and access (.pdf)

Potential collaborators are asked to fill out the SHIELD CF Collaboration Proposal Form (.docx) and email it to or