NUI Galway Announce New Appointments

Professor Andrew Smyth, Director and Professor Fidelma Dunne, Associate Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Sep 08 2020 Posted: 16:12 IST

New director and associate director for the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway 

NUI Galway today announced the appointment of Professor Andrew Smyth and Professor Fidelma Dunne as Director and Associate Director of the Health Research Board Clinical Research Facility Galway. 

The HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway (HRB-CRFG) is a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals (GUH), Saolta University Health Care Group and NUI Galway, which has been in operation since March 2008. The HRB provides funding to the Clinical Research Facility Galway to support the infrastructure, physical space, facilities, expertise and culture needed for translational research. They focus on studies aimed at understanding a range of diseases and speedily translating the knowledge obtained through this research work into regulatory approved advances in patient care.

Andrew Smyth, appointed Director, is the Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at NUI Galway and a Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals. His personal research interests are in the epidemiology of chronic kidney disease, particularly modifiable risk factors and the relationship between diet and health outcomes. Through his role at HRB-CRFG, he has been heavily involved in clinical trials across an array of clinical specialities that include: gestational diabetes mellitus; stem cell treatments for limb ischaemia; haematology; breast cancer investigations; and psychiatry. He was the first Irish-based recipient of a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship and collaborates closely with the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University Canada.

Speaking on the announcement Professor Smyth, said: “My vision for HRB-CRFG is to maximise the ability for local patients and investigators to access contemporary clinical research projects and clinical trials to directly impact and improve the health and wellbeing of the population through executing clinical research studies to the highest regulatory standards and ethical frameworks in line with international best practice.”

Fidelma Dunne, appointed Associate Director, is a Professor in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and a Consultant physician in Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism at Galway University Hospitals group. Originally a graduate of NUI Galway Medicine, she has previously held a number of leadership roles.*

Professor Dunne’s major research interest is in the area of pregnancy and diabetes and her research group are conducting a number of studies as part of the ATLANTIC DIP programme including the EMERGE randomized controlled trial of the drug Metformin, the investigation of a biomarker (CD59) in Gestational diabetes mellitus pregnancies and a 10-year follow up (metabolic and cardiovascular) of women with prior gestational diabetes.

In addition, Professor Dunne has been involved in international studies that include CONCEPTT, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research charity, which examined the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring in women with Type 1 Diabetes during pregnancy, and DALI, a multicentre European funded trial on the prevention of Gestational diabetes mellitus using Vitamin D and lifestyle intervention. More recently she has been the Irish lead for EVOLVE, a pan European cohort study examining pregnancy outcomes of women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes across Europe, and is currently the Irish lead for the EXPECT study examining a new insulin (Insulin Degludec) in women with Type 1 Diabetes in pregnancy.

Speaking on her appointment Professor Dunne highlighted her vision during her tenure: “My vision for HRB-CRFG is to provide a research infrastructure that is safe and conducts research in accordance with best international practice, where all patients irrespective of geography have access to contemporary clinical trials exploring new medicines and treatments, novel screening and detection methods, and state of the art monitoring systems.”

Congratulating Professors Smyth and Dunne on their appointments Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Saolta University Healthcare Group, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to have top-tier talent with substantial experience in clinical research to fill these leadership roles within the CRFG. The next phase for this facility is exciting and this team will provide the infrastructure that will progress healthcare for patients with the highest regulatory standards.”

Professor O’Brien also acknowledged the role of previous Director, Professor Martin O’Donnell in the development of the facility. “Professor O’Donnell is a highly cited, internationally recognized clinician investigator who led the HRB-CRFG through its formative stages and we are grateful for his outstanding contribution.” 

The HRB-CRFG is currently involved in 50 clinical trials including specialist areas such as stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and nutrition.

For more information about the HRB-CRFG, visit:


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