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Dr. Eric Downer

Assistant Professor (Physiology)
BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES INSTITUTE

Assistant Professor (Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN))


Dr. Eric Downer is an Assistant Professor in Human Health and Disease at TCD (appointed June 2015), and acts as Director of the Human Health and Disease BSc programme. He is currently involved in teaching Physiology to Medical, Physiology, Allied Health Science and Human Health and Disease BSc students. Dr. Downer graduated from TCD with a first class honours degree in Physiology (2001) and a Ph.D in Neuroscience (2005). He began his postdoctoral research career in the Physiology department at TCD with Prof. Marina Lynch (2005 - 2008) and was subsequently awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from IRCSET that enabled him to develop his own research programme based at the Institute of Immunology, NUI Maynooth (2008 - 2010). In 2011 he returned as a senior research fellow at TCIN, also acting as co-ordinator of the PRTLI PhD programme at TCD (2012). He was appointed to his first academic position in UCC in January 2013, where he was a lecturer and PI in the Dept. Anatomy and Neuroscience (Jan 2013 - May 2015) and also the Director of the Biosciences Imaging Centre (June 2014 - May 2015). In June 2015 he was appointed as Assistant Prof. at TCD, where he also acts as Director of the Human Health and Disease BSc programme. He leads an active research group (2 post-docs, 2 PhD students, 1 RA) and his research has been funded by the EI, IRC, HRB, the Physiological Society and the British Neuropathological Society. To date he has published 41 articles (39 peer-reviewed journals; 17 first author, 16 senior author; 2 book chapters) and over 50 conference proceedings. Dr. Downer has been honoured with the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Early Career Award in 2009, the Neuroscience Ireland Early Career Investigator Award in 2013, a Deans Award for Teaching and Learning (TCD; 2016) and a commendation for shortlisting for the Provost's Teaching Award (2019).
Details Date
External examiner at NUIG and UCC. 2017
Engagement with patient societies' by writing for the MS Ireland patient eZine 2015, 2017
Organising committee: RAMI annual meeting, Trinity College. 2017
Organising committee: Neuroscience Ireland Brain Awareness Outreach Event, Trinity College. 2017
Represented the University as a speaker at the iWISH conference in the RDS (2017) attended by 4,000 students. 2017
Organising committee: Physiology Friday Outreach Event, Trinity College. 2016
Council member: Neuroscience Ireland 2016 - Present
Research highlighted in the Irish Times. 2015
Grant Reviewer: Orthopaedic Research UK. 2015
Director: Biosciences Imaging Centre, Biosciences Building, University College Cork (UCC), Cork, Ireland. 2014 - 2015
Writer for MS patient website (www.livinglikeyou.com). 2014 - Present
Editor (guest): British Journal of Pharmacology 2014
Grant Reviewer: NUI Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Sciences, NUI Traveling Studentships in the Sciences, Medical Research Council. 2014
Research highlighted in the Irish Examiner. 2013
Organising committee: 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research. 2013
Programme co-ordinator: Structured PRTLI Ph.D programme. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland. 2012
Organising committee: 4th Annual Workshop on Cannabinoid Research in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin. 2011
Secretary: Irish Cannabinoid Research Committee 2011
Organising committee: 3rd Annual Workshop on Cannabinoid Research in Ireland, NUIM. 2009
Council member: Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Council member (Biomedical Sciences section) 2009 - Present
Journal Reviewer for approx 20 journals 2008 - Present
Details Date From Date To
Communications Officer - Neuroscience Ireland 2018 Present
Neuroscience Ireland Council member 2016 Present
Member of the TCD School of Medicine Appeals committee 2015 Present
Chair of the Human Health and Disease BSc curriculum committee, Trinity College Dublin 2015 Present
Chair of the ERASMUS exchange committee (Human Health and Disease; TCD) 2015 Present
Member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2015 2016
Secretary of Irish Cannabinoid Research Committee 2011 2013
Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Council member (Biomedical Sciences section) 2010 Present
1. Barry, A., Cronin, O, Ryan, A.M., Sweeney, B., O'Toole, O., Allen, A.P., Clarke, G., O'Halloran, K.D., and Downer, E.J. , Cycle ergometer training enhances plasma interleukin-10 in multiple sclerosis. , Neurol Sci. , Epub ahead of print), 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Lone, M., McKenna, J.P., Cryan, J, Vagg, T., Downer, E.J., Toulouse, A. , Development and Assessment of a Three-Dimensional Tooth Morphology Quiz for Dental Students. , Anat. Sci. Education. , (in press), 2018, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Barry, A., O'Halloran, K., McKenna, McCreary, C., Brendan Harhen, Daniel M. Kerr, David P. Finn, Downer, E.J. , Plasma N-acylethanolamine and endocannabinoid levels in burning mouth syndrome: potential role in disease pathogenesis. , J Oral Pathol Med. , 2018, p(in press)-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Lone, M., McKenna, J.P., Cryan, J.F., Vagg, T., Downer, E.J., Toulouse, A. , A Survey of Tooth Morphology Teaching Methods Employed in the United Kingdom and Ireland. , Eur J Dent Education., 2018, p(in press)-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Barry, A., Cronin, O, Ryan, A.M., Sweeney, B., O'Toole, O., Allen, A.P., Clarke, G., O'Halloran, K.D., and Downer, E.J. , Impact of short-term cycle ergometer training on quality of life, cognition and depressive symptomatology in multiple sclerosis patients: a pilot study, Neurological Sciences, 2017, p(in press)-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Lone, M., McKenna, J.P., Cryan, J.F., Vagg, T., Toulouse, A., Downer, E.J. , Evaluation of an animation tool developed to supplement dental student study of the cranial nerves., Eur J Dent Education., (in press), 2017, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Barry, A., O'Halloran, K., McKenna, McCreary, C., Downer, E.J. , Plasma IL-8 signature correlates with pain and depressive symptomatology in patients with Burning Mouth Syndrome: results from a pilot study. , J Oral Pathol Med. , in press, 2017, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Fitzpatrick, J-M., Downer, E.J., Toll-like Receptor Signalling as a Cannabinoid Target in Multiple Sclerosis. , Neuropharmacology. , 113(Pt B), 2017, p618 - 626, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Lone, M., McKenna, J.P., Cryan, J.F., Downer, E.J., Toulouse, A., Assessment of Thiel-embalmed cadavers as a teaching tool for oral anatomy and local anaesthesia., J Dent Education, 81(4):, 2017, p420 - 426, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Downer, E.J., Galpha(q) takes centre stage in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis., Cellular and Molecular Immunology , 14(5):, 2017, p401 - 402, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
  

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Award Date
. Co-organiser of the MS Ireland research Outreach Event, Trinity College Dublin 2018
. Invited speaker at Science on Tap public Outreach Event The Liquor Rooms, Dublin. 2017
. Invited speaker at the Personalised Medicine in MS International Symposium, Milan. 2017
. Co-recipient of the Deans Award for Teaching and Learning, Trinity College 2017
. Invited Speaker at iWISH STEM conference, RDS, Dublin, Ireland 2017
. Co-organiser of the RAMI annual meeting, Trinity College 2017
. Co-organiser of the Neuroscience Ireland Brain Awareness Outreach Event, Trinity College. 2017
. Recipient of the Deans Award for Teaching and Learning, Trinity College 2016
. Co-organiser of the Physiology Friday Outreach Event, Trinity College 2016
. Research highlighted in MS Ireland's research eZine 2016
. Research highlighted in the Irish Times 2015
. Selected as Young Colloquia to present research at the Society for Neurochemistry meeting in Cairns, Australia 2015
. Nominated by students (Dental: year 1) for Presidents Award for Excellence in Teaching, UCC 2014
. Invited writer for Industry sponsored patient website (www.livinglikeyou.com) 2014-Present
. Invited writer for MS Ireland patient newsletter 2014
. Winner of the Neuroscience Ireland Early Career Investigator Award 2013
. Research highlighted by the Irish Examiner 2013
. Host/Organiser of the 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research 2013
. Host of the 4th Annual Workshop on Cannabinoid Research in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin 2011
. Elected council member of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2010-Present
. Shortlisted finalist for the Roche Researcher of the Year Award 2010
. Winner of Early Career Award from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009
. One of three early career investigators funded by The Cannabinoid Research Society to present at the NIDA mini convention in Chicago, USA 2009
. Host of the 3rd Annual Workshop on Cannabinoid Research in Ireland, NUIM 2009
. Research highlighted in the Health Research Board "Neuroscience: Brain Matters" bulletin 2005
. Commentary on research in British Journal of Pharmacology (Guzmán, M. 2003, British Journal of Pharmacology, 149, 439-440). 2003
. Research highlighted in the Irish Times and Trinity Student Medical Journal 2002
. Recipient of Enterprise Ireland Postgraduate Award 2001-2004
. Recipient of a Postgraduate Award from Trinity College Dublin in recognition of final year undergraduate results 2001
. Final undergraduate research project ranked 1st in Senior Sophister class 2001
My research background is in neuroimmunology, and I interested in how neuroimmune interactions are controlled under normal physiological conditions and disease states. My laboratory is particularly interested in the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and have published data demonstrating that cells associated with MS pathology display evidence of altered innate immune signalling signatures that may be linked directly with disease pathology. Specifically, my research efforts have focused on Toll-like Receptor (TLR) signalling, and my interest in this area is harboured by the established role of TLRs in innate immunity, in addition to emerging evidence that TLRs are implicated as pivotal players in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory disorders including MS. My long-term goal is to consolidate a research group that conducts patient-orientated research by investigating the links between cellular innate immune signalling signatures in peripheral blood cells and the impact of disease on central read-outs of cognition, pain, depression and neurologic disability. By conducting such investigations my research team aims to (a) delineate the role of the innate immune system in disease progression and symptomatology and, (b) investigate the impact of novel therapeutic strategies (cannabinoid-based drugs and exercise) on innate immune responses and disease symptoms in patients. To address this I have built clinical collaborations with Neurologists to access patient cohorts and have begun to profile innate immune profiles with disease parameters in MS patient cohorts. Media articles on my research: Irish Examiner http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/irish-scientists-leading-street-drug-research-229863.html Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/medical-marvel-the-uses-of-cannabis-continue-to-grow-1.2169988 Summary of research interests: Neuroimmunology Multiple Sclerosis Innate immune signalling Cannabinoid pharmacology Neuropathology Neuropathic orofacial pain Novel teaching innovations Funding: IRC HRB Physiological Society British Neuropathological Society