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Dr. Helen Sheridan

Associate Professor (Pharmacy)

Helen Sheridan is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SoPPS) at TCD where she holds the position of Director of Research. Her personal research interests lie in the broad area of Natural Product (NP) Chemistry and Traditional Medicine (TM), with an emphasis on Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), Ethnopharmacology and Global health. Her work focuses on finding new therapies targeted at diseases with unmet clinical need, in addition to finding natural products suitable for use as nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. Helen, with international collaborators, is also involved in establishing global standards for the quality, safety and efficacy of TMs including TCM; activities that are supported through her work as part of a Sino-European Consortium (previously funded by EU-FP7;, her role on the Board of the International Natural Product Sciences Taskforce (INPST) society (The International Natural Product Sciences Taskforce (INPST) society), in her position as NP expert on the Irish medicines Board (HPRA: Health Products Regulatory Authority) and membership of NPRONET - Natural products discovery and bioengineering network UK. Helen has supervised 21 research students (PhDs and MScs) to completion, as well as 15 post-doctoral fellows. She currently have 7 researchers in her group. Helen is an NP/ organic chemist and has carried out research on a range of plant and fungal species. During her career she successfully identified a lead molecule from TM which her team brought through a programme of medicinal chemistry, through all preclinical stages of development into human clinical trials. During this period Helen co-founded a TCD Campus company, Trino Therapeutics Ltd and was co-PI on funding of approximately €13 million. The funding for this work began with a grant of €500 from the Royal Irish Academy, progressed to funding from EOLAS (the precursor of SFI) and then this work received significant translational investment from Venture Capital and the Wellcome Trust with €3.5 million as co-PI for a highly competitive Wellcome Strategic Translation Award (STA grant. Helen currently holds an SFI-TIDA award and is collaborator in a second TIDA. During this time she has also been co-applicant on seven published patents in the US, EU and Asia and has acted as patent expert on these projects with patenting agents in Ireland and the US. In latter years Helen has become more involved in ethnopharmacology on a global level, in particular the link between the established use of traditional medicine and its role in international development. She has supervised 5 research projects in this field in sub-Saharan Africa. The driving force behind her work is to find new therapeutic treatments for unmet clinical need and to finding meaningful uses for natural molecules. She has learned a lot about the journey from therapeutic drug discovery to human trials, and the challenges and obstacles that line the road. However, experience led decision making about research is invaluable. Through this lens of experience, the molecules Helen's group is working on have real therapeutic potential and have been designed to eliminate some of the insurmountable obstacles to drug development.
  ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE   Antiinflammatory drugs   Autoimmune Diseases (Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis)   Biotransformation   Chemical Biology   Development of drugs for malaria, Cancer and inflammatory diseases   Drug discovery   Fungi   Herbal medicine   In Vitro Testing, Trial Methods   Indanes, indanones, muscel, nast cell stabilisation, immunosuppressants   Inflammation   Inflammatory Bowel Disease   Medicinal plants   Multiple Sclerosis   Natural Product Chemistry   Organic chemistry   Over-the-Counter Drugs   Pharmacognosy   Phytochemical and pharmacological evaluations of native and foreign plants   Phytomedicines   Plant and algal cell monocultures   Secondary plant metabolism   The use of cell cultures for the discovery of novel drugs   Traditional and Indigenous health systems in developing countries   Traditional Chinese Medicine
 Novel indanes as potential therapies for auto-immune disease
 Investigation into Mechanism of action of PH46A
 A novel indane scaffold with potential anti-inflammatory agents.
  Traditional Chinese medicine research in the post-genomic era: Good practice,priorities, challenges and opportunities
 Effect of novel indanes on mast cell function

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Details Date
Appointed to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) Herbal Medicines Sub-Committee 2006 to date
Irish Medicines Board Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Ad Hoc sub-committee. 2003 - 2006
Youth Science committee of the Royal Dublin Society 1990-1992
Appointed external examiner to taught postgraduate masters programmes at the School of Pharmacy. University College London. 2014-2017
International Foundation for Science Grant reviewer 2009 to date
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Medium Medium
Details Date From Date To
. Board member of the Board of Directors of the Natural Product Sciences Taskforce INPST 2016 To date
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. 1989 To date
Life member GP-TCM RA (Good Practice in TCM Research Association). 2009 To date
Member of the SCT (Societe De Chimie Therapeutique The French Society for Medicinal Chemistry) 2014 To date
Member of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research. Gesellschaft für Arzneipflanzen- und Naturstoff-Forschung e.V. (GA). 2014 To date
Cumming, Graham; Zhang, Tao; Scalabrino, Gaia; Frankish, Neil; Sheridan, Helen, Investigation of the Stereoselective Synthesis of the Indane Dimer PH46A, a New Potential Anti-Inflammatory Agent , Organic Process Research & Development, 2018, p1972-1979 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Tao Zhang, Neil Frankish, Gaia Scalabrino and Helen Sheridan, Bioactive Indanes: Comparative in vitro Metabolism Study of PH46A, a New Potential Anti-Inflammatory Agent and Biosynthesis of its Primary Metabolite PH132 Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2018, Journal Article, IN_PRESS
Tao Zhang , Gaia Scalabrino , Neil Frankish and Helen Sheridan, "Bioactive Indanes: Proof of Concept Study for Enantioselective Synthetic Routes to PH46A, a New Potential Anti-Inflammatory Agent" , Molecules, 23 , 2018, p1 - 18, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Andy Wai Kan Yeung, Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal, Helen Sheridan et al., Dietary natural products and their potential to influence health and disease including animal model studies - a review, Animal Science Papers and Reports, 36, (4), 2018, p345-358 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Hook I, Sheridan, H, Reid C, Trichomes and naphthoquinones protect Streptocarpus dunnii Hook.f. against environmental stresses, South African Journal of Botany , Volume 119, 2018, p193 - 202, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Zhang, T. and Scalabrino, G. and Frankish, N. and Sheridan, H., Bioactive indanes: Proof of concept study for enantioselective synthetic routes to ph46a, a new potential anti-inflammatory agent, Molecules, 23, (7), 2018, p1503-, Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Frankish, N.H. and McHale, B. and Sheridan, H., The indane diastereoisomers, PH2 and PH5: divergence between their effects in delayed-type hypersensitivity models and a model of colitis, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 70, (1), 2018, p101-110 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
History and current status of Herbal Medicines' in, editor(s): Heikki Vuorela, Pierre Duez, Pia Maarit Vuorela, and Olavi Pelkonen. , Toxicology of Herbal Products, Springer Science and Business Media, 2017, [2. Sendker J and Sheridan H: ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL
Composition and quality control of herbal medicines in, editor(s)Heikki Vuorela, Pierre Duez, Pia Maarit Vuorela, and Olavi Pelkonen , Toxicology of Herbal Products', Springer Science & Business Media. , 2017, [3. Sendker J and Sheridan H], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL
Frankish, Neil; McHale, Brendan; Sheridan, Helen,, The indane diastereoisomers, PH2 and PH5: divergence between their effects in DTH models and a model of colitis" by F, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 70, (1), 2017, p101-110 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Shanahan, F., Michael heinrich, Sasse, A, Sheridan, H., Traditional Medicinal Knowledge in Ireland in the 1930s - Exploring Botanical Treatments. , 58th Annual Meeting of the Society of Economic Botany. L, Braganca, Portugal, 5th June 2017, edited by Conference Committee , 2017, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Helen Sheridan , Exploration of the feasibility of setting up the Trinity (or Irish) - Natural Product Foundation (Trinity-NPF of I-NPF) within TCD., CF-2017-0569Y. , Enterprise Ireland, 2017, Report, PUBLISHED
Shanahan, F., Sasse, A, Sheridan, H. , An Ethnomedicinal Study of Traditional Plant Remedies of Co. Wexford, Ireland in the 1930s. , 38th All Ireland Schools of Pharmacy Research Conference. , Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin 2. , 21st March 2016, 1, 2016, P1-, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Helen Sheridan and Ciara Smyth, Identification of extracts (and compounds) that could be derived from new plant species, grown in Ireland. An overview of species, market and potential partners who have processing experience, Enterprise ireland 1V-2012-3242., 2014, Report, PUBLISHED
Nazir, I., Rahman, N., Chan, K., Frankish, N., Sheridan, H, Ethnobotanical Study of Antidiabetic Plants of Cholistan Desert, District Bahawalpur, Pakistan, London BioNat, University of East London. UK, March 12th 2013., 2013, Poster, PUBLISHED
Jandirk Sendker, Andreas Marmann, Liselotte Krenn, Helen Sheridan, Ian Sutherland, Svetlana Ignatova, Peter Proksch, Monique Simmonds, Robert Verpoorte, Alberto Dias, Valérian Bunel, You-Ping Zhu , Deliverable 2.10 of WP2 (FP7 GP-TCM) to European Commission., 2011/10/17, 2011, Dataset, PUBLISHED
E Passante, C Ehrhardt, H Sheridan, N Frankish, Effect of novel indanes on the degranulation of rat basophilic leukemia mast cells (RBL-2H3), FASEB J, Experimental Biology Meeting 2007, Washington, DC, 28.04.-02.05.2007, 21, (5), 2007, pp574.9 , Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Hook, I., Comey, N. & Sheridan, H., Phytochemical evaluation of roots from cultivated L alpinum, Irish Botanists Meeting, University College Dublin, 2001, Notes: [ ], Conference Paper, PRESENTED
Hook, I., Comey, N. & Sheridan, H., Effect of inulin as carbon source on growth and essential oil content of Edelweiss hairy roots, 27th International Symposium on Essential Oils, Vienna, Austria, 1996, Conference Paper, PRESENTED
Hook, I., Comey, N., James, P. & Sheridan, H., A 2,3- dihydrochromone from the essential oil of edelweiss, Royal Society of Chemistry (TCD Meeting) Drugs from Natural Products. , Trinity College Dublin, 1994, Notes: [ ], Conference Paper, PRESENTED


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Award Date
Funding from the TCD Equality Fund to Stage 'Staying Afloat' in TCD in 2019 2018
SFI TIDA Award 2017
Wellcome Trust Strategic Translation Award (co-PI) 2013
Irish American Partnership Research Award - with Pfizer 1992
Travel awards: British Council 1991
RIA Travelling award 1990
Department of Education Post Doctoral Fellowship (UCD). 1984-1985
"1851 Overseas Traveling Scholarship". 1983-1984
French Government research Award - CNRS. Gif-Sur-Yvette 1983
NBST Young Researcher award with Dr. Hector Rubelcava (UCD) 1979
My research has always been multidisciplinary built on collaboration with pharmacologists, molecular biologists, biotechnologists and botanists, and is recognised at a national and inter-national level. I believe interdisciplinary research is the key requirement for Novel Drug Discovery, where a range of expertise is required to bring therapeutic discoveries from concept to execution. My post-graduate students have benefitted from this approach, learning early in the process, to work in a team with joint, or multiple supervisors, at the interface of many areas of expertise. I am not afraid to lead in this area, and believe that multi-component therapeutics from natural sources will be in use clinically, globally, in my lifetime. This is why I have engaged with the International, Multidisciplinary TCM Consortium establishing good practice (GP-TCM) and gold standards for quality, safety and efficacy of these complex medicines, as determined by 2004/24/EC. Ireland and TCD need to be involved in the critical mass of this complex Drug Discovery platform. One of my core research and teaching beliefs is that 'it is at the interface of disciplines and expertise that new ideas and creativity emerge'. Due to my research led teaching in Natural Products Chemistry, the interdisciplinary nature of this area is constantly underlined at all levels. . Multidisciplinary approach to drug discovery and development. . The use of plants and cell cultures (plant, fungal and animal), for the discovery of novel bio-active materials. . Preparation of novel anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immunomodulatory compounds by chemical and biological means. . Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Overview the best practice methodology, recommend applications, and future directions for metabolic profiling, component analysis and purification of secondary metabolites in preparations utilised in Traditional Chinese Medicine. . Traditional Herbal Medicines. Collaborative analysis of Bioactive Brazilian and Pakastini plant species. . Co-founder of Trino Therapeutics (Formerly Pharmatrin ltd), a TCD campus company whose activities are centered on drug discovery/development. . Finding new therapies targeted at diseases with unmet clinical need. . Drug discovery from the natural world, inspired by Ethnopharmacology . Drug discovery and optimised production:- plants; fungi; marine species. Use of biotechnology to modify biosynthesis and to generate biomass . Utilising metabolomic techniques to establish best practice for the determination of quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for human and veterinary use. . Global health in a Development context: Impact on Health. (Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya).