Many people come to work every day in a university that is renowned for its research and innovation. Yet, in today’s hectic schedules many do not find the time to find out just where all that research and innovation is going?
NUI Galway’s Research Centres Outreach Network, REMEDI, NCBES, ECI, DERI and Applied Optics wanted to make our research more accessible. The Open Your Mind series of lunchtime seminars invited all university employees to attend, listen, ask questions and have lunch. From Renewable Energy Technologies to the Secret World of the Brain to the Science of the Web…we had a lot to say!
On December 2, Professor of Transplant Biology, Matthew Griffin gave the fourth talk of the series entitled ‘Immune Intolerance: Why is it Important?’ Matt’s primary qualification is in Medicine. Training took him from Cork and Dublin to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA where he specialised in the care of patients with kidney disease and organ transplants. This interest in transplantation resulted in a research fellowship in basic immunology at the University of Chicago, USA following which Matt spent 9 years combining clinical transplant medicine with laboratory-based immunology research at Mayo Clinic. During that time he received funding for a variety of clinical and basic projects from Mayo Clinic, NIH, the National Kidney Foundation, Roche Organ Transplant Research Foundation, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories. I developed specific interest in the immune-modulating properties of Vitamin D, the molecular basis for chronic kidney transplant rejection, complications of organ transplantation and the involvement of cells from the immune system in kidney disease. These projects eventually resulted in over 80 publications. In 2008, Matt had the opportunity to return to Ireland to take up the post of Professor of Transplant Biology affiliated with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. His laboratory group has received funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to study the immunologic basis of acute and chronic kidney disease and how this might be altered by stem cell-based therapy. With other REMEDI researchers this group is specifically studying the immune therapeutic properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). In the future, the goal is to translate new insights in basic immunology into diagnostic tools and treatment strategies for kidney disease, transplant loss and other immune-mediated diseases.