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Dr. Bairbre McNicholas

Post Grad
091 495039

Bairbre's research is focusing on diabetic kidney disease (diabetic nephrology), in particular looking at approaches used in vivo animal and human studies.

Researcher in

Research Project Area: 

Diabetic kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) is the commonest cause of kidney failure in the Western world but the mechanisms of kidney damage in diabetes are not well understood. Although good blood sugar and blood pressure control can slow the damage, there is a strong need for new treatment approaches. This research project will examine the involvement of the immune system in diabetic kidney damage. Specifically, it will investigate the role of an immune system protein called interleukin 6 (IL-6) in diabetic nephropathy. We believe that, in diabetes, immune cells in kidney produce IL-6 which activates other proteins to cause worsening inflammation and scarring.

To prove this, we will look at the source of IL-6 in kidneys of rats with diabetes and will observe the effect on kidney damage of injecting an antibody to IL-6. We will also investigate the amount of IL-6 contained in kidney cells and cell particles called exosomes that pass into the urine in diabetic people. By comparing the amount of IL-6 and related immune proteins in urine cells and exosomes of diabetic people with different levels of kidney damage we will find out how important this pathway is for diagnosis and treatment of diabetic nephropathy.


Positions Held: 

2010 - Present   National Spr Academic Fellowship Programme (NSAFP), Galway University Hospitals/REMEDI, NUI Galway.

 2009 - 2010   Specialist Registrar in Nephrology, Division of Nephrology, Galway University Hospitals

2007 - 2009   Senior House Officer, Western SHO scheme with rotation at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA

2006 - 2007   Intern, Galway University Hospitals - Nephrology, Endocrine (Medical professorial unit), Surgical professorial Unit (Breast and Endocrine), Vascular


Awards & Honours: 

2011  MRCPI

2009  Medical Degree (M.B B.Ch BAO)), 1st class honours, NUI Galway

2006  Surgical Gold Medal in Final Medical Examinations

2006  Kennedy Medal in Pathology

2004  B.Sc in Biochemistry,1st class honours, NUI Galway

2004  Henry Hutchinson Stewart Prize, 3rd place Medical microbiology

2004 1st place in class in Biochemistry Honours Degree Intercalated
University Prize 

Selected Publications: 


McNicholas BA, Bell M. Coeliac disease causing symptomatic hypocalcaemia, osteomalacia and coagulopathy. (Accepted British medical journal cases 11/2010)


McNicholas BA, Francis NJ, Harris C, Awan A, Reddan D, Sadlier D, Kavanagh D, Strain L, Marchbank KJ, Goodship THJ A novel hybrid complement gene associated with familial haemolytic uraemic syndrome,  (British Renal Society Meeting, Manchester, May 2010)

Ni Mhaille BA, Norby, SM, Rossetti, S, Takahashi, N, Kamath, PK, Chari, ST, Harris, PC, Smyrk, DT, Torres VT, Hogan, MC: Pancreatic Cysts and Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms in ADPKD, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2008, 19, 126A, Philadelphia, 2008

Browne, SA, Kearney E, Khan AA, Mutwali A, Ni Mhaille BA, McCarty P, Reddan DN, Contrast Nephropathy: Are we paying enough attention? Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2008, 19,982A

Ní Bhuachalla B, Ni Mhaille BA, Cotter, PE, Egan, A, Kavanagh, A, O’Connor, M O’Keeffe, ST: Patients preference following a bad hip fracture: a conjoint study analysis; Communications to the Spring Meeting of the British Geriatrics Society 2008 P37

Gaffney M, Ni Mhaille BA, Slevin O, Mutwali, A Nunan,Y Reddan, DN, Lappin, D. Calcium-Phosphate balance amongst haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients at Merlin Park Hospital, Galway. Irish Nephrology Society Scientific Meeting / Annual General Meeting. 18th May 2007 P30

Mutwali A, Hawkins F, Ni Mhaille BA, Sexton, D, Hillick, A, Reddan, D, Lappin D. Cardiovascular risks among renal transplant patients at Merlin Park Regional Hospital Galway– A retrospective study. Irish Nephrology Society Scientific Meeting / Annual General Meeting. 18th May 2007 P30.

Professional and Personal Interests: 


Member of the Galway Triathlon Club

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