Researchers in Focus: Dr Claire Kilty and Dr Fiona Lanigan
This month we are highlighting two research support staff who have been integral to the success of BREAST-PREDICT, the Irish Cancer Society’s Collaborative Cancer Research Centre that focusses exclusively on breast cancer research – Dr Fiona Lanigan and Dr Claire Kilty.
Fiona began her role as Centre Manager for BREAST-PREDICT in 2013.
Hailing from Tarbert in Co Kerry, Fiona's interest in cancer research was sparked during her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry in University College Cork. She began her research career as a PhD student in the UCD Conway Institute in University College Dublin, where her research focused on understanding how breast cancer develops and the key genes involved. Following her PhD, she carried out postdoctoral research in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, in Trinity College Dublin. There, her research resulted in the development of a new diagnostic test to predict the risk of tumour recurrence in early-stage breast cancer patients, which has been patented and is currently in development, in conjunction with an Irish company.
Fiona's role in BREAST-PREDICT involves managing the Centre's research programme and the research team, hosting training workshops and seminars for researchers, communicating with the expert advisory board, overseeing the Centre budget to ensure best use of fundraisers money, and communicating the team's research breakthroughs to patients and the wider public. She is also involved in developing a sustainability strategy and preparing funding proposals to support new cancer research projects.
Claire worked as Programme Manager for BREAST-PREDICT for two years before recently moving to the role of One Health Project Manager in University College Dublin.
Hailing from Skerries in North County Dublin, Claire began her research career as a PhD student at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin. Her PhD research involved the development of a gene therapy for an inherited form of blindness, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Following on from this, Claire moved to the Ocular Pharmacology and Genetics group in University College Dublin where she was evaluating novel treatments for age-related macular degeneration, a disease which represents a common cause of visual impairment.
Her role in BREAST-PREDICT involved managing the communications, outreach and sustainability of the Centre. Without the generous donations from the public BREAST-PREDICT would not exist, Claire’s role was to make the breast cancer research community and the public aware of all the research ongoing in BREAST-PREDICT and why it is important.
Claire and Fiona were both honoured for their important contributions to the success of BREAST-PREDICT when they jointly received the Research Support Staff of the Year award at the 2017 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards, held on November 30 in Dublin. Congratulations to them both.