This is a photograph of my great grandparents, taken in West Kerry near Mount Brandon on The Wild Atlantic Way. It looks like there isn’t even a proper road and there are no electricity wires anywhere. It reminds me of the fantastic opportunities we have been given and how Ireland has developed as a European country.
Originally from Glasnevin, Dublin, Breandán now lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow with his wife, two children, and Cooper a new family cockapoo that joined the family during the pandemic. When not in the lab, Breandán loves to walk and hike in the Wicklow hills and beaches or to attend Croke Park to watch the Dublin GAA teams. He’s currently reading ‘Machines Like Me’ by Ian McEwan and watching Lincoln Lawyer.
Breandán is a Professor of Pharmacology at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and leads a research team in UCD Conway Institute. His research focuses on reversing blindness in tiny tropical fish called zebrafish. Breandán’s team study the genes and proteins that control vision. They search for new drugs that can treat blindness and look at developing genetic treatments for the condition. This could have implications for helping to reverse blindness in other animals and humans.
Recently Breandán and his team studied the human RAB28 gene which is linked to inherited blindness. Using zebrafish, they showed that stopping this gene from working properly impaired the dawn and dusk ‘waste removal and recycling’ that happens each day in the eye to keep it healthy. They think this impaired waste removal is what might be causing blindness in humans with inherited blindness, and that ‘fixing’ their RAB28 gene could help reverse this.