I “inherited” this dissection kit when I joined Finian Martin’s lab almost 20 years ago. It used to belong to Eileen Furlong, who is now a hugely successful scientist and Head of the Genome Biology Unit at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. I also seem to have inherited her love of cell fate
Originally from Dublin, John’s formative years were idyllically spent in Cootehill, Co. Cavan. He now lives in Stepaside with wife, Catherine, teenage children, Eva and Chloe, and their ferocious feline, Fudgy. When not in the lab, John loves to plan the next family holiday, determined to show his girls what a wonderfully diverse planet we live on, with many excellent vantage points from which to watch the sunset. John reads a crazy amount of history, with his favourite genre currently being ‘City Biographies.’ His kids looked at him with dismay last year when he ‘bored them to death’ with his tales of the Lisbon earthquake during their visit.
John is an Associate Professor and lecturer in Pharmacology in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and leads a research team in UCD Conway Institute. His research focuses on the repair of kidney cells that become damaged as a complication of uncontrolled diabetes.
John is particularly interested in the possibilities presented by using stem cells (special human cells that are able to develop into many different cell types) to grow ‘mini-kidneys’ in a dish in the lab. Using this approach, John’s group have been able to gain a better understanding of how diabetes causes kidney disease, and can now tell which cells will go on to cause kidney disease in diabetes patients by looking at the genes within the cells. With this information, they could potentially stop this disease process from occurring, and it may be possible to reverse and even repair the damage.
“Disclaimer: This fly-on-the-wall video was recorded while capturing audio conversions between artist and researcher / patient advocates about the selected objects. While not originally part of the exhibition concept, this unedited record of their interaction gives a flavour of the creative process in this project ”