Dr. Aideen Ryan

Dr. Aideen Ryan

Foundation Research Lecturer in Tumour Immunology, NUIG, Galway

Dr Aideen Ryan is the Foundation Research Lecturer in Tumour Immunology in the School of Medicine, Discipline of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at NUI Galway. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from NUI Galway in 2001 and a PhD in Medicine from the University College Cork in 2006. She completed her postdoctoral training in the labs of Prof. Laurence Egan, and Prof Thomas Ritter at NUI Galway before starting her independent research group at NUI Galway in 2017.

Aideen’s research team are uncovering novel stromal cell targets that shape the immunosuppressive microenvironment in cancer. Aideen’s research is published in high ranking journals and has led to several recent prestigious independent grants, postdoctoral fellowships and international awards including an Top Outstanding Young Peoples Award, Future Leaders Award (SITC, USA), Irish Cancer Society Research Paper of the Year award, NUI Presidents Award for Research excellence, SFI Starting Investigator Research Award.

Aideen is a named inventor on patents relating to discoveries on novel mechanisms to activate the immune system in cancer to enhance immunotherapy. As part of a visiting senior lectureship at Bart’s Cancer Institute, QMUL, London, Aideen’s group are developing 3D models, in collaboration with Prof Fran Balkwill and Dr Daniela Loessner, to investigate mechanisms of immune evasion in colon cancer with particular focus on the influence macrophage/stromal cell interactions on anti-tumour immunity. Her research aims to uncover new stromal cell therapeutic targets to overcome immunosuppression in cancers to optimise and increase response to immunotherapies.


Title: The bitter sweet side of stromal cell mediated immune suppression in colorectal cancer

Summary: Understanding how the tumor microenvironment regulates immune cell infiltration and function is necessary to develop more effective immunotherapeutic strategies and overcome resistance and lack of response in a large majority of tumours.

We have discovered that intestinal stromal cells, including cancer associated fibroblasts, have potent immunosuppressive functions in colon cancer.

We have characterised these specific immunosuppressive mechanisms and demonstrate their importance in suppression of T cell effector functions in tumours.

These discoveries highlight the importance of characterising the nature of the microenvironment in different tumours to optimise immunotherapeutic targeting and responses.

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