Dr. Fiona Furlong

Dr. Fiona Furlong

Senior Council Member

 

Dr. Fiona Furlong, a University College Dublin Graduate, joined the School of Pharmacy, QUB, as a Lecturer in Pharmacology and cancer researcher in 2012. Dr. Furlong’s main research focus is the identification of microRNA biomarkers for personalised medicine.  Current projects include patient studies for both early detection and patient stratification of chemotherapy responses in breast and ovarian cancer.

Areas of expertise include next-generation sequencing to profile methylated microRNA in cells, tissue, and plasma.  In collaboration with the School of Chemistry and Engineering, the Furlong research group is involved in projects to develop sequence-specific molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for biomarker isolation and point-of-care biosensor applications.  Her most significant research publications include studies on the miR-433 microRNA in chemoresistant ovarian cancer, IHC biomarker analyses and meta-analyse of the MAD2 protein in ovarian cancer prognosis.

MicroRNAs were first described in 1993 and have since been extensively researched as biomarkers and therapies for various diseases.  My early research led to the discovery that the miR-433 microRNA mediates chemoresistance and poor outcomes for patients with ovarian cancer.  We are centrally interested in interrogating the fundamental biological role of microRNAs in cells so that we can better understand disease pathology resulting from aberrant microRNA expression.  The overarching aim of this research is to indentify microRNA biomarkers and novel drug targets.  This is an exciting area of reserach in which high throughput technologies continue to uncover more biophysical aspects of RNA that can be applied to biomarker development and for drug discovery. Research from my group has been funded by the Irish Cancer Society, the Health Research Board of Ireland, BBSRC and MRC.

3D mammosphere culture of breast epithelial cell line MCF10A.

Courtesy of Dr. Emer Bourke, NUI Galway

Phospho-Akt expression and localisation

Mediated by VEGF in A549 lung cancer cells. Visualised by high content image analysis.

Courtesy of Dr Martin Barr, Clinical Scientist & Adjunct Assistant Professor, St James’s Hospital & Trinity College Dublin

Metaphase chromosome spread of Jurkat T-lymphoma cells

Courtesy of Rebecca Gorry, PhD Student, Mc Gee Lab, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, Conway Institute, UCD

Apoptosis assessment of SKMES-1 lung cancer cells

Using a multiparameter apoptosis staining kit, showing cell nuclei (blue), actin (green) and mitochondrial activity (orange).

Courtesy of Dr Martin Barr, Clinical Scientist & Adjunct Assistant Professor, St James’s Hospital & Trinity College Dublin

HeLa Cells

Courtesy of Rebecca Gorry, PhD Student, Mc Gee Lab, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, Conway Institute, UCD

IACR & EACR Joint Conference 2020

26 — 28 February 2020 at Galway Bay Hotel, Galway

Mitotic Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia K562 Cells

Courtesy of Rebecca Gorry, PhD Student, Mc Gee Lab, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, Conway Institute, UCD

Cell to Cell Tweeting

Via nanoparticles (red) in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

Courtesy of Sinéad Lindsay, UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin (UCD) Ireland.

Confocal Microscopy Analysis

Of phospho-Akt expression in H460 lung cancer cells in response to hypoxia (0.5% O2).

Courtesy of Dr Martin Barr, Clinical Scientist & Adjunct Assistant Professor, St James’s Hospital & Trinity College Dublin

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The Irish Association for Cancer Research will support a limited number of Educational Grants that
will be made available to postgraduate PhD researchers who have been affected by the Covid-19
pandemic. We acknowledge that many of our members have been significantly impacted by the
recent pandemic that may have affected their ability to continue and/or complete research projects.

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