David Henshall (RCSI, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin)
David will give a didactic presentation for a large audience on microRNAs, and their applications both as biomarkers and potential therapeutics in a wide range of neurological diseases.
Abstract: Every organism shares a common system for making the proteins and molecular machines of life - DNA and the genes encoded within. Check-points along the pathway from gene to protein are essential, with too much or too little gene activity a threat to cellular function. Thirty years ago, scientists discovered an entirely new type of gene that encoded short segments of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that worked by sticking to the messages that code for proteins. These molecules became known as microRNA. Master controllers, they bring precision to the molecular noise in our cells by buffering and fine-tuning protein levels. In the decades since, researchers have uncovered how they are made, why they evolved, and the mechanics of the gene targeting process. MicroRNAs control gene activity from early development into old age, and if the system fails it leads to diseases including neurological disorders such as epilepsy. This seminar explains what we know about microRNA and the journey to practical applications as therapeutics and biomarkers in epilepsy, neurodevelopmental disorders including Angelman syndrome, and neurodegenerative disorders including ALS.
Bio: Professor David Henshall is Chairman of the Neurobiology Commission of the International League Against Epilepsy and a Benchmark Steward for the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He coordinated the European FP7 large-scale collaborative project EpimiRNA and co-organised the international conferences EpiXchange I and II which brought together Europe’s major epilepsy research projects. In 2017, he became Director of FutureNeuro, a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre and the first to be hosted by RCSI, focused on chronic and rare neurological diseases. The Centre is an industry-academia partnership model working to translate findings for patient benefit and includes world-leading investigators in the areas of clinical neurology, genetics, materials science and eHealth.
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