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ISI PUBLIC LECTURE AWARD 2006 – PROFESSOR CON FEIGHERY
The Irish Times – May 4, 2006 Thursday
How our bodies defend themselves
BYLINE: Dick Ahlstrom
Scientific discoveries can very quickly translate into new medical treatments, according to a leading immunologist who delivers a public lecture in Dublin later this month. The future of this approach is just beginning, Prof Con Feighery will argue.
Feighery is professor of immunology at Trinity College Dublin and is a consultant in clinical immunology at St James’s Hospital, Dublin. He is also this year’s recipient of the annual public lecture award given by the Irish Society for Immunology.
The ISI joins with The Irish Times and the Royal Dublin Society in organising Feighery’s lecture, which takes place on May 22nd at 7.30pm in the RDS Library in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Our Immune System – Reaching Out is the title selected by Feighery for the lecture.
Prof Feighery’s interest in immunology spans the areas of Coeliac disease, autoimmune disorders and primary immunodeficiencies. In his lecture, he will address how scientific breakthroughs in these areas of immunology can be translated into clinical practice and hence improved public health.
His own research has contributed not only to improved diagnosis in patients with immunological diseases but also to the development of highly specific therapies for these patients.
In his talk, Prof Feighery will outline the development of immunology. He discusses its earliest impact in Europe in the 1700s and the string of discoveries since then that have brought us to where we are today.
One of the big successes he says is the ability to “translate” the scientific information into clinical practice. Examples include the understanding of how viruses such as HIV infect cells and the recognition that biochemicals within the body play a role in arthritis and other diseases.
The ISI promotes the public understanding of immunology in Ireland. Each year it makes an award to an outstanding Irish immunologist in recognition of his or her contribution to the understanding of immunology and health improvement.
Its goal matches the public understanding of science activities pursued by The Irish Times and the RDS. The two organise a series of public lectures and jointly back the Boyle Medal award, given every second year to reward excellence in scientific research.