Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Systems Medicine
4th Floor York House
Dr David Hughes joined the group in October 2011. His current research focuses on cancer genetic, nutritional, and microbial epidemiology and genetic biomarkers for colorectal cancer (CRC). He received his B.Sc. Biochemistry degree from the University of Leeds in 1990. His first research post in 1991-1992 was as a research assistant to Prof John Hardy at St Mary’s Medical School, Imperial College London (genetics of Alzheimer Disease). During this time, the group confirmed that mutations in the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) gene can cause AD, the first gene linked with this disorder. He then did his PhD in Medical Genetics at Queen’s University Belfast (awarded 1996). His thesis work involved mutation characterization and haplotype analysis of the CFTR gene, variants of which may cause cystic fibrosis (CF). Dr Hughes’s first postdoctoral positions involved a short fellowship studying atypical cases of CF at the Institute for Human Genetics in Hanover Medical School, Germany and then a two-year post (1998-2000) to begin functional genomic projects on the model nematode, C. Elegans as part of the post-sequencing efforts of the C. Elegans genome in the group of Prof John Sulston at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, England. From 2000-2006 he was employed as a scientist at the World Health Organization’s cancer research headquarters (the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France). His work there primarily concerned the genetic epidemiology of breast cancer (BC). As part of this work, the first confirmed genetic modifiers of the BRCA genes and BC susceptibility in general were located.
Dr Hughes returned to Ireland in 2007 where he worked as a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin (Department of Clinical Medicine) until his move to the RCSI. He was instrumental is setting up the CRC genetic research projects at the AMNCH Trinity site. Dr Hughes has had extensive experience in teaching and supervising MSc, PhD and MD students, post-docs, and research assistants. He has frequently been invited to speak at various research institutes and international conferences, and has had over 40 peer reviewed research articles published to date.
2013 Seminars and Conference Presentations
• The influence of blood selenium status and selenoprotein gene variation on colorectal cancer risk. Hughes DJ (Oral presentation speaker), Fedirko V, Méplan C, Schomburg L, Hesketh J, Jenab M (on behalf of EPIC Group). 20th ICN International Nutrition Meeting, Granada, Spain, September 15-20 2013. (Ann Nutr Metab, 63(suppl1) 2013, abstr O135).
• Investigating Parent of Origin Effects (POE) and Anticipation in Irish Lynch syndrome kindreds. Farrell MP, Hughes DJ, Schmid J, Boonstra PS, Mukherjee B, Walshe M, Mac Mathuna MP, Gallagher DJ. International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT) 5th Biennial meeting, Cairns, Queensland, Australia 28th – 31st August 2013 (Familial Cancer 12, Supp 2 2013; abstr CLN021).
• Genomic sequencing of cancer: How do we distinguish driver from bystander mutations? Hughes DJ (Lecture) Wednesday July 24th. Summer Course 2013 George Mason University / Dublin City University / RCSI Beaumont; BIOL 575: Bench to Bedside Translational Research.
• Micronutrients, microbes and colorectal cancer risk. Hughes DJ (Invited speaker) Seminar series, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France, June 18th 2013.
• Investigating parent of origin effects and anticipation in Irish lynch syndrome kindreds. Farrell MP, Hughes DJ, Schmid J, Boonstra PS, Mukherjee B, Walshe M, Mac Mathuna MP, Gallagher DJ. 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA May 31 – June 4, 2013 (J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 suppl; abstr 1542).
• Selenium Status Biomarkers and CRC risk in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition Cohort. Hughes DJ (invited speaker) Seminar series, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic, Prague, February 27th 2013.
• Irish Health Research Board – (Prinicpal Investigator, PI) ‘The influence of interactions between selenium supply biomarkers and genetic variation and gene expression in the selenium pathway on CRC risk and survival’ €329,987, October 2013-January 2016. HRA-POR-2013-397
• Irish Health Research Board – (Co-Applicant) ‘Pharmacological inhibition of the paracrine, cell proliferative function of caspase-3 for the treatment of colorectal cancer’ €287,315, October 2012-September 2015
• Irish Health Research Board – (PI) ‘Colorectal Cancer Risk: The Influence of Selenoprotein Gene Variants and Blood Selenium Status’ €299,985, October 2011-September 2013. HRA_PHS/2011/3