Director of the Centre for Systems Medicine/
Head of Department, Physiology and Medical Physics
Tel: +353 1 402 2261
Fax: +353 1 402 2447
Prof Jochen Prehn is a senior researcher at the interface of biomedical and translational research. He has been Professor and Chairman, of the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, at the RCSI since 2003, and was appointed Director of the Centre for Systems Medicine (formerly Centre for Human Protemics) in 2006. His undergraduate degree was received in 1989 from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn, Germany. He continued his studies in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany and graduated his Ph.D. summa cum laude in 1992. He started his postdoctoral studies in the same department before moving to take up the position of German Research Foundation (DFG) Fellow in the Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences at the University of Chicago, USA. Professor Prehn was a Lecturer/Assistant Professor (C1) in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Philipps University Marburg, Germany from 1995 until 1998 and was the Head of Junior Research Group Apoptosis and Cell Death, Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF), Faculty of Medicine, Westphalian Wilhelms-University Munster, Germany from 1998 until 2002. He was then appointed Professor of Experimental Medicine (C3), in the Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Clinics, Frankfurt, Germany in 2002 prior to moving to Ireland in 2003.
Professor Prehn was the first recipient of the Science Foundation Ireland Fellows-Research Professorship award in 2003 and is considered an international authority on the single-cell analysis and the molecular control of apoptosis, nerve cell death as well as mitochondrial control of cell death. His research has focused on cell death mechanisms and their implication for human disease. Apoptosis is critical for the elimination of unwanted cells during development. Defects in apoptosis pathways have been implicated in neurodegeneration, diabetes mellitus, ischemic injury, and malignant disorders. Prof Prehn has successfully conducted research in these four areas with a particular emphasis on bioenergetics, mitochondrial physiology, Bcl-2 family proteins and AMPK signalling. A second major research interest lies in real-time imaging of cell death signals in neurons and cancer cells, employing confocal and in vivo imaging techniques. This research includes the development of computational approaches to understand and overcome apoptosis sensitivity and resistance and cellular bioenergetics at a systems rather than single entity level. In collaboration with clinicians (pathology, medicine, and surgery), Prof Prehn translated these approaches intoclinically relevant settings, and has initiated multiple large-scale, multi-partner clinical projects such as the APO-COLON and APO-DECIDE clinical studies.
He is a member of the RCSI Research Executive and past member of the Board of Directors of Molecular Medicine Ireland. He was founding President of Neuroscience Ireland and is a founding member of the Irish Academy of Medical Sciences. He has acquired in excess of €15 Mio in peer-reviewed research funding as Principal Investigator, and has published over 140 original contributions (>4000 citations; h-index: 42). Furthermore he has been an invited speaker at over 90 international scientific meetings, including Keystone, Gordon, NIH and Max-Planck-Society symposia. These outstanding achievements have lead to Prof. Prehn being awarded many prestigious funding awards, including the Royal Irish Academy Inaugural Life Science Award (2009).