I’ve been a renal transplant surgeon at Belfast City Hospital for eight years. I attended medical school at Cambridge University, followed by PhD and transplant surgical fellowship at Harvard University. I spent my childhood in Coleraine, and have always wanted to ultimately settle in N. Ireland. My interest in transplant surgery started at school in Coleraine when I learned basics of the immune response and how the body deals with foreign objects. Local research into kidney disease has been very strong, and has inspired me to join the Northern Ireland Kidney research fund (NIKRF) as a medical advisor.
I’ve been involved in kidney transplant research for twenty years. This has mostly focussed on immune responses to transplant rejection. I partnered in a transplant research project with space-lab astronaut Taylor Wang, looking at curing diabetes by coating islet cells with protective alginate. I’m currently co-supervising a PhD student at Queen’s University who is a NIKRF research fellow.
Dr Gareth McKay
Dr Gareth McKay is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. He leads a multidisciplinary group of researchers studying the clinical and genetic epidemiology of chronic diseases with specific interest in diabetic kidney disease.
He has expertise, leadership, training and experience investigating the molecular pathogenesis of dementia and diabetes-associated complications with research focused on genomic, physiological and nutritional factors that influence healthy ageing and human disease. Dr McKay has extensive experience in training and mentorship of postgraduate students (9 and 7 students supervised to completion of Doctoral and Master’s theses respectively). In 30 years of academic research at Queen’s he has co-authored 2 book chapters, >130 peer-reviewed publications (h-index 33, >4100 citations, October 22) and been principal investigator on successful research grant awards from the Medical Research Council, NI Health and Social Care and Diabetes UK, with > £4M of grant income.
Dr McKay has been a Northern Ireland co-investigator in the US-Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland R&D partnership to investigate genetic susceptibility to diabetic nephropathy. The GENIE consortium is a strategic collaboration between our group (with Professor Peter Maxwell and Dr Amy Jayne McKnight at Queen’s) and co-funded investigators in University College Dublin, Broad Institute, Cambridge, USA, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and the Folkhalsan Institute, Helsinki. The GENIE consortium has been instrumental in cementing further international research collaborations among the scientific community to accelerate discoveries in the field of diabetic kidney disease.
More details are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/gmckay
Stephen O’Neill is a Consultant Transplant Surgeon in Belfast City Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Queen’s University Belfast. He is the coordinator for Undergraduate Surgical Teaching in the Belfast Trust.
Stephen undertook his Higher Surgical Training in South East Scotland and completed an MSc and PhD in the University of Edinburgh supported by a Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship. He won the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland Moynihan Prize for his PhD research and is now a PhD supervisor himself.
Stephen’s interests are kidney transplantation and dialysis access surgery. He has been involved in more than 90 PubMed indexed publications (over 30 as first author), which are available via https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stephen-Oneill.
He is the Associate Editor of Transplantation Reviews, Chair of the British Transplant Society guideline on “Transplantation from deceased donors after circulatory death” and Principal Investigator on a multi-centre vascular access study (https://www.vavasc.com).
Dr Oonagh McCloskey
Dr Oonagh McCloskey completed her undergraduate medical degree in The University of Edinburgh in 2011, returned home to NI for foundation training, core medical training and commenced higher specialty renal training in 2015.
I CCT’d August 20 and took up post of Consultant Nephrologist in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. She runs the low clearance clinic and obstetric renal clinic in the Trust; managing patients on home therapies and in centre haemodialysis.
Dr Aisling Courtney
Dr Aisling Courtney was appointed as a consultant in the Belfast City Hospital in 2009. She had been an undergraduate at Queen’s University in Belfast and did most of her postgraduate training in Northern Ireland. Aisling then worked for a period as a consultant in Dublin and London before returning “home”.
Aisling’s particular interest is in renal transplantation. She has a number of publications in this area, and was the national Chair of the Strategy Implementation Group for the UK Living Donor Kidney Transplant Strategy 2020.
In 2019, on behalf of the Belfast Transplant Team, she accepted the inaugural UK Award for Excellence in Transplantation from the British Transplantation Society.
In addition to her clinical work, Aisling is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University and has a formal role in postgraduate medical education.