Professor Annette Byrne_01

RCSI, UCD, NUI Galway raise €3.4m for national imaging centre

SFI, industry partners back clinical imaging facility
Prof Annette Byrne, director of National Preclinical Imaging Centre

18 June 2020

Ireland’s first National Preclinical Imaging Centre (NPIC), which will provide enhanced research data to inform new clinical trials that aim to improve patient outcomes, has been awarded funding of €3.4 million under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Infrastructure Programme.

NPIC is being established and co-funded by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, UCD, and Curam, the SFI research centre for medical devices based at NUI Galway.

Its imaging infrastructure will support the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics in human disease areas including cancer, neurology, dementia, psychiatry, cardiology, medical devices, diabetes, tissue engineering, nanomedicine and inflammatory disease.




With locations in Dublin and Galway, the centre will provide a national pre-clinical imaging resource for all academic, industry and not-for-profit researchers. NPIC establishes a national pre-clinical magnetic resonance (MR) facility, a national high-field preclinical MR/chemical imaging platform and incorporates a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (CT) and Optical Imaging laboratory.

“The National Preclinical Imaging Centre’s high resolution imaging technologies will allow the research community in Ireland to respond to future international research challenges and will provide important support infrastructure for SFI research centres, Irish academic institutes and industry collaborators,” said Prof Annette Byrne, director of NPIC, head of the RCSI Precision Cancer Medicine Group, Dept of Physiology & Medical Physics, and the Centre for Systems Medicine at RCSI University of Medicine & Health Sciences.

“The centre’s resources will allow us to work more collaboratively on research projects with clinicians and on training initiatives in radiology, which are critical elements of translating laboratory research finding to improvements in patient care in clinical settings.

Prof William Gallagher, associate director of NPIC, Director, UCD Conway Institute and Deputy Director, Precision Oncology Ireland, said: “This infrastructural funding provided by SFI, which is complemented by financial support from each of our partner institutions, along with in-kind contributions from industry, will provide an unparalleled national resource for advancing in vivo imaging. Our research in the area of precision oncology will benefit considerably from being able to image non-invasively tumour growth and spread, leading to improved understanding of disease and associated therapeutic options.” 

The application was supported by a diverse number of academic, not-for-profit and industry collaborators across the island of Ireland including Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Technical University Dublin, Cancer Trials Ireland, Queens University Belfast, Pfizer, Roche, M2i Ltd and Boston Scientific.

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