University College Dublin (UCD), the National Children’s Research Centre (NCRC), and the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF) Crumlin today announced the appointment of Jonathan Bond to the newly established Brendan McGonnell UCD Professor of Paediatric Molecular Haemato-Oncology Chair.

The result of an innovative partnership between the three organisations, this new professorship has been developed to advance research into paediatric and adolescent cancers of the blood, with the aim of improving survival rates for those affected.

Based at the UCD School of Medicine, the new Chair is supported, under the NCRC Research Leadership Award Scheme, by a significant legacy donation from the late Mr Brendan McGonnell to CMRF Crumlin.

“The NCRC Research Leadership Award Scheme aims to build research capacity in key areas of child health, and this new Chair at UCD will play a pivotal role in the development of a molecular and translational research programme into childhood blood cancers,” said Dr Jacinta Kelly, Chief Executive of the NCRC.

Child and young adolescent haematological cancers account for approximately 40% of all cancers in children up to the age of 16. Professor Bond’s research programme, which will be carried out at Systems Biology Ireland, UCD, will focus on understanding how normal gene regulation is subverted in acute leukaemia with the ultimate goal of developing new and better treatments for every child and adolescent with this blood cancer.

Professor Owen Smith CBE, Professor of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, UCD School of Medicine said, “We are sincerely grateful to the NCRC and CMRF for their commitment to further research into paediatric blood cancers at University College Dublin which is a truly fitting gesture in memory of Brendan McGonnell and his extraordinary philanthropy.”

“We are delighted to welcome Professor Bond to the University, where he will be a significant asset to our research activities in paediatric haemato-oncology. His appointment will have a major impact in the field of paediatric cancer in Ireland and internationally.”

Professor Jonathan Bond, Brendan McGonnell UCD Professor of Paediatric Molecular Haemato-Oncology said, “I am very grateful that NCRC, CMRF Crumlin and UCD have used Brendan McGonnell’s generous donation to create this position. This is a hugely exciting opportunity to perform research that will improve the treatment of children with blood cancers.”

Lisa-Nicole Dunne, CEO, CMRF Crumlin, said, “We are delighted to be able to support this incredible work with the NCRC. Paediatric cancer is one of the research areas we are proud to fund at CMRF Crumlin. We receive no governmental funding, so legacies left by the likes of Brendan McGonnell really have a wonderful, lasting impact on the treatments available for future generations of sick children.”

Professor Bond has relocated to Ireland following the completion of a research fellowship at the Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris. He completed his undergraduate medical study at Trinity College Dublin and trained as a clinical paediatric haematologist in Ireland before obtaining a PhD in Molecular Haematology at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (now the London Institute of Medical Sciences) and Imperial College London.

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