Dean's Report 2007

I wish to thank all those who organised and hosted scientific and teaching events for the IICN during 2007. I again draw attention to the continuing high standard of presentations at these events.


I also take this opportunity to acknowledge, with gratitude, the financial support we received in 2007 from several pharmaceutical companies including, in alphabetical order: Bayer Schering Pharma, BiogenIdec, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eisai Limited, GE Healthcare, Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo Smith Kline, Janssen Cilag, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd., Orion Pharma, Pfizer, Sanofi Aventis, Schwarz Pharma, Serono Pharmaceuticals, Solvay Healthcare and UCB Pharma.


It is important to also draw attention to donations, specified for neuroscience research, that were received from other sources in 2007, including from relatives and friends of patients.

I must acknowledge the invaluable contribution of our administrator, Colette Fitzpatrick, to our organisation. Since she joined us in 2002, it is been my privilege to work closely with her, initially in my role as Secretary, and over the past 2 years as Dean.

The main IICN events and activities of 2007 can be summarised as follows:

Scientific & Educational Events:

Dr Victor Patterson hosted the Neuromuscular Meeting in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast in March.

Mr John Gray and Dr Mark Gibson hosted the 43rd INA meeting in the Culloden Hotel, Belfast in May. A memorable lecture was delivered by Prof John Leigh. We look forward to visiting Cork for the 2008 meeting, to be hosted by Dr. Niamh Bermingham

The St Vincent’s University Hospital MRCP / MRCPI teaching course was again directed by Dr Niall Tubridy in May

The 6th Neurology Update meeting in September was again organised by Dr Norman Delanty, with Prof Niall Quinn the guest speaker.

Professor Michael Hutchinson organised the Registrar’s Prize meeting in November 2007. The meeting was supported by Janssen-Cilag.

Advocacy / Public Awareness activities:

A press release was issued by the IICN in April 2007 in which the IICN expressed criticism of the lack of support services for new consultant neurologist posts recently advertised for the Republic of Ireland.

New Initiatives:

Major progress has been made towards the establishment of a Brain Bank, to be based in the Smurfit building at Beaumont Hospital. Initial financial support came from the fund that was donated to the IICN by the family of Aideen Clarke and, given the assurance of that fund, the Fidelity Fund in Boston had committed to provide €500,000 to fund the Bank. It has been proposed that the Brain Bank would be for the Dublin area initially, then progressing to centres in the rest of the South of Ireland and then to the North of Ireland in the second year. Emphasis will be on neurodegenerative disease at the beginning. The availability of a Brain Bank in Ireland will be a significant advance as currently a great deal of neuroscience research is happening in Ireland at a basic level but is held back because brain tissue is not accessible. There will also be a facility to store serum.

During 2007 the IDA proposed that interested IICN members investigate the possibility of collaborating with some pharmaceutical companies in the creation of an Irish Clinical Neuroscience Research Group (ICNRG) that would facilitate translation from basic neuroscience research to clinical practice. It is envisaged that Ireland could play an important role in the design of future sophisticated clinical trials in CNS disorders where multiple biomarkers are monitored in stratified patient populations.

Research Funds:

Serono Pharmaceuticals funded a one-year neurology research fellowship, awarded in November 2007 to Dr Dominick McCabe and Dr Oliver Tobin, AMNCH, Tallaght.

A Sanofi-Aventis travel grant was advertised in November 2007.

Donations for neuroscience research received from:

Family and friends of Mr Tom Daly

Family and friends of Mrs Bridget Gilligan

Family of Aideen Clarke, who gave an additional donation

Dr Thomas Flannery, who ran the 2007 Dublin City marathon

IICN website:

A revision of the website was completed during 2007

We look forward to further success for our organisation in 2008.

Sean Connolly (Outgoing Dean IICN), December 2007 

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