Dr. Cathal McCarthy

Cathal McCarthy
Research Fellow

Cathal is a Co-Investigator of the HRB-funded DIVINE study; “Dysfunctional mItochondria proVokes Inflammation iN prEeclampsia”

Cathal's research investigates pre-eclampsia, a multisystemic vascular syndrome which affects more than eight million pregnancies worldwide annually and is the principal cause of maternal death. Currently there is no successful treatment for this complication other than delivery of the placenta (and hence the baby). Oxidative stress and inflammation are intrinsically linked and both are recognised as deleterious mediators propagating the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia.

There is a growing body of evidence indicating that mitochondrial dysfunction is a pathogenic mediator of oxidative stress in pre-eclampsia and can modulate the clinical characteristics of the syndrome. Mitochondria are critical metabolic signalling hubs that play an integral cellular role in the activation of diverse physiological responses to perturbation.

Excessive production of mitochondrial-ROS is intrinsically linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Cathal's research explores the crosstalk between mitochondrial metabolism and inflammatory signalling cascades in pre-eclampsia. His work has identified that deleterious plasma mediators present in pre-eclampsia dysregulates mitochondrial function with increased production of mitochondrial-specific superoxide and consequent vascular dysfunction. Cathal's research is also focused on elucidating the mechanistic role of mitochondrial alarmins in directly coordinating adaptive changes in the maternal inflammatory status in pre-eclampsia.

Career Profile:

  • March 2016-present Research Fellow, INFANT Centre, UCC
  • 2013-Feb 2016 Research Support Officer, INFANT Centre, UCC
  • 2012-Sept 2013 Research Associate, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, UCC
  • 2011- Sept 2012 Research Manager, School of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science, UCD
  • 2009-2011 Senior Postdoctoral Scientist, School of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science
  • 2006-2009 Postdoctoral Scientist, School of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science, UCD
  • 2001-2006 PhD in Molecular Biology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin Street (Feb 2006)
  • 1997-2001 B.Sc. Microbiology (with honours) University College Cork (Sept 1997)


Professional Activities/Achievements: 

  • Institute of Leadership and Management Certificate 2015: Professional Skills for Research Leaders
  • Membership: International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy
  • Journal Referee: Hypertension, Clinical Science, Reproductive Sciences, PLoS One
  • Committee Involvement: Member UCD Laboratory Organising Committee, Conway Institute 2009-2012.
  • INFANT Seminar Series Coordinator, INFANT Centre, University College Cork, May 2014-present



UCC Research Profile

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