William Gallagher

William Gallagher
UCD Conway Institute

Talk Title: Bridging the Gap in Oncology Diagnostics: Converting Omic Data into Clinically Relevant Assays


Professor William Gallagher is the Director of the UCD Conway Institute ( and a Professor of Cancer Biology in the UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science. He is currently also the Director of the BREAST-PREDICT Centre (, which is the first Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer

Research Centre, involving 6 universities and Cancer Trials Ireland. Prof. Gallagher is lead investigator on a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded Investigator Programme (IvP) project, OPTi-PREDICT, which is centred on developing novel clinical decision support systems in breast and prostate cancer.

A major focus of Prof. Gallagher’s research work is the identification and validation of candidate biomarkers of breast cancer and melanoma, with particular emphasis on translation of transcriptomic and proteomic datasets into clinically relevant assays. In addition, his team (the Cancer Biology & Therapeutics Lab; investigates the functional relevance of candidate tumour progression-associated genes at both in vitro and in vivo levels, as well as engages in preclinical evaluation of novel anti-cancer agents.

In 2007, Prof. Gallagher co-founded OncoMark Ltd., a private company centred on the development and application of biomarker panels and associated technologies, on both tissues and biological fluids ( Prof. Gallagher is currently the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at OncoMark.

Bridging the Gap in Oncology Diagnostics: Converting Omic Data into Clinically Relevant Assays
The effective implementation of therapeutic regimens in the oncology arena depends on the successful identification and translation of informative biomarkers to aid clinical decision-making. Antibody-based proteomics occupies a pivotal space in the cancer biomarker discovery and validation pipeline, facilitating the high-throughput evaluation of candidate markers1. Indeed, it is vital that if antibodies are to be utilised for clinically assays, especially immunohistochemistry, that appropriate validation procedures are employed to ensure specificity2. In addition, reverse engineering of transcriptional networks using gene expression data enables identification of genes that underpin development and progression of different cancers3. Such approaches also provide a potential means to elucidate robust biomarkers. Here, several case studies will be provided in respect to efforts made to transition omic-based discovery data towards clinical utility, particularly in the context of oncology diagnostics.

1. Brennan DJ, et al. Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Sep;10(9):605-17.
2. O’Hurley G, et al. Mol Oncol. 2014 Jun;8(4):783-98.
3. Moran B, et al. Cancer Res, in press.