Connecting European Neuroscience

Eilís Dowd

Communication committee chair (2020 - 2022)


1999: PhD in Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh, UK

Academic & Post-Doctoral Positions:
2014 - Present: Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, NUI Galway, Ireland
2005 - 2014: Lecturer in Pharmacology, NUI Galway, Ireland
2003 - 2005: Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Cardiff University, UK
2002 - 2003: Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cardiff University, UK
2000 - 2002: Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Fellow, McGill University, Canada
1999: Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, University of Cambridge, UK

Professional Roles:
2020 - Present: Executive Committee, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
2020 - Present: Chair, Communication Committee, FENS
2017 - 2019: President, Neuroscience Ireland
2014 - 2018: President, Network for European CNS Transplantation & Restoration
2017 - 2019: Governing Council Member,  FENS
2017 - 2019: Governing Council Member, International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO)
2017 - 2019: Board Member, European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB).
2017 - Present: Board Member of the Asia-Pacific Association for Neural Transplantation & Repair (APANTR).
2015 - Present: Steering Committee Member, Dementia & Neurodegeneration Network Ireland (DNNI)
2016 - 2017: Communications Officer, Neuroscience Ireland
2012 - 2014: Board Member, Network for European CNS Transplantation & Restoration (NECTAR).


- Recipient of numerous grants as Principal Investigator from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, and as co-PI from Parkinson’s UK and the European Union.

- Co-lead of the BrainMatTrain EU Consortium. BrainMatTrain is a €4M project funded by the (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015) under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initial Training Network.

- Section Editor for the European Journal of Neuroscience, Associate Editor for the Biochemical Society’s Neuronal Signaling, Editorial Board for the British Journal of Pharmacology, Editorial Board for Nature’s Scientific Reports.

- Grant Reviewer for the Medical Research Council UK, Parkinson’s UK, German Research Foundation, Health Research Council New Zealand, Research Grant Council Hong Kong.

- Lead scientist in the multi award-winning Parkinson's documentary “Feats of Modest Valour”.

- Recipient of the Wellcome Trust’s Travelling Research Fellowship (2000-2003).

Most Relevant Societal Roles:
2017 - 2019 President, Neuroscience Ireland
2014 - 2018, President, Network for European CNS Transplantation & Restoration (NECTAR)

Conference Organisation:
2020: Local Organising Committee for International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS), Galway, Ireland.
2019: Local Chair for British Neuroscience Association (BNA) “Festival of Neuroscience”, Dublin, Ireland.
2019: Programme Organising Committee for BNA’s “Festival of Neuroscience”, Dublin, Ireland.
2017: Chair/Organiser of NECTAR, Dublin, Ireland.
2017: Organising Committee for International Neural Transplantation and Repair (INTR), Australia.
2017: Organising Committee for Neuroscience Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
2014: Chair/Organiser of NECTAR, Dublin, Ireland.
2008: Organising Committee for Neuroscience Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

As NECTAR President, Neuroscience Ireland President and Neuroscience Ireland Communications Officer, Dr Dowd has gained substantial expertise in:
- Website management (using Wordpress and Drupal)
- Social Media using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
- Writing and circulating newsletters/emails using MailChimp

Significant Public Outreach Achievements:
- Dr Dowd was Lead scientist in the multi award-winning Parkinson's documentary “Feats of Modest Valour” which won the Scientist Award and the runner-up People’s Choice Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, and the Professional Documentary Award at Raw Science Film Festival in California. This film has been screened to numerous audiences throughout Ireland and internationally.
- Dr Dowd regularly arranges and participates in school visits, Parkinson’s patient information events and public neuroscience information events, including Brain Awareness Week annually since 2008.

Dr Dowd’s research focusses on understanding the cause of Parkinson’s disease, and on the development of novel therapies for the condition. Parkinson’s is currently treated using purely symptomatic drugs that neither slow nor halt the disease progress. Dr Dowd's research uses model systems to investigate three main areas that are crucial to our future understanding of, or treatment of, Parkinson’s. Dr Dowd’s research investigates:

1) The interaction between underlying genetics and environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure and viral or bacterial infection, in precipitating the condition.
2) Transplantation of healthy or genetically engineered cells into the Parkinsonian brain in order to repair or protect the brain from the damage caused by the disease.
3) The dysregulation that occurs in the brain’s endocannabinoid system in the Parkinsonian brain, and on correcting this dysregulation using cannabinoid drugs.

1. Kelly R, Joers V, Tansey MG, McKernan DP, Dowd E. (2020). Microglial Phenotypes and Their Relationship to the Cannabinoid System: Therapeutic Implications for Parkinson's Disease. Molecules. 2020 Jan 21;25(3):453.

2. Moriarty N, Parish CL, Dowd E. (2019). Primary tissue for cellular brain repair in Parkinson's disease: Promise, problems and the potential of biomaterials. Eur J Neurosci. 2019 Feb;49(4):472-486.

3. Moriarty, N., Pandit, A., Dowd, E., 2017. Encapsulation of primary dopaminergic neurons in a GDNF-loaded collagen hydrogel increases their survival, re-innervation and function after intra-striatal transplantation. Scientific Reports 7: 16033.
4. Naughton, C., O'Toole, D., Kirik, D., Dowd, E., 2017. Interaction between subclinical doses of the Parkinson’s disease associated gene, alpha-synuclein, and the pesticide, rotenone, precipitates motor dysfunction and nigrostriatal neurodegeneration in rats. Behav Brain Res. 316:160-168.
5. Concannon, R. M., Okine, B. N., Finn, D. P., Dowd, E., 2016. Upregulation of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor in environmental and viral inflammation-driven rat models of Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol. 283, 204-12.
6. Naughton, C., Moriarty, N., Feehan, J., O'Toole, D., Dowd, E., 2016. Differential pattern of motor impairments in neurotoxic, environmental and inflammation-driven rat models of Parkinson’s disease. Behav Brain Res. 296:451-8.
7. Hoban, D. B., Howard, L., Dowd, E., 2015. GDNF-secreting mesenchymal stem cells provide localized neuroprotection in an inflammation-driven rat model of Parkinson’s disease. Neuroscience. 303:402-11.
8. Concannon, R. M., Okine, B. N., Finn, D. P., Dowd, E., 2015. Differential upregulation of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor in neurotoxic and inflammation-driven rat models of Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol. 269:133-41.
9. Moloney, T. C., Ní Fhlathartaigh, M., Kulkarni, M., Pandit, A., Dowd, E., 2015. Fibrin as a scaffold for delivery of GDNF overexpressing stem cells to the adult rat brain. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 1 (7), 559-566.
10. Moloney, T. C., R. Hyland, D. O’Toole, A. Paucard, D. Kirik, A. O’Doherty, A. M. Gorman and Dowd, E., 2013. Heat shock protein 70 reduces α-synuclein-induced pre-degenerative neuronal dystrophy in the α-synuclein viral gene transfer rat model of Parkinson’s disease. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. 20:50-8.

Eilís Dowd

Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology
National University of Ireland, Galway