Biology / Biomedical Sciences
School of Environmental Sciences / Life Sciences

Dr Stephen Maher

Stephen Maher

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science

School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Science

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Key Publications
  • Career
  • Additional


The focus of my laboratory lies in translational gastrointestinal cancer biology and associated anti-cancer therapeutics. Currently, we have active research strands in: (1) the role of oesophageal cancer stem cells and their biology in conferring resistance to radiation, (2) the relationship of mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular bioenergetic plasticity to radioresistance, (3) microRNA species as regulators of sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation in oesophageal adenocarcinoma and mesothelioma and (4) the role of CCL28 during the Barrett’s metaplasia-dysplasia-adenocarcinoma sequence in the oesophagus. The groups has close links with Trinity College Dublin, St. James’s Hospital Dublin, Castle Hill Hospital Hull and Hull Royal Infirmary for translational, patient-orientated research.

Current Funding

2013 – 2015, Cancer and Polio Research Fund, Project Grant, Principal Investigator, £40,000.

“The contribution of miR-187 and miR-330 to resistance to chemoradiotherapy in oesophageal adenocarcinoma”

2012 – 2015, Health Research Board, HRA, Principal Investigator, €326,103.

“Understanding the contribution of cancer stem cells in resistance to radiation in a model of radioresistance in oesophageal adenocarcinoma” [HRA_POR/2012/82]

2011 – 2013, Health Research Board, HRA, Principal Investigator, €183,005.

“The role of microRNA and random mitochondrial DNA mutations in a novel clinically-relevant isogenic model of radioresistance in oesophageal adenocarcinoma” [HRA_POR/2011/63]

2010 – 2013, Health Research Board, HRA, Principal Investigator, €246,199. (offer declined)

“Tissue and serum microRNA signatures for predicting response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy of oesophageal cancer” [HRA_POR/2010/39]

2010 - 2013, Irish Cancer Society Fellowship. Principal Investigator, €223,547.

“Tissue and serum microRNA signatures for predicting response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy of oesophageal cancer” [CRF10MAH]

2010 – 2013, Irish Cancer Society Scholarship, Research PI/Supervisor. €117,054.

“The role of the chemokine CCL28 (Mucosae-associated Epithelial Chemokine (MEC)) in oesophageal cancer: interactions between the tumour and the immune system” [CRS10PIC]


Module number

Module name



58284 Molecular Cell Biology Lecturer 5
58383 Cancer Biology Module Coordinator 6
580073 MSc Translational Oncology Director 7

Key Publications

  • Picardo SL, Maher SG, O’Sullivan J, Reynolds JV. Barrett’s to oesophageal cancer sequence: A model of inflammatory-driven upper gastrointestinal cancer. Dig Surg. 2012;29:251-260.
  • Lynam-Lennon N, Reynolds JV, Marignol L, Sheils OM, Pidgeon GP, Maher SG. microRNA-31 modulates tumour sensitivity to radiation in oesophageal cancer. J Mol Med;2012;90:1449-1458.
  • Maher SG and Reynolds JV. Oesophageal cancer: The potential of modern molecular tools in treatment. Cancer Professional. 2012;6:21-25.
  • Lynam-Lennon N, Gray SG, Maher SG. miRNA in oncogenesis, in Epigenetics in human disease. Trygve O. Tollefsbol (Ed), Elsevier, 2012:89-110.
  • Hötte GJ, Lynam-Lennon N, Reynolds JV, Maher SG. Radiation sensitivity of oesophageal adenocarcinoma: The contribution of the RNA-binding protein RNPC1 and p21-mediated cell cycle arrest to radioresistance. Radiation Res. 2012;177:272-279.
  • Maher SG, McDowell DT, Murphy SA, Collins BC, Gallagher WM, Reynolds JV. Serum proteomic profiling reveals that pre-treatment complement protein levels are predictive of esophageal cancer response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation. Ann Surg. 2011;254:809-817.
  • Maher SG, Reynolds JV. Basic Concepts of Inflammation and its role in carcinogenesis, in Inflammation and Gastrointestinal Cancers (Series: Recent Results in Cancer Research). J. A. Z. Jankowski (Ed), Springer, 2011;185:1-34.
  • Lynam-Lennon N, Reynolds JV, Pidgeon GP, Lysaght J, Marignol L, Maher SG. Alterations in DNA repair efficiency are involved in the radioresistance of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Radiation Res. 2010;174:703-711.
  • Byrne M, Reynolds JV, O’Donnell JS, Keogan M, White B, Byrne M, Murphy S, Maher SG, Pidgeon GP. Activation of the procoagulant response following neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and long-term activation following major cancer surgery. Brit. J. Cancer. 2010;102:73-79.
  • Miller CHT, Maher SG, Young HA. Clinical use of Interferon-g, in Cytokine therapies: Novel approaches for clinical indications. Ann NY Acad Sci, Donnelly RP (Ed), 2009;1182:69-79.
  • Maher SG, Gillham CM, Duggan SP, Smyth PC, Miller N, Muldoon C, O’Byrne KJ, Sheils OM, Hollywood D, Reynolds JV. Gene expression microarray analysis predicts pathological response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy of oesophageal cancer. Ann Surg. 2009;250:729-737.
  • McDowell DT, Smith FM, Reynolds JV, Maher SG, Adida C, Crotty P, Gaffney EF, Hollywood D, Mehigan B, Stephens RB, Kennedy MJ. Increased spontaneous apoptosis, but not survivin expression, is associated with histomorphologic response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation in rectal cancer. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2009;24:1261-1269.
  • Lynam-Lennon N, Maher SG, Reynolds JV. The roles of microRNA in cancer and apoptosis. Biol. Rev. 2009;84:55-71.


  • Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science (2012–present): Dept. Biological Sciences, University of Hull, UK.
  • Adjunct Associate Professor (2012–present): Dept. Surgery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Irish Cancer Society Research Fellow (2010–2012): Dept. Surgery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Research Fellow (2007–2010): Dept. Surgery, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Visiting Post-doctoral Fellow (2004–2007): Cancer and Inflammation Program, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute,
  • National Institutes of Health, MD, USA.
  • Locum Biochemist (2004–2004): Dept. Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
  • Ph.D. student (2000–2004): Dept. Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Achievements and Awards

  • 2012 – Irish Cancer Society Researcher of the Year.
  • 2011 – Patey Prize (best paper, SARS annual meeting).
  • 2010 – Research Fellowship, Irish Cancer Society (Cancer Research Ireland).
  • 2010 – Roche Researcher of the Year (Research Supervisor of Recipient).
  • 2009 – Poster Prize, 7th International Cancer Conference.
  • 2009 – TCD Molecular Medicine Entrepreneurship Course (best pitch to VC panel) - 1st Prize.
  • 2009 – Conference Bursary, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin.
  • 2008 – Donald Weir Medal for Research (1st prize, Trinity College Dublin).
  • 2008 – Oncology Scholars Travel Award (Irish Cancer Society/Cancer Research Ireland).
  • 2004 – Fellowship, National Cancer Institute (NIH, USA).
  • 1997 – Scholarship, 39th London International Youth Science Forum (Royal Dublin Society).


  • All-Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group
  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • European Association of Cancer Research
  • Irish Association of Cancer Research
  • International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
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