Prof William M. Gallagher

/ Prof William M. Gallagher

Professor William M. Gallagher BSc PhD CBiol MSB

  • Director, UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
  • Director, BREAST-PREDICT (Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre)
  • Professor of Cancer Biology, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science
  • Conway Fellow, UCD Conway Institute
  • Co-Founder/Chief Scientific Officer, OncoMark Limited

Biographical sketch:
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 €7.5Mi BREAST-PREDICT Centre (, which was 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. He was also co-PI and Deputy Co-ordinator of a major SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster, Molecular Therapeutics of Cancer (2009-2015) (; this was one of the most extensive organ-independent research programmes in the translational cancer research arena within the Republic of Ireland. Prof. Gallagher previously co-ordinated the FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) programme, SYS-MEL (, which was focused on applying systems medicine approaches to development of new diagnostic solutions in melanoma (2013-2017). He is currently co-ordinator of a large-scale FP7 collaborative project, entitled RATHER (, which is focused on providing new rationalised therapy options for difficult-to-treat breast cancer subtypes (2011-2018).

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. Prof. Gallagher has received a number of awards based on his research work to date, including the BACR/AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award in 2004 and the St. Luke’s Silver Medal Award in 2008. In 2007, he 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.

Mechanisms of Cancer Metastasis
Metastasis is the movement of cancer cells from the site of origin to another part of the body. During metastasis, cancer cells travel through the blood or lymphatic system from the original site (primary tumour) to a new site where it settles down and forms a new tumour in the new location (secondary tumour).

The molecular mechanisms that drive metastasis have been traditionally poorly understood in comparison to early events in tumourigenesis. Recent advances have been made in defining the intricate mechanistic pathways implicated in metastasis; these will be the main focus of this overview presentation.