Research Projects

Ryan McGowan

Current PhD Student

Investigating a novel role for G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in Pancreatic Cancer pathogenesis.

Research Project Summary:

According to the Irish Cancer Society, the incidence of cancer is growing and by 2020, 1 in 2 of us will get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. Pancreatic cancer has a relatively low incidence; however, it remains the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the modern world. Despite advances in cancer treatments, the five-year survival rate remains around 5-7% and a one-year survival rate is achieved in less than 20% of cases. This poor prognosis clearly shows the need for new treatment strategies to improve the survival rates for pancreatic cancer patients. Aligned with this, the project seeks to determine the role of cellular receptors in disease development and their modulation in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Receptors will be studied on the surface of human cancer and normal pancreatic cells to investigate their role in pancreatic cancer. Targeting these receptors will be combined with currently used cancer treatments including chemotherapy drugs. This combination therapy approach may be used in the future to improve treatment options and survival rates for cancer patients around the world.


Ryan Mc Gowan graduated with an Honours in Medical Science from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in 2019. After working for a number of months in the Histopathology laboratory of Sligo University Hospital he accepted a postgraduate position through the Connaught Ulster Alliance Scholarship Fund to undertake research on pancreatic cancer.


Connacht Ulster Alliance Research Symposium (Poster Presented)