Researcher profiles

Ongoing Projects



How to find us




  • Email:                          adrienne.gorman@nuigalway.ie
  • Phone:                       + 353-91-492417
  • Postal address:       Apoptosis Research Centre, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland

Career History

  • Lecturer in Biochemistry, 2000
  • Ph.D. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • B.A.Mod. Biochemistry, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Research Interests

  • mechanism of pro-survival signalling
  • mechanism of nerve growth factor signalling in cell death and survival

Research Overview
The ‘Cell death and cell survival’ group is interested in pro-survival signalling by cells. We are using in vitro cell biology approaches to understand biochemical mechanisms of cell death and survival, including apoptosis. We are currently interested in neurotrophins, particularly the prototypic neurotrophin nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF has long been associated with neuronal survival and differentiation, although in recent years, novel roles in non-neuronal tissues, in various cancers and in promoting apoptosis, have emerged. In our current research we are investigating the mechanism of pro-survival signalling by NGF in breast cancer cells. This will allow us to identify targets for therapy. We are also investigating how we can sensitise breast cancer cells to induction of apoptosis by manipulating the NGF signalling pathway. In another project, we are developing variants of the NGF protein in order to disrupt its binding to its cognate receptors, TrkA and p75NTR and hence to modify NGF signal transduction pathways. This has potential applications in a range of diseases where NGF signalling is involved including Alzheimer’s disease, a range of cancers including breast cancer, diabetes, lung disease amongst others.
Our research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (EMBARK), UK Breast Cancer Campaign.

Recent publications:

  • Yao L, Damodaran G, Nikolskaya N, Gorman AM, Windebank A, Pandit A (2010) The effect of laminin peptide gradient in enzymatically cross-linked collagen scaffolds on neurite growth. J Biomed Mater Res 92, 484-492
  • Healy SJM, Gorman AM, Mousavi-Shafaei P, Gupta S, Samali A (2009) Targeting the endoplasmic reticulum-stress response as an anti-cancer strategy. Eur J Pharmacol 625, 234-246 (Special Issue 'New vistas in anti-cancer therapy')
  • Read DE, Gorman AM (2009) Involvement of Akt in neurite outgrowth. Cell Mol Life Sci 66, 2975-2984
  • Read DE, Gorman AM (2009) Heat shock protein 27 in neuronal survival and neurite outgrowth. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 382, 6-8
  • Yao L, Wang S, Cui W, Sherlock R, O’Connell C, Damodaran G, Gorman A, Windebank A, Pandit A (2009) Effect of functionalised micropatterned PLGA on guided neurite growth. ACTA Biomater 5, 580-588
  • Gorman AM (2008) Neuronal cell death in neurodegenerative diseases: recurring themes around protein handling. J Cell Mol Med 12(6A), 2263-2280
  • Szegezdi E, Reed Herbert K, Kavanagh ET, Samali A and Gorman AM (2008) Nerve growth factor blocks thapsigargin-induced apoptosis at the level of the mitochondrion via regulation of Bim. J Cell Mol Med 12(6A), 2482-2496
  • Read DE, Reed Herbert K, Gorman AM (2008) Heat shock enhances NGF-induced neurite elongation which is not mediated by Hsp25 in PC12 cells. Brain Res 1221, 14-23
  • Kavanagh ET, Loughlin JP, Herbert KR, Dockery P, Samali A, Doyle KM, and Gorman AM (2006) Functionality of NGF-protected PC12 cells following exposure to 6-hydroxydopamine. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 351, 890-895
  • Szegezdi E, Logue SE, Gorman AM and Samali A (2006) Mediators of ER stress-induced apoptosis. EMBO Reports 7, 880-885
  • Ní Chonghaile T, Concannon CG, Szegezdi E, Gorman AM and Samali A (2006) Dexamethasone inhibits apoptosis in C6 glioma cells through increased expression of Bcl-XL. Apoptosis 11, 1247-1255
  • Gorman AM, Szegezdi E, Quigney DJ, Samali A. (2005) Hsp27 inhibits 6-hydroxydopamine-induced cytochrome c release and apoptosis in PC12 cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 327, 801-810
  • O’Driscoll CM, Gorman AM. (2005) Hypoxia induces neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells that is mediated through adenosine A2A receptors. Neuroscience 131, 321-329
  • Concannon CG, Gorman AM, Samali A. (2003) On the role of Hsp27 in regulating apoptosis. Apoptosis 8, 61-70
  • Quigney DJ, Gorman AM, Samali A. (2003) Heat shock protects PC12 cells against MPP+ toxicity. Brain Research 993, 133-139

Book chapters

  • Reed Herbert K, Samali A, Gorman AM. (2006) The role of heat shock proteins in neuronal differentiation and development. In Heat Shock Proteins in Neural Cells, Chapter 3 (Christiane Richter-Landsberg, ed.), Landes Bioscience, TX, USA. ISBN: 0-387-39952-6, pp 25-37
  • Fitzgerald, U, Gorman AM, Samali A. (2006) Heat shock proteins and the regulation of apoptosis. In Heat Shock Proteins in Neural Cells, Chapter 5 (Christiane Richter-Landsberg, ed.), Landes Bioscience, TX, USA. ISBN: 0-387-39952-6, pp 53-66