Physiology and Medical Physics

The RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics has been in existence in the College since 1889. Today, the department led by Prof. Jochen Prehn has a strong commitment to Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching at RCSI and an active research environment with particular interests in:

  • Cancer: colorectal, blood, brain and breast cancers
  • Neurological disorders: Epilepsy and stroke, motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and rare neurological disorders
  • Systems biology, Bioinformatics and data integration
  • Physics: Solar disinfection

In March 2021, the Department received the internationally recognised Athena SWAN Bronze Award for gender equality in higher education. You can access our successful departmental application here.

Contact us

  • Telephone: +353 1 402 2261

Staff from the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics teach at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level in RCSI.

As part of the Undergraduate curriculum, we contribute to several modules across Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy, including modules and content on the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the renal system and the endocrine system.

At Postgraduate level, we are involved in the training of MD, Masters and PhD students. Students at this level are taught to interrogate their research questions at the molecular level, while also focusing on the importance of translating their findings to a clinic setting. We work closely with clinical colleagues in Beaumont Hospital to facilitate our translational work.

The department also coordinates two European PhD training networks: GLIOTRAIN, which looks at translational brain tumour research, cancer systems medicine and integrative multi-omics and PurinesDX, which looks at controlling neuroinflammation and hyperexcitability in brain diseases.

In addition to teaching commitments, our department is active in education and outreach nationally and internationally, with our researchers visiting both primary and secondary schools, facilitating on-site visits and our TY Science event annually. We also host visiting scientists and students from higher education authorities abroad.

The primary research focus of the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics is the analysis of cell death and cell survival signalling and its application to neurological disorders, oncology and diabetes. We use molecular imaging, proteomics and computational biology to accelerate discovery and translation of research findings into the clinic.

The department has also successfully established an internationally recognised centre of excellence – the Centre for Systems Medicine – which aims to identify genes, proteins and metabolites implicated in human disease and utilise systems biology and mathematical approaches in order to develop new prognostic tools for the treatment of cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes; and develop more targeted therapies for patients. Research within the centre spans a range of applications including proteomics, systems biology, biomarker identification, and clinical informatics.

The Department of Physiology and Medical Physics is also home to a broad range of large scale national, international and innovative research projects, including Waterspoutt, Colossus, RNA-NEURO, PANIWATER and PD-MitoQUANT; and hosts the world-leading SFI Research Centre FutureNeuro and the RCSI Precision Cancer Medicine group.


Professor/Head of Department


Emeritus Professors

  • Aidan Bradford
  • Jim Docherty 

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in Physiology and Physiology Education

Section Head of Medical Physics and Senior Lecturer

  • Kenny Winser

Senior Lecturer


Honorary Lecturer

Director of Molecular Imaging and Biophysics

Senior Research Fellow/MRTF manager

  • Gang Chen