The Rooney Group

Madeleine Rooney, Sorcha Finnegan, David Gibson

On her return to N Ireland in 1999, Dr Madeleine Rooney established the NI regional service in paediatric Rheumatology. During the last 11 years she has developed a service with exemplary standards of care for children with rheumatic diseases, with the help of a dedicated multidisciplinary team. The service includes inpatient, day ward biological delivery and outpatient services.

She is an international leader in paediatric musculoskeletal ultrasound in childhood arthritis. She has established ultrasound as part of the normal clinical service and is at the forefront of developing this service in units throughout the UK. Through her research she has demonstrated the superiority of MSUS over clinical examination.

She is currently the chief investigator on the first multicentre double blind controlled study of the prevention and treatment of steroid – induced osteopaenia in children with rheumatic diseases. The results of this 11-site study (due 2012) will provide the first evidence- base for the management of bone health in these children.

Since 2003 she has set up a prospect inception cohort, database and sample collection from children with newly diagnosed JIA, and currently has the largest synovial tissue collection. Her laboratory’s areas of interest are the synovial membrane and fluid histomorphology and proteome.  With her colleagues Dr David Gibson and Dr Sorcha Finnegan, they have identified unique histological features of Juvenile arthritis and have identified a plasma and synovial fluid protein fingerprint that predicts disease spread. They have also identified post translational modifications in the Vit. D binding protein that may act as a modulator of inflammation in the children. These findings have added to the body of knowledge of this group of diseases