Prof Amy Jayne (AJ) McKnight has a keen interest developing excellent research and improving resources for individuals living and working with rare diseases. AJ has worked for rare disease communities for ~40 years, more recently extending this interest into formal research at QUB where we are building an enthusiatic and productive rare disease research team.
For more information on AJ's research click here for more information on AJ's research
There are more than 100 researchers working on individual rare diseases or rare disease therapeutics at QUB. The people on this website are in our core rare disease team working to improve diagnosis, resources and support across all rare diseases.
More good news for 2020...our team were winners in the Research Culture category for our QUB 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Prizes.
I'm delighted to share the news that our team were runners-up in the QUB staff excellence awards under the 'Team of the Year' category in 2019 - well done everyone! A formal pic and more relaxed on the night...spot who took the second picture with the empty chair :-)
Katie Kerr (Brown) completed her PhD with Prof McKnight, Dr Flanaghan, and Dr Laura Smyth developing effective ‘omic’ strategies for rare disease research and diagnosis in Northern Ireland in 2021. Katie's research is was funded by a CAST PhD studentship by the Department for the Economy and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust as part of the NI Genomic Medicine Centre project, which is funded by the Department of Health NI and the Medical Research Council.
Click this link for more information on Katie's research.
We are delighted that Katie has secured a postdoctoral fellowship with our team where she continues to engage with rare disease communities.
Dr Laura Smyth completed her PhD with Prof Maxwell and Dr McKnight researching molecular risk factors for chronic kidney disease. As a post doctoral research fellow, Laura is extending her complementary wet-lab and bioinformatic expertise to help identify and better understand molecular risk factors for rare diseases.
For more information on Laura's research click here for more information on Laura's research
Caitlin Montgomery (nee Bailie) was undertaking her PhD with Prof Maxwell and Prof McKnight. After taking some time out with her growing family, Caitlin extended her molecular expertise to practical rare disease issues. During the COVID-19 pandemic Caitlin starting working part-time as a member of staff with our rare disease team.
Caitlin's research was funded by the Department for the Economy PhD studentship scheme.
For more information on Caitlin's research click this link for more information on Caitlin's research
Jill Kilner has worked at QUB for more than 25 years. Jill is our laboratory manager and ably manages biological samples from Northern Ireland and more than 60 international collaborators. Jill is also the key person training new staff and students in new technologies as they are implemented in our state-of-the-art labs.
For more information on Jill's research click this link for more information on Jill's research
Our PhD students...
Ashleen Crowe is undertaking her PhD with Prof McKnight, (Dr McAneney), Dr Duffy, and Dr Julie McMullan, which is titled, 'Improving communication and identifying priorities for modernising rare disease services with healthcare practitioners, patients, families and advocacy groups'. Ashleen is currently enjoying her second maternity leave where we wish her well with her growing family.
Ashleen's research is currently funded by the Department for the Economy PhD studentship scheme.
For more information on Ashleen's research click this link for more information on Ashleen's research
Carys Räsänen-Young is conducting her research on socioeconomic and environmental impacts on rare and common diseases. Carys is undertaking her PhD with Prof McKnight, Dr Cruise and Dr Smyth.
Ashleen's research is currently funded by the Department for the Economy PhD studentship scheme and an award from the HSC R&D division (STL/5569/19) and UKRI (MRC MC_PC_20026).
Philip Watt started his PhD with Dr Helen McAneney & Prof AJ McKnight, which is titled, 'How social determinants of health impact on people with Cystic Fibrosis in Ireland'.
Philip is working on his PhD part-time alongside his day-day commitments and has taken a leave of absence to manage his other responsibilities during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Rasha Alhazzaa is undertaking her PhD with Dr Shane McKee and Prof AJ McKnight, working on, "Maximising e-health initiatives to support the diagnosis and tracking of rare diseases".
Ghada Abozaid is undertaking her PhD with Dr Shane McKee, Prof McKnight and Dr. Al- Omar, focused on , "Accessibility for Rare Diseases RD(s) Therapies".