Prof Emer McGrath completed clinical training at Galway University Hospital and a PhD in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology) at NUI Galway under the mentorship of Prof Martin O'Donnell. She completed specialist training in Neurology and Neuromuscular Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and a postdoctoral research fellowship in Neurovascular cognitive disorders at the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University funded by an Alzheimer’s Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship. In 2018 she took up a faculty position at Harvard Medical School and Associate Neurologist post at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. She returned to Ireland in 2020 to take up her current position at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital.
Prof McGrath and her team are measuring levels of protein in the blood (i.e. biomarkers) and determining whether these biomarkers are different in people with and without features of early stage dementia on specialised brain scans, and whether these biomarkers can predict who will develop dementia in the future. The results of these studies will be used to develop a simple risk score to calculate a person’s likelihood of developing dementia in the future, using both biomarkers (simple blood test) and clinical information(e.g.hypertension). Prof McGrath’s research is expected to have important public health benefits including, 1) identifying individuals at ‘high-risk’ of developing dementia, 2) tailoring approaches to treatment based on an individual’s biomarker signature, and 3) improving our ability to find new treatments for dementia by allowing better selection of individuals for clinical trials.