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Tom G. Cotter

Prof. Cotter is a principal investigator in the UCC Biosciences Research Institute.

Short CV

Tom Cotter, graduated with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from University College Cork before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Oxford where he was a Pirie-Reid Scholar.  Following positions in the USA (Post-Doctoral & subsequently Fullbright visiting Professor) he has been Professor of Biochemistry at University College Cork since 1995.

Professor Cotter was awarded the Boyle Medal for his work in 1999 and was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2005. His main research interests are in understanding cell death & survival mechanisms. Prof. Cotter is also co-founder of two start-up biotechnology companies.

He has served on the Boards of Science Foundation Ireland, Health Research Board of Ireland and is currently a Board Member of Cancer Research Ireland and Chairs the Board of Meridian Theatre Company

Scientifc Interest

Exploring the regulation of photoreceptor and ganglion cell death in the retina


  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • The Biochemical Society
  • Society of Neuroscience
Tom G. Cotter
Tom G. Cotter

Research Group

Cell Development & Disease Laboratory


Department of Biochemistry
Biosciences Institute
University College Cork

Phone: +353 21 490 1321
Fax: +353 21 490 1382

Email: t.cotter[at]

Key Publications

  1. O'Connor JC, Wallace DM, O'Brien C, Cotter TG.
    A novel antioxidant function for the tumour suppressor gene p53 in the retinal ganglion cell.
    Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 May 16. [Epub ahead of print]
    PMID: 18487368 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  2. Madden SD, Cotter TG.
    Cell death in brain development and degeneration: control of caspase expression may be key!
    Mol Neurobiol. 2008 Feb;37(1):1-6. Epub 2008 May 1. No abstract available.
    PMID: 18449809 [PubMed - in process]
  3. Mackey AM, Sanvicens N, Groeger G, Doonan F, Wallace D, Cotter TG.
    Redox survival signalling in retina-derived 661W cells.
    Cell Death Differ. 2008 Aug;15(8):1291-303. Epub 2008 Apr 11.
    PMID: 18404155 [PubMed - in process]
  4. O'Driscoll C, O'Connor J, O'Brien CJ, Cotter TG.
    Basic fibroblast growth factor-induced protection from light damage in the mouse retina in vivo.
    J Neurochem. 2008 Apr;105(2):524-36. Epub 2007 Dec 13.
    PMID: 18088352 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  5. McKernan DP, Guerin MB, O'Brien CJ, Cotter TG.
    A key role for calpains in retinal ganglion cell death.
    Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Dec;48(12):5420-30.
    PMID: 18055788 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  6. Doonan F, Donovan M, Gomez-Vicente V, Bouillet P, Cotter TG.
    Bim expression indicates the pathway to retinal cell death in development and degeneration.
    J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 3;27(40):10887-94.
    PMID: 17913922 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  7. O'Driscoll C, Wallace D, Cotter TG.
    bFGF promotes photoreceptor cell survival in vitro by PKA-mediated inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta and CREB-dependent Bcl-2 up-regulation.
    J Neurochem. 2007 Nov;103(3):860-70. Epub 2007 Aug 20.
    PMID: 17714451 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  8. Madden SD, Donovan M, Cotter TG.
    Key apoptosis regulating proteins are down-regulated during postnatal tissue development.
    Int J Dev Biol. 2007;51(5):415-23.
    PMID: 17616931 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  9. McKernan DP, Cotter TG.
    A Critical role for Bim in retinal ganglion cell death.
    J Neurochem. 2007 Aug;102(3):922-30. Epub 2007 Apr 17.
    PMID: 17442051 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  10. Gómez-Vicente V, Doonan F, Donovan M, Cotter TG.
    Induction of BIM(EL) following growth factor withdrawal is a key event in caspase-dependent apoptosis of 661W photoreceptor cells.
    Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Aug;24(4):981-90.
    PMID: 16930425 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Research Groups