Marion is an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics in RCSI. She has a BSc (Honors) degree in Genetics with Industrial experience from the University of Manchester, a Masters degree (Distinction) in Life Sciences and a PhD on RNA editing in a Drosophila neurodegeneration model from the MRC human Genetics Unit and The University of Edinburgh, and a post-graduate Diploma in Health Education from RCSI.
Marion’s research focuses on transfer RNA cleavage by the ALS-associated ribonuclease angiogenin and the fate and function of tRNA-derived fragments. She discovered that one tRNA fragment is elevated in serum from slow progressing ALS patients indicating it may be of use as a prognostic biomarker. This could provide valuable information to patients and enable patient stratification upon entry into clinical trials which may result in improved trial design and outcomes. Additionally, she recently identified tRNA fragments that may serve as biomarkers of seizure onset in plasma from focal epilepsy patients. tRNA fragments are generated in neurons, secreted from neurons and secretion is modulated by neuronal activity, which suggests this novel class of non-coding RNAs may be important for neuronal health. She is supervising Elisabeth Jirstrom (PhD student) and Luke Eivers (Research Assistant), and has recently received independent funding from the ALS Association for a project entitled "Investigating the mechanism of neuroprotection by tRNA fragments in ALS".