Public Lecture 4 : Alone Willie Bermingham lecture

Public Lecture 4 : Alone Willie Bermingham lecture

The IGS 2022 ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture will be delivered  by Prof Fergus Shanahan on Friday 4th November, 10:00 - 10:45pm Cranaghan 1 Room.
It will be introduced by Seán Moynihan, CEO ALONE

Prof. Fergus Shanahan is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland.

Title: Gut Health - Love your Microbes!

Live stream:

The talk can be viewed at any time during or after the live presentation.  

The Willie Bermingham Lecture

The Willie Bermingham Lecture, which is sponsored by ALONE, is the keynote address at the Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society.

The theme of the lecture is generally reflective of the presenter’s special interests and perspectives on ageing and older people. In recent years our esteemed lecturers have covered interests, concerns and challenges over a broad range of topics including medicine, economics, social policy and law.

In 1977, Willie Bermingham founded ALONE (A Little Offering Never Ends), an organisation which highlighted the plight of old forgotten individuals who were living in squalid neglect in Dublin. This was after he had found several people dead in appalling conditions through his work as a firefighter.

Willie undertook his ALONE project on a voluntary basis, whilst still holding down his job in Dublin Fire Brigade. Many colleagues joined him as volunteers.  As news spread of the work, the organisation grew. Although it has become a relatively large organisation, the focus on older people as individuals has never changed.

Willie received a People of the Year award in 1979.  In 1985 he was awarded the International Firefighter of the Year award. In 1988, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Trinity College, Dublin.

Willie Bermingham died after a short illness in 1990. However, the foundations he laid has ensured that ALONE is still an active charity in Ireland. It supports housing and befriending schemes as well as advocating for older people.  100% of donations to ALONE go to front-line services.

http://More about Willie Bermingham and previous IGS Willie Bermingham Lectures


Professor Fergus Shanahan

Fergus Shanahan is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland.  Born and educated in Dublin, he attended medical school at University College Dublin where he graduated with honours in 1977 and was awarded a gold medal in medicine from the Mater University Hospital.  After internship and residency in internal medicine in Dublin, he did a two-year fellowship in clinical immunology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, followed by a two-year fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  After completion of his fellowship at UCLA, he was appointed to the faculty there, rising to the rank of Associate Professor before making the decision, in 1993, to return to his native Ireland.  Together with colleagues from several departments and different faculties within University College Cork and Teagasc (a research agency of the Irish Ministry of Food and Agriculture), Dr. Shanahan led a team of clinicians, clinician-scientists, and basic scientists to successfully compete for seed funding from Science Foundation Ireland to create a multi-disciplinary research center, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), which was established in 2003 and which investigates host-microbe interactions in the gut in health and disease.  Under Dr. Shanahan’s directorship, the center now has a membership of 170 staff, scientists, and students and has expanded its funding and research base by securing research alliances with indigenous and multinational companies within the food and pharmaceutical sectors. The APC was granted institute status in 2013 and has been re-named APC Microbiome Ireland. Dr. Shanahan has published more than 500 scientific papers and several on the medical humanities and has co-edited several books.  He has several patents and is a co-founder of three university start-up companies which continue as a source of over 45 high tech jobs in the Cork region. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Canada, and the United Kingdom as well as of the American College of Physicians.  He served as President of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology from 2007-2009, was named to the “Irish Life Science 50” a list of the top 50 Irish and Irish Americans in the life science industry and has received the Irish Society of Immunology biennial medal and public lectureship award. He was the first recipient of the Hektoen international medical humanities grand prix for an essay entitled ‘Waiting’.  In 2013, Science Foundation Ireland named him as its Researcher of the Year. He was awarded a DSc for published work on mucosal immunology by the National University of Ireland in 2014. He was also acknowledged with an honorary DSc. from his alma mater, University College Dublin, in 2015. The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) honoured him with a gold medal for contributions to the life sciences (2016) and he was elected to membership of the RIA in 2017. His interests are in mucosal immunology, gut microbiota, inflammatory bowel disease, and most things that affect the human experience.