The Dean Medal Award

A travel bursary to encourage the understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) among young researchers

In 2010 MS Ireland honoured the work and life of Geoffrey Dean through the establishment of the Dean Medal. This award enables new MS researchers to travel to centres of excellence to enhance their understanding and knowledge of MS. MS Ireland wishes to encourage the dynamic and innovative work so keenly exemplified by Dr Geoffrey Dean.


In 2016, a second award was made to Dr Nonnie McNicholas from St Vincent’s Hospital who is planning to travel to the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden to further her research into to the measurement of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers indicative of disease progression in people with MS.

In 2011 the first award was made to Mary O'Flaherty from NUI, Galway. Mary works in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and is currently working on an MS project. Mary used the bursary to travel to The Imperial College London to study with Professor Richard Reynolds regarding a particular procedure used in her studies.

Geoffrey Dean MD, (1918 – 2009)
Dr Dean was an internationally regarded epidemiologist who in several seminal studies established the importance of environmental influences on the pathogenesis of MS. Dr Dean worked for many years in Ireland and was an active researcher in MS.

Geoffrey Dean was born in Wales and spent his early professional life in South Africa studying the variation in prevalence of MS among the different ethnic groups. He expanded these epidemiological studies to include Cyprus, Spain, Malta, Sicily and Ireland. In 1968 he moved to Ireland to become the first director of the newly formed Medico – Social Research Board, the fore-runner of the Health Research Board. Dr Dean established himself and family in Ireland and continued to contribute to the Board after his directorship ceased.

Active in research up to his death Dr Dean pursued other interest areas particularly porphyria variegata. Of the 120 papers produced during his illustrious career, his last was published in 2008 at the age of eighty-nine.


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