Irish Alpha-1 Pioneer Wins Prestigious National Award

February 18, 2021 Alpha1 Admin Comments Off

The Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland has announced Gerry McElvaney, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Beaumont Hospital and Professor of Medicine at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, as the winner of the prestigious HRB Impact Award 2021.

The announcement was made at the HRB annual conference on Friday, February 12th. Congratulations to Professor McElvaney on winning this major award which recognises his more than 30 years of research into lung disease, particularly alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), as well as several other conditions including cystic fibrosis and COPD. Professor McElvaney began working on AATD at Beaumont Hospital when he returned from further medical training in the USA in 1997. Inspired by Irish-American AATD patients that he met in the USA, including the late, great John Walsh, he set up the world’s first national targeted detection programme for AATD, in addition to the Alpha-1 Foundation of Ireland and the National AATD Registry. As a result of these efforts, the RCSI and Beaumont Hospital site was designated the National Centre of Expertise for AATD by the HSE in 2016. Moreover, the quality of the research performed by Professor McElvaney and his team has placed RCSI and Beaumont Hospital among the leading global centres for the study of genetic lung disease.


To watch a fascinating presentation given by Professor McElvaney on receiving the award, visit


The HRB Impact Award is bestowed every 2 years and recognises a researcher or health professional working in any health-related discipline who at any time during their career, has made, or is making, an outstanding contribution to research that has had a significant impact on people’s health or on health policy or practice. Research impact has been defined as ‘an identifiable benefit or positive influence on society, public policy, quality of life and/or the economy’.

This award will help increase recognition of the value of integrating health research into practice and policy to create a lasting impact on people’s health. It should also provide an opportunity to showcase Ireland’s position as a leader in health research internationally. For the Alpha-1 community this award will also raise awareness of one of the most common genetic conditions in Ireland.

The full press release of the award can be found at

For more information on how to get tested for AATD, which involves a simple and free blood test contact Alpha-1 Foundation Ireland by email or call 01-8093871.  

For more information on the National Centre of Expertise for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency at RCSI Beaumont Hospital visit