University College Dublin logo
Professor Walter Kolch


Walter Kolch

Director Systems Biology Ireland
School of Medicine
01 716 6303
University College Dublin, School of Medicine, Systems Biology Ireland Temple Street Dublin 1


Walter Kolch is Director of Systems Biology Ireland (SBI) at University College Dublin (UCD). A leading international proponent of precision medicine, Kolch originally trained as a clinician, subsequently working in the pharmaceutical industry, research institutes, and academia. He is internationally recognised for his cutting-edge research using systems approaches to understand signalling networks, and is ranked 3rd in the world in precision medicine, 8th in personalised medicine, and amongst the world's top 50 in proteomics, systems biology, and signal Transduction (Google Scholar). Through his leading involvement in pan-European strategic initiatives including Coordinating Action Systems Medicine, Infrastructure for Systems Biology Europe, and the ELIXIR research infrastructure for life science information, Kolch has played a central role in the development of precision medicine policy and funding at both national and international level. Kolch has designed, developed and coordinated innovative systems biology, systems medicine and precision medicine programmes of vision, scale and impact throughout his career, with a track record of competitive grant funding of over '200M. Kolch founded the Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility in 2001 - one of the first facilities worldwide that integrated genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics under one roof pioneering multi-omics data integration. From 2005 to 2009, he was Scientific Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) Proteomics Technologies - RASOR, a £15M multidisciplinary project between the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Dundee, which focused on developing innovative proteomics technologies. RASOR produced >180 publications, 6 patents and a spin out company. It also incorporated an associated doctoral training centre. In 2009, he established SBI, a '22M interdisciplinary research centre focusing on the design of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to diseases primarily cancer, based on a systems level, mechanistic understanding of cellular signal transduction networks. An independent review of 2017 ranked SBI as one of the top four research centres that integrate computational modelling with experimental cell biology. Kolch's record of coordinating large scale interdisciplinary initiatives includes one EU Horizon 2020 MSCA training programme, two EU-FP7 health programmes and two large strategic UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded cross-University research collaborations. He has also partnered on 10 EU-FP6/FP7 programmes. His current interest is focusing on using computational modelling and omics approaches to analyse biological networks in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of disease such as cancer and inflammation (skin, rheumatoid arthritis), and in order to design new approaches to personalised diagnostics and treatment of these disease based on a systems level, molecular mechanistic understanding.


  • Research Assistant
    Institute of Biochemistry, University of Vienna, Austria1 Jan 1986 - 1 Nov 1986
  • Group Leader
    Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK, United Kingdom15 Apr 1999 - 27 Jul 2008
  • Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
    University of Glasgow, UK1 Apr 2000 - 1 Apr 2009
  • Director, Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility
    University of Glasgow, UK1 Apr 2001 - 1 Apr 2004
  • Director, Systems Biology Ireland
    University College Dublin1 Aug 2009
  • Director, Conway Institute
    University College Dublin1 Apr 2010


  • Erwin Schrödinger Fellow from the Austrian Science Foundation
    National Cancer Institute / National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, USA1 Jan 1988 - 31 Dec 1988
  • Fogarty Visiting Fellow
    Ibidem1 Jan 1989 - 31 Dec 1990
  • Head of the Department of Molecular Biology
    Gödecke-Parke Davis, Freiburg, Germany1 Jan 1992 - 31 Dec 1993
  • Head of the Signal Transduction Group
    GSF Research Centre, Munich, Germany17 Jun 1993 - 17 Apr 1997
  • Scientific Director, Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration
    Proteomics Technologies1 Apr 2005 - 31 Jul 2009


    Ludwig-Maximilians U Munich. DE
  • MD
    University of Vienna Austria