Launched in June 2008 with an investment of €18 million, The Charles Institute is the first academic institute devoted to dermatology in Ireland. The Institute’s vision is to become a world leader in dermatology research and training, which will lead to improved patient care through the discovery of new treatments and therapies.

Continuing the Hume Street legacy in dermatology

The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity in partnership with University College Dublin founded the Charles Institute on the campus of University College Dublin.

The Institute is named in honour of Andrew Charles FRCSI, the founder of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital (known as Hume Street Hospital) and his son Havelock Charles who worked as a consultant dermatologist in the hospital throughout his life.

Honouring the vision and commitment of the founding fathers and all of the dedicated staff who worked in the hospital from its foundation in 1911 to its closure in 2006, the Board of Directors of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity has become the major donor to the Charles Institute, contributing a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Hume Street Hospital site towards the establishment of the Institute.

Aims & Objectives

The objectives of the Charles Institute will be:

i To build on the legacy of The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital by creating a centre of excellence of international repute.

ii To initiate and conduct research programs for the advancement of the understanding and treatment of dermatological disease in close association with the Conway Institute and Health Sciences Centre.

iii To provide the facilities necessary for the future training of all healthcare professionals dedicated to curing skin disease.

iv To structure a National programme that supports Irelands community of dermatologists through continued medical education and patient advocacy.

v To develop the translational model of bench-to-bedside research through close collaboration between the existing dermatological services in St. Vincent’s University Hospital and the Charles Institute.

vi To ensure ultimately that these objectives will result in the betterment of dermatological treatment for the many thousands of patients in Ireland who suffer from skin disease and its many manifestations.

In reaching the decision to support this ambitious partnership with UCD, which has the ultimate goal of seeing the Charles Institute established as a world class centre of excellence, the Board of The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital is confident that in so doing it is honouring the vision and the commitment of the founding fathers and all of the dedicated staff who worked in the Hospital from its foundation in 1911 to its closure in 2006.

Design & Facilities

The building provides a selection of animated interaction areas interspersed with write-up rooms, seminar and comfortable seating areas closely allied to the research laboratories so as to promote discourse, collaboration and social engagement in an ambience that is both attractive and functional. The strategic positioning of the Charles Institute, while providing dedicated training and research facilities for dermatology, also permits utilisation of the resources available in the adjacent research flagship, the Conway Institute with full access to the library, lecture theatres and associated teaching facilities available in the Health Sciences Centre. The use of solar panels, high performance façades, heat recovery systems, rain water harvesting, maximum use of day-lighting, natural ventilation and environmentally sensitive materials is in accord with the eco-friendly policy of the University.

The glazed prow of the Charles Institute and the inviting space traversing three floors that was created within the building seemed to me to be crying for fulfilment. I knew none better for this challenging task than Brian O’Doherty; and the Board of the Charity responded to my request to commission what has now become the unique creation entitled “The Arrow of Curiosity, the Curve of Conciliation, and the Line of Inquiry”.

The Board

Members of the board of of the Charles Institute

The Board of the Charles Institute. From left front: Eoin O’Brien, Bill Powderly, Frank Powell, Peter O’Flanagan. From left back: John Lynch, Desmond Fitzgerald, Risteard O’Laoide and Michael Griffith.

Desmond Fitzgerald is the Vice-President for Research and Professor of Molecular Medicine at UCD. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the European Society of Cardiology, and was elected to the Association of American Physicians in 2006.
Peter O’Flanagan has spent his working life in the sales and marketing on Construction equipment .He served as Treasurer and Vice Chairman of the Board before serving a 4 year term as Chairman from 2007 to 2011 during which time the Charles Institutethe Charles Centre and the Irish Skin Foundation were founded.
Eoin O’Brien is Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at University College Dublin and has been involved with the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital since childhood as his parents were members of the staff, as was he in later years. He has written the history of the hospital: A Century of Service. The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital 1911-2012 and is member of the Board of the Charles Institute and Chairman of the Irish Skin Foundation.
Laurent Perret, who has doctorates in physiology and paediatrics, started his hospital and university career in Paris where he was Assistant Professor until he joined Servier Laboratories in 1981, where he has been Clinical Research Director and President of Research and Development from 1990 to 2007. He is currently President of the Scientific Committee of the Servier Research Group and is also Research Professor in Neurosciences at the New York University.
Professor Bill Powderly, Dean of the Medical School, is Head of the School of Medicine and Medical Science at University College Dublin and Chief Academic Officer, Dublin Academic Medical Centre. He has published widely in the areas of HIV and AIDS and is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Paul Collins is a consultant dermatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire. He is also a board member of the Charles Institute.
John Lynch is a business consultant to the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics industry, having built businesses both in the multinational and indigenous sectors over the last 25 years in the USA, UK and Ireland. Until 2011 he was CEO of an Irish plc and prior to that he was a senior executive with Abbott Laboratories Inc. He attended UCD, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, the Marketing Institute of Ireland and Stanford University.
Risteárd Ó Laoide is a consultant radiologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Radiology at UCD and a board member of Dublin Academic Medical Centre. He has previously held the offices of chairman of the Medical Board SVUH, clinical director of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and dean of the Faculty of Radiologists, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Colm Darling is Chairman of DEBRA Ireland which is the national charity established in 1988 to provide patient support services and to drive research into treatments and cures for those living with the genetic skin condition, epidermolysis bullosa (EB). He joined the charity following a career in banking and financial markets, offering experience achieved through diverse board and senior management positions in private and semi-state organisations.
Professor Frank Powell is a dermatologist and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charles Institute and acting Director.He is currently the President of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and is a Past-President of the Irish Association of Dermatologists. He is a member of several international dermatologic societies and honorary member of the American Dermatologic Association, and the Hungarian and Romanian Dermatology Associations.
Professor William Hall, Professor of Microbiology, is Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at University College Dublin, which provides a diagnostic and reference service for clinicians investigating virus infections.