• Room 03.020 - Clinical Science B

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to wide-ranging PhD applications from candidates with a basic science or clinical background.
Fields of research interests include: Diabetic complications, biomarker discovery, stratified medicine and ageing.
Previous research experience is desirable although not essential.

1997 …2023

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Statement

My main research interests include biomarker discovery associated with microvascular dysfunction in diabetes and its complications.  Research includes evaluation of data from non-invasive retinal imaging and other novel biomarkers to identify early microvascular decline in ‘at risk’ individuals. Additional interests include identification of (epi)genetic risk factors associated with diabetic complications, dementia and other chronic diseases, including nutrigenomics, socioeconomic factors and carotenoid and antioxidant levels, particularly vitamin E and associated impact with disease.

Multi-omic approaches include genetic, epigenetic and proteomic screening and evaluation of data from multi-centre collections, including UK Biobank, the Northern Ireland Cohort of Longitudinal Ageing, and international cohorts from other European countries, the Americas and Asia.

Research support provided by the Medical Research Council, Diabetes UK, Northern Ireland R&D Office, the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund, the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland, Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

I have co-authored >140 peer-reviewed publications which can be viewed here in PubMed.


I have developed and coordinate clinical genetics modules for both undergraduate Medicine (MED1021) and Biomedical Science (BMS2111) degree programmes. I also coordinate a postgraduate module on Genomics and Human Disease on our MSc in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Additional teaching commitments include participation in standard setting, exam boards, progress reviews and postgraduate research boards. Postgraduate supervision has included successful completion of 9 PhD and 5 Master's studentships. I have undertaken external examiner roles at the following institutions: U of Edinburgh (Scotland, 2016), U of Dundee (Scotland, 2021, 2023), U College Dublin (Ireland, 2017), Royal College of Surgeons (Ireland, 2020), North West University (South Afrrica, 2021).


I was an invited expert advisor to Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany (2017). I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Editorial Board Member for the journals, Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), the International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics (e-Century Publishing Corporation) and the Journal of Diabetes Research (Hindawi Publishing Group).

Administrative and Managerial roles

I have been an expert panel member for multiple EU Horizon 2020 research programmes including Innovative Medicines Initiative 2, Use of Real World Data for the Management of Complex Chronic Conditions, and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (Doctoral Training Networks and Fellowship Awards). Expert roles within the European Commission have expanded further as part of the Horizon Europe research programme for both the European Research Exeuctive Agency and the Health and Digital Executive Agency, including sub-panel chair roles for 'Biomarkers and Public Health'.

I am one of three QUB 'Designated Individuals' for the University Human Tissue Act licence (#12059) and sit on the University Human Tissue Steering Group.  I am Health and Safety chair for the Centre for Public Health, a member of the Centre Senior Management Team and the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sceince  Health and Safety Committee. 


Outreach Activities

I am the scientific advisor for the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund. In addition, I support patient advocacy groups including Alzheimer's Research UK and Diabetes UK through communication and dissemination activities to promote science and research. Additional outreach activities include the promotion of STEM subjects to local schoolchildren and through the Northern Ireland Science Festivals. My lab has hosted work-placement students and provided learning opportunities through the Nuffield Research Placement Programme for Northern Ireland (2020, 2021) and the Sentinus Research Academy (2022). 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


Dive into the research topics where Gareth McKay is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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