Fergus Shanahan

Fergus Shanahan MD, DSc, MRIA, is emeritus professor of medicine at University College Cork and was foundation director of the SFI-funded research centre APC Microbiome Ireland. A clinician-scientist with over forty years’ experience helping patients with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, he has received international awards for his contributions to medical science and the medical humanities. He was the first recipient of the Hektoen International Grand Prix and is a former president of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology. He has published more than 550 scientific papers and numerous books; Fast Facts in Inflammatory Bowel Disease won the BMA Book Award for gastroenterology in 2006. He featured on the “Irish Life Science 50”, a list of the top fifty Irish and Irish-Americans in the life-science industry, and in 2013 Science Foundation Ireland named him as its Researcher of the Year. In 2016, the Royal Irish Academy honoured him with a gold medal for contributions to the life sciences.

Author's books

The Language of Illness


The launch of Fergus Shanahan’s #TheLanguageofIllness, via #MicrosoftTeams, went swimmingly, all things considered. I initially went to the wrong place: like an actor going to sit in the audience, rather than waiting in the wings for their call. But after that, all was well. Sally Cudmore from #APCMicrobiome introduced; Mary Horgan, President of the #RCPI, did the honours.
There were some minor glitches – but then, you get those in real life too. But the possibilities of the new technology are legion. Hundreds of people were there – more than you’d get in even a large room – from all over the world. They could ask questions. There were no catering costs. It was at a civilised hour (at least for Europe). Best of all, you could watch it all back later:
It wasn’t easy for people to buy the book (you can remedy that here:, there was no signing of copies, and old friends couldn’t be reunited – all things which make the Irish #booklaunch an institution (much like a wedding or funeral). But overall, it was less fraught than most such events I’ve been involved in over the years. We’ll be doing it again.
As #OscarWilde put it: “The value of the telephone is the value of what two people have to say.”