Brendan Holland, Joint Honorable President and Committee Member of the Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Brendan has lived most of his life in the Dungannon area which is part of the genetic hotspot identified through Prof Korbonits’ research. He was treated in 1970 for gigantism at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and in 2009, he met Prof Korbonits at the hospital during the filming of the documentary Charles Byrne, the Irish Giant directed by Ronan McCloskey in which Brendan played a prominent role. Brendan is committed to furthering the research of Prof Korbonits to find and treat other patients with gigantism and was an active researcher in the discovery of the gene in the local population where he lives. His story features prominently in this book. Brendan was also featured in the 2016 BBC documentary The Giant Gene. Over the last ten years, he has conducted his own research into the history of gigantism in the area and has been interviewed about his research and history on the NBC Today Show, BBC Radio 4, Irish Examiner, RTE Radio 1, and the BBC World Service.


Colleen Snyder, MA in Literature and Language, The American University, Washington, DC

Diagnosed in 1976 at age 20 with a pituitary tumour and acromegalic gigantism that went undiagnosed for 12 years, Colleen Snyder searched for 45 years to find another person with the same diagnosis. While living in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in the United States in 2020, through serendipity, a Google search, and at home DNA test kit, she learned that the rare AIP ARG304STOP genetic mutation caused her gigantism. After contacting the London physician Prof Márta Korbonits who discovered the link between current Irish patients and the historical giant in the museum, she learned that she was the first person found in the United States with the Irish mutation—a mutation linked initially to a small geographic area in Counties Tyrone and Derry, Northern Ireland. From her family tree, it was clear that the mutation had come to the US with her great-great-great grandfather in 1861 when he had emigrated from Coalisland, County Tyrone. She is committed to helping Prof. Korbonits with her research by seeking out other families in the United States with roots to Northern Ireland who may have the AIP mutation.