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Prof. J. Tony Pembroke


Chair of Industrial Biochemistry
Department of Chemical Sciences
Pembroke Lab Web Page

Educated at NUIG - BSc 1st Hons Biochemistry and Microbiology, (awarded Presidents Prize) PhD NUIG Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry of Microorganisms, PostDoctoral EMBO Fellow University of Leiden the Netherlands, Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. OECD Fellow Rowett Institute Aberdeen. Visiting Fellow Cornell University. Industrial Experience Industrial Biochemist Glanbia, Genetic Engineer Unileaver -Biocon. Lecturer at NIHE and Unviersity of Limerick since 1983. Research interests, Mobile Genetic Elements particularly ICE elements of the SXT/R391 group, ATAD thermophilic digestion and associated microorganisms, Biofuels from microorganisms, triacylglycerides from Rhodococcus and Bioethanol from cyanobacteria particularly metabolic engineering from Synechocystis. Awarded Teaching Excellence Award at UL and Research Excellence Award both in the 1990's.Developed and acted as Course Director for BSc in Industrial 1989-2000, Acted as Head of Department 2000-2004 and again 2013-2018. Head of School of Natural Sciences 2016-2017.. Mentored and graduated some 38 research students to MSc or PhD by research and thesis. Have supported 3 start up companies from former students. Non work interests include Golf, Hill Walking, Skiing and French. Current and recent EU Projects DEMA Direct ethanol from MIcroAlgae and H2020 EraMin Biomimic

Research Interests

Microbial biofuels, Metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for liquid biofuels. Molecular manipulation of Synechocystis PCC6803. Gene knockouts in cyanobacteria, improving carbob flux through genetic manipulation. Enhancement of gene expression in cyanobacteria. Use of cyanobacterial biomass to enhance process economics. Binding of metals to cyanobacterial EPS. Metal bioremediation via cyanobacterial biosorption.

Genomics of mobile elements particularly Integrative Conjugative Elements (ICE's) of the SXT/R391 group and Ralstonia ICE's. Microbial stress responses and adaptive genes to damage and heat,

Autothermal waste processing (ATAD). Phylogenetics of thermal niches such as ATAD digesters of organic wastes. Safety of wastewater and transmission of antibiotic resistance determinants in wastewater.

Biomaterials biocompatibility and novel biomaterials with antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties.

Lipid production from Rhodococcus opacus .

Teaching Interests

BC4907 Cell Biochemistry
BC4957 Bioinformatics
BC4904 Biochemistry (DNA and Proteins)
BC4401 Introductory Biochemistry
ER4507 Effluent Control

Professional Activities


  • 2017 University Biological Safety Committee, GMO Licencing. Internal GMO activity, Report structures. Validation of Licence applications.
  • 2015 University Teaching and Learning Committee, Oversee Broadening issues with all University Programmes. Deans Apointee College of Science and Engineering
  • 2014 Faculty Research Committee, Committee Member, Processing of Faculty Postgraduate Applications, Research Policy for the faculty, Issues relating to optimising research within the faculty.
  • 2013 CS Quality Review Committee Chair,
  • 2011 University Disciplinary Appeals Committee,
  • 2002 Health Research Board, *
  • 2001 Health Research Board,
  • 2001 EU Quality of Life Review Panel,
  • 2000 Academic Council, *
  • 2000 Management Committee, *
  • 2000 UL Management Committee,
  • 2000 Academic Council 2000-present,
  • 1999 SFADCo Regional Strategic Planning Committee, *
  • 1998 SFADCo Innovation and Technology Group,
  • 1997 Forbairt Basic Research Panel Genetics,
  • 1997 Enterprise Ireland Basic Science Panel,
  • 1997 Biochemical Society, *
  • 1996 Student Status Committee,
  • 1996 Biochemical Society,
  • 1996 Enterprise Ireland Basic Science Programme, *
  • 1995 Access to University Group for adult access to university,
  • 1995 Member Forbairt Basic Research Panel Biochemistry,
  • 1995 Postgraduate Admissions Comittee College of Science,
  • 1994 MAST programme,
  • 1990 Faculty Board, University of Limerick, *
  • 1988 SGM Irish Branch Representative,
  • 1986 HEDCo,
  • 1899 Admissions Transferee Group,
  • 1899 Departmental Quality Committee,
  • 1899 Vision 2020 Quality Comittee,
  • 1899 Departmental Planning Comittee,
  • 1899 Steering Body UL Biomedical Institute,
  • 1899 CRIB Centre for Research in Industrial Biochemistry,
  • 1899 University Management Committee,
  • 1899 Member Academic task force on grading and honours awards, University of Limerick,
  • 1899 Course boards,
  • 1899 Steering Group Institute for Biosciences,


  • 2006 US2006216783-A1 - Escherichia coli bacteria for the production of h
  • 2005 US2004253592-A1 - New polypeptide factor derived from Thermus thermo


  • 2000 Member, European Federation for Biotechnology
  • 1999 Member and Former comittee member Irish Area Section, Biochemical Society
  • 1985 Member, Society for General Microbiology
  • 1984 MEMBER, American Society for Microbiology


  • 1993 - Research Excellence Award
  • 1989 - Teaching Excellence Award
  • 1986 - OECD Visiting Professorship
  • 1982 - EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1979 - Presidents Prize


  • 1983 University of Limerick - Lecturer/ Professor
  • 1982 Unileaver - Genetic Engineer
  • 1973 Glanbia - Research Biochemist


  • 1982 NUI Galway - PhD
  • 1979 NUI Galway - BSc


  • - visits programme
  • - Regional Innovation Strategy Group
  • - Microcontamination of sterile surfaces.
  • - microbial loss adjusting
  • - New Company and Product Assessment
  • - Feed Innocula Analysis. (Confidential Report)
  • - Diagnostics Quality Control and Performance
  • - Safety in Handling Radioactive Materials
  • - Pharmaceutical Products Delivery.(Confidential Report)
  • - Enzymatic extraction of pigments (Confidential Report)
  • - Materials Sterility and Safe Cabinet function
  • - Product Development and Analysis
  • - Monoclonal Antibody Based Sensors
  • - Microbiological Quality of Salmon Products. (Confidential Report)
  • - Enzyme Washes and Buffering Systems. (Start Up Assistance)
  • - Extraction of Seaweed pigments. (Confidential Report)


  • French


Book Chapter


Advances in metal recovery from wastewaters using selected biosorbent materials and constructed wetlands
Murnane, J., B Ghanim, L, O'Donoghue, R, Courtney, T, O'Dwyer and J. T Pembroke
Water and Wastewater Treatment DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.84335


Ethanol Production in Cyanobacteria: impact of omics of the model organism Synechocystis on yield enhancement.
Pembroke J.T., L Quinn., H O'Riordan, C. Sheahan and P. Armshaw
Cyanobacteria: Omics and Manipulation Ed Dmitri Los


The use of MEGA as an educational tool for examining the phylogeny of Antibiotic Resistance Genes
Ryan, MR, Adley, CC. Pembroke JT
Microbial Pathogens and Strategies for Combating Them: Science, Technology and Education


The Tn4371 ICE family of bacterial mobile genetic elements.
Van Houdt R., Toussaint A., Ryan MP., Pembroke JT., Mergeay M., and Adley CC
Bacterial Integrated Mobile Genetic Elements


Ralstonia pickettii: Biofilm Formation in High Purity Water
Adley, CC; Ryan, MP; Pembroke, JT; Saieb, FM
Biofilms: Persistence and Ubiquity

Conference Contribution


Biofilms: Persistence and Ubiquity
Adley CC, Ryan MP, Pembroke JT, Saieb FM

Conference Publication


Geoscience 2018
Ghanim, B., J. Murnane, L. O'Donoghue, R. Courtney, T. F. O'Dwyer and J. T. Pembroke


European Drag Reduction Conference
O¿Donoghue, D., P. Pembroke, T. Young, and T. O¿Dwyer

Other Journal


Ralstonia insidiosa- a potential nosocomial infectious pathogen.
Ryan MP, Pembroke JT, Adley CC
National Institute of Health Science Research Bulletin


Ralstonia pickettii: A growing nosocomial infectious threat.
Ryan, MP; Pembroke, JT; Adley, CC
National Institute of Health Science Research Bulletin

Peer Reviewed Journal


Removal of Vanadium from Aqueous Solution using a Red Mud modified Saw Dust Biochar
Ghanim, B., J G. Murnane, L O'Donoghue, R. Courtney, J. T Pembroke and T F. O'Dwyer
Journal Of Water Process Engineering DOI:


Application of KOH modified seaweed hydrochar as a biosorbent of Vanadium from aqueous solution: Characterisations, mechanisms and regeneration capacity.
Ghanim, B., T. F. O'Dwyer, J. J. Leahy, K. Willquist, R, Courtney, J. T Pembroke and J G. Murnane
Journal Of Environmental Chemical Engineering DOI:


Measurement of Ultralow Level Bioethanol Concentration for Production Using Evanescent Wave Based Optical Fiber Sensor
Memon, SF,Ali, MM,Pembroke, JT,Chowdhry, BS,Lewis, E
Ieee Transactions On Instrumentation And Measurement DOI: 10.1109/TIM.2017.2761618


Measurement of Ultra Low Level Bio-Ethanol Concentration for Production using Evanescent-Wave based Optical Fibre.
Memon, S.F., M.M Ali, J. T Pembroke, B S. Chowdhry E Lewis
Ieee Transactions On Instrumentation And Measurement DOI: doi:10.1109/TIM.2017.2761618


Ralstonia pickettii: a persistant gram-negative nonsocomial infectious organism
Ryan, MP; Pembroke, JT; Adley, CC
Journal Of Hospital Infection


Ralstonia pickettii a persistent gram negative nosocomial infectious agent.
Ryan, MP; Pembroke, JT; Adley, CC
Journal Of Hospital Infection


Life in the hot stuff: Thermophilic microorganisms
Pembroke J.T., Walsh G., Adley C., O'Sullivan C.


Enzymes, the workhorses of biotechnology
Walsh, G; Adley, CC; Pembroke, T