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Research in the Department of Biological Sciences

The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences conduct research, which is both applied and basic in nature. Key research areas include:

  • Food Science and Health,
  • Equine Science
  • Environmental Biology.

There are over 40 post-graduate students registered within the Department of Biological Sciences. There are, in addition, 16 post-doctoral students and research associates engaged in research. The Department of Biological Sciences has enjoyed a high level of success in gaining financial support for its research activities from a wide range of funding sources both national and international including Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) Enterprise Ireland, Higher Education Authority (HEA), Food Institutional Research Measure (Department of Agriculture and Food) and the European Union (EU).

Over the last five academic years, the Department's research income secured in terms of new contracts has exceeded €1 Million on each occasion and these significant sums have been matched by a correspondingly high level of first-class research outputs (International Peer-Reviewed Journals, Books, etc) over the same period. Faculty within the Department have forged research collaborations with other National and International researchers and research institutions. The Department of Biological Sciences is committed to sustaining its high-qualit research profile in both national and international arenas through supporting its existing activities and exploring strategically significant new research areas as these are identified.

Students interested in pursuing post-graduate studies in the Department of Biological Sciences should first contact the relevant faculty researcher.

Research Opportunities

Collaborating with faculty members conducting research in the Department of Biological Sciences can be a very rewarding experience for undergraduates interested in a research career. Our Department offers a wide range of post-graduate MSc and PhD research opportunities. In most cases, students register first for an MSc and any students wishing to pursue a PhD can progress after year 1 subject to an interview and the presentation of a report. Our research staff are very willing to discuss research opportunities with students and are always interested to hear from students who wish to pursue a career in research.

Summer Research

Students considering applying for an MSc or PhD in the Department of Biological Sciences may wish to be involved in more intensive research in a laboratory over the summer. Summer research can be done on a volunteer basis, or may be supported by a summer grant from staff members. During this time, students will engage with the research process under the mentorship of a staff member. This experience can provide students with a distinct advantage in their application to higher degrees and graduate programs. To avail of this opportunity, students should contact staff members directly.

Research Field Contact Name
Immunology of Domestic Animals; Animal Behaviour; Equine Husbandry Sean Arkins
Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer, Breast Cancer, DNA Damage Response, Molecular Signalling, Targeted Therapeutics Development, Oncobiology James Brown
Biodiversity and Ecology John Breen
Rhodococcus Equi, Streptococcus Equi, Mycotoxins Tom Buckley
Greenhouse Gas Balances in Terrestrial Ecosystems, Soil Carbon Stocks, Carbon Stocks in Harvested Wood Products Ken Byrne
Structure-Function Analysis of Bacterial Proteases Jakki Cooney
Equine Virology, Clinical Virology, Molecular Diagnostics, Vaccinology Ann Cullinane
Assisted Reproduction in both Humans and Farm Animals; Male Fertility and Sperm Physiology Sean Fair
Bioactive Peptides - Functional Food Ingredients/Nutraceuticals; Food Protein Chemistry/Biochemistry; Food Enzymology Dick Fitzgerald
Neuroscience, Cellular Neurobiology, Neuro-Nanotechnology Andreas Grabrucker
Bioactive compounds and ingredients with a focus on phenolic compounds, antioxidants, process and product development and optimization, dairy products, functional foods, analytical methods, cell-based protocols Daniel Granato
Science education and insect ecology Audrey O'Grady
Soil microbiology, molecular environmental microbiology, soil nutrient cycling including sulphur cycling, fungal and bacterial weathering, biodegradation, Listeria in fresh-cut produce Achim Schmalenberger
Pomology, Tree Fruit Physiology and Apple Pathology Con Traas
Inflammation-related Chronic Disorders; Mediators of Inflammation & Platelet-aggregation; Nutraceuticals & Bioactive Compounds from Foods & Related By-products; Elucidation of Structures & Structure-Activity-Relationships Alexandros Tsoupras
Food Safety, Microbial Flow Cytometry, Safety and Sensory Aspects of Low Sodium Ready Meals, Autolytic and Permeabilisation Processes in Lactic Acid Bacteria, Accelerated Cheese Ripening, Food Enzymology Martin Wilkinson
Mare and Foal Nutrition and Feeding; Feeding for Performance Bridget Younge
Food Lipids, Inflammation, Cardiovascular Diseases, Functional Foods, Sensory Properties, Heavy Metals in Food Chain Ioannis Zabetakis
Neurobiology and neuroendocrine aspects of glial cells; Neuroendocrinology; Neuroinflammation; Neurodegeneration; Biological role of brain-targeted drugs George Barreto
Human nutrition, dietary intake and intervention in healthy and clinical cohorts and impact on health/clinical parameters, diet/microbiota interactions, vitamin K-dependent proteins Eibhlis O'Connor