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Our People

Dr. Tim Yeomans

Centre Manager

Dr Yeomans received his Degree in Industrial Biology from the Institute of Technology Carlow and subsequently completed his PhD in Microbiology at University College Cork. Dr Yeomans has previously held the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Centre for Medical Genetics, Crumlin and the Dublin Dental School and Hospital. He has held various industrial based roles and more recently provided technical and commercial input as Laboratory and Research Manager for a contract research and development company. Dr Yeomans currently holds the position of Centre Manager with Shannon ABC. Within this role he is responsible for on-going engagement with industry, scientific direction of the Centre as well as commercialisation of research.

Dr. Bridget Breen

Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Bridget Breen received her Batchelor Degree (BSc) in Neuroscience from the Department of Anatomy, University College Cork (UCC). Dr. Breen completed her PhD in Neuroscience at the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Dr. Breen’s PhD research was focused in the fields of Apoptosis, Acidosis, Inflammation, in vitro and in vivo models of motor neuron degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Motor Neuron Disease (ALS/MND) and Behavioural Neuroscience. Dr Breen continued her research in Neuroscience as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Anatomy and Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway). Dr. Breen’s post-doctoral project was completed in collaboration with an industry partner, Covidien, New Haven, CT, USA, and was co-funded by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), this research project was focused on neuronal regeneration following Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). During her post-doctorate fellowship she was involved in applying for an FP7-Health-2012-Innovation-2 project entitled NeuroGraft, which was subsequently funded and coordinated by NFB, NUI Galway. Dr Breen later took up the position of NeuroGraft Project Manager and Industry Liaison Officer at NFB, NUI Galway. Dr. Breen currently holds the position of Scientific Coordinator with Shannon ABC and is responsible for the day-to-day operations at both Shannon ABC facilities, industry project development and industry project management.

Dr. Joanna Tierney

Postdoctoral Scientist (ITT)

Dr. Joanna Tierney received her Ph.D. in Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, from University College Dublin and is a Postdoctoral Fellow in research and development with the Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre. Her work with Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre is on the commercialising of phenotype microarrays for biopharmaceutical CHO cell production. Dr. Tierney has worked on national and international projects in both industry and research institutes with research experience encompassing the fields of cell biology, immunology, infection and disease and applications in biopharmaceutical, medicine and veterinary sciences. Previously, Dr. Tierney worked for Olympus Life Research GmbH in clinical assay research and development; as a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Wellington, New Zealand on autoimmunity; with Bioresearch Ireland on vaccine development; the Scottish Agricultural College Veterinary Services, in the area of parasitic helminths; and Capital Diagnostics, Scotland in disease diagnostics.

Tanya Beletskaya

Postdoctoral Researcher (LIT)

Dr Beletskaya received her Degree in Biology and Chemistry (specialization: Microbiology) from the Belarus State University, Belarus and completed her PhD in Virology and Molecular Biology at Belarus Research Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Belarus Dr Beletskaya has previously held Research Scientist roles with Serosep, Ireland (Biotech Diagnostics) and with Shannon ABC as part of an FP7 research project (BAMMBO) which is co-ordinated in LIT. She has a wide range of skills in molecular biology, microbiology, immunology and biochemistry. At BAMMBO project she focused at screening and identification of marine organisms for potential producers of high–added value molecules. She is experienced in analytical methods for the extraction, purification and enrichment of bioactive compounds. More recently, Dr Beletskaya was awarded the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC.

Dr. Shane O’Connell

Shannon ABC PI

Dr O’Connell received his Degree in Industrial Biochemistry from the University of Limerick (UL) and subsequently completed his PhD in Enzymology and Protein Biochemistry, also at UL. Dr. O’Connell completed a Diploma in Biomedical Science from the University of Ulster, Coleraine and currently holds the position of Strand Leader with Shannon ABC. He is responsible for the day to day running of the facilities in Tralee, provides scientific leadership and is central to the development of industrially relevant projects as well as technology transfer. Dr O’Connell specialises in enzyme biotechnology, recombinant protein production, screening organic waste for value added bioactives, and developing phenotype microarray technology for bioprocessing.

Dr. Patrick Murray

Shannon ABC PI

Head of Research and Technology Transfer at Limerick Institute of Technology

Dr Murray received his Degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and subsequently completed his PhD in Fungal glycobiotechnology, also at NUIG. Dr Murray currently holds the position of Senior Research Scientist of CHIMERA research group with Shannon ABC and is responsible for the day to day running of the facilities in Limerick. He provides scientific leadership and is central to the development of industrially relevant projects as well as technology transfer. While at NUIG, Dr Murray developed the molecular biology laboratory as part of the Molecular Glycobiotechnology Group, and has previously worked as a visiting scientist at Wallenberg Wood Biotechnology Centre and at VTT research centre in Finland. Dr Murray specialises in research targeting natural microorganisms as biological factories for bioconversion of second generation substrates for the production of bioethanol and biodiesel.

Dr. Helena McMahon

Postdoctoral Scientist (ITT)

Dr McMahon received her Degree in Biomedical Science from University College Dublin and completed an MSc in Molecular Medicine at the Trinity College Dublin. Following this Dr McMahon also completed her PhD in Gene and Cellular Therapeutics from Trinity College Dublin. Dr McMahon currently holds the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC and specialises in the pre-commercial evaluation of algal derived pre-biotic poly and oligosaccharides using phenotypic microarray analysis screening. She is also experienced in the development of gene therapeutics utilising RNAi technology and human stem cell culture, development of gene delivery technology and transcriptomics.

Dr. Michael Hall

Shannon ABC PI

Head of Department of Health and Leisure (ITT)

Dr Michael Hall received his Degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), an MSc in Advanced Scientific Techniques from Cork Institute of Technology and completed his PhD in Endocrinology and Peptide Characterisation from NUIG. Dr Hall currently holds the position of Head of Department of Health and Leisure at the Institute of Technology, Tralee (ITT), having previously been a Lecturer in Biochemistry, Head of Department of Chemical and Life Sciences and Health and Leisure Studies and Registrar of the Institute. Dr Hall was responsible for the development of research thematic areas for Chemical and Life Sciences in IT Tralee and in the development and implementation of the Institute strategic plan and was thus central in the establishment of Shannon ABC. Dr Hall is also a Principal Investigator with Shannon ABC and has expertise in the areas of oestrogens, oxysterols and lipids in health; biological activities and value-added products from industrial by-produce.

Dr. Siobhan Moane

Shannon ABC PI

New Programme Development and Academic Mobility, Lecturer, Department of Applied Science, Limerick Institute of Technology

Dr Siobhan Moane received her Degree in Analytical Science from the Dublin City University (DCU) and completed her PhD in Analytical Chemistry, also from DCU. Dr Moane has since completed a Certificate in Supervisory Management from the Irish Management Institute and a Diploma in Popular Forensic Psychology from Limerick Business School. Dr Moane currently holds the position of Head of Research and Technology Transfer at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), having previously been held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Toxicology Department in the State Laboratory, as well as the position of Biochemist at the Medical Bureau of Road Safety. Dr Moane is responsible for the implementation of the strategic research areas of LIT and support and development of the link between teaching and research, as well as the identification of technology transfer opportunities. Dr Moane is also a PI for research in the design, production and application of molecularly imprinted polymers to the analysis of drugs of abuse in biological specimens for forensic analysis and also in the development of novel analytical methods (HPLC, GC/MS) for the detection of drugs of abuse in addition to the detection of date-rape drug GHB in alcoholic beverages. Dr Moane’s provision of academic leadership for research activities in LIT was vital in her involvement in the establishment of Shannon ABC.

Dr. Daniel Walsh

Shannon ABC PI

Lecturer in Biosciences (LIT)

Dr Daniel Walsh received his Degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and completed his PhD in Protein Biochemistry, also at NUIG. Dr Walsh is currently a Lecturer at Limerick Institute of Technology where he lectures in Biosciences, Bio-processing, Biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals, Biochemistry with Toxicology, Advanced and Special Topics, Food Science and Advanced Biochemistry. Dr Walsh is a protein biochemist with experience in the extraction, enrichment, purification, enzymatic hydrolysis, identification, physicochemical and functional characterisation of novel components and derivatives from diverse natural sources. He is a founding member of Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre and is also a member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. Dr. Walsh is currently engaged in a variety of academic, national and industrial project collaborations.

Brendan McCarra

Shannon ABC PI

Lecturer in Biotechnology, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Food Science and Technology (IT Tralee)

Dr Brendan Mc Carra received his Degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and completed his MSc in Biotechnology, also at NUI Galway. He obtained his PhD for the investigation of the effect of biochemical inductors on autolysis of spent yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus and the production of flavoured compounds.  He is currently a Lecturer at the Institute of Technology, Tralee where he lectures in Biotechnology, GMP and Food Science and Technology. Dr McCarra has previously been employed at Quest International Group as a Project Manager with responsibility for optimization, automation and control of microbial fermentations in the production of natural flavours and industrial enzymes. Dr McCarra joined the Institute of Technology, Tralee in 1996 and leads the Yeast Research Group. In 2004, he was appointed Strategic Research Area (SRA) Leader at ITT in area of Natural Products & Environmental Management with responsibility for developing and leading this thematic area. This role enabled him to play a vital role in the establishment of Shannon ABC. Dr McCarra is a Principal Investigator with Shannon ABC and has expertise in the areas of yeast and microbial fermentations, bioreactor technology and natural product extraction using enzymes. In particular, he specialises in the transformation of microbial (yeast) and agricultural biomass into natural value added food and bioingredients using environmentally friendly bioprocessing technologies, i.e optimisation of fermentation processes and yeast encapsulation technology. Dr McCarra remains an advisor to industry in relation to fermentation and biotechnology processes.


Ms. Michelle McKeown-Bennett

Shannon ABC PI

Head Of Department, Applied Science (LIT)

Ms McKeon-Bennett received her Degree in Analytical Chemistry with Quality Assurance from Cork Institute of Technology and completed her MSc in Biochemistry and Enzymology in the University of Limerick; she is currently completing her Ph.D. thesis in Wetland Ecology and Hydroponics. Ms McKeon-Bennett currently holds the position of Head of Department of Applied Science at LIT with responsibility for all aspects of departmental functioning, strategic development and future growth. From September 2003 to August 2004 Ms. McKeon-Bennett was seconded to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) to work in collaboration with a number of specialist scientists including Dr. Gary Stutte on investigating the application of Sphagnum moss to Controlled Environment Life Sciences. Upon her return, she continued and developed the relationship with KSC by sending 3 science graduates each year to train as interns with Dr. Stutte and his fellow scientists. As a result of these students returning to Ireland with specialist training, Ms. McKeon-Bennett founded the CELLS Research Group to support & supervise them as postgraduates and secured funding from Enterprise Ireland for Environmental Growth Chambers identical to those in the Space Life Science Laboratory in KSC. Since taking up the post as Head of Department in 2005 she has overseen the development of 9 new undergraduate programmes across the five major disciplines within the Department and 1 postgraduate taught programme. Since 2009 she has acted as an Assessor for IRCSET on both the INSPIRE and EMBARK research grant programmes and an advisor to the IOTI on IRCSET funding.

Dr Tracey Larkin

Shannon ABC PI

Lecturer in Analytical science and Quality Management (LIT)

Dr Tracey Larkin is a B.Sc. Ph.D. Biochemistry graduate from the National University of Galway. Following her undergraduate study, Dr Larkin completed a post doctorate with the Life Science Dept. of the University of Limerick in the area of food biochemistry and modified atmosphere packaging. Dr Larkin then worked with Olympus Diagnostica in clinical research and development as a project/program manager for a number of years. Currently Dr Larkin is lecturing a range of subjects including Analytical Techniques and Quality Management. Dr Larkin’s current research focuses on analysis of antioxidants/bio-actives in foods and has an IRC funded project to investigate organic fruits and vegetables. Dr Larkin is also involved in sensory evaluation and is the service director for the Shannon ABC Sensory Evaluation Service. This service supports new product development, product improvement, benchmarking and quality-testing for SME’s.

Dr. Sushanta Kumar Saha

Microalgal Biotechnologist (LIT)

Senior Research Scientist & PI of CHIMERA research Group

Dr. Saha received his PhD in Microbiology (2004) from Bharathidasan University, India. He has obtained Botany (Hons) degree (1994) and MSc in Botany (1997) from Gauhati University, India. Dr. Saha has held a range of postdoctoral research positions in National Facility for Marine Cyanobacteria, India; Department of Biology, Texas A&M University and Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, USA. Dr. Saha is currently working as Microalgal Biotechnologist and his research team are involved with molecular biotechnology of the Irish marine Cyanobacterial Biobank, which was recently established at Shannon ABC by his team.

His parallel research activities include on the production of carotenoids (astaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene, etc.), omega-3 & 6 fatty acids (EPA, DHA, ARA, ALA, GLA) and bioenergy (biodiesel, bioethanol) production from selected microalgae. He is actively interested in collaborative projects on exploring marine cyanobacteria for anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-protozoan activities. His present molecular biological projects include overexpression of targeted gene(s) including heterologous gene expression and/or knock-out of specific genes for the bio-production of targeted high value-added biomolecules. He is actively engaged in the production of phycobilipigments as biocolorants from marine cyanobacteria and other microalgae. The active biomolecules of his research interests have applications as bio-colorants, bio-sunscreens, natural antioxidants, pharmaceutical ingredients and biofuels.

Catherine Collins

Postdoctoral Researcher (LIT)

Dr Catherine Collins obtained her PhD for investigating the molecular genetics of cellulose degradation in the cellulolytic fungus Talaromyces emersonii at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Since then she has worked on a number of fungal projects both in Ireland and the U.K. including a project at the University of Bristol, England, which was in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, involving cloning, sequencing and manipulating the genes involved in production of the antibiotic pleuromutilin from the mushroom Clitopilus passeckerianus. Currently she is employed as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (SABC), Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) for investigating the properties of peat based skin care products.

Previously, Dr Collins worked as a researcher on the FP7 EU funded project BAMMBO (Biologically Active Molecules of Marine Based Origin) at SABC, LIT. In the above project marine organisms (fungi, yeast, bacteria, macro-algae, micro-algae and sponges) were screened for their potential as sustainable producers of high-added value molecules (HVABs). She has just recently established her own research group which focuses on investigating mushrooms and fungi as functional foods and a source of bioactives and the project was funded by Department of Agriculture, food and the marine.

Dr. Oscar Goñi Ramos

Postdoctoral Scientist (ITT)

Dr Oscar Goñi received his Degree in Chemistry from the University of Navarra (Spain), an MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) and completed his PhD in Plant Protein Biochemistry at ICTAN-CSIC (Spain) and Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). Dr Goñi has previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research (Cologne). He is a protein biochemist with experience in the purification and characterization of functional proteins, enzymology and development of protein biomarkers. Dr. Goñi currently holds the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC and specialises in the development of enzyme activities for the production of macro-algae derived oligosaccharides and chitin/chitosan derived oligosaccharides for crop protection and yield enhancement.

Dr Paz Otero

Postdoctoral Researcher (LIT)

Dr. Paz Otero received her PhD. in Food Science and Technology, at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), at the Pharmacology Department of the Veterinary School, Spain (2013). She has extensive research experience in the field of phycotoxin biology supported by more than 20 peer reviewed publications in high impact factor scientific journals, 6 international conference contributions and participation in international projects in the field of phycotoxin research. She has worked in the development of new methods to monitor the presence of toxins, having developed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods for yessotoxin, pectenotoxin, ciguatoxins, domoic acid, gambierol, okadaic acid and cyanotoxins. She has researched and analysed profiles of phycotoxins in shellfish samples from different countries worldwide, including the published work “first toxin profile of ciguateric fish in Madeira Arquipelago (Europe)”. She has also worked in the purification of phycotoxins, specially, in lipophilic compounds like azaspiracids and spirolides. In the pharmacokinetic field, she carried out bioassays and has developed methods to detect phycotoxins in biological samples. She has also experience in MS identification of new toxin analogs, functional assays development and method validations. Dr. Paz Otero was recently working in a research project for the Company Reagecon Ltd Shannon Ireland which services Irish and global industry through the provision of standards for analytical testing (Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership 20130439). She has developed Gas Chromatography methods for the detection of chemical contaminants (phthalates and azodyes) in food matrix from food contact materials. Currently, she was awarded by the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship 2015 to carry out the project title: Production, extraction and detection systems for new marine phycotoxins in Europe (DETTOX) GOIPD/2015/681.

Dr Lorraine Richardson

Postdoctoral Researcher (LIT)

Dr. Lorraine Richardson received her degree in Animal Science from the School of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin (UCD). She then undertook a PhD in Reproductive Physiology investigating the role of the cervix in fertility differences between breeds of ewe. Her research involved techniques such as semen analysis and cryopreservation, histochemistry, enzyme activity assays, sperm binding assays, qRT-PCR, rheology and Gel Chromatography. After completion of her PhD Dr. Richardson worked as a Research Assistant in NUI Galway, investigating binding interactions between sperm cells and cervical mucins at various stages of the oestrus cycle using mucin array technology. Dr. Richardson joined ShannonABC as a Research Assistant where her research areas included innovative extraction methods for high value microalgae carotenoids, the measurement and identification of bioactives in specific plant species and the investigation of growth conditions on the production of bioactive compounds in microalgae. More recently, she was awarded the position of Research Scientist on a Horizon 2020 funded project (EDEN-ISS) which is focused on the ground demonstration of plant cultivation technologies for safe food production in space.

Niamh Stephens

Postdoctoral Researcher (LIT)

Dr. Niamh Stephens received a BSc (Honours) degree in Industrial Microbiology from University College Dublin. After this she obtained her PhD from the School of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science in UCD, whereby her research focused on producing alternative analogues of amphotericin B through genetic engineering of the producer organism and soil bacterium Streptomyces nodosus. For the purpose of her investigation, altering the glycosylation was the main target to produce novel analogues. Dr Stephens is now a Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC focusing on the natural products produced by the ancient tree Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba extracts are well known dietary supplements taken worldwide. Niamh is looking at other potential applications of Ginkgo biloba.

Patrick Quille

Research Assistant (ITT)

 

Mr Quille received his Degree in Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds from University College Cork in 2007. He has since completed an MSc in Biotechnology in the Shannon ABC laboratories at IT Tralee on a project entitled: The preparation of an alginate with a hydrophobic moiety that retains its biocompatibility and immunosuppressive properties while remaining suitable for cellular encapsulation. He has previously worked in Astellas as a Process Technician and in Shannon ABC as a Biochemical Technician. He currently holds the role of Research Assistant with Shannon ABC and is developing a commercial focus to the use of bioassays in the assessment of different components of seaweed and the impact of seasonality

Jessica Quane

Research Assistant

Jessica Quane completed her undergraduate degree in Limerick Institute of Technology and was awarded a BSc. honours degree in Bio-analysis and Biotechnology in 2009. Her final year project was based on a detection system for drugs of abuse in biological samples and from there lead to undertaking a research Masters in the detection of drugs of abuse in oral fluid using Molecularly Imprinted Polymers. Since then, Jessica has transferred to the Doctoral register with her project entitled “The controlled production of bioactive compounds with health applications” encompassing optimised production of bioactive carotenoids and novel extraction techniques of these high valued compounds from marine sources. Simultaneously, Jessica has been involved in two Innovation Partnerships with Enterprise Ireland and has been working as a research scientist at Shannon ABC where her research involved the biological fingerprinting of a hair restoral product and microalgal strain cultivation and growth characterisation under treated glass substrates for the development of a novel anti-reflective glass wash with anti-microbial properties for the horticultural industry.

Olga Ansmidte

Research Assistant (ITT)

Olga Ansmidte received her Bachelor’s degree (Hons) in Biological and Biomedical Science from National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 2012. During the final year of her degree she worked in Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories (ADL) Ltd, Dublin, as an assistant laboratory technician where she subsequently carried out her final year research project. The project focused on possible biomarker development for cancer using canine peripheral blood lymphocytes and involved techniques such as cell culture, high-throughput screening and automated biochemistry and haematology analysis.

After finishing her undergraduate degree she went on to do a Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine at the Trinity College Dublin. Her Master’s research project was based around studying links between obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Techniques such as Western blot, real-time PCR, ELISA and various immunostaining techniques were employed. Olga currently holds research assistant position with Shannon ABC.

Lisa Connole

PhD Student (LIT)

Lisa graduated from LIT in 2008 with a First Class Honours degree in Bioanalysis & Biotechnology. Following this, she was awarded a prestigious internship at the Space Life Sciences Laboratory at Kennedy Space Centre. Her time here was divided between two diverse research projects. Under the guidance of Dr. Gary W. Stutte Lisa took part in a hydroponics study entitled “Defining Sustainable Salad Crop Production for Lunar Surface”. This involved the optimisation of several vegetable growth systems in controlled environment chambers, tailored towards a lunar atmosphere.

The second project was led by Dr Jay Garland and Ms Mary Hummerick, and was of microbiological descent. This study, titled “Microbiological Analysis of Vegetable Production Units for Space Grown Crops”. This project replicated the plant growth conditions on-board the ISS and aimed to investigate appropriate measures to reduce the microbial count of space grown crops. In 2009 Lisa was employed by ALS Food & Pharmaceutical, Clonmel as a Quality Control Technician. She returned to LIT in 2010 to pursue a PhD with CELLS, SABC. Her current research is focused on the optimisation of growth parameters of plants with subsequent extraction of bioactive compounds.

Martin Hayes

PhD Student (LIT)

Martin Hayes received his Degree in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology from the Limerick Institute of Technology (2011). After which he received six months training in microbiology and hydroponics at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, Florida as part of an internship programme (2011). From 2012 - 2014 Martin carried out post graduate research (M. Sc.) at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (ABC) which focused on increasing crop yields through symbiotic relationships with microorganisms under terrestrial and extra- terrestrial conditions. His M. Sc. research lead to his involvement in a collaboration between LIT and CSS-Dynamac (SyNRGE3), which was designed to ‘unmask’ the effect that gravity has on specific microbe/ plant host colonisation and was investigated on board the International Space Station (2014). Martin is currently (2014 - ongoing) involved in a research project (MuFFLER, funded by the Department of Food, Marine and Agriculture, PhD. Fellowship) at SABC, investigating the metabolic properties of fungi derived from Ireland with the aim of identifying valuable bioactive compounds for pharmaceutical and industrial applications. His focus is now on the degradation of pollutants and potentially toxic wastes from industrial practices by using MuFFLER’s fungi as a biological control agent. Taking a molecular approach, his research will investigate the fungal genes involved in pollutant break-down, highlighting them as potential targets for heterologous gene expression and ultimately recombinant protein production for commercialisation.

Peter Downey

PhD Student (LIT)

Peter Downey, a Limerick City resident, began his undergraduate degree in Forensic and Pharmaceutical Analysis in 2003 at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). During this four-year period, Peter studied and trained in a wide range of chemical and instrumentation theories and practices. Within this time he also spent six months working with GxP Systems, a contractor for Boston Scientific, Galway, as a computer systems validation engineers and technical writer. This oppertunity gave him invaluable experience with good documentation practices and validation techniques.

After graduating in 2007, Peter returned to GxP Systems as a validation engineer for four months before being selected for a six month government sponsored internship with Dynamac Corporation; at that time a contractor for NASA based at the Space Life Science Laboratory (SLSL) in NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. During these six months Peter worked on two projects concerned with Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems. The first investigated the action of Fava bean stomata when exposed to super-elevated levels of carbon dioxide and the role of hormonal action during this exposure. The second involved the investigation of a new IR technique (Encoded Photometric Infrared) for volatile organic compound (VOC) determination in air - for specific use onboard the International Space Station.

On his return from the internship, Peter was awarded an IRCSET grant under the Enterprise Partnership Scheme; in partnership with Dynamac Corporation, which allowed him to begin is postgraduate studies in LIT in 2008. Six months after beginning his PhD at LIT, Peter was awarded another opportunity to travel to the SLSL in Florida for a year in order to intensify and improve his controlled environment systems (CES) training and research skills. While there Peter worked under the guidance of Dr. Lanfang Levine and was responsible for projects, as part of his PhD, which investigated the effects of gravity on bioactive compounds in soybean and brassicas.

Having up-skilled in areas prevalent to his research, Peter returned to LIT and became one of a group of postgraduates that formed a new, dedicated research group with LIT’s Department of Applied Sciences, the CELLS Research Group. Peter is now finishing his PhD within the CELLS research group at the Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre within LIT. He is hoping to graduate in 2013

Katrina McPhillips

PhD Student (LIT)

Katrina completed her honours degree in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2010. As part of her degree, she worked on two laboratory projects; one based on purification and characterisation of a molecule belonging to an enzyme family integral to germination in wheat and another based on assessing the effect of commercially available anti-inflammatory drugs on inflammatory response genes in colorectal cancer cells. Katrina is currently working towards her PhD involving the purification, characterisation and application of enzymes from fungal sources with molecular cloning of corresponding genes.

Katrina is also a research assistant to several projects including analysis of anti-microbial surfaces & oils, shelf life assessment of foods and sensory analysis of food products. She has recently published work reporting preservative effects from a naturally derived fungal enzyme in yeast bread (2014). Katrina is also a member of the Chimera research group within Shannon ABC whose aims include screening microbes from varied habitats for bioactive compounds with industrially relevant commercial opportunity.

Norma Browne

PhD Student (LIT)

Norma received her Honours degree in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology of which she received the KerryGroup award of excellence for her achievements. Throughout her undergraduate, Norma independently sought an internship with GenCell Biosystems, an innovative microfluidic biotechnology company based in Limerick. GenCell specialise in the research and development of genotyping platforms for library preparation used for next generation sequencing with the aid of composite liquid cell technology. Norma sought a second internship before beginning her PhD at Allied Patent research and development Ltd. As the sole scientist, she collaborated with a wide range of industries for the development of a natural alternative to chemical sweeteners as well as developing cryopreservation technologies for biological specimens.

In 2013, Norma was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship by the newly amalgamated Irish Research Council. Her research entails an evaluation of Irish marine cyanobacteria for UV-screening compounds under the supervision of Dr Sushanta Kumar Saha. The use of such naturally occurring compounds may offer a safer, natural and more sustainable alternative to current chemical UV filters. Norma is an active volunteer with the Irish Red Cross accredited by PHECC, providing first aid cover at a variety of public events.

Olena Madden

PhD Student (LIT)

Olena Madden received her BSc. (Hons) in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in 2012. Olena was granted an IRCSET scholarship in 2012 and is currently working under the supervision of Dr Patrick Murray towards her PhD entitled ‘Green biosynthesis and applications of plasmonic nanoparticles using extracellular systems of extremophilic fungi’. Her work focuses on the optimisation of the environmentally benign methods for the synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles and their potential applications. Olena is at the final stages of her PhD and is also employed by the Limerick Institute of Technology as a researcher on Enterprise Ireland sponsored Environmental Engineering protect that involves safety, efficiency and emission testing of solid fuel burning domestic appliances.

Jack Hassett

MSc Student (LIT)

Jack Hassett received his BSc. (Hons) in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2013. During his degree he studied a wide variety of scientific practices and has experience with an array of various instrumentation. Jack spent six months working in Pfizer Askeaton, where he was part of a team which was awarded the Pfizer International Innovation Award, for their efforts in production optimisation.

Prior to completion of his degree, Jack conducted a study into the “Factors affecting the Transfer of DNA” under criminal circumstances, this study examined the possibility of both primary and secondary transfer of DNA. Jack is currently conducting his postgraduate studies in the “Genetic Analysis of the Irish Honeybee” in Shannon ABC, under the supervision of Dr Mike Geary and Dr Liz Moore. The aim of which is to determine the population and level of hybridisation of the native Irish Honeybee in Ireland. Through his research, Jack has expertise in a diverse range of DNA extraction, amplification and visualisation techniques.

Jaswinder Kaur

MSc Student (LIT)

Jaswinder Kaur received her BSc. (Hons) in Pharmaceutical and Forensic analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2012. With that she began her Ph.D fellowship at Shannon ABC entitled 'Mining of Fungi found in Irish habitats for industrially important enzymes and pharmaceutical compounds'. In addition to her Ph. D research Jaswinder is actively involved in material science research, partaking in feasibility studies and an Innovation partnership with Enterprise Ireland working as a Research assistant with the Bio-inspired materials laboratory in Limerick Institute of Technology (2012-2015). Currently her research is focused on identifying genes responsible for enzyme production in Irish fungi, for the subsequent unregulated production of proteins of interest for commercial applications.

Joanne McGushin

MSc Student (LIT)

Joanne McGushin received her degree from Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in Bio-analysis and Biotechnology in 2012. She then completed an internship in the histology/cytology laboratory in Sligo Regional Hospital where she gained valuable experience in histopathology, immunohistochemistry and cytology. Joanne then worked in the INAB Accredited biochemistry laboratory in Mayo General Hospital accessioning, accepting and labelling patient samples. Joanne is now currently completing her masters in research titled "Microalgae-Reference Standards for lipid Analysis" in Shannon ABC as part of the Chimera research group. Her research involves the development and use of extraction, LC-MS and GC-MS techniques of fatty acids from microalgae. Joanne also carries out shelf life assessment of foods (microbial testing) as part of the FoodDS laboratory in LIT. >

Sarah McMahon

MSc Student (LIT)

Sarah Mc Mahon completed her BSc. (Hons) in Limerick Institute of Technology in 2013, where she studied Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis. As part of her undergraduate degree Sarah studied in a range of scientific theories and practices. She also undertook a six month work placement with Pfizer where she was involved in several process improvement studies. During her time with Pfizer Sarah was a member of a team who were awarded the Pfizer International Innovation Award for optimisation of a production method.

Sarah is currently conducting post graduate research with Controlled Environment Laboratory for Life Sciences (CELLS) and Shannon ABC. Her research into plants involves growth optimisation, extraction and analysis of bioactive components with the potential for medicinal application. The main aim of her research is to determine the health benefits which may be within the products especially in the area of cancer treatment as well as potential antimicrobial applications.

Sinéad Bennett

MSc Student (LIT)

Sinéad Bennett received her first class honours degree from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2012, where she studied Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis (Level 8). During the four years of her studies she gained valuable knowledge and skills from instrumentation theories and practices to report writing skills, ability to time manage and communication skills. Prior to the completion of her Bachelor’s Degree, Sinéad undertook a six month internship in Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2011. Sinéad is currently conducting her postgraduate studies in Shannon ABC where to date she has investigated the detection and quantification of sugars by HPLC and is currently investigating if any harmful intermediates are produced when illicit drugs cut with sugars are vaporised using e-cigarettes.

Emily Panter

MSc Student (LIT)

Emily Panter received her undergraduate degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She begin her academic career in Marine Science when a passion for palaeontology and sedimentary geology prompted a move to Earth & Ocean Science where she completed her Honours degree specializing in Geological mapping, Oceanography & Sediments and the Biosphere. She is now currently involved in a postgraduate research project MuFFLER, (Mushrooms & Fungi, Functional & life enhancing reservoirs). This project involves the screening and detailed analysis of wild edible Irish mushrooms commonly found in Irish habitats. Bioactivity screens include antioxidant, enzymatic and antimicrobial activity. Crude compositional analysis such as fat carbohydrate and protein are coupled with more detailed compositional analysis using HPLC & LCMS to develop bimolecular profiles of vitamins and key components indicative of antioxidant activity.

Katie Shiels

MSc Student (LIT)

Katie Shiels received her BSc. (Hons) in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in 2015. During her degree she studied a wide variety of scientific practices and has experience with an array of various instrumentation. She also undertook a six month work placement with Reagecon where she was involved in several research and development studies. During her time with Reagecon Katie was a member of a team who were awarded INAB accreditation for a testing method, which she helped develop and validate. As part of her post-graduate studies, Katie is currently undergoing a research project with the CHIMERA research group and Shannon ABC. Under the supervision of Dr. Sushanta Kumar Saha, Katie is researching cyanobacteria in a project is entitled 'Non-proteinogenic amino-acids GABA and Ergothioneine bioproduction in cyanobacteria for human health applications'.

Dr Michelle Ryan

Research Assistant

Dr Michelle Ryan received her BSc (Biochemistry) and her PhD in Anatomy (Neuroscience) from University College Cork (UCC). In 2008 she obtained a Diploma in Quality Assurance and Biotechnology from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Dr Ryan is currently a research assistant with Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (ABC) where she is responsible for in vitro screening of novel compound activity against protozoan parasites (Apicomplexa). After completion of her PhD, Dr Ryan worked as a postdoctoral researcher on projects in RCSI, UCD, UCC and TCD in the areas of cell biology, biochemistry and immunology. In addition to laboratory techniques her skillset includes lab management from her most recent employment in the Trinity Centre for Health Sciences in St James Hospital where she was responsible for the day-to-day running of the Renal Inflammation laboratory. Dr Ryan is co-author on nine peer-reviewed publications.

Mariana Alves

MSc Student (LIT)

Mariana Fuinhas Alves received her degree in Chemical Engineering in 2015 from the Universidade Federal the Viçosa (UFV), Brazil. In the course of 2012 has participated in a training program related to the improvement of the chemical pickling process at APERAM, ArcelorMittal group. During 2013, she made an academic exchange, through the Brazilian program named Science Without Borders (SWB), to Ireland to join the third year of the academic course Sustainable Buildings and Renewable Energy in the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). In 2015 worked as Innovation Local Agent in SEBRAE, a Brazilian government agency, focused in the dissemination of the innovation culture among entrepreneurs. In 2016 Mariana was granted a LIT scholarship to do her master research in Applied Science under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Murray. Her work focus is on microbial fermentation scale up for nanoparticle production and their potential applications.

Katherina Lucinova

MSc Student (LIT)

Katerina obtained her B.S.c.in Applied Biology and Biopharmaceutical Science in 2014 at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. Whereby her studies encompassed opportunistic pathogens and the use of microorganisms in biopharmaceutical industries, focusing largely on DNA isolation protocols, the effectiveness of the natural remedies versus antibiotics for treatment of E.coli infections and toxicity tests as a measure of the effect of substances discharged to the aquatic environment. Katerina is member of the Environmental Science Association of Ireland (ESAI), Chemical & Molecular microbial biotechnology research group (CHIMERA), Controlled Environment Laboratory for Life Sciences Research Group (CELLS), and Internationalisation Sub-committee of the academic council at LIT. Having had a previous post at City Analysts Limited in Shannon performing culturing and toxicity testing of the Algae such as Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, Skeletonema costatum, Chlorella, and other algal species. As of 2014 she is involved in a research project “Smart Algae” which evaluates the most suitable and effective methods for carotenoids extraction.

Rebecca Coughlan

MSc Student (LIT)

Rebecca Coughlan received her degree from Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in Bio-analysis and Biotechnology in 2015. As part of her degree, she worked on two laboratory projects; “The optimization of Polymerase Chain Reaction” where she developed many skills and gained knowledge of the understanding and workings of DNA. The other project was titled “Post-Harvest Proximate analysis and Microbial load on leafy vegetables” which was a study based on the EDEN project and the Mars One mission; which gave a strong indication to the type of nutritional support the Martians would get from the chosen vegetables. Currently Rebecca is working on her M.Sc in which is she will investigate the physiochemical, biochemical and sensory aspects of Irish rapeseed oil.

Paul Hogan

MSc Student (LIT)

Paul who completed his degree In Bioanalysis and Biotechnology at Limerick Institute of Technology in 2011. He then went on to work in industry for 3 years, working in Vistakon a division of Johnson & Johnson he worked quality department helping with ongoing projects in Six Sigma nd GLP practices as well as updating SOP's . He then went on to work in Roche Pharmaceuticals Ireland working in upscaling a drug from lab scale to industrial scale production as well as developing the manual and SOP's for this production, also helping implement good documentation practice throughout the site. He has now returned to Shannon ABC to complete his masters in research. He is currently studying the Evaluation of Marine Diatoms for Biofuel Production