Core Technology Gateway Staff

Dr. Tim Yeomans
Dr. Tim YeomansCentre 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.

Elva OConaireSenior Business Development Scientist

Elva O’Conaire holds an Honours Science degree from National University of Ireland, Maynooth and M.Sc. in Neuropharmacology from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Elva is the Senior Business Development Scientist at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre in Limerick Institute of Technology. Within this role she is responsible for leading business development, on-going engagement with industry and the coordination and delivery of projects. Elva’s experience includes working as a senior project manager for over ten years in the areas of research planning and organisation in highly regulated environments, namely in ICON Clinical Research Organisation and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) in St. James’s Hospital. In 2006 Elva led the setup and day-to-day management of the Product Development Laboratory in the IBTS, reporting directly to the National Medical Director, liaising with the senior management team and other stakeholders. This Laboratory investigated the efficacy of new blood products and to carry out research in the area of blood transfusion. Elva gained extensive experience in scientific, experimental and clinical research having published numerous publications. At the IBTS Elva was involved in collaborative research projects working directly with various stakeholders from partners such as UCD, TCD and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children. At ICON, Elva managed and coordinated the core Production Team to ensure Sponsor satisfaction and high quality was maintained for conducting Clinical Trials worldwide in accordance with the ICH GCP Good Clinical Practice for many multi-national Pharmaceutical companies. Elva has completed a Coaching Training program in CPD, Client Relationship Management training, Leadership Development training and the Project Management Professional Exam Prep course from the Project Management Institute (PMI), Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. 

Dr. Niall Burke
Dr. Niall Burke Scientific Project Manager / Cell Biology Specialist

Dr. Niall Burke holds the role of Scientific Project Manager and Principal Investigator with Shannon ABC at the Institute of Technology Tralee. Dr. Burke received both his BSc in Physiology and his MRes in Microbiology (yeast physiology) from University College Cork. He completed his PhD in Cardiovascular Sciences at The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute of University College London, while researching the role of mitochondrial dynamics in cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Dr. Burke then worked as a postdoctoral fellow for Astrazeneca in Cambridge UK, where he was investigating the role of cell signalling kinases in drug-induced structural cardiotoxicity. Dr. Burke uses his cell culture and molecular cell biology experience to contribute to the planning and troubleshooting of Shannon ABC’s mammalian and microbial cell culture research projects for both the biotechnology industry and academia. He is currently PI on numerous industrial client projects and co-supervisor for postgraduate academic projects.

Centre Researchers

Dr. Jennifer Attard
Dr. Jennifer Attard Circular Bioeconomy Researcher

Dr. Jennifer Attard is an EU Project Manager and Circular Bioeconomy Researcher working on the BBI-JU Horizon 2020 project ICT-BIOCHAIN: Digitising Ireland’s Bioeconomy to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of biomass supply chains through ICT / IoT technologies. Her expertise is in circular economy, having worked with several different complex natural mixtures and waste streams including orange-peel waste, shrimp-shell waste, agricultural waste, electronic waste, hemp extracts and algal extracts, recovering materials or creating value through the production of bio-based chemicals and products.

She has worked on industry collaborations with companies such as Unilever, Leo Pharma and Circa Sustainable Chemicals. Dr. Attard received her BSc (Hons) in Chemistry with Materials from the University of Malta and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York, UK, which was funded by the Endeavour Scholarship.

Dr. Aleksandra Augustyniak
Dr. Aleksandra AugustyniakCell Biology Specialist

Dr. Aleksandra Augustyniak received her Master Degree in Biology from the Department of General Genetics and Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Łódź, Poland. Subsequently, she completed her PhD in Biological Sciences from the Laboratory of Cytogenetics at the University of Łódź, whereby her research focused on the evaluation of the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of Angeli’s salt-derived nitroxyl. Dr Augustyniak joined Shannon ABC in 2015 and since then she has worked on a number of projects with a variety of industrial clients, including nutraceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. Currently, she holds the position of Postdoctoral Scientist. Her main research interests focus on various aspects of cell culture technology and carcinogenesis. Dr Augustyniak specializes in mammalian cell culture and in vitro screening for novel compound bioactivity using various cellular models.

Dr. Catherine Collins
Dr. Catherine Collins Fungal Biotechnologist

Dr. Catherine Collins is a Business Development Scientist at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre in Limerick Institute of Technology. Her work focuses on experimental design, costing and delivering industrial projects for companies in sectors such as food and beverage, cosmetic, horticultural and biotechnology. Catherine has a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Fungal Biotechnology. She had worked on a number of fungal projects both in Ireland and the U.K. prior to joining Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre. While working at Shannon ABC, she has established her own research group which focuses on investigating mushrooms and fungi as functional foods and as sources of enzymes and other bioactives.

Dr. Aoife Curran
Dr. Aoife Curran Cell Culture Specialist

Dr. Aoife Curran received her BSc (Human Nutrition) and PhD from University College Dublin (UCD). Aoife currently holds the position of Research Scientist with Shannon ABC and is responsible for the design and execution of biotechnology and cell culture based projects, recruitment of volunteer panel for skin probe testing and proactive delivery of projects for companies in the biotechnology, food and cosmetic sectors. Aoife’s PhD research focused on pancreatic beta cell function- where she investigated factors related to beta cell function and determined nutrition strategies to improve it. Her research was part of the Food for Health Ireland program, where she performed a human intervention study to establish the bioavailability of milk bioactives and their effect on glycemic control. In vitro experiments were also an important aspect of her research, to support findings of human studies and to determine mechanisms of action. Dr Curran is first-author on four peer-reviewed publications. More recently, Aoife held a Scientific Writer position with Nuritas, where she gained invaluable experience across several research areas.

Dr. Hande Ermis
Dr. Hande Ermis Algal Biotechnology Specialist

Ms. Hande Ermis received her degree in Bioengineering where she studied two years in Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey and two years in Montana State University, USA and received double diplomas. Hande is working as a Research Assistant at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre in Limerick IT on an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership with TanOrganic. This project will grow algal biomass at pilot scale and deliver bioactive ingredients for cosmetic formulations. This project will be delivered across both sites of Shannon ABC, in Limerick IT and IT Tralee. She holds a Master’s degree in Bioengineering from Ege University in Izmir, Turkey where she worked on algal biogas production. Currently, she is in her final year of her PhD at Istanbul Technical University in the Department of Environmental Biotechnology where she is focusing on wastewater treatment with microalgae at lab-scale and pilot-scale.

James Gaffey
James GaffeyCircular Bioeconomy Specialist

James received an MSc in Environmental Technologies from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in 2010. His thesis investigated the role of “Biorefineries in a Sustainable Future”. James initially worked in process engineering and sustainability analysis with Sustainable Biopolymers, before joining Cellulac, an Ireland-UK biorefinery initiative focused on platform chemical production from biobased feedstocks in 2012. James is a member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences in the UK.  Prior to joining IT Tralee, James was based at the Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy at NUI Galway. James has worked on a number of EU and nationally-funded circular bioeconomy initiatives including SPLASH, FUEL4ME and  “BioEire” – A Bioeconomy for Ireland. James joined IT Tralee in 2016 and works as biorefinery specialist on the Horizon 2020 “AgriForValor

Najla Jouini
Najla Jouini Cell Culture Specialist

Najla Jouini is a Research Scientist in Shannon ABC  at IT Tralee. Najla is responsible for the design and execution of biotechnology and cell culture based projects, recruitment of volunteer panel for skin probe testing and proactive delivery of projects for companies in the biotechnology, food and cosmetic sectors. She has a BSc in Biotechnology and an MSc in immuno-genetics obtained as part of a joint program between the University of Montreal and the Sciences Faculty of Tunis. She recently submitted her thesis for her PhD degree in neurobiology. Najla’s background includes five years of professional research experience, including her previous role as a graduate research assistant and a PhD student in the laboratory of molecular neurobiology and neuropathology (National Institute of Neurology Mongi Ben Hamida) Tunis (Tunisia) and prior experiences as a visiting scientist for Odense University Hospital (Danemark) in the stem cell unit. Najla’s research interests include diabetes, obesity, crisponi syndrome, but particularly neurological and inflammatory diseases.

 

 

Dr. Bibha Kumari
Dr. Bibha Kumari Industrial biotechnology and Food Bioscience

Dr. Bibha Kumari is a Research Scientist at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre in Limerick Institute of Technology. Dr. Kumari has specialisation in bioactive characterisation using analytical techniques such as HPLC, LCMS and GCMS. She is currently involved in a variety of industrial research projects dedicated to new product development, nutritional profiling, bioactivity screening, biomolecule characterisation, microbial fermentation and shelf-life studies for Biotechnology, Food, Feed, Cosmetics and Life Science industries.Dr. Kumari holds a Master’s Degree in Food Science and Technology from Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), India with BSc (Honours) in Agricultural Sciences. She completed her PhD in Agriculture and Food Science from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland whereby her research was focused on investigating the effects of novel extraction technologies such as ultrasound and pulsed electric field treatments on bioactive compounds from agro-industrial by-products. Her research interests are nutraceuticals, food processing and industrial biotechnology. She has a vast experience in quality assurance, Quality Management System and Laboratory Accreditation (ISO 9001, ISO 22000, ISO 17025) for testing laboratory.

Dr. Lena Madden
Dr. Lena MaddenMaterial Science and Analytical Chemistry Specialist

Dr. Lena Madden has completed a degree in Pharmaceutical and forensic analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology. In 2011 Dr Madden started her career as a student research assistant at Shannon ABC, where she has also completed her PhD in Bio-nano Material science on a receipt of an IRC scholarship. Dr Madden Have completed two industrial postdoctoral research projects the areas of Environmental engineering that involved establishment of environmental testing laboratory for measurement of exhaust gases, safety and efficiency of solid fuel burning equipment as well as bio-mining of valuable compounds from the end-cycle materials and the correlation of emission from fluidised bed reactor with the input solid waste. She has completed a number of research projects in a capacity of a staff postdoctoral researcher and a primary investigator in the area of biotechnology and analytical chemistry, developing and validating analytical methods, conducting biochemical and microbiological testing for industrial partners. Dr Madden has a broad range of skills in areas of material science, analytical chemistry, biotechnology and interests in: low toxicity bio-nano materials research; Glass and industrial diamonds research; Circular Hemp, Cannabinoids and fibre research; Sustainability, green packaging and greenhouse gases emission research. Dr Madden has a broad range of skills in areas of material science, analytical chemistry, biotechnology and interests in low toxicity bio-nano materials research.

Dr. Abhay Menon
Dr. Abhay MenonSustainable Biomass Valorisation, Drying and Dehydration, Food processing

Dr. Abhay Menon is a Bioeconomy researcher at ITT working on two projects namely, ‘Biorefinery Glas’ (EIP-Agri project) and ‘INGREEN’ (BBI-JU Horizon 2020 project). His research focuses on the extraction, characterization and the evaluation of prebiotic activity of oligosaccharides obtained from various agricultural and industrial waste streams.

Dr Menon graduated with a degree (BTech, Anna University) in Biotechnology before continuing to do an MSc (Crop Biotechnology) and PhD (Food and Pharmaceutical engineering) from the University of Nottingham. His PhD research focused on the evaluation of various processing methods and the subsequent effects on bioactive compounds in cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao). Upon completion, he took up two postdoctoral research positions in field of ‘agricultural waste valorisation’ in Malaysia (University Nottingham, Malaysia) and UK (Brunel University London), respectively. His research interests are in; food waste valorisation, new product development, nutritional profiling, bioactivity screening and characterization of prebiotics.

Dr. Prem Kishore Patnala
Dr. Prem Kishore PatnalaBiopharma Analyst

Dr. Prem Kishore Patnala is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Shannon ABC in Limerick IT. Prem is currently employed on an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership, involved in the development of new analytical methods for various reference products in the highly regulated pharmaceutical and food sectors.Prem received his B.Sc. in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Chemistry from Andhra University, India and holds a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra, India. He has receivedscholarships from the Department of Atomic Energy and Board of Research Nuclear Sciences (DAE-BRNS), BARC, Mumbai, India and UGC-BSR fellowship, India.

He completed PhD in Sonocatalytic Removal of Some Textile Dyes and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons at Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra, India, where his research focused on remediation of toxic contaminants from industrial wastewater using various green and synthetic adsorbents.

Rajeev Ravindran
Rajeev RavindranCircular Bioeconomy Specialist

Dr Rajeev Ravindran completed his PhD in Food Science at the Technological University of Dublin. Dr Ravindran was working as a postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. He currently holds the position of Research Project Manager with the Bioeconomy research group in IT Tralee. Within this role he is responsible for on-going research, monitoring of project progress against workplans, coordinating the preparation of financial and technical reports to ensure timely submission.

Dr. Sushanta Kumar Saha
Dr. Sushanta Kumar Saha Microalgal Biotechnologist

Dr. Saha is currently working as a Microalgal Biotechnologist at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre with twenty years of research experience in cyanobacteria and microalgal biotechnology. He holds a PhD degree in Microbiology from Bharathidasan University, while he was working on a collaborative project with the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong to establish a unique marine epilithic cyanobacterial biobank. His academic degrees include BSc Botany (Hons) and MSc Botany 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 and his team have established a unique biobank of Irish marine cyanobacteria, marine diatoms and microalgae, which is an on-going research project. These biobank organisms have been explored for the production of carotenoids (astaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene, fucoxanthin), bioactive lipids and omega fatty acids, bioenergy (biodiesel, bioethanol) and other value-added molecules for anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-protozoan activities. He is actively working with Irish companies on collaborative projects for R&D development using cutting-edge industrially relevant microalgae cultivation for natural colourant, cosmetic ingredients and also nutritionally-rich microalgal biomass production and their biochemical characterisation. His research uses conventional photobioreactor plus custom-designed photobioreactor with LED lighting technology to enhance biomolecules production. He is also establishing a “Food-grade Microalgae Cultivation Suite” as indoor sustainable cultivation platform for the production of microalgal biomass suitable for food, cosmetics, aquaculture and feed applications.

In parallel, he is researching on cyanobacterial molecular biotechnology for enhanced metabolites production. This research applies overexpression of targeted gene(s) from native or strong promoters on shuttle plasmids or integrated to the genomes by homologous recombination; heterologous gene expression; knock-out of specific genes; reporter fusions for transcriptional and translational analysis by Fluorescence Microscope for basic understating of gene expressions of a specific metabolic pathway. Dr. Saha also supervises postgraduate students for Research Master and PhD degrees on microalgal biotechnology. He has published several peer-reviewed research and review articles including book chapters. He serves as an invited reviewer for about 50 research journals, editorial board members for two online journals and guest editor for a special issue on microalgae in Sustainability (MDPI journal). The outcome of his research activities has applications as natural colourants (http://sushantasaha.wixsite.com/microalgae/biocosmetics-biocolorant-bioenergy-and-a-c10d6), bio-sunscreens, natural antioxidants, pharmaceutical ingredients and biofuels.

Postgraduate Students

Felix Akhere
Felix AkhereCell Biology

Felix Akhere graduated from University of Benin (UNIBEN) at Nigeria in 2015 with a first class honours degree in Biochemistry of which he received the Dean Student award and best graduating student award for his academic excellence. During his undergraduate, Felix worked on a project that involved using locally available plants extracts to treat type 2 Diabetes caused as a result of oxidative stress using a mice Model. He was able to demonstrate that the anti-hyperglycemic effects of this plant extracts was as a result of stimulation of the production of enzymatic antioxidants (Catalase, glutathione peroxidase) after streptozocin induction of diabetes on Wister albino mice.

Prior to completion of his bachelor degree, Felix received six months training at a laboratory department in a hospital where he gained valuable knowledge on assays or tests performed ranging from hematology to microbiology. After graduating in 2015, He joined the Nigeria Red Cross Society where he contributed to giving back to his community in terms of voluntarily working with some team and going to remote communities to assist in health awareness. With his deep passion in academics, He picked up a lecturing Job in a Sixth form College in 2017 (Global International College) where he was tutoring Molecular biology and Chemistry in various academic programmes (America Foundation program, International medical degree Foundation and Canadian degree Foundation progamme).

He is currently conducting his postgraduate studies in a research that involved using “plant derived lipids for skin barrier repair” in Shannon ABC under the supervision of Dr. Joanna Tierney and Dr. Aleksandra Augustyniak. The aim of his research is to exploit the protective epidermal layer of plant leaves caused by waxy cuticle substance called cutin and also using an invitro inflamed skin cell model to screen for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities.

Hadil Alaydi
Hadil AlaydiPlant Biotechnology

Hadil Alaydi received her Degree in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology from Limerick Institute of Technology (2016). During her four-year period, Hadil studied and trained in a wide range of biological and instrumentation theories and practices. During her undergraduate, she spent 3 months working as a microbiologist with Dar Aldawa in Jordan (2014), where she worked on various microbiological testing for pharmaceutical products. Hadil received Beckman Coulter Biomedical Ireland Award of excellence for her achievements (2014). Her final year project was based on ‘Novel microalgal Lutein extraction for nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals application’ with Dr. Patrick Murray.

In 2016, Hadil was awarded postgraduate studies with Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (SABC) and Controlled Environment Laboratory for Life-Science group (CELLS). Her research entitled ‘Novel Environmentally Friendly Supercritical Fluid with Carbon Dioxide (SC-CO2) Extraction, Identification, and Quantification of Polyprenols- as Health Promoting Bio-actives from Plant Tissues’. During her research, she has undertaken an academic position as an Assistant Lecturer within the Department of Applied Science in LIT. She also worked on several projects where she looked at the effect of water purification to enhance crops growth under controlled environment systems and performed analytical screening of extracts for bioactive properties for EDEN-ISS project.

Mariana Alves
Mariana AlvesDevelopment and Optimization of Biological Nanoparticles

Mariana Fuinhas Alves received her degree in Chemical Engineering in 2015 from the Universidade Federal the Viçosa (UFV), Brazil. In 2013, she made an academic exchange, through the Brazilian program named Science Without Borders, to Ireland to join the third year of the academic course Sustainable Buildings and Renewable Energy in the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). After graduation, in 2015 worked as Innovation Local Agent in SEBRAE, a Brazilian government agency, focused on 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. In 2019 she academically transferred to a PhD research. Her work focus is on biological production of nanoparticles, cytotoxicity and their potential applications.

Naomh Burke
Naomh BurkeMicrobead Encapsulation of Plant-Derived Compounds

Naomh Burke is a postgraduate student in Shannon ABC, Limerick IT. Naomh’s project, “Microbead Encapsulation of Plant-Derived Bioactive Compounds”, is based on studying microbead encapsulation of plant-derived bioactive compounds. Her supervisors are Dr. Peter Downey and Dr. Siobhan Moane.

Naomh  completed her undergraduate degree in Limerick IT and received an honours degree in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Science in 2019. Her final year project was to determine the concentration of calcium in food and drink samples using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy.

Rebecca Coughlan
Rebecca CoughlanPostgraduate Student

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.

Ciara Davis
Ciara DavisBiofortification of Plants with Mineral Nutrients using Hydroponic Methods

Ciara Davis is a postgraduate student with the CELLS group at Limerick Institute of Technology. Ciara’s project will aim to increase the nutritional profile of plants using hydroponic methods under the supervison of Dr. Peter Downey and Dr. Siobhan Moane. Ciara finished her degree in Pharmaceutical and Industrial Chemistry at the University of Limerick with first class honours. As part of her degree, Ciara undertook her final year project on synthesising nanoparticles through redox reactions. Ciara has also undertaken a 7 month placement at the Institute for Molecular Biosceince, Brisbane, where she worked on synthesising antibiotic peptides.

Olusoji A. Demehin
Olusoji A. DemehinPlant Biostimulants

Olusoji obtained a B. Tech (Hons) in microbiology from Ondo state university of science and technology, Nigeria in 2016. As part of his degree, he studied the microbial and biochemical aspects of “Ogiri”, an Africa food condiment in the southern region of Ondo state, Nigeria. He also undertook a six months industrial training in the federal institute of industrial research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, Nigeria. During this period, he participated in various projects such as the production of phytase enzyme from soil microbial isolates, utilization of agro-industrial waste as substrates in the production of the mushroom Plerotus pulmonarius, production and analysis of fermented melon. Upon the completion of his undergraduate degree, Olusoji did a year national service with the federal government of Nigeria during which he worked as a peer educator trainer under the national youth service corps reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention, he also taught chemistry and biology in classes.

In 2018, he received a Master by research scholarship from the Institute of technology Tralee to work on a project entitled “bioconversion of mushroom wastes into value added plant biostimulants” under the supervision of Dr. Maha Attjioui in Shannon ABC. The project involves the production and characterization of plant biostimulants from mushroom waste and their application on different plant systems to improve plant growth and yield and enhance their tolerance to abiotic stresses.

Lisa Geoghegan
Lisa GeogheganEnvironmental Science/Water Quality

Lisa Geoghegan under the supervision of Dr. Josephine Treacy, is currently working on a project titled; ‘Water Characterisation from Drained and Extracted Peatlands’, this project is in collaboration with an EPA funded project, SWAMP: Strategies to improve water quality from Managed Peatlands, which is coordinated by UCD.

As part of this project a selection of disturbed/drained peatlands will be investigated in terms of water quality, peat characteristics and water source receptor pathways. The overall aim of this collaborative project is to improve our understanding of the hydrology, hydrogeology, water balances and nutrient exports from drained and extracted peatlands, investigate the impacts and pressures on water quality, evaluate environmental protection measures and integrate solutions to prevent/reduce water pollution.’

Amita Guneratnam
Amita GuneratnamChemical Engineer

Dr Amita Jacob Guneratnam is currently working as a Research Project Manager within the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group under Shannon ABC at IT Tralee.  She completed her graduation in Chemical Engineering at R.V.C.E, Bangalore and later worked as a Research Executive for UNILEVER in India. To pursue her higher studies, she moved to Ireland where she completed her PhD in Energy Engineering specializing in Biofuels under the supervision of Dr Jerry Murphy at the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork. Her research interests include biofuels, sustainable bioprocesses, bio-methanation. She is currently managing the FANBEST (Funding Atlantic network for Blue Economy Technology Transfer) project which is funded by INTERREG and European Regional Development Fund. She ranked 2nd at the University for Chemical Engineering. She is well published in her field.

Amita Jacob, Ao Xia, Jerry D. Murphy, 2015. A perspective on gaseous biofuel production from micro-algae generated from CO2 from a coal-fired power plant. Applied Energy 148, 396-402.

Amita Jacob, Ao Xia, Daryl Gunning, Gavin Burnell, Jerry D. Murphy, 2016. Seaweed Biofuel Derived from Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture. International Journal of environmental Science and Development 7, 805.

Amita Jacob Guneratnam, Ao Xia, Jerry D. Murphy, 2017. Comparative study of single and two stage mono-fermentation of brown seaweed Laminaria digitata. Energy Conversion and Management.

Amita Jacob Guneratnam, Eoin Ahern, Jamie A.FitzGerald, Stephen A.Jackson, Ao Xia, Alan D.W.Dobson, Jerry D. Murphy, 2017. Study of the performance of a thermophilic biological methanation system. Bioresource Technology 225, 308-315. (published)

Ao Xia, Amita Jacob, Christiane Herrmann, Muhammad Rizwan Tabassum, Jerry D. Murphy, 2015. Production of hydrogen, ethanol and volatile fatty acids from the seaweed carbohydrate mannitol. Bioresource Technology 193, 488-497.

Ao Xia, Amita Jacob, Christiane Herrmann, Jerry D. Murphy, 2016. Fermentative bio-hydrogen production from galactose. Energy 96, 346-354.

Ao Xia, Amita Jacob, Muhammad Rizwan Tabassum, Christiane Herrmann, Jerry D. Murphy, 2016. Production of hydrogen, ethanol and volatile fatty acids through co-fermentation of macro- and micro-algae. Bioresource Technology 205, 118-125.

Zeba Haseeb
Zeba Haseeb Bioeconomy Research

Zeba Haseeb received her bachelor degree in Environmental Sciences, From University of the Punjab, Pakistan in 2016. She then, started working in Environmental Consultancies where she gained valuable knowledge related to Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Management and Monitoring Services, Bioeconomy Plans and Occupational Health and Safety. Along with her job, she completed her Master’s in Environmental Sciences in 2019.

Zeba is now conducting her postgraduate research master at IT Tralee. Under the supervision of James Gaffey, Jennifer Attard, Helena McMohan and Johan Belfrage, she is working on a project titled as “Identification of high potential regional value chains for Ireland’s bioeconomy”. The project involves the identification of potential regional value chains and focusing on their composition, fate, existing cost, freight cost and using bioresource modelling tool to allocate resources on a regional level. Her study will participate to generate a road map to minimize the environmental impacts and highlight the bioeconomy potential of Ireland.

Martin Hayes
Martin HayesFungal Bioactives, Bioremediation, Plant and Microbe Interactions
Martin 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. Scholar) 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. This current research allowed for the collaboration between SABC LIT and Federal University of São João Del-Rei (UFSJ) Brazil (Erasmus) whereby Martin spent 7 months in the city of Divinopolis Brazil evaluating the potential of fungi for their ability breakdown industrial textile waste, sourced from a local textile manufacturer.

  • Hayes, M.W., Stutte, G.W., Mckeon-bennett, M. & Murray, P.G., 2014. Mutualism Within a Simulated Microgravity Environment – Piriformospora indica Promotes the Growth of Medicago truncatula. Gravitational and Space Research, 2(2), pp.21–33.
Akanksha Joshi
Akanksha Joshi Plant & Food Biotechnology

Akanksha Joshi received her bachelor of engineering (B.tech) degree in Biotechology from University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kurukshetra, India (2014- 2018). During her undergraduate programme, she also joined Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, India (CSIR), a premium national R&D organization as a summer intern in the year 2015 and 2016. She worked there in microbiology lab and bioinformatics lab. She was presented with best paper award by the journal for the research paper published in Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia on the topic “Molecular Docking Studies, Bioactivity prediction, Drug likeness analysis of GSK-3β inhibitors: a target protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease”.


Akanksha then, started working as a Junior Research Associate in Azista Industries Private Limited- Hetero Healthcare Limited (2018-2019). She was responsible for the formulation and development, proximate analysis of the nutraceuticals, performing microbial analysis of the drugs, and documentation.
She is now conducting her postgraduate research master in Shannon ABC, Limerick IT. Akanksha’s project entitled “Biochemical Characterization of Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) root and yacon products and in vitro investigation of their prebiotic effect”. Her project supervisors are Dr. Tanya Beletskaya and Dr. Catherine Collins .

Jaswinder Kaur
Jaswinder KaurFungal Biotechnology

Jaswinder Kaur received her honors degree in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2012. During her undergraduate, she worked as an analyst for the State Laboratory analyzing biological matrices for detection of alcohol. Her final year project was focused on the development of an analytical method for the detection of drugs abused in sports.

Jaswinder is currently a PhD student at Shannon Applied Biotechnology center at LIT. Her project titled “Mining of fungi found in Irish habitats for industrial enzymes and pharmaceutical compounds” assesses the fungal biodiversity in Ireland for the production of high value bio-active compounds with potential applications in industry. Jaswinder is a winner of the Fulbright-Teagasc Scholarship (2017-2018) and has spent 8 months at Michigan State University, USA developing a method used for the generation of novel fungal metabolites in a yeast host. During her research time in LIT, she has also worked as a Research Assistant on several projects including an Enterprise Ireland Innovation partnership with Carey glass to develop an antireflective coating to enhance efficiency of solar panel glass.

Elomofe Ikuyinminu
Elomofe IkuyinminuPostgraduate Student

Elomofe Ikuyinminu received her Bachelor degree (BTech) in Microbiology from the department of Biological Science, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH, Nigeria) in 2016. She then completed an internship in the department of Virology in University College Hospital Ibadan (Nigeria) where she gained valuable experience in serology and molecular biology analyzing different parameters related to infectious diseases (HBsAg, HBcIgM, HCV, HIV). However, the urgency to ensure feed security for the world by 2050, made to Elomofe take a U-turn in her scientific career.

Elomofe is now currently completing her masters in research titled “Crop Salinity Tolerance Induction using Novel Biostimulants (SALTIBIO)” in Shannon ABC supervised by Dr. Oscar Goñi and Dr. Shane O’Connell as part of the Plant Biostimulant Group. Her research involves the development of plant derived protein hydrolysates biostimulants by enzymatic hydrolysis with the ability to stimulate growth and salt stress tolerance processes in plants. This research is focused on using skills and tools from advanced agronomy, plant physiology, biochemistry, enzymology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, transcriptomics and biostatistics.

Morgan McNamara
Morgan McNamaraMicroencapsulation Research

Morgan McNamara is a postgraduate student in Shannon ABC, Limerick IT. Morgan’s project is ‘Microbead encapsulation of proteins and select nutrients of relevance to sport nutrition’ and is based on studying microbead encapsulation of proteins and nutrients of relevance to sports and exercise. His project supervisors are Dr. Peter Downey and Dr. Siobhan Moane. Morgan completed his undergraduate degrees in Limerick IT and received an honours degree in Bioanalysis & Biotechnology in 2019. His final year project was ‘Characterisation and Monitoring of Growth Conditions and Product Production of CHO Cells’.

Nesreen Ramdan
Nesreen Ramdan Microbiology Biotechnologist&Analytical Chemist

Nesreen Ramdan is a postgraduate student in Shannon ABC, Limerick IT. Nesreen’s project,” Isolation and optimisation of Irish microalga Porphyridium sp. for enhanced nutritional composition” is under the supervision of Dr. Sushanta Saha.

Nesreen completed her undergraduate degree in Limerick IT and received an honors degree in pharmaceutical and forensic science in 2019. Her final year project was conducted using the Design of Experiment analysis to optimize the yield of synthesis of Aspirin and to improve the resolution of co-eluted drugs in HPLC. She also undertook a six-month work placement with Shannon ABC.

Nesreen completed a master’s degree in Gazera University, Sudan in 2011 her project was the degradation of hydrocarbon by isolated Soil Bacteria. As part of her master’s degree she completed Training course on research on health effects of integrated water sanitation and hygiene education interventions provided by University of Gezira -faculty of Medicine, the Blue Nile National Institute for Communicable Diseases (BNNICD), The SNOWs, EHG and LSHTM. In April -May 2011

Nesreen completed her first undergraduate degree in Gazera University, Sudan and received an honors degree in the faculty of Engineering and Technology, Food Engineering Technology in 2008. Her final year project was the production of Ethanol and Acetic acid from pumpkin fruit.

Katie Shiels
Katie ShielsCyanobacteria and their use in Biotechnology

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’.

Ruth Smith
Ruth Smith Postgraduate Student

Ruth Smith received her BSc (hons) in Herbal Science from Cork Institute of Technology in 2019. During the course of her degree she undertook a three month internship at the Université de Bourgogne (UB), Science de Santé, Dijon, France, where she worked on extracting and purifying saponins from plants. Her final year research project was focused on analysing the antimicrobial activity of European propolis against antimicrobial resistant microbes.

Currently, Ruth is working on the project titled ‘Opti-biome: Natural extracts for dermo-cosmetic skin health’ as part of her postgraduate study under the supervision of Dr. Joanna Tierney and Dr. Bridget Breen. The aim of the project is to evaluate the role of natural extracts to support the skin’s microbiota and enhance skin health.”

Pei Shee Tan
Pei Shee TanBiological and Pharmaceutical Science

Pei Shee Tan is a postgraduate student in Shannon ABC, IT Tralee. She is working on a project titled “Laser Flame: Laser Scribed Electrodes as Inflammatory Biosensors” for her postgraduate studies in Shannon ABC in collaboration with the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Her supervisors are Dr Joanna Tierney, Dr Niall Burke and Dr Daniela Iacopino. The project aims to develop a prototype biosensor in detecting biomarkers in immune effector cells, which play important roles in immune surveillance and early stages of disease induction. This type of biosensor holds great potential as a powerful diagnostic tool for managing inflammatory disease conditions.

Pei Shee Tan received her BSc. (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science with Biopharmaceutics from IT, Tralee in 2019 and was presented the Astellas Award for Outstanding Academic Performance. During her studies, she worked on analytical and molecular biology projects.. She also undertook her work placement in Astellas Pharma Co Ltd in their QC chemistry lab where she gained experience with HPLC and performed all laboratory duties in accordance with GMP and Safety procedures.

Academic and Associated Principal Investigators

Dr. Maha Attjioui
Dr. Maha AttjiouiResearch Scientist

Dr Maha Attjioui is a Research Scientist with Marigot Ltd, a seaweed biotechnology company and is a Principal Investigator at Shannon ABC. Dr Attjioui collaborates closely with Shannon ABC and supervises postgraduate students with Shannon ABC staff. She has worked with industrial partners on different research projects. Her research focuses on the extraction, characterization and the evaluation of biological activities of bioactive compounds from marine extracts and valorisation of industrial agro-residues into bio-based and highly functional value-added products. She is also involved in the development and testing of plant biostimulants to increase crop yield and plant resistance to stresses.

Dr. Maha Attjioui holds a M.Sc.Eng. in agricultural and food industry and a PhD in plant biology and biotechnology from the University of Muenster in Germany. Her PhD research focused on the in depth characterization of marine polysaccharides and oligosaccharides using advanced analytical techniques such as H¹-NMR, HPSEC-UV-RID-MALLS-viscometry and UPLC-ELSD-ESI-MS. She also evaluated these biopolymers for their biological activities as sustainable plant defense enhancers and antimicrobial agents on different crops and micro-organisms. Her research stretched all the way from molecular and bioanalytic work in the lab to applied field work performed in the greenhouses and in the fields. After her PhD, Dr. Attjioui continued her research as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Muenster before joining Shannon ABC as a Postdoctoral Researcher.

Dr. Tanya Beletskaya
Dr. Tanya Beletskaya Lecturer in Applied Science

Dr. Beletskaya received her Batchelor’s Degree in Biology and Chemistry (specialising in Microbiology) from the Belarus State University and completed her PhD in Virology and Molecular Biology at Belarus Research Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology (RIEM). Dr Beletskaya has previously held Research Scientist roles with Serosep, Ireland (Biotechnology Diagnostics) and with Shannon ABC as part of an EU FP7 research project (BAMMBO) which was co-ordinated by LIT. Dr Beletskaya worked as Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC. She is involved in a variety of industrial related research projects dedicated to the development of new processes and novel products to the Biotechnology, Food and Life Science industries whereby she is involved in the development, management and timely delivery of projects. She is principal investigator of Innovation Partnership project with Gadera (horticulture company) and co-principal investigator of Innovation Partnership project with Cara Partners (pharmaceutical company). She was involved in a wide range of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher projects and was principal investigator of one of them co-principal investigator of three of them. Her particular specialization is in Super Critical CO2 extraction (SC-CO2) of bioactive compounds from natural sources. Dr Beletskaya has developed SC-CO2 methods for the extraction of carotenoids from algal cells for Algal Health (Ireland) and Algal Fuel (Portugal). Dr Beletskaya has also a wide range of skills in molecular biology, microbiology, virology, immunology, analytical chemistry and biochemistry. Dr Beletskaya’s current position of Lecturer (Applied Science Department, LIT).

Dr. Bridget Breen
Dr. Bridget BreenLecturer in Biochemistry

Dr. Bridget Breen received her Batchelor Degree (BSc) in Neuroscience from the Department of Anatomy, University College Cork (UCC). Dr. Breen is currently a Principal Investigator at Shannon ABC research centre. 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. Orlaith BrennanLecturer in Medical Physics

Dr. Orlaith Brennan is a lecturer in Medical Physics in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Experimental Physics before continuing to do an MSc in Biomedical Engineering after which she worked in marketing for a number of years. She returned to academia to carry out a PhD in RCSI. On completion she took up a number of postdoctoral positions in the UK and Australia before returning to Ireland. On her return, Dr Brennan carried out research with industrial collaborators for a number of years before subsequently working as a Clinical Project Manager with Crescent Diagnostics. Dr Brennan is based in IT Tralee as part of the RCSI International Medical Commencement Program and collaborates with Shannon ABC on industry projects and postgradaute student supervision.

Dr. Peter Downey
Dr. Peter DowneyLecturer in Applied Science

Dr. 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.

Dr. Oscar Goñi Scientific Supervisor with Brandon Biosciences

Dr. Oscar Goñi is Scientific Supervisor with Brandon Biosciences, a seaweed biotechnology company. Dr Goñi collaborates closely with Shannon ABC and supervises postgraduate students with Shannon ABC staff. He 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) and as Postdoctoral Researcher in Shannon ABC / IT Tralee. He is a protein biochemist with experience in development of chromatographic techniques, purification and characterization of functional proteins, enzymology, or evaluation of protein and gene biomarkers. Dr. Goñi’s current role specialises in the production of plant biostimulants for crop quality, nutrient use efficiency and stress protection. He is also named inventor on a number of patents and has also published and presented widely in the field of phytochemistry, plant physiology and agriculture.

Dr. Michael Hall
Dr. Michael HallAcademic Director and Head of Department of Health and Leisure

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 is 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.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. Tracey Larkin
Dr. Tracey LarkinLecturer in Quality and Analytical Techniques

Dr. Tracey Larkin is a B.Sc. Ph.D. Biochemistry graduate from the National University of Galway. Dr Larkin is 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. 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.

Brendan McCarra
Brendan McCarraFood Ingredients, Yeast Technology, Biopharma Processing

Dr Brendan McCarra received his Degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and completed his MSc in Biotechnology, also at NUIG. 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. Dr McCarra previously worked with the Quest International Group (Unilever) as Project Manager with responsibility for optimization, automation and control of microbial fermentations for the production of natural flavours and industrial enzymes. He is currently a Lecturer at the Institute of Technology, Tralee where he lectures in Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, GMP and Food Science and Technology. He is also involved in supervision and delivery of Government funded training programs including the Springboard funded Biopharma processing program in cooperation with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training (NIBRT) facility and the Biopharma Training Facility, Cork. Other industrial programs include the Certificate in Validation and Certificate in Brewing and Distilling Operations in cooperation with CIT. Dr Mc Carra’s appointment as Strategic Research Area (SRA) Leader at ITT in area of Natural Products & Environmental Management enabled him to play a vital role in the establishment of Shannon ABC and he is currently a Principal Investigator with expertise in the areas of yeast fermentations, enzyme applications & bioreactor technology. He has successfully received funding for the completion of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnerships and a number of MSc and PhD projects and is currently cooperating with industry on Enterprise Ireland funded projects which include optimisation of brewing yeast fermentation processes and bioprocessing of natural bioingredients using enzyme technology. Dr McCarra remains an advisor to industry in relation to fermentation, bioprocessing of natural feedstocks  and biotechnology processes.

Dr. Helena McMahon
Dr. Helena McMahon External Services Manager at Institute of Technology

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. Claire Meaney
Dr. Claire MeaneyLecturer in Mechanical & Automobile Engineering

Dr. Claire Meaney is a Principle Investigator at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre in Limerick Institute of Technology. Claire holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Ph.D. in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine from the University of Limerick, Ireland. As part of Claire’s post-doctoral work, she was been funded by the Irish Health Research Board to complete a Masters of Public Health at University College Dublin (Ireland) as part of the US National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and spent 4 years at the United States National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, conducting research at the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis and Division of Cancer Prevention. Claire returned to the Irish health research setting to support Shannon ABC in planning, managing, and delivering research projects for companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic sectors. Claire has an on-going funding award from The Health Research Board to conduct research in biomarkers of lung cancer.

Dr. Siobhan Moane
Dr. Siobhan MoaneLecturer in Applied Science

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. Patrick Murray
Dr. Patrick Murray Head of Research and Technology Transfer

Dr. Patrick Murray is a molecular biotechnology researcher and has a strong track record of collaboration with industry. His research areas involve identification of innovative ingredients and biological products from natural resources particularly marine and fungal microorganism libraries using novel state of the art processes to obtain lead molecules for drug development and value added food, flavour and medicinal products. His research includes fungal and marine biotechnology, protein and glycoconjugate biochemistry, gene cloning, and molecular enzymology. He is also strongly involved in the production, purification, characterization and genetic aspects of fungal polymer-degrading enzymes (i.e. carbohydrases, proteinases/peptidases) and oxidoreductases etc. His research also involves development novel green biotechnological pathways for nanoparticle and bio-nanoparticle conjugate molecule production for health applications. He also directs projects involved in bioconversion of target biomass and plastic pollutant streams to feedstocks for biodegradable packaging/bioethanol/biodiesel production. His work explores sustainable circular bioeconomy pathways from these natural resources employing a cradle to grave life cycle assessment approach. His research employs SABC state of the art analytical and biotechnological instrumentation to develop in line bio-analytical and biotechnology techniques in particular with the use of analytical instrumentation such as SCFE, HPLC, LCMS, GC, AAS, CE, UV-Vis spectroscopy etc. as applied to the analysis of biological samples. To further that end we have also developed state of the art capabilities in analytical based molecule identification, extraction, purification and enrichment. Dr Murray has over fifty research publications and supervises research students at masters and PhD levels.

Dr. Patrick Murray is a molecular biotechnology researcher and has a strong track record of collaboration with industry. His research areas involve identification of innovative ingredients and biological products from natural resources particularly marine and fungal microorganism libraries using novel state of the art processes to obtain lead molecules for drug development and value added food, flavour and medicinal products. His research includes fungal and marine biotechnology, protein and glycoconjugate biochemistry, gene cloning, and molecular enzymology. He is also strongly involved in the production, purification, characterization and genetic aspects of fungal polymer-degrading enzymes (i.e. carbohydrases, proteinases/peptidases) and oxidoreductases etc. His research also involves development novel green biotechnological pathways for nanoparticle and bio-nanoparticle conjugate molecule production for health applications. He also directs projects involved in bioconversion of target biomass and plastic pollutant streams to feedstocks for biodegradable packaging/bioethanol/biodiesel production. His work explores sustainable circular bioeconomy pathways from these natural resources employing a cradle to grave life cycle assessment approach. His research employs SABC state of the art analytical and biotechnological instrumentation to develop in line bio-analytical and biotechnology techniques in particular with the use of analytical instrumentation such as SCFE, HPLC, LCMS, GC, AAS, CE, UV-Vis spectroscopy etc. as applied to the analysis of biological samples. To further that end we have also developed state of the art capabilities in analytical based molecule identification, extraction, purification and enrichment. Dr Murray has over fifty research publications and supervises research students at masters and PhD levels.

Dr. Shane O’Connell R&D Manager with Marigot Ltd

Dr. Shane O’Connell is the R&D Manager with Marigot Ltd, a seaweed biotechnology company. Dr O’Connell collaborates closely with Shannon ABC and supervises postgraduate students with Shannon ABC staff. Dr O’Connell previously held the position of Strand Leader with Shannon ABC where he was responsible for the day to day running of the facilities in Tralee, providing scientific leadership and developing industrially relevant projects as well as technology transfer. 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 specialises in enzyme biotechnology, recombinant protein production, screening organic waste for value added bioactives, and developing phenotype microarray technology for bioprocessing.

Patrick Quille
Patrick Quille Research Scientist & Principal Investigator

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.

Dr. Joanna Tierney
Dr. Joanna Tierney Lecturer in Biological Sciences

Dr. Tierney received her Ph.D. in Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, from University College Dublin and has worked on national and international biotech projects in both industry and research organisations encompassing the fields of cell biology, immunology, infection and disease with 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 in autoimmunity; Bioresearch Ireland on vaccine development; Scottish Agricultural College Veterinary Services, in parasitic helminths; and Capital Diagnostics, Scotland in disease diagnostics.

Dr. Tierney has coordinated a trans-national biopharmaceutical bioprocessing project in the EU FP7 Capacities scheme; directed a Science Foundation Ireland TIDA project looking at novel bioactives for parasite control which has evolved through Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund supports to progress to the marketplace. Dr. Tierney is actively involved as Principal Investigator on several small to large scale industry funded biotech projects and her current biotech programme revolves around infection and inflammation and the sourcing of new agents that can modulate both biological processes. She has developed specific expertise in animal pathogen research in the context of bacterial and parasite infections and skin research in close collaboration with industry. She has active projects ongoing in skin healthcare including three-dimensional skin tissue modelling on novel extracellular matrices for cosmetic testing, biomimetic cell barrier models and in-vitro models for veterinary transdermal delivery.

Dr. Daniel Walsh
Dr. Daniel Walsh Head of Department of Applied Science

Can Shannon ABC help you?

Contact Us ›