After completing her Bachelor of Science in Genetics (UCD) in 2019, Ciara is now undertaking a PhD in Biotechnology, researching the production of valuable protein products using bacterial hosts. Her skills include biomolecular lab techniques such as SDS-PAGE, mammalian tissue culture, recombinant protein expression, as well as bioinformatic skills such as Python programming, and genome analysis through Unix shell.
Currently in her first year of her PhD, Ciara is researching the use of spent cell media waste in the production of recombinant proteins using E.coli host systems. She has completed a scripting project with a Python script for statistical analysis of Microarray data. Ciara is also a part of the Atoms to Products CDT for Sustainable Chemistry co-funded by SFI-ESPRC, tied in with the University of Nottingham. Through this programme, Ciara is collaborating with scientists of other fields within the study of the bioeconomy.
BSc Genetics, University College Dublin
Tanja is an Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Her research focuses on elucidating the metabolism of bacteria, and using this knowledge and synthetic biology tools to exploit these bacteria to make high value products.
She graduated with a PhD in 2012 from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. This was followed by postdoctoral research at the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Belgrade, Serbia, where she developed a biocatalyst based on recombinant whole cells for Michael-type formation of C-C bonds and synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant compounds.
In 2013, she moved to University College Dublin where she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the direction of Prof Kevin O’Connor. She investigated metabolic pathways of microorganisms using proteomics, metabolomics, enzymatic assays and synthetic biology tools as a part of FP7 and H2020 projects. In 2019, she joined Bioeconomy Research Centre BiOrbic as a Research Fellow, where I coordinated several research projects among BiOrbic PIs, PostDocs, PhD students, as well as designing projects proposed by industrial partners.
PhD, University of Belgrade, Serbia
BSc, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Prof. Oscarson has made major contributions to the development of new methods in protecting group techniques, glycosidation methods and the development of new spacers and methods for glycoconjugate formation.
Oscarson and his group are one of the world-leading groups in oligosaccharide and glycoconjugate synthesis, especially considering complex structures of microbial origin, and built up collaborations with leading glycobiologists and -immunologists. In these joint ventures the synthetic structures have been used as essential tools to investigate biologically relevant carbohydrate-protein interactions and develop drug and vaccine candidates against various infectious diseases.
For the development of new vaccine candidates and to study the immune response towards carbohydrate antigens, the Oscarson group have synthesised complex CPS- and LPS structures from several bacteria and fungi, E. coli, V. cholera, H. influenza and ducreyi, N. meningitidis, S. pneumoniae, M. catarrhalis, Salmonella, and C. neoformans, and investigated their immunological properties in collaboration with leading academic groups and industry.
Recently, he has developed new carbohydrate-based mucolytics in collaboration with a group at UCSF.
PhD, Stockholm University (SU)
Dr. Rituparna Duarah joined Trinity College Dublin as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CRANN/School of Chemistry in February 2020. Prior to this, Dr. Rituparna worked as Research Associate at CSIR NEIST, India, in Materials Science and Technology Division in Advanced Materials Group, for a brief period (November 2019-February 2020).
Dr. Rituparna is specialised in synthesis of bio-based hyperbranched polymers; preparation of nanomaterials and carbon-based nanohybrids. Her research work involved synthesis of high-performance hyperbranched polymers, preparation of carbon-based nanomaterials and subsequent fabrication of polymer nanocomposites for advanced prospective applications such as self-healing, self-cleaning, photocatalysis, coatings, smart biomedical devices (self-expandable stent, antibacterial self-tightening suture, etc.).
Dr. Rituparna’s current project is focused on the development of bio-based polymer nanocomposites as alternatives to petroleum-based polymers for packaging films applications. The aim of the project work is to overcome the challenges posed by biopolymers such as low heat distortion temperature, high gas permeability, and moderate mechanical properties which restrict their use.
PhD Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University, India
MSc Chemistry, Tezpur University, India
BSc Chemistry, Jorhat Institute of Science and Technology, India
Raphaël has an interest in the development of a “greener” society, based on a better use of our current resources and technology. He hopes that his career will lead him towards being part of the required societal behaviour transformation and technological advancements. His skills include basic chemistry and advanced material sciences (characterization/synthesis/properties), as well as having knowledge on “Large scale facilities” (Synchrotrons/Neutron Sources). Recently, he completed an internship in ALBA which focused on catalyst characterization using GISAXS, while his current PhD project focuses on the upgrade of lignin through heterogeneous catalysis.
Master’s in Material Sciences, University of Turin (UniTo)
Peter is a PhD student working within the UCD School of Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Eoghan McGarrigle. His research focuses on catalytic methods in organophosphorus chemistry, with the aim of developing more efficient routes to useful phosphorus containing compounds. He is a member of the SFI-ESPRC joint funded CDT in sustainable chemistry, a partnership between BiOrbic and the University of Nottingham.
Peter completed his undergraduate degree at UCD. His final year research project focused on organocatalysis in organophosphorus chemistry giving him a strong background in these fields. As part of the CDT in sustainable chemistry, Peter has also received training on sustainable practices for synthetic chemistry.
BSc Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University College Dublin
Paul’s interests lie in synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. He is currently working on the development of new and efficient ways to make novel molecules that possess biological activity.
His current projects include:
DPhil Synthetic Organic Chemistry, University of York
BSc, University of East Anglia
James Gaffey is Co-Director of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) at Institute of Technology Tralee. James is Principal Investigator on the ICT-BIOCHAIN and BIOSWITCH projects, both funded through the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). He is currently coordinator of the EIP-Agri Biorefinery Glas, small-scale grass biorefinery demonstration project and part of the BIORBIC-led SFI Zero Farm C team. James is also a member of the core programme development team and lecturer on the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business co-developed by IT Tralee, UCD and Teagasc. He has been a regular contributor to European-level studies into circular bioeconomy and is currently a member of the Expert Panel for the Impact Assessment of the European Partnership for a Circular Biobased Europe under the future Horizon Europe programme. James joined IT Tralee in 2016, working as biorefinery specialist on the EU Horizon 2020 AgriForValor Project. Prior to this, James worked in the biorefinery industry since 2009 with Sustainable Biopolymers, Cellulac Ltd and the Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (NUI Galway) and through projects including Bio-Eire, Future European League for Microalgal Energy (FUEL4ME) and Sustainable Polymers from Algae Sugars and Hydrocarbons (SPLASH).
MSc Environmental Technologies, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology
BSc Environmental Science, NUI Galway
Lynda Jordan is an experienced scientist with proficiency across multiple sectors from business development to teaching, possessing a keen interest in the advancement of scientific discovery and promotion of STEM in teens. She holds a primary, double honours, degree in Physics and Chemistry with expertise in the fields of synthetic organic chemistry, specifically in the areas of chirality, enantioselective drug synthesis, and catalysis. She has also worked as an analytical environmental Chemist for eight years gaining proficiency in numerous laboratory analytical techniques and instruments. She was also the co-founder of a small manufacturing company and has previously worked in secondary education for ten years.
Currently a PhD student in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences, she is exploring the natural synthesis of the biopolymer, Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), using various PhaC1 engineered mutants of the P.putida KT2440 bacterial strain. Furthering the understanding of the in-vivo catalytic mechanism of PhaC1, isolation of its S-enantiomer and the development of an in-vitro study, are important steps in improving the rate and economic viability of the production of the versatile mcl-PHAs, creating a viable alternative to the use of petrochemically derived plastics.
Honours Diploma in Applied Sciences
BSc Applied Sciences
Post Graduate Diploma in Education
Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Education
After a BSc and PhD (Physical Chemistry) at UCC, James was a post-doctoral research fellow at University of Reading between 1996-1999 and an honorary research fellow at QUB between 1999-2000.
Professor Sullivan joined the UCD Department of Chemistry as an assistant lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 2000. He is currently a senior lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry in the UCD School of Chemistry and Deputy Head of School and college Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning.
James directs the BSc programme in Chemistry with Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry and the MSc programme in Chemistry through Negotiated Learning. He is the director of the Environmental and Sustainable Catalysis Laboratory, with over 25 years of experience in the preparation, characterisation and application of heterogeneous catalysis as they relate to environmental and sustainable chemistry.
Ongoing projects relate to the use of catalysts in depollution of chemistry (deNOx, C(s) oxidation and aqueous organic oxidation), green chemistry and photocatalysis (selective oxidation, artificial photosynthesis and CO2 photo-decomposition) and, catalytic biorefining (FAME production, glycerol valorisation and cellulosic bio-diesel).
Current bio-refining work supported by BiOrbic relates to the catalytic and photocatalytic upgrading of lignin.
Emma has a keen interest in drug design, with a focus in biotherapeutics. This interest lead her to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from University College Dublin in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
After getting her Bachelor’s, Emma decided to stay at UCD and pursue a PhD, also in Medicinal Chemistry. By utilizing her Chemistry knowledge, Emma has been able to synthesize non-natural amino acids and through her knowledge of Chemical Biology she has been able to introduce these non-natural amino acids into proteins through amber stop codon suppression techniques.
Her latest project in her PhD is working with bacterial cells to isolate cyclic peptides that are potential antifungal biotherapeutics. This is with the hope of establishing an optimized, biologically compatible method for fluorination of said cyclic peptides.
Declan is a first year PhD student in Professor Pat Guiry’s research group of UCD, starting in September 2019, where he is working in the field of asymmetric catalysis. For his undergraduate he attended UCD from 2015 to 2019, receiving a 1st class honours degree in Chemistry. Here he completed his final year project under the supervision of Professor Declan Gilheany in the area of ligand design. He is interested in methodology, with his project focused on palladium catalysed decarboxylative asymmetric protonation/allylic alkylation (DAP and DAAA respectively) of Lactams.
BSc Chemistry, University College Dublin
Conor’s professional interest is in the cultivation of microorganisms. This involves media design for small and large scale bioreactions.
Conor’s expertise lies in fungal cultivation and fungal biomass analysis. Other skills include the development of media for microorganism growth and HPLC analysis. Conor possess presentation skills from frequently displaying his progress.
Conor is currently working on an industry-funded project that involves the cultivation of fungus for the production of immunomodulatory bioactives. Such bioactives are for use as food additives in the food industry.
Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, University College Dublin
Aoife graduated with a BSc in biochemistry from UCD in 2017, before starting her PhD project with BiOrbic in January 2018. Her interests lie in microbial metabolism and metabolic engineering of microbes for the production of value-added products. Her PhD studies focus on the engineering of the bacterial strain Ralstonia eutropha for the production of bioplastic building blocks, using CO2 as the carbon source. These products are unnatural to R. eutropha, so this aim will require genetic manipulation of the microbe’s central metabolism, along with adaptation to increase its ability to utilise the chosen carbon source.
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, University College Dublin
Dennis Bengtsson is a PhD student at BiOrbic and at UCD School of Chemistry, Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology. His research focuses on the utilization of lactose as a low value starting material for chemical synthesis to generate higher value products. Currently, he is working on the large scale synthesis of the S. pneumoniae type 14 CPS repeating unit trimer, as well as the synthesis of various Selenium- and Fluorine-containing Lactose- and Lactosamine derivatives, to be used for NMR-based Galectin-Carbohydrate interaction studies.
Master’s in Biotechnology, Lund University, Sweden
Dr Cagney is a senior research scientist focusing on the analysis of biological and clinical problems using network approaches, particularly protein interactions and synthetic biology.
Expert in mass spectrometry, proteomics, synthetic biology, bioinformatics.
PhD, Queens University Belfast
Dr Martin Pedersen is an organic chemist with a strong interest for synthetic carbohydrate chemistry. He has specialised in this area of research and possesses a solid knowledge on anything from purification (e.g. preparative chromatography and crystallization) and analytical techniques (e.g. NMR and mass spectroscopy). He is currently working to produce pneumonia vaccine candidates and fluorinated MR-probes, all starting from milk sugar – lactose.
Professor Guiry’s key professional/work interests include the teaching of (organic) chemistry to third and fourth level students, the training of under- and postgraduate students in synthetic chemistry and the supervision of PhD students, visiting international students and postdoctoral researchers.
Pat’s research group focuses on synthetic organic chemistry, with interests / expertise in both the development of asymmetric synthetic methodology through the design and application of new chiral ligands in homogeneous metal-catalysed transformations and in the total synthesis of compounds of biological interest. His programme includes the use of nature as an inspiration for the design and synthesis of a family of stable lipoxin A4 analogues for the resolution of inflammation. Key skills include the structure identification / confirmation of compounds synthesised / isolated through the application of the full breadth of modern spectroscopic and analytical techniques.
Current projects focus on the conversion of waste material from the agri-food industry into higher value chemicals, the employment of CO2 as a C-1 synthon, the design of novel organocatalysts, the synthesis of potential anti-cancer agents and novel anti-inflammatories.
Full Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford
PhD in Chemistry: University College Dublin
BSc (Hons) in Chemistry: University College Dublin
Siobhan is interested in applying proteomic approaches, such as mass spectrometry to gain a better insight into how PHA is produced in bacteria. She is currently comparing the proteins involved in PHA production in a number of different bacteria.
Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), University College Dublin
Dr Zhu has a long-held interest in the synthesis of oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates, including synthesis of carbohydrate mimetics. He has special interest in design and synthesis of sulfur-linked glycosides, which are chemically and enzymatically more stable than normal oxygen-linked glycosides but often biologically more active. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers. Most of them focus on chemical synthesis of different thioglycosides, such as S-linked glycopeptides and S-linked oligosaccharides. Xiangming has developed the first direct approach to alpha-glycosyl thiols, which are key building blocks for the synthesis of various thioglycosides. One of his recent projects is to develop novel immunostimulants based on thioglycoside structures, in which the first total synthesis of an S-linked glycolipid was achieved.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia, Athens, U.S.A.
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
PhD in Organic Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Shanghai, China
BSc in Chemistry, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, China
Dr Nadia Lamari is a postdoc in the group of Prof Gerard Cagney in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science (Conway Institute). Although she is molecular biologist by training, with a completion of her PhD in Applied Biology at the University of Naples Federico II in 2010, she is widely experienced in using mass spectrometry methodologies to achieve different scientific subjects, such as microbial metabolism, plant metabolomics, environmental aquatic toxicology and marine chemical biology. Currently, as LC-MS metabolomics specialist within the Centre, her research activity is focused on the development of a targeted metabolomics approach to assess the physiological role of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) in metabolically engineered bacteria for biopolymer production based on bio-chiral molecules as starting materials.
Kevin O’Connor is Director of BEACON SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre, a Principal Investigator in the UCD Earth Institute and a Full Professor in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD. He is chairperson of the scientific committee for the €4 billion public-private partnership Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a former member of the European Commission biobased products expert group and a previous member of European Commission committee entitled the “lead market initiative for Bio-based products (2008-2011).
Kevin’s research interests are integrated biorefining, biobased chemicals, microbial biotechnology, biodegradable polymers, biocatalysis and protein engineering. He has published over 100 international peer review articles and made of over 200 contributions at national and international conferences. He has filed 8 patents and successfully licensed 3 technologies resulting from his research work. Kevin is the founder of Bioplastech, a university spin out company endeavouring to commercialise the conversion of residues and biobased resources to biodegradable polymers, and Nova Mentis, a second campus company established to commercialise a novel antioxidant with health promoting properties.
Professor O’Connor was a leading driver of the development of the €6M rural Bioeconomy campus at Lisheen, Co. Tipperary, and the Irish EU Model demonstrator region for the sustainable production of chemicals.
PhD, Microbiology, University College Cork
BSc, University College Cor
Dr O’Reilly’s research interests focus on the development of biocatalysts and biocatalytic methodology for the synthesis of high-value chiral compounds, particularly those with interesting biological activities. Her research targets enzymes capable of mediating transformations that are challenging to achieve using more traditional chemical approaches, including transaminases and alcohol dehydrogenases. While these enzymes often display exquisite regio- and stereoselectivity for their native substrates, the scope of wild-type enzymes can be limited, and enzyme engineering is often required to broaden their substrate range and improve their properties.
Elaine is interested in engineering enzymes for applications in synthetic chemistry and in designing methodology to simplify their use, including the design of biocatalytic cascades to avoid protecting group manipulations and costly purification steps. Her key skills include synthetic chemistry; protein engineering; assay development; and biocatalytic methodology development.
Current projects focus on: (i) the development of a chemoenzymatic approach for the synthesis of iminosugars from monosaccharides; (ii) oxy- and aza-Michael chemistry for the chemoenzymatic synthesis of chiral nitrogen cycles; (iii) the design of protein catalysts from non-catalytic templates.
PhD in Organic Chemistry, University College Dublin.
Thesis topic: “Synthesis of non Proteinogenic amino acids for biological application” (Dr F. Paradisi)
BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University College Dublin
David’s primary research interests are in the engineering of proteins for the creation of new biotechnological applications in areas such as affinity chromatography for the purification of proteins of therapeutic, diagnostic and research value; and the development of highly sensitive biosensor applications for the detection of an kinetic analysis of protein interactions with drugs, proteins and affinity molecules. He is a specialist in proteomic applications, including array-based and MS-based interrogation of protein:protein interactions. He has patents granted in novel platform technologies based on engineered calcium binding proteins and patents pending in phage displayed libraries of novel protein scaffolds for identification of synthetic proteins for drug and diagnostic applications.
At BEACON, he is leading a project to engineer the key enzymes responsible for the synthesis of bioplastic polymers to expand the repertoire of polymers available for bioplastic synthesis. His latest project, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, will employ metabolic engineering strategies in microorganisms to harness spent bioprocessing media waste as a food source in new bioprocesses for drug manufacture. The research will be completed in collaboration with the biopharmaceutical sector to drive the circular economy in this key unmet need, converting waste into new bioprocess fuel.
PhD, University College Dublin
Prof Murphy has been a lecturer in UCD since 2001 (senior lecturer, 2014; professor, 2017), and teaches in the undergraduate programme in microbiology, and the postgraduate MSc in biotechnology, and biotechnology and business. He is currently the programme director for the masters degrees in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Cormac established a research group to investigate the biotransformation of xenobiotic compounds in microorganisms, with a particular focus on organofluorine compounds and drugs.
He has acquired external grant funding from a range of sources (European Union, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council) and has supervised 19 PhD students to completion. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. From 2011-2013 Cormac was the Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation in the UCD College of Science. He is a funded investigator in BEACON investigating the biosynthesis of semi-synthetic lipopeptides.
PhD, Queens University Belfast (QUB)
Burcu Akkoyunlu is a PhD student at BiOrbic and the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, UCD. She is a strong research professional with a Master of Science in Advanced Chemical Engineering from The University of Edinburgh.
She is interested in designing novel processes by combining biology and chemical engineering principles. She is skilled in Membrane Separation Technologies, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing, Biotechnology, Bioprocess Design and MATLAB. Her PhD research involves developing and optimising novel process for producing bioeconomy products.
Kenneth Denbigh Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh
Chemical and Biological Engineering Senior Project 1st Place, Koç University
Vehbi Koç Scholar Award, Koç University
Koç University 50% Scholarship
Professor Babu’s current research focuses on advanced polymeric materials, which addresses key global challenges of functional materials, polymer composites, clean water, biobased polymers from renewable resources and production of chemical building blocks using waste as a resource.
He has over 17 years of experience in polymer processing, membrane separation, nanocomposites, biodegradable polymers and polymer characterisation. He worked in Clariant Gmbh and Asahi-Kasei Corporation, Japan before joining Trinity College Dublin, in 2003. Currently he is partner in BBI-JU AGRICHEMWHEY flagship project focusing developing the packaging products based on second generation PLA and he is recently funded with EU-China project Mix-Up investigating the conversion of mixed waste plastic to value added products. He is at the forefront of industrial research representing TCD in AMBER Centre of Excellence in Material Science, BiOrbic Bioeconomy Research Centre, DPTC – Dairy Processing Technology Centre, and FHI – Food for Health Ireland.
He is co-founder of two spinout companies: Bioplastech Limited (2009), and Selfsense Technologies (2014), and a founding member of Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF). He was recipient of the Trinity Innovator award for 2018.
Research Associate Professor, School of Chemistry, Trinity College, Dublin
Funded Investigator SFI BiOrbic
Funded Investigator, SFI AMBER
Investigator, CRANN, Trinity College, Dublin
Senior Research Fellow & Centre Manager, Polymer Research Centre, School of Physics, Trinity College
Senior Polymer Chemist, Materials Ireland Polymer research centre – worked on developing and implementation of nanocomposites technologies in the Irish polymer industries through support of Enterprise Ireland.
Research Associate, Asahi-Kasei Corporation, Japan – worked on developing the polymer nanocomposites for various applications such as membranes, packaging, automotive applications, foams etc.
Executive-Product development & Technical sales in Clariant Gmbh, India – worked on developing and marketing the specialty textile auxiliaries for dyeing, printing and spinning of textiles.
Postdoctoral Fellow in Department of Polymer Science, University Department of Chemical technology, Mumbai, India – worked on developing the polymer additives based on 1,3-butanediol.
PhD graduate, Chemical Engineering Department, University Department of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India
Sandra has been fascinated with science since childhood and her keen interest in organic chemistry was sparked during undergraduate studies, especially during practical laboratories. After obtaining her Honours Bachelors of Science degree with specialisation in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology from University College Dublin in 2017, she has undertaken PhD studies in Professor Pat Guiry’s group in the same university.
It is hoped that developing a novel chemical application for lactose will provide a use for this multi-tonne waste product in the milk processing industry. Sandra, is working on the design and development of lactose-derived ligands for application in asymmetric catalysis. Her PhD project involves performing chemical reactions under inert conditions, working with sensitive substances, synthesis, purification and analysis of compounds, and supervision of undergraduate laboratories.
She also has a keen interest in the application of organic chemistry in the synthesis of biologically active compounds, which was the topic of her 4th year undergraduate project, and she hopes to pursue application of her chemistry skills in that area in the future.
Bachelor of Science (Honours), University College Dublin
Academic year 2018/2019:
Supervision of 4th year undergraduate project and thesis