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

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

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

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

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

Research Opportunities

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

Summer Research

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

Research Field

Contact Name

Immunology of Domestic Animals; Animal Behaviour; Equine Husbandry

Sean Arkins

Neurobiology and neuroendocrine aspects of glial cells; Neuroendocrinology; Neuroinflammation; Neurodegeneration; Biological role of brain-targeted drugs

George Barreto

Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer, Breast Cancer, DNA Damage Response, Molecular Signalling, Targeted Therapeutics Development, Oncobiology

James Brown

Biodiversity and Ecology

John Breen

Rhodococcus Equi, Streptococcus Equi, Mycotoxins

Tom Buckley

Greenhouse Gas Balances in Terrestrial Ecosystems, Soil Carbon Stocks, Carbon Stocks in Harvested Wood Products

Ken Byrne

Structure-Function Analysis of Bacterial Proteases

Jakki Cooney

Equine Virology, Clinical Virology, Molecular Diagnostics, Vaccinology

Ann Cullinane

Assisted Reproduction in both Humans and Farm Animals; Male Fertility and Sperm Physiology

Sean Fair

Bioactive Peptides - Functional Food Ingredients/Nutraceuticals; Food Protein Chemistry/Biochemistry; Food Enzymology

Dick Fitzgerald

Neuroscience, Cellular Neurobiology, Neuro-Nanotechnology

Andreas Grabrucker

Bioactive compounds and ingredients with a focus on phenolic compounds, antioxidants, process and product development and optimization, dairy products, functional foods, analytical methods, cell-based protocols

Daniel Granato

Human nutrition, dietary intake and intervention in healthy and clinical cohorts and impact on health/clinical parameters, diet/microbiota interactions, vitamin K-dependent proteins

Eibhlis O'Connor

Science education and insect ecology

Audrey O'Grady

Cancer Immunology, Immune phenotyping in health and disease, Myeloid cells and Innate immune responses to viral infection


Soil microbiology, molecular environmental microbiology, soil nutrient cycling including sulphur cycling, fungal and bacterial weathering, biodegradation, Listeria in fresh-cut produce

Achim Schmalenberger

Pomology, Tree Fruit Physiology and Apple Pathology

Con Traas

Inflammation-related Chronic Disorders; Mediators of Inflammation & Platelet-aggregation; Nutraceuticals & Bioactive Compounds from Foods & Related By-products; Elucidation of Structures & Structure-Activity-Relationships

Alexandros Tsoupras

Food Safety, Microbial Flow Cytometry, Safety and Sensory Aspects of Low Sodium Ready Meals, Autolytic and Permeabilisation Processes in Lactic Acid Bacteria, Accelerated Cheese Ripening, Food Enzymology

Martin Wilkinson

Mare and Foal Nutrition and Feeding; Feeding for Performance

Bridget Younge

Food Lipids, Inflammation, Cardiovascular Diseases, Functional Foods, Sensory Properties, Heavy Metals in Food Chain

Ioannis Zabetakis