School of Science & Computing - Dept of Science
+353 0 51834121
Room 326 1969 - Main Building
I have 10 years of experience in natural product research, starting with extractions of antimicrobial and antioxidants from ferns during my Honours degree in Monash University. After my honours, I worked as a research assistant with my then supervisor and a PhD student on extractions of bioactives from ginger family, exploring the different extraction methods. My PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Helen Hughes, was on the antimicrobial compounds from seaweed extracts. I have obtained and completed a commercialisation funding follow on from my PhD project and has 11 peer-reviewed publications all in the field of natural product extraction and identification. There are currently three PhD research in the EIRC follow on from the seaweed research, with the aim of incorporating the bioactives into different applications such as biopesticides or medical devices.
I am interested in discovering bioactives from natural products. My research is on optimising extraction, separation and purification processes for isolation of potentially novel bioactives from natural resources. My focus is on antimicrobial compounds, with interest on using these compounds in medical or high-value added products.
I started my teaching as laboratory demosntrator while I was doing my research in Monash University and continued working part time hours when I was doing my PhD in WIT. While working as a researcher after my Phd, I am also working as assistant lecturer in the Department of Science at WIT, delivering laboratory practical and tutorials in chemistry. I have nine years experiences in delivering laboratory practical for undergraduate students, including chemistry, microbiology, biology and genetics. I have and am still supervising a number of undergraduate third and final year projects and mentored post-doctoral researchers and three postgraduate students with their research in natural products.
After my PhD, I was hired as a Project Manager on a European Regional Development Fund INTERREG-IVA project (WINSS). My role was to monitor, plan and ensure the smooth running of the project, coordinate meetings with partners and industries from Wales and Ireland, develop training courses and report writing. As part of my role in WINSS I have developed a validated Level-9 Postgraduate Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Analysis and Cell Culture module, which is currently running at WIT (subjected to sufficient number).
I am also actively writing funding proposal to continue my research to impact the society. An Enterprise Ireland Commercial Feasibility Study was granted to establish the patent space and the commercial potential of the seaweed antimicrobial and a Commercialisation Funding was subsequently granted for the identification and toxicological profiling of the purified antimicrobial compounds.
O’Keeffe, E. Hughes, H. McLoughlin, P. Tan, S. P. McCarthy, N. (2019). Antibacterial activity of seaweed extracts against plant pathogenic bacteria. Journal of Bacteriology and Mycology.
O’Keeffe, E. Hughes, H. McLoughlin, P. Tan, S. P. McCarthy, N. (2019). Mathods of analysis for the in vitro and in vivo determination of the fungicidal activity of seaweeds: A mini review. Journal of Applied Phycology.