SETU Waterford offers a broad range of academic programmes from levels 6 to 10 on the national framework of qualifications across Business, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science and Computing.

Courses Landing page

Study at SETU Waterford

Discover the routes into studying at SETU Waterford for school leavers, adult learners, further education students, graduates and people who have already started studies elsewhere as well as options for those interested in online courses.

Study at SETU Waterford landing Page


Discover the routes into studying at SETU Waterford for school leavers, adult learners, further education students, graduates and people who have already started studies elsewhere as well as options for those interested in online courses.

Students Landing Page


SETU Waterford offers a broad range of academic programmes from levels 6 to 10 on the national framework of qualifications across Business, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science and Computing.

Schools Landing Page


The Office for International Relations co-ordinates the admission, administration and support for international students throughout the course of their studies at SETU Waterford.

International Landing Page


SETU Waterfordis recognised as the leading research performer in the institute of technology sector with research activities that are internationally benchmarked, strategic, and economically relevant. Find out about the amazing multi disciplinary research under way

Research Landing Page


Discover the routes into studying at SETU Waterford for school leavers, adult learners, further education students, graduates and people who have already started studies elsewhere as well as options for those interested in online courses.

About Landing Page


Uncover the research discoveries, student and staff achievements, human stories, community spirit, global links and external engagement news at SETU Waterford

News Landing Page


From virtual events to conferences, talks, public lectures and happenings in on-campus venues SETU Waterford is a hub of activity. Stay up to date with our calendar of upcoming events.

Events Landing Page

Dr. Helen Hughes


Lecturer Inorganic Chemistry and Quality Management

School/ Department:

School of Science & Computing - Dept of Science - Cork Road campus


+353 0 51834047

Mobile Number:


Room Name/ Num:

B30 1969 - Main Building


Main Campus

Other Research Group:


My Biography

Academic Record:

Qualification Level Awarding Body
Quality Auditor Shannon Quality Training
B. Sc. in Analytical Science   2.1



Career History: 

Employer Position
WIT    Lecturer      
Gerard Laboratories   Research Analyst
Waterford Foods Q.A. Manager
Schering-Plough Ltd Analyst
Squibb-Linson Ltd Analyst


Membership of Professional Bodies:

Name of Body   Grade of Membership
Institute of Chemistry of Ireland   Member
Excellence Ireland Vice President
Eurachem Secretary
National Committee for Chemistry



Details Of Research Visits, Research Training Events and Conferences Attended:

2002   Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms, Germany.
1999 41st Rocky Mountain Conference on Analytical Chemistry, Denver.
1998 TMR Summer School on Solar Thermal Energy at Platforma Solera de Almeria,
1992 EPA Summer School entitled ‘Photochemical Energy and Electron Transfer in Supramolecular Species’, Italy 1992


Research Awards:

1998 BEHEST research grant from WIT £2,500
1999  Operational Programme Research Grant. £19,500
2000 Strategic Research Grant Scheme £72,000
2001 Strand 1 funding. £22,000
2001   Strand III Funding. £250,000
2003 Innovation Partnership €70,000
2003 Strand III Funding €300,000
2004 Strand I Funding €34,000
2005 ERDF (INTERREG IIIA) funding   €321,000
2005 Strand I Funding €34,000
2005 Tyndal Institute NAP project (surface characterisation) €11,355
2006 EPA scholarship funding €40,000
2006 Marine Institute Funding (NDP funding €85,923
2007 Enterprise Ireland Infrastructure funding €300,000
2007 HEA Infrastructure funding    €160,000
2007 INP funding €5000
2007 Strand III funding €400,000
2008 HEA Infrastructure €2,035,000
2008 Enterprise Ireland ARE funding €1,550,000
2008 Enterprise Ireland Infrastructure funding €402,000
2008 EPA scholarship funding €26,500
2008 Innovation Partnership (Genzyme) €403,000
2010 PRTLI funding €1,536,000
2013 Technology Gateway funding €1,200,000
2013 Enterprise Ireland Commercial Feasibility grant   €14,000
2013 WIT postgraduate scholarship funding €96,000
2014  WIT postgraduate scholarship funding €96,000
2014 Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation funding €212,300
2015 WIT postgraduate scholarship funding €96,000
2015 IRCSET postgraduate funding €120,000
2017 WIT postgraduate Cofund €96,000

Recent Publications for Dr. Helen Hughes

Book Chapter

Tan, S. P. O’Sullivan, L. Prieto, M. L. McLoughlin, P. Lawlor, P. G. Hughes, H. Gardiner, G. E. (2012) Seaweed antimicrobials: Isolation, characterization and potential use in functional foods. In Bioactive compounds from  marine foods: Plant and animal sources. Ed. Hernandez-Ladesma, B. and Herrero, M. Wiley. Submitted.

Refereed Journal Articles:

1. Duggan, S., O’Donovan, O., Cummins, W., Hughes, H. and, Owens, E. 'Thiolated polymers as mucoadhesive drug delivery systems', (2017), European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 100, pp. 64-78.


2. Duggan, S., Hughes, H., Owens, E., Duggan, E., Cummins, W. and O’ Donovan, O. (2016a) 'Synthesis and characterisation of mucoadhesive thiolated polyallylamine', International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 499(1–2), pp. 368-375.


3. Duggan, S., O’Donovan, O., Owens, E., Duggan, E., Hughes, H. and Cummins, W., (2016), ‘Comparison of the mucoadhesive properties of thiolated polyacrylic acid to thiolated polyallylamine’, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 498 (1-2), pp. 245-253.


4. Duggan, S., O’Donovan, O., Owens, E., Duggan, E., Hughes, H. and Cummins, W. (2016)Duggan, S., O’Donovan, O., Owens, E., Cummins, W. and Hughes, H. (2015) 'Synthesis of mucoadhesive thiolated gelatin using a two-step reaction process', European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 91(0), pp. 75-81.


5. Tan S. P., O’Sullivan L., Prieto M. L., McLoughlin P., Lawlor P. G., Hughes H. and Gardiner G. E., “Development of a novel antimicrobial seaweed extract-based hydrogel wound dressing”, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 456, 10-20, (2013)


6. Prieto ML, O’Sullivan L, Tan SP, McLoughlin P, Hughes H, Gutierrez M, Lane JA, Hickey R, Lawlor PG, Gardiner GE,Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of a marine-derived Bacillus strain for use as an in-feed probiotic for newly weaned pigs, PLOS, 9, 2, 1-10, (2014)


7. Prieto M L, O’Sullivan L, Tan S P, McLoughlin P, Hughes H, Gutierrez M, Lane J, Hickey R, Lawlor P, Gardiner G, “In vitro assessment of marine Bacillus for use as livestock probiotics”, Marine Drugs, 12, 5, 2422 – 2445, (2014)


8. Elsiddig R, Hughes H, Owens E, O’ Reilly N J., O’Grady D, McLoughlin P, “Kinetic and thermodynamic evaluation of phosphate ions binding onto sevelamer hydrochloride”, International Journal of Pharmaceutics”, 474, 25-32, (2014)


9. Prieto M. L, O’Sullivan L, Tan S. P, McLoughlin P, Hughes H, O’Connor P. M, Cotter P. D., Lawlor P. G. and Gardiner G. E., “Assessment of the Bacteriocinogenic Potential of Marine Bacteria Reveals Lichenicidin Production by Seaweed-Derived Bacillus spp.”, Mar. Drugs, 10, 2280-2299, (2012)


10. Tan S.P., O’Sullivan L., Prieto M.L. McLoughlin P., Lawlor P.G., Hughes H. and Gardiner G.E. (2012) “Antimicrobials from Marine Macroalgae: Isolation, Characterisation and Applications in Functional Foods”, Bioactive compounds from marine foods: Plant and animal sources (Book Chapter) Published by Wiley-Blackwell.


11. HUDSON, S.P., Owens E., Hughes H. and McLoughlin,P., Enhancement and Restriction of Chain Motion in Polymer Networks, Int. Journal of Pharmaceutics, 430, 1-2, 34-41, (2012).


12. Osmani Q; Hughes H; McLoughlin P, “Probing the recognition of molecularly imprinted polymer beads”, Journal of Materials Science, 47, 5, 2218-2227, 2012


13. Walsh R; Osmani Q; Hughes H; Duggan P and McLoughlin P, “Synthesis of imprinted beads by aqueous suspension polymerisation for chiral recognition of antihistamines”, Journal of  Chromatography B-Anal. Tech in the Biomedical and Life Sciences, 879, 30, 3523-3530, 2011.


14. Tan S. P., O´Sullivan L., Prieto M. L., Gardiner G. E., Lawlor P. G., Leonard F., Duggan P., McLoughlin P., and Hughes H., Extraction and Bioautographic-Guided Separation of Antibacterial Compounds from U. lactuca , accepted for publication in the J. of Phycology, 2011


15. O’Sullivan L., Murphy B., McLoughlin P., Duggan P., Lawlor P. G., Hughes H., Gardiner G. E., “Prebiotics from Marine Macroalgae for Human and Animal Health Applications”, Marine Drugs, 8(7), 2038-2064; 2010


16. Murphy V, Hughes H, and McLoughlin, “Enhancement Strategies for Cu(II), Cr(III) and Cr(VI) remediation by a variety of seaweed species”, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 166, 1, 318-326, 2009.


17. Murphy V, Hughes H, and McLoughlin P, Comparative study of Chromium biosorption by red, green and brown seaweed biomass, Chemosphere, 70, 1128-1134, 2008.


18. Osmani Q., Hughes H., Flavin K., Hedin-Dahlstrom J., Allender C. J., Frisby J., McLoughlin P., The use of FTIR and NMR spectroscopies to study pre-polymerisation interactions in nitrogen heterocycles, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 391, 1229-1236, 2008


19. Holland N., Duggan P., Owens E., Cummins W., Frisby J., Hughes H., McLoughlin P., Thermal desorption characterisation of molecularly imprinted polymers. Part II: Use of direct probe GC-MS analysis to study cross-linking effects, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 391, 1245-1253, 2008


20. Murphy V, Hughes H, and McLoughlin P, A novel study of hexavalent chromium detoxification by selected seaweed species using SEM-EDX and XPS analysis”, Chemical Engineering, 2008.


21. Flavin K, Hughes H., McLoughlin P., The development of a novel smart infrared sensing methodology for residual solvents, Intern. J. Environ. Anal. Chem., 87, 1, 29-42, 2007.


22. Murphy V, Hughes H. and McLoughlin P, An Investigation into the Mechanism of Cu (II) Binding by Red, Green and Brown Macroalgae, Water Research, 41, 731-740, 2007.


23. Flavin K., Mullowney J., Murphy B., Owens E., Kirwan P., Murphy K., Hughes H., and McLoughlin P., The development of novel organically modified sol-gel media for use with ATR/FTIR sensing, Analyst, 132, 224-229, 2007


24. Flavin K, Hughes H., Dobbyn V, Kirwan P, Murphy K, , and McLoughlin P, A comparison of ., 86, 6, 401-415, 2006.


25. Flavin K., Hughes H., and McLoughlin P., Vibrational Spectroscopy, Paper accepted for publication, 2005.


26. Flavin K, Hughes H., Dobbyn V, Kirwan P, Murphy K, Steiner H, Mizaikoff B, and McLoughlin P, Intern. J. Environ. Anal. Chem., Paper accepted for publication, 2005.


27. M. McMahon, F. Regan & H. Hughes, “The determination of total germanium in real food samples including Chinese herbal remedies using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy”, 2005, accepted by The Journal of Food.


28. Olwill, P. McLoughlin, H. Hughes, M. O’Riordain, “The use of molecularly imprinted sol-gels in Pharmaceutical Separations”, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 20, 6, 2004,1045-1050


29. Brady,,D. Leane, H.P. Hughes, R.J. Forster, T.E. Keyes, “Electronic Properties of Ru(II) complexes bound to a Bisphenolate Bridge with low-lying pi* orbitals”, Dalton Trans.,  2004, 2. Winner of Hot Paper of the Month.


30. W.R. Browne, C.M. O’Connor, H.P. Hughes, R. Hage, O. Walter, M. Doering, T.F. Gallagher, & J.G. Vos, “Ru(II) and Os(II) polypyridyl complexes of an asymmetric pyrazinyl & pyridyinal-containing 1,2,4-triazole based ligand. J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans., 2002, 4048.


31. S. Fanni, T.E. Keyes, C.M. O’Connor, H.P. Hughes, R. Wang, and J.G. Vos, “Excited-state properties of Ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes containing asymmetric triazole ligands”, Coord. Chem. Rev., 2000, 208, 77.


32. C.G. Coates, T.E. Keyes, H.P. Hughes, P.M. Jayaweera, J.J. McGarvey, J.G. Vos, “Resonance Raman and Spectroelectrochemical studies of Ruthenium polypyridyl complexes containing a Triazole bridging ligand. Investigation of the lowest excited state in Mononuclear and Dinuclear complexes, containing pyrazine moieties”, J. Phys. Chem., 1998, 102, (26), 5013.


33. C.G. Coates, T.E. Keyes, J.J. McGarvey, H.P. Hughes, J.G. Vos, P.M. Jayaweera, “Resonance Raman Studies of Ruthenium (II) complexes in DNA and Homogenous Media”, Coord. Chem. Rev., 1998, 171,323,


34. H.P. Hughes, J.G. Vos, “Control of Photosubstitution in Dinuclear Ruthenium Polypyridyl complexes by choice of bridging ligand”, Inorg. Chem., 1995, 34, 4001.



I have been teaching in Waterford Institute of Technology since 1994 in the areas of Inorganic Chemistry, Good laboratory Practice and Quality Management, including Lean Manufacturing. I have extensive experience in practical laboratory training in synthetic, analytical, inorganic and good laboratory techniques.

I have organised undergraduate seminars and information events. I have been course leader and work placement coordinator for the B.Sc. (H) in Pharmaceutical Science, Year 3 programme for the last number of years. I am the contact point for transition year work placement in the Department of Science and have organised this position for numerous students.


  • Supervised 15 PhD and 2 MSc students to completion
  • Currently supervising 5 PhD students.
  • Leveraged over €10 million in competitive research funding in the past 10 years
  • Published 30 peer reviewed articles and research outputs appear in over 60 conference proceedings
  • 2009 WIT annual award for excellence in postgraduate research supervision.
  • Founding member of the  PMBRC, an EI-funded ARE centre in 2008 and the Eco-Innovation Research Centre (EIRC) at WIT, (PRTLI funded 2010)
  • Acted as an expert reviewer for high impact journals and funding agencies including IRCSET
  • Extensive industrial collaboration with both national and international organisations.
  • Involved in Forfás Future Skills and research prioritisation Requirements of Biopharma-Pharmachem Sector exercise
  • Member of the National panel to review all IRCSET applications for 2012.
  • Member of the WIT Strategy Working Group 2017 - 2018


Details of Post-Graduate Research Students Supervised to date:

1. With other Third Level Institutions

Dr. Chris Allender, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University

Dr. Dave Barrow, Cardiff University

Prof. T. Keyes, School of Science, Dublin City University.

Prof. J.G. Vos, School of Science, Dublin City University.

Dr. Christine O’Connor, School of Science, DIT

Dr. Fiona Regan, School of Science, Dublin City University.

2. With Industry or other External Agencies

            Bausch & Lombe,

            Merck, Sharp and Dohme,

            Eurachem Ireland,

            Royal Irish Academy

            Eirgen Pharma

            Genzyme Ireland Ltd.

Research Students

Name  Project area Dates Award
Aiden Walsh   Quality Management     1998-2000 MSc
Ian Brady   Inorganic Electrochromics  1999-2002 MSc
Nigel Brady  Vanadium complexes  2000-Date PhD
Michael McMahon Organogermanium 2001-Date PhD
Aisling Olwill    Molecular Imprinted Polymers 2001-2005 PhD
Kevin Flavin  Sensing 2003-Date PhD
Niamh Holland Molecular Imprinted Polymers 2004-2008 PhD
Vanessa Murphy Estuarine Research 2004-2007 PhD
Quendressa Osmani Molecular Imprinted Polymers   2005-2009 PhD
Rachael Walsh Molecular Imprinted Polymers 2006-2010   PhD
Stephen Dowling  Metal Flavanoid complexes 2006-2010 PhD
Catherine Murphy Selective metal uptake by seaweeds 2006-Date PhD
Reem Elsiddig Polymeric pharmaceuticals 2009-2013 PhD
Graece Tan  Bioactives from seaweed 2009 to 2013 PhD
Jenny Morrissey Microneedles for drug delivery 2011 to 2014 PhD
Sarah Duggan  Mucoadhesive drug delivery 2011-2015 PhD
Caroline Botha  Bioactive wound dressings 2013 to date PhD
Colin Dillon  Microneedles for drug delivery 2013 to 2017 PhD
Shahab Ud Din Api, moisture interactions 2014 to date PhD
Emma O’Keeffe Seaweeds as pesticides 2015 to date PhD
Annabel Higgin Bioactives from seaweeds 2015 to date PhD
Ashutosh Sharma Stabilization of Biopharmaceuticals 2018 to date MSc