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About Us

Dr Fiona Brennan

Fiona is the director of the Soil and Environmental Microbiology research group. She is currently a research officer within Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) and leads the Soil Microbiome sub-programme. She holds an adjunct lecturer position in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and is a principal investigator in the Plant and Agricultural Biosciences Centre (PABC). She completed a BSc in Environmental Biology (University College Dublin) and a PhD in Microbiology (NUI Galway) prior to holding  postdoctoral research positions within Teagasc  and INRA (The French National Institute for Agricultural Research). Prior to her current appointment she was a lecturer  in Microbiology in NUI Galway and a research scientist in the James Hutton Institute, Scotland.  

email: fiona.brennan@teagasc.ie 

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Dr Aoife Duff

Aoife is currently the lab manager of the Soil and Environmental Microbiology research group. She holds the position of Soil Biotechnologist within Teagasc. Previous to this post she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the  Microbial Ecology group of Dr. Cindy Smith in the University of Glasgow, specialising in a range of molecular techniques. She completed a BSc in Microbiology (NUI Galway) and a PhD in Environmental Microbiology (NUI Galway). Her main interests lie in studying the micro-organisms that mediate the nitrogen cycle. Her latest work looked at targeting ammonia oxidisers who mediate the rate limiting step of nitrification, and on linking the identity of active ammonia oxidisers to ecosystem function.

email: Aoife.Duff@teagasc.ie

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Dr Coline Deveautour

Coline is a postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway and Teagasc. She is working in the MINE (Manipulation and Integration of Nitrogen emissions) project, which aims to divert gaseous N losses from N2O to N2 and integrate N2O emissions on a spatial and temporal scale. Coline completed her BSc in Biology at the University of Costa Rica, her MSc in Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Montpellier, and PhD in community ecology at Western Sydney University. Her postdoctoral research focuses on the occurrence, diversity and activity of microbial denitrifiers in Irish soils, and on determining the impact of management, environmental and edaphic factors on microbial production of N2O.

e-mail: coline.deveautour@teagasc.ie

Dr Thuy Do

Thuy is a postdoctoral researcher in Maynooth University and Teagasc. She is working in the INART project which is focused on the intervention of antimicrobial resistance transfer into the food chain. Thuy completed her MSc in genetics (Lomonosov Moscow state University) and PhD in microbiology and molecular biology (University Autonoma of Madrid). Her interests include investigating the molecular basis and dissemination of antibiotic resistance among bacteria in the environment as well as clinical settings.

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Matthias Waibel

Matthias is a PhD student at NUI Galway and the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. Matthias completed a “Diplom-Wirtschatsingenieur” degree in Biochemical Engineering and Business Management at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, and an MSc in Environmental Microbiology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His interest is on Soil Organic Matter (SOM) dynamics with particular focus on the “priming effect”, mineralized C and N fluxes, and nutrient releases in temperate grasslands. The functional and structural soil biology, especially of proteins in soil involved in native SOM/humus decomposition and mineralization, is investigated in this context.

email: m.waibel1@nuigalway.ie

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Nick Waters

Nick is a PhD student working on a collaborative project between NUI Galway and the James Hutton Institute investigating the genomics of soil-adapted E. coli. Before joining the group, Nick worked in the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University as a coop student,  as a lab assistant at Indigo Ag, and as a research assistant in Shaun Brinsmade's lab at Georgetown University.  He is interested in microbial genomics, gene regulation, and bioinformatics.

email: n.waters4@nuigalway.ie  

Emily Masters-Clark

Emily is a PhD student working in collaboration with Teagasc, Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University. Her project investigates the interactions between mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial rhizosphere bacteria, looking at the potential to exploit this relationship in favour of a host plant. Emily hopes to contribute to the sustainable intensification of agriculture by elucidating the tri-trophic interactions between exemplar grassland and arable host-plants, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, the soil microbiome, soil fertility and structure. Her PhD is one of seven in Soil Technology Innovation being funded by Rothamsted Research, Teagasc and Cranfield University as part of a new Agricultural Research and Innovation Accelerator.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds in Biology with an industrial placement in Environmental and Marine biology.

email: emily.masters-clark@rothamsted.ac.uk

Ciara Tyrrell

Ciara is a PhD student based in Maynooth University and Teagasc (Ashtown and Johnstown Castle). Her PhD project aims to evalutate the comparative risk of different manure types on the microbiome and resistome of grassland. Before beginning her PhD, Ciara completed her undergraduate degree in Maynooth University where as part of her final year project investigated antibiotic resistance in the pig gut microbiome. Her research interests include the transmission of antimicrobial resistance from farm to fork.

email: ciara.tyrrell.2014@mumail.ie

Sorcha Kelly

Sorcha is a PhD student working in collaboration with Teagasc (Johnstown Castle), NUI Galway, and the James Hutton Institute. Her project is focused on linking microbially mediated soil organic matter turnover to nitrogen availability in agricultural soils. Before her PhD she completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Trinity College Dublin. Her final year project investigated carbon sequestration under the bioenergy crop Miscanthus x gigantus. Sorcha also completed her masters degree in Global Change Ecosystem Science and Policy, a joint programme between University College Dublin and the Justus Liebig University of Giessen. Her research project focused on evaluating nitrogen balances as an agri-environmental indicator of nitrogen use efficiency in Irish agriculture. Her interests are in nutrient cycling, nutrient use efficiency, and agricultural sustainability.

email: Sorcha.Kelly@teagasc.ie

Aisling Moffat

Aisling is a PhD student working with Teagasc Oakpark, Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh. Her project is focusing on potential biocontrol options for leatherjackets by looking at the soil microbiome. She hopes that her work will contribute to a more sustainable agricultural production system in Ireland and further afield, by offering an alternative to harmful pesticide treatments. She became interested in entomology and microbiology during her time in University College Dublin, where she completed her 4 years bachelors of Agricultural Science degree studying Agri-Environmental Science. During her final year, Aisling submitted a thesis on the winter morphology in the Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii).

email: aisling.moffat@teagasc.ie

Kerry Ryan

Kerry is an MSc student working in collaboration with Teagasc and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her project is focused on understanding the effect of legume-based mixtures on the soil microbiome for improving resource use efficiency and yield stability. She hopes her work will contribute to a better understanding of the soil microbiome and the benefits it provides for agriculture. Before starting her MSc, she completed her undergraduate degree in Plant Science at Trinity College Dublin. Her final year project investigated the diversity of epiphytic bromeliads across altitude and forest type in Cusuco National Park, Honduras. She has volunteered twice as a research assistant with Operation Wallacea, conducting ecological, zoological and botanical surveys in Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico; Turtle Bay, Akumal, Mexico; and Cusuco National Park Honduras. Her interests are in sustainable agricultural practices, soil ecology, and ecosystem dynamics.

Paula Rojas Pinzon

Paula is a research assistant at NUI Galway and Teagasc. She is part of the MINE (Manipulation and Integration of Nitrogen Emissions) project, which aims to divert excess N away from environmentally damaging N forms (N2O, NH3, NO3-) to environmentally accepted N2 on a spatial and temporal scale. Paula completed her MSc in Biological Sciences and her BSc in Microbiology at Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). Before joining the Teagasc group, Paula worked as a research assistant in the Microbiological Research Centre at Universidad de los Andes. Her interests include soil microbial ecology, nutrient biogeochemical cycles and plant-microbial interactions.

email: Paula.rojaspinzon@teagasc.ie

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