Currently I am an Assistant Lecturer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland. Here I am teaching courses in biology and ecology, while continuing to pursue my research interests in ecological parasitology.
Previously I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. My research involved investigations of how stress affects a hosts ability to defend itself against parasite infections. This work incorporates both host behaviour and physiology. For these projects I was working with Dr Janet Koprivnikar at Ryerson University and Professor Mark Forbes at Carleton University in Ottawa. My study system was made up of several species of larval frogs and their trematode parasites.
Prior to my work in Toronto I was a PhD student in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. My research was focused on the trematode parasites of New Zealand periwinkles/littorinids and was carried out under the supervision of Professor Robert Poulin.
Prior to arriving in New Zealand I worked as Head Aquarist at an aquarium in Ireland. This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the wider aquatic environments and its inhabitants, as well as organise the various programmes, from educational activities to the relocation of two sand tiger sharks. During this time I also volunteered with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) as a member of their strandings network.
Following my BSc thesis on parasites in sea squirts/tunicates, and throughout my time at the aquarium and with the IWDG, my main interest has always been on parasitism, disease and immunity in marine species. In my PhD I was able to focus more on this interest as I studied the trematode species which use the New Zealand periwinkles as an intermediate host in their complex life cycles. The slideshow below is a sample of what I got up to during my PhD. Now I am more specifically interested in how hosts respond to stress in their environment and how this affects their infection outcome.
Watch this space for what I may find next....