After I obtained my BSc in Biochemistry from Queen’s University Belfast (2004) I worked for Abbott Ireland Diagnostics Division as a diagnostic technologist. I left Abbott Ireland and returned to Queen’s University to work as a Research Technician in the virology department before joining the parasitology department at Queen’s as a PhD student (2008). My project focused on developing a new system for screening inhibitors to treat parasitic infections. The project involved molecular parasitology, biochemistry and heterologous expression in yeast.
After completing my PhD (2012) I started working at St. George’s University of London as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Centre for Diagnostics and Antimicrobial Resistance. My role was developing new diagnostics for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and using the inhibitor-screening system I developed during my PhD to identify new potential antimalarials. Subsequently I joined the Molecular Immunology group at St. George's (2018) and applied my previous experience in heterologous protein expression to develop skills in Molecular Pharming - expressing biopharmaceuticals in tobacco plants.
In 2022 I became a lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Westminster.
My research priority is Global Health. Throughout my career I have collaborated with academic and industrial partners, both nationally and internationally, focusing on diagnostics, and drug discovery and development, for diseases that affect low to middle income countries. I have worked on parasitic diseases such as fascioliasis and malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV, aiming to discover new pharmaceuticals, create cutting-edge diagnostics, and develop novel immunotherapies respectively.
My key research interest is the application of plant biotechnology to produce high-value biopharmaceuticals, diagnostic reagents, and medicinal secondary metabolites.