I am a Postdoc at the University of Oxford working in the Holland lab.
I'm an evolutionary biologist and bioinformatician based in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. I fell in love with evolution and comparative genomics during my undergrad and pursued a PhD studying reticulate modes of gene evolution and phylogenetics in animals. I have become very fond of insects and their amazing diversity, and have even begun to venture out into the field, far away from the safety of the computer.
I strongly believe in inclusion and equity within science and strive to make the work environment as safe and accesible as possible for everyone.
Originally from Tipperary in Ireland, I have been in the UK since my PhD. I also enjoy good hikes (particularly in the Peak District), the cinema, many sports, and many beers.
Service and Outreach
As part of the Darwin Tree of Life project I have had the opportunity to be a part of a number of outreach events such as I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here! where we talked to school children about our roles in the project, along with a number of BioBlitz events where we introduce school children to the invertebrate wonders of Wytham Woods. I also contributed to a short video explaining the importance and impact of the project.
I have been a member of council for the The Systematics Association since 2020 and am also the current Treasurer. This is an amazing society focused on taxonomy and systematics and runs a number of events throughout the year
Please explore our work at the Systematics Association here.
Postdoc at University of Oxford
2020 - present
I joined the lab of Peter Holland in 2020 as a Postdoctoral researcher. Here I am funded by the Wellcome Trust through the Darwin Tree of Life project. My role involves analysing arthropod genomes using primarily bioinformatic methods. Our aim is to investigate the role of sequence evolution, gene gain and loss, and dynamics in genome evolution, to see how specific orders of arthropods have adapted in response to environmental factors.
PhD in Evolutionary Biology
2016 - 2020
I completed my PhD in the lab of Dr Mary O'Connell at the University of Leeds and University of Nottingham.
My research project
My research interests include comparative genomics, phylogenetics and animal evolution. The research involved in my PhD is looking at a number different aspects of animal evolution, including the role of rare genomic events (gene fusion events) in the evolution of complex traits in animals and their potential use as phylogenetic markers. Additionally, I am carrying out a large scale phylogenomic analysis within animals, by analysing publicly available genome sequence data and reanalysing previously published sequence data from studies involved in animal phylogenetics. In doing so I hope to reassess contentious regions in the Animal Tree of Life, where there is debate over the branching order of particular clades or relationships between certain taxa.
Bachelors Degree in Genetics & Cell Biology
2012 - 2016
I completed a B.Sc. Hons degree in Genetics and Cell Biology in Dublin City University in 2016.
During final year of my undergraduate degree I carried out a research project in the lab of Dr Tim Downing. In this project I improved and analysed the assembled genome of the protozoan parasite Leishmania adleri.