Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship



Professor Elizabeth Topp
Principal Investigator

Prof. Topp's group focuses on the study of mRNA and protein-based drugs and their degradation mechanisms. The projects currently being carried out include the development of analytical methods for the characterisation of degradation products of biopharmaceutical formulations and the study of strategies to enhance the stability of these drugs. These projects are funded by a mix of collaborations with companies within the biopharma ecosystem and government initiatives.

Dr Radka Fahey
Principal Investigator

Dr. Fahey's GlycoScience group has strong expertise in GlycoBiology and has focused upon the development of novel, high throughput, robust technologies for the characterisation of protein glycosylation using liquid chromatography (LC) based methods with exoglycosidase digestions and mass spectrometry. Their research explores regulation of glycosylation, e.g. epigenetic regulation of glycosylation in cancer and impact on chemoresistance. Other projects include the role of glycomics in other diseases, as well as linking them with other “omics” platforms mainly genetics, microbiology and immunology in attempt to not only diagnose, but also better understand disease pathologies, including cancer and endometriosis.


Dr Jonathan Bones
Principal Investigator

Dr. Bones research focuses on the development and application of liquid phase separations and mass spectrometry (LC-MS and CE-MS) for the analysis of complex biological systems. Dr. Bones current research areas include: application of quantitative proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics to understand how alterations in bioprocess conditions yield molecular manifestations in CHO cells that result in altered product quality; development of advanced LC-MS based platforms for quantitative glycomics with applications in bioprocessing and clinical biomarker discovery; multidimensional separations coupled to mass spectrometry for complex bioanalysis and development of analytical platforms to support process optimization and PAT

Professor Elena Matsa
Principal Investigator

Prof. Matsa, an expert in iPSC cell therapy, brings over 14 years of experience in iPSC biology, bioprocess development, analytical assays, genome editing, laboratory automation, and drug discovery and safety.  Prof. Matsa‘s extensive expertise encompasses essential functions for successful allogeneic cell therapy manufacturing, including iPSC differentiation, genetic manipulation, process development, phenotypic assay development, the efficacy and safety assessment of therapeutic modalities, and in vitro disease modelling.

The official launch of a unique partnership between UCC and the National Institute
for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) took place on 3 May at UCC.
As part of UCC’s Future Pharmaceuticals initiative, the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology have collaborated with NIBRT to appoint two Professors (Professor Anne Moore and Professor Elena Matsa) who will enhance both the university’s and NIBRT’s impact and reputation in the academic and biopharmaceutical community nationally and internationally. Pictured  Prof Elena Matsa, UCC & NIBRT appointed professor. 
Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
NiallB Sized

Professor Niall Barron
Principal Investigator

Prof. Barron's research interests focus on targeted genetic engineering strategies to improve or control the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins from Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. Typically this involves profiling of miRNA, mRNA and protein expression and subsequent analysis and integration of these datasets with a view to identifying engineering targets to improve CHO cell phenotypes relevant to the Biopharmaceutical industry. The group are interested in developing advanced recombinant DNA engineering strategies for improved phenotypic stability and selection of producer lines. This includes methods for targeted genome modification (using viruses and CRISPR-Cas9 approaches) and directed evolution.

Professor Michael Butler
Principal Investigator

Prof. Butler's research focuses on the development of bioprocesses using mammalian cells for the production of recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies and viral vaccines.  He is particularly interested in the bioprocess conditions that can be used to control the biochemical structure of glycoproteins and hence the quality of biopharmaceuticals. The Cell Technology group in NIBRT focuses on the development of bioprocesses using mammalian cells for the production of recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies and viral vaccines. This group is particularly interested in the bioprocess conditions that can be used to control the biochemical structure of glycoproteins and hence the quality of biopharmaceuticals and has a number of active collaborations with academic and industry partners.


Dr. Colin Clarke
Principal Investigator

Dr. Clarke leads the Systems Biology and Data Analytics group at NIBRT and specialises in the application of multivariate statistics and machine learning algorithms to high dimensional data.

A major component of his post-doctoral research centred on the application of statistical methods to study CHO transcriptomic and proteomic expression datasets. Examples of his work in the area include the use of partial least squares (PLS) to predict cell specific productivity from gene expression data and the elucidation of mRNA coexpression networks from a large scale CHO mRNA dataset. An area of particular interest was the integration of miRNA, mRNA, proteomic and genomic data to understand the biological processes regulating the growth rate of CHO cells.

His group is currently focussed on further understanding of the CHO cell biological system using next generation sequencing and advanced computational techniques.

Professor Steven Ferguson
Principal Investigator

Dr. Ferguson’s research is focused on the development of novel technologies with the potential for commercial or societal impact primarily in the area of advanced manufacturing, separation and formulation of Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmaceuticals and ATMPs.

To this end he has assembled a multidisciplinary research portfolio with expertise in separation processes, downstream bioprocessing, process simulation, flow synthesis, unit operation & reactor design, chromatography, membrane separation, crystallization and formulation; structured to be vertically integrated to bring fundamental insights from multiphase systems, reactions or separations, through simulations and prototypes to actionable technologies.

I-FORM Advanced Manufacturing SFI Research Centre, Steven Ferguson

Professor Sakis Mantalaris
Principal Investigator

Prof. Mantalaris joined NIBRT as a joint appointee with Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where he holds the Don Panoz Chair of Pharmaceutical Biology at the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.  His research is focused on the development and manufacture of cell therapies, with a strong emphasis on metabolomics, and the eventual translation of these therapies towards the clinical research setting. 

Sakis’ expertise in modelling biological systems and bioprocesses, specifically in mammalian cell culture systems, stem cell bioprocessing, and tissue engineering, aligns with NIBRT’s and TCD’s research goals of establishing Ireland as a preferred location for the manufacture of advanced therapies. 

Professor Anne Moore
Principal Investigator

Prof. Moore’s research focus is to advance effective interventions to improve vaccine effectiveness, primarily by developing vaccine delivery technologies to address equitable access and acceptability needs and, secondarily, by understanding people’s acceptability of vaccines. Her research extends from basic immunology and vaccine formulation to clinical translation and vaccine acceptance and confidence. Some currently funded projects focus on understanding how the vaccine delivery technology impacts on the breadth of the immune response in a relevant large animal model; developing novel vaccines to tackle anti-microbial resistance and developing vaccine-based microarray patches for injection-free ease of use and ease of deployment.

Anne Moore
Mark Smales

Professor Mark Smales
Principal Investigator

Prof. Smales's research is focussed on advancing our understanding of biotechnological products and processes at the fundamental biological or chemical level to enable their manipulation and control and subsequent translation of this knowledge into design of new and improved bioprocesses and products. His research has had the ultimate aim of improving: (a) biotherapeutic recombinant protein yields and quality, including design and manufacture of novel format biotherapeutics that are difficult to express, (b) the manufacture of gene therapies, (c) the process of re-tuning cell processes and metabolism via synthetic biology approaches, (d) the design, manufacturability and testing of RNA therapies, (e) extracellular vesicle production and application, (f) development of diagnostics. The majority of these projects are undertaken in collaboration with industry with the lab having strong biotechnological and industrial links that allow the testing and exploitation of technologies.

Introduction to QC Testing for Protein Based Therapies