Irene O'Callaghan


Following initial studies in Historical Linguistics, Irene read for a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, during which she carried out research on the synthesis of novel materials. This was followed by an MSc in Analytical Chemistry from the School of Chemistry at University College Cork.

She has now joined the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES) to carry out her PhD studies under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Sullivan, co-supervised by Dr. Dara Fitzpatrick of the School of Chemistry, UCC, in which she is funded by the Irish Research Council and EPA (Ireland) under GOIPG/2018/3351.

When she is not carrying out research, Irene may be found playing with dogs, riding horses, stargazing, searching for whales, watching cricket, rooting for the Cardinals (for better or worse), or furthering her understanding of the Early West Saxon language.

Irene was also a member of the Scientific Committee for SETAC Europe 2020.

Research Interests

Irene’s main interests lie at the interface of analytical chemistry and environmental science, with particular emphasis on the use of benthic macroinvertebrates and advanced analytical techniques for the detection and quantification of trace metals and emerging contaminants in the freshwater environment. She has a general interest in research topics which cross-cut into multiple disciplines, and in making science accessible to the general public.


  • Biomonitoring solutions
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Benthic macroinvertebrate communities
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Interdisciplinary research


2020 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Trace metal bioaccumulation in freshwater macroinvertebrates: a comparative approach of lab and field studies." SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, Online (2020).
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "On the micro-structural features of a pollution-tolerant freshwater isopod, Asellus aquaticus." ESA Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor of environmental pollution: A review" Chemosphere 235 (2019): 498-509. [DOI]
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "The effects of surfactants on the microbial biofilm associated with the benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus." 17th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment, Thessaloniki (2019). [Details]
2019 O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor for metallic nanoparticle pollution in freshwater systems." SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting, Helsinki (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Asellus aquaticus as a potential biomonitor of trace metal pollution in freshwaters." ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).
2017 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "The potential of Asellus aquaticus as a biomonitor of heavy metal pollution in freshwater environments." Analytical Arena, Maynooth (2017). [Details]

Professional Activity

Ecological Society of America (ESA) Student Member
Environmental Sciences Association
of Ireland (ESAI)
Student Member
Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) Student Member
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Associate Member
Society of Environmental Toxicology
and Chemistry (SETAC)
Student Member
The Crustacean Society (TCS) Student Member
The Kennel Club (KC) Affiliate Member
The Society for the Study of Medieval
Languages and Literature (SSMLL)

Research Grants

ProjectFunding BodyStart/End DatesAward
Macroinvertebrates as a novel biomonitor for nanoparticles in freshwater systems Irish Research Council / Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland) 01-OCT-18 / 30-SEP-22 €96,000.00


Other Links:



Phone: +353 (0)21 490 4622
Mobile: +353 (0)86 2699688

Irene O’Callaghan (PhD Student)
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES),
University College Cork,
Distillery Fields Campus,
North Mall,
Cork T23 TK30,



Irene O'Callaghan

Contact Details:


PhD Candidate


Timothy Sullivan


BSc (Hons) Chemistry; MSc Analytical Chemistry

Research Area:

Environmental Chemistry



Materials & Environmental Science Applications

Grúpa Taighde d'Ábhair & Feidhmeanna Eolaíocht Chomhshaoil

School of BEES, University College Cork, Cork Enterprise Centre, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30

Funding Sources