Meet the Team
Professor Nora O'Brien holds a BSc (Food Science) from UCC, a MS (Nutrition) from the University of Minnesota, and a PhD (Nutritional Biochemistry) from Cornell University. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Louvain in Belgium before returning to a Lectureship in Nutrition in her native Cork in 1990. In subsequent years Nora achieved promotion to Senior Lecturer and currently is Professor of Nutrition.
Nora has substantial teaching commitments at undergraduate level which she finds both fulfilling and very enjoyable. Her research programme on the relationships between nutrition and health has grown very successfully through the years. Over €6 million in research funds have been generated from national and international funding sources, including a major award from Science Foundation Ireland, to support her team’s work. Over 50 individuals have worked under Nora’s supervision at MSc, PhD and Post-doctoral levels.
The team’s work has resulted in well over 120 peer-reviewed research publications in the international scientific literature as well as numerous conference presentations, invited book chapters and reviews. Research conducted by Nora’s team has contributed significantly to increased understanding of the relationship between nutrition and health and, in particular, the beneficial role of fruit and vegetables in the diet.
Over the years many members of her team have received awards for their work. Professor O'Brien has been a recipient of the Royal Irish Academy Nutrition Medal in 2000. She has also been active in public service including membership of the Irish Council for Bioethics and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Food Safety Promotion Board. Nora is a member of the Nutrition Society, the Carotenoid Society as well as other professional groups. She has given many public lectures on her research interests and other nutrition-related topics. Of all her achievements, Nora is most proud of the subsequent career success of the many individuals who have passed through her research group.
Yvonne received a BSc in nutritional science from University College Cork in 1997 and was awarded a PhD in nutrition in 2001. Her thesis was entitled “Mammalian cell cultures as a model system for the determination of cytotoxicity induced by cholesterol oxidation products.” and involved an investigation of the apoptotic pathway induced by cholesterol oxidation products in a number of human derived cell lines. Her current research interests include the cytotoxicity of phytosterol oxides and the measurement of phytosterol oxides in foods.
Siobhan O’Sullivan is a PhD student in the Nutritional Biochemistry Research Group in University College Cork. Siobhan began her PhD in 2013 after completing a BSc in Physiology and an MSc in Biomedical Science. Her current work involves the potential bioactivity and bioavailability of casein-derived peptides.