Meet our PhD students

Tanweer Ziad Khalil Al-Dagamin

Supervisors: Prof Abina M Crean, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Joseph O’Shea, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Enhancing oral drug delivery of poorly water-soluble drugs: Investigating the role of the
intermolecular interactions on drug loading and release from mesoporous silica

I am Palestinian- Jordanian.

The overall aim of my research is to tackle the issue related to the poor water-solubility of a model drug, ritonavir, and enhance its oral bioavailability by developing a mesoporous silica drug delivery system. In relation to my research impact, and by taking PhD program, I can contribute to the School’s and wider UCC community engagement and Internationalization initiatives. As a member in a Cork migrant Centre, I will support the School’s Civic Engagement initiatives to support these migrant groups through outreach activities. 

Evelyn Deasy

Supervisors: Prof Stephen Byrne, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr. Kieran Dalton, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Prof Cristin Ryan, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, TCD.

Project Title: Development of an entrustable professional activity model for postgraduate advanced pharmacy practice competency enablement and assurance in the Republic of Ireland.

I am the Pharmacy Education and Research Manager in Tallaght University Hospital Dublin. This employment-based PhD is an opportunity to bring together the expertise of hospital-based practitioners with the rigour of academia.  The research will explore and develop models to enable hospital pharmacists achieve competency and professional readiness to deliver advanced pharmacy practice including independent prescribing. 

Andrea Carolina Diaz Diaz

Supervisors: Prof Christian Waeber, School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology, UCC; Dr Anne Moore, School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC

Project Title: Preclinical Characterisation of Fingolimod as a Potential Therapeutic Agent for Stroke

I am from Venezuela. I completed my Bachelor's degree at the University of Houston in Texas.

The research studies comprising my PhD hope to provide additional information for the potential clinical usage of fingolimod for the treatment of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. I have been working with different cardiovascular disease models in pharmacological studies since 2010. 

John Donal Downey

Supervisors: Dr Katie Ryan, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Abina Crean, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Probing the impact of protein/peptide adsorption onto solid-substrates on functional behaviour and stability

Hello, my name is John Downey and I'm from Cork!

I joined the EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies as a PhD student of the SSPC in 2020. My research investigates the effect of different material properties on protein/peptide adsorption behavior and the consequent impact on protein functional behavior and stability. I am also examining formulation design to mitigate the risk of protein adsorption to manufacturing equipment and packaging materials. 

Annachiara Dozzo

Supervisors: Dr Katie Ryan, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Prof Caitriona O'Driscoll, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Novel, bioinspired bone-on-chip model to simulate prostate cancer bone metastases and evaluate targeted drug therapies

I am from Italy.
The project aims to develop a device which will be used as tool to evaluate efficacy and toxicity of novel and already in use therapeutics to obtain more relevant clinical results without recurring to in vivo models such as mice. Overall, the aim is to provide a more physiologically relevant bone on-chip model suitable as a preclinical tool to address the limitations associated with the use of common 2D models. 

Aida Lopez Espinar

Supervisors: Dr Piotr Kowalski, School of Pharmacy, UCC.

Project Title: Application of controlled polymerization methods for the synthesis of novel degradable polymers for RNA delivery to non-liver tissues.

I am an organic chemist from Barcelona.

I am studying the application of controlled polymerization methods for the synthesis of novel degradable polymers for RNA delivery to non-liver tissues, and evaluate their efficacy and safety for the treatment of sepsis induced multiple organ failure.

Ita Fitzgerald

Supervisors: Dr Laura Sahm, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Erin Crowley, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: The evidence-based management of antipsychotic-induced weight gain - from research to practice

I am a senior pharmacist working in mental health in St Patrick's University Hospital, Dublin. My PhD project focuses on translating the best available, evidence-based strategies in the management of antipsychotic-induced weight gain into practice. The aims of this project are to identify those who are at highest risk of experiencing significant weight gain at baseline, optimise the use of early interventions to manage weight gain, promote evidence-based antipsychotic prescribing, and improve patient-important outcomes amongst antipsychotic users. 

Clara Heinrich

Supervisors: Dr Maria Donovan, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Suzanne McCarthy School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Sheena McHugh, School of Public Health, UCC

Project Title: Deprescribing for Older Adults in Long Term Care Facilities in Ireland: A Mixed-Methods Study

Hello! My name is Clara and I am from Tralee in Co. Kerry.

I am a Pharmacist and PhD Student with the School of Pharmacy in UCC.
My research investigates healthcare professional's engagement with deprescribing, in long-term care facilities in Ireland. The aim of the project is to facilitate deprescribing in this setting, to improve prescription appropriateness for older adults.  

Eoin Hurley

Supervisors: Prof Stephen Byrne, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Kieran Dalton, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Elaine Walsh, Department of General Practice, UCC; Dr Tony Foley, Department of General Practice, UCC

Project Title: The expansion of the pharmacist's role in primary care in Ireland: a mixed methods study.

Kinsale, Co. Cork.
My PhD aims to seek to understand the feasibility and potential benefit of the use of pharmacy services within the general practice environment in Ireland, by establishing an evidence base using both qualitative and quantitative methods. With the hope that this would lead to better clinical and economic outcomes at both patient and national levels.

Brian Michael Kerins

Supervisors: Dr Abina Crean, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Designing a continuous process for manufacturing drug-silica formulations

I've been based in Cork many years, and it's where I completed my undergraduate pharmacy degree and where I got the opportunity to work in a pharmaceutical company.

The focus of my current research is to investigate continuous manufacturing processes for drug-silica formulations. These novel products have the potential to overcome the challenges posed by poor water-soluble drugs. 

Emily Knox

Supervisors: Prof Catriona O'Drilscoll, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Prof John Cryan, Anatomy and Neuroscience, APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC; Prof Gerard Clarke, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC; Dr Maria Rodriguez Aburto, APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC

Project Title: Mechanistic insights in the role of bacterial metabolites in blood-brain barrier physiology

I am from Massachusetts, where I graduated from Stonehill College with a BS in biology and then worked in Dr Anastasia Khvororva's lab at University of Massachusetts Medical School.

I am currently working on discovering how gut microbial derived metabolites directly alter blood-brain barrier (BBB) physiology and the mechanisms through which the identified metabolites act. This work will further elucidate the pathways of communication in along the gut-brain-axis and enable us to exploit selected metabolites to manipulate BBB integrity in health and disease. 

Ayse Kont

Supervisors: Prof Caitriona O'Driscoll

Project Title: Design and Synthesis of new Biomimetic Materials with tunable Biodistribution Profiles for RNA delivery in Gene Therapy focusing on Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Germany, Turkish-German, creating a library of biocompatible excipients for the delivery of nucleic acids for diseases with high unmet clinical needs such as leukemia.

Kyle Malone

Supervisors: Prof Christian Waeber, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Anne Moore, School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC

Project Title: The Role of Regulatory T Cells in Stroke Recovery

I am a Cork City native.

My research focuses on the role a population of suppressive immune cells termed "regulatory T cells" play in the days and weeks after ischaemic stroke. Our goal is to boost the number or function of these cells post-stroke using immunomodulatory therapies such as fingolimod. By achieving this, we hope to dampen brain inflammation and enhance patient recovery.

Lyndsey Elizabeth Moore

Supervisors: Dr Anne Moore, School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC;  Dr Sonja Vucen, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Dissolvable Microneedle Vaccine Development and Formulation

I'm from Florida, where I graduated from the University of Tampa with my BS in Biochemistry.

I currently work with dissolvable microneedle vaccine patches. I am working on scaling up our current methods for industrial production, as well as refining the vaccine formulations. Vaccines in microneedle patches are more stable and have a longer shelf-life than vaccines in liquid and are a lot easier to administer compared to injecting with a needle and syringe. This work has the potential to deploy vaccines to hard-to-reach regions, areas without sufficient refrigeration, and eventually permit self-administration of vaccines within your own home and allow us to stockpile vaccines so they will be ready and available when the next epidemic or pandemic occurs. 

Lianne Mariska Mulder

Supervisors: Dr Piotr Kowalski, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Katie Ryan, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Development of a RNA-based therapeutic intervention for the treatment of sepsis by targeting the diseased endothelium.

I am a Dutch postgraduate student with a biomedical background in Microbiology and Immunology, who is passionate about translational research aiming to help people suffering from infectious diseases.

I have joined the newly established group of Dr. Piotr Kowalski at the School of Pharmacy in the summer of 2020. My PhD project, funded by the Health Research Board, combines my interests in gene therapy, endothelial biology and infectious diseases as I will be developing a RNA-based approach to target diseased endothelial cells to treat sepsis-induced multiple organ failure. This research is expected to aid to RNA delivery technology and has the potential to be translated into clinic for the treatment of sepsis. 

Cian O'Mahony

Supervisors: Prof Stephen Byrne, School of Pharmacy UCC; Prof Denis O'Mahony, Department of Geriatric Medicine, CUH; Dr Kevin Murphy, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: A mixed methods evaluation of novel services for vulnerable patient groups in Ireland.

I'm from Carrigtwohill in East Cork.

My research is a mix of health economics and qualitative research aimed at evaluating recently introduced services for cancer and older adult patients. My PhD will aim to demonstrate the viability of these services as well as to examine the existing and future health services for the named patient populations. 

Patricia Brid Sheehan

Supervisors: Dr Aoife Fleming, School of Pharmacy, UCC; Dr Aislinn Joy, School of Medicine, UCC; Dr Suzanne McCarthy, School of Pharmacy, UCC

Project Title: Human Factors and Patient Safety

A multidisciplinary project focusing on Human Factors in the Patient Safety context.

Human Factors is defined as ""the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human wellbeing and overall system performance""

School of Pharmacy


Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork