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Lecture Series

Quercus Lecture Series 2022/23

Quercus Lecture Series returned after a three-year hiatus due to Covid 19. The Hon Gary Gray gave the 2023 Quercus Lecture on Australian Policy in Southeast Asia.


The Hon. Gary Gray AO is Ambassador to Ireland, taking up his position in August 2020. Mr Gray was previously the General Manager, External Affairs at Mineral Resources Ltd, Perth; a Board member of the Australian Submarine Corporation; a Member of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority; a Trustee of Telethon as well as a Board Member of the Perth Astronomical Observatory. Mr. Gray was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 2007 to 2016. On 25 March 2013, he was appointed to the Australian Cabinet as the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Minister for Tourism and the Minister for Small Business. From 2010 until 2013, Mr. Gray served as the Special Minister of State for Public Service and Integrity. Before entering Parliament in 2007 Mr. Gray spent 16 years as an official of the Australian Labor Party, rising to national secretary (1993-2000). In 1981, he graduated with a degree in economics from Australian National University in Canberra. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003.

Quercus 2022/23 Student Led Workshop Schedule

Student Led University Workshop

Presenter: Quercus University Scholar, Orla Leahy

Workshop: Gaisce – The President’ Award: Becoming more civically minded in my studies and beyond.

Date & Time: Monday 1st February, 6:30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Active Citizenship Workshop

Presenter: Quercus Active Citizenship Scholars, Emer Neville & Reuban Murray

Workshop: The Covid Leaving Cert & the Role of Student Voices

Date & Time: Wednesday 7th February, 6:30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Innovation/Entrepreneurship Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholar, Nick Cotter

Workshop: How to win the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards: the playbook to survive your first 24 months as a startup and become a world-class founder

Date & Time: Monday 20th February, 6:30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Sports' Workshop

Presenter: Quercus Sports’ Scholar, Maeve Gallagher

Workshop: The Life of a Tri-athlete

Date and Time: Thursday 23rd February, 6:30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Creative & Performing Arts' Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Creative & Performing Arts’ Scholars, Otto Goodwin & Rere Ukponu

Workshop: The Spoken Word

Date & Time: Monday 27th February, 6:30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Quercus Lecture Series 2021/22

Quercus 2021/22 Student Led Workshop Schedule

Student Led University Workshop

Presenter: Quercus University Scholar, Marieke Buckley

Workshop: Marieke’s experience as a student nurse working in the ICU/CUH during the first Covid lockdown

Date & Time: Monday 15th November, 7pm 

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Innovation/Active Citizenship Workhop

Presenters: Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholar, Emma Coffey & Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar, Anna O'Connor

Workshop: Don't Be Trashy: Sustainability in Business

Date & Time: Monday 22nd November, 7pm 

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Active Citizenship Workshop

Presenter: Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar, Fidaa Marouf

Workshop: Asylum & Refuges

Date & Time: Thursday 17th February, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Creative & Performing Arts Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Creative & Performing Arts’ Scholars, Donnchadh Hughes, Iona Ritchie & Sophie Ryan

Workshop: 'Harping On - A Focus on the Irish Harp'

Date & Time: Monday 21st February, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Sports Workshop

Presenter: Quercus Sports’ Scholar, Paul O'Donovan

Workshop: Different Strokes - The Parallels between rowing and studying

Date and Time: Monday 28th March, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Quercus Lecture Series 2020/21

Due to Covid-19 the usual format of the Quercus Lecture Series had to be abandoned until government guidelines safely allowed it to resume. The Quercus Student Led Workshops were started to fill the void that the scholars felt from the suspension of the lecture series. The Student Led Workshops allowed scholars to present a snap-shot of their experiences and talents to their fellow scholars, and was conducted using Microsoft Teams. 

Quercus 2020/21 Student Led Workshop Schedule

Student Led Innovation/Entrepreneurship Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholars, Nick Cotter, Annie Madden & Mary Murphy

Workshop: Life as a Student Entrepreneur

Date & Time: Tuesday 2nd February, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led University Workshop

Presenter: Quercus University Scholar, Louise Coombes

Workshop: Occupational Therapy: Where Creativity, Compassion & Science Collide

Date & Time: Tuesday 9th February, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Creative & Performing Arts' Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholars, Nicole Delaney, Kyle Macaulay, Jennifer Barry, Nyala Grunwald, & Ciara Cullinane

Workshop: Beyond Performance: Four Unique Recitals and the Story Behind Them

Date & Time: Tuesday 16th February, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Sports Workshop

Presenters: Quercus Sports' Scholars, Aoife Casey, Mags Cremen, Tara Hanlon, Lydia Heaphy & Emily Hegarty

Workshop: The Road to Tokyo 2021

Date & Time: Tuesday 2nd March, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Student Led Active Citizenship Workshop

Presenter: Quercus Active Citizenship Scholar, Vera Stojanovic

Workshop: Applied Active Citizenship live from Europe's Largest Refugee Camp, Moria in Lesbos, Greece

Date & Time: Tuesday 9th March, 7pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams with Vera streaming live from Moria





Quercus Lecture Series 2019/20


Quercus Academic Lecture (please click to view lecture, lecture starts at 9mins due to fire alarm): Tuesday 21st January, 2020. Dr Marc Fabri, Senior Lecturer in Creative Technology at Leeds Beckett University. Leture title: 'Supporting autistic students on their journey through higher education: small changes, big impact'. 

Quercus Active Citizenship Lecture (please click to view lecture): Monday 27th January, 2020. David Donoghue, former Irish permanent representative to the UN. Lecture title: 'Global action for a better world:   the potential of the Sustainable Development Goals'.

Quercus Sports Lecture (please click to view lecture): Monday 17th February, 2020. Clíona O'Leary, Assistant Director of RTE Sport. Lecture title: ' 'Changing the Game' - A Personal Reflection on a career in the TV sports business, and the urgent need for fresh thinking on how sport can play a powerful role in the areas of Gender Equality and Mental Health'. 

Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Lecture (please click to view lecture): Monday 24th February, 2020.  Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland and board member of BTYSE. Lecture title: 'The role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in driving the Irish economy'. 

Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Lecture (please click to view lecture): Wednesday 4th March, 2020. Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation. Lecture title: 'Music Generation: transforming lives through access to performance music education'. 

Quercus Lecture Series 2018/19


Quercus Academic Lecture (please click to view lecture): Thursday 17th January, 2019, Prof. Michael W. Higgins, Professor of Catholic Thought at Sacred Heart University Connecticut, author and documentarian, 'John Moriarty, the environment, and the cosmos: rumminations on a Big Thinker'. 

Quercus Active Citizenship Lecture (please click to view lecture): Thursday 24th January, 2019, Dr. Finola Doyle O'Neill, Department of History, University College Cork, 'From Alfred Nobel to Bill Gates: The Power of Active Citizenship'.

Quercus Sports' Lecture (please click to view lecture): Monday 28th January, 2019, Mary O'Connor, CEO Federation of Irish Sport, '20/20: If She Can't See It, See Can't Be It'.

Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Lecture (no lecture link available due to copyright): Thursday 7th February, Lord David Puttnam, Member of the House of Lords, former film producer with such films as Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields The Mission, 'Change or Transformation'.

Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Lecture (no lecture link currently available): Thursday 28th February, 2019, Anna Marie McHugh, General Secretary of the World Ploughing Organisation & Assitant Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association, 'The National Ploughing Championships, Europe's Largest Outdoor Event'.

Quercus Lecture Series 2017/18


Quercus Academic Lecture, Tuesday 6th February, 2018 - Dr. John Borgonovo, lecturer in the School of History, "Atlas of the Irish Revolution", GO2 Kane Building, 6-7pm

Quercus Sports' Lecture, Monday 19th February, 2018 - Paul McDermott, Head of High Perfermance, Sport Ireland, "High Performance Sport in Ireland", G18 Kane Building, 6-7pm

Quercus Active Citizenship Lecture, Tuesday 27th February, 2018 - Bridget Quilligan, Manager of Kerry Travellors' Health and Community Development Project, G02 Kane Building, 6-7pm

Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Lecture, Thursday 1st March, 2018 - Lord David Puttnam, Film Producer, Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and The Mission among many others, "Identity is Everything", G02 Kane Building, 6-7pm

Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Lecture, Tuesday 6th March, 2018 - Dr. Susan Steele, Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, G02 Kane Building, 6-7pm

Quercus Lecture Series 2016/17


Quercus Academic Lecture: Monday 6th February, 2017 - Dr. Maria McNamara, Senior Lecture in Biology UCC School of BEES, “Beyond the Lab: Making Science Accessible to All”.

Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneuship Lecture: Tuesday 21st February, 2017 - David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development, Bank of Ireland, "Embracing New Paradigms and Preserving Some Old Ones".

Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Lecture: Tuesday 28th February, 2017 - Eibhlín Gleeson, CEO, Cork Opera House, with Majella Cullagh, Internationally Renowned Soprano and John O'Brien, Opera Director, Composer and Conductor, " Behind the Curtain - The Importance of Art in our Society, as told from the Artist's Perspective". Q&A and some special performances included. 

Quercus Sports' Lecture: Monday 6th March, 2017 - Stewart Hosford, CEO, Alex Thompson Sailing & Hugo Boss Sailing, "The Business of Sport".

Quercus Active Citizenship Lecture: Tuesday 14th March, 2017 - Sarah Jameel and Alan Hayes, Quercus Active Citzenship Scholars, "The Activist State of Mind". 

Dr. Maria McNamara is a palaeobiologist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork. Maria has a PhD from University College Dublin and did postdoctural research at University College Dublin, before working as a Geopark Geologist in what is now the Burren-Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark. She then worked as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fello at Yale University of Briston, beofer taking up her appointment as Senior Lecturer in Geology at UCC.

Maria's research focuses on the preservation of soft tissues in the focus record and how ths provides unique insights into the biology of ancient animals. Her current major reserach projects relate to the preservation of structural and pigmentary colours in fossils, especially insects and feathers, and how this informs on the evolotution of communication strategies in animals through time.

Maria's teaching is closely alighed with her research.

Public outreach of science is a major feature of Maria's work at UCC and beyond. She has hosted exhibits and interactive public lectures at science festivals in Ireland, the UK and beyond, delivered interactive classes to primary and secondary school students, featured in numerous interviews on live radio and TV and on TV science documentariees.

Dr. McNamara is one of 12 female academic leaders whose protratits were unveiled by Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin in December.

The Accenture Women on Walls campaign features Maria in a group paiting of eight of today's leading Irish female scientists.  These are the first portraits of female scientists to be fetured on the Academy's wall in its 230-year history.

Please click on the image below to view Dr McNamara's presentation, "Beyond the Lab - Making Science Acessible to All" given at the 2017 Quercus Lecture Series.

David Merriman is a native of Dublin but living in Cork for over thirty years. He is a career banker with Bank of Ireland holding a range of positions in retail and business banking and in credit underwriting and other strategic functions throughout his career. He was Regional Manager Cork and then Regional Manager South West for five years until taking up his current position as Head of Enterprise Development for Bank of Ireland over a year ago. David is a proud graduate of UCC having completed a BA in English and Philosophy in 1990 and a Master’s in Business Administration in 1993.

He was a former member of council of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland, Chairman of the UCC Business Information Systems Advisory Board, member of the Board of Management of Presentation Brothers College, Cork, former board member of the Cork Film Festival and current Chairman of the committee of Sandy cove Island Swimming club. He is married with three sons, two of whom are currently studying in University College Cork.

Please click on the image below to view David Merriman's presentation "Embracing New Paradigms and Preserving Some Old Ones", given at the 2017 Quercus Lecture Series


Eibhlín Gleeson has been CEO of Cork Opera House since October 2015. Previous to this she has had extensive experience as a senior Arts administrator having held senior management positions in the arts for 13 years, building and developing strategies in national and international arts organisations.

She held the position of General Manager with Cork Opera House from 2012 – 2015. Prior to this, she was CEO of Ireland’s flagship professional choir, Chamber Choir Ireland and developed and managed her own arts management company, EMG Arts Management, providing strategic planning, marketing, fundraising and international touring services to arts organisations in Ireland. 

Career highlights to date include a prestigious position in the John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. where she had the opportunity to work with international leaders in the field of Arts Management and present artistic work on the international stage. In addition, she is also a musician and performer in her own right.

She is a music graduate from the Department of Music at UCC and singer, most recently performing in the chorus in the Cork Operatic Society’s production of Faust.


Majella Cullagh is one of Ireland’s foremost international opera singers. Her repertoire  includes Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (The Liceu, Barcelona, Royal Swedish Opera) and Roberto Devereux  (Opera Holland Park under the direction of Maestro Richard Bonynge),  Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra (Opera di Verona) and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera North), Handel’s Amadigi (Covent Garden Festival with Opera Theatre Company), Bizet’s Carmen (Opera North), Massenet’s Manon (Opera New Zealand), Verdi’s Alzira (Opera St Gallen, Switzerland) and La Traviata (Glyndebourne On Tour), Puccini’s La Boheme (Francesca Zambello’s production at the Royal Albert Hall) and most recently Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples.

Oratorio performances include Verdi’s Messa di Requiem in Milan and Amsterdam, Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Rossini Festival in Bad Wildbad (recorded live).

Majella has an impressive discography with over thirty recordings on the Opera Rara, Chandos and Naxos labels. These include Rossini’s le Siege de Corinthe for Naxos, Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Chandos, Mercadante’s Zaira for Opera Rara and Balfe’s Falstaff recorded live at the National Concert Hall on RTE Lyric.

Majella attained a Taught Masters Degree at the CIT Cork School of Music and has entered the education arena as vocal coach and adjudicator. She is a member of the board of directors at Cork Opera House.


John O'Brien is a conductor, director and composer who lives in Cork. He has worked on over forty different productions of opera and musical theatre in Ireland, UK and Canada, and has toured across Europe, Japan and China.

John is acclaimed for directing & conducting Faust, Der Vampyr, (both nominated for Best Opera - Irish Times Theatre Awards) Orpheus, and Pagliacci (winner Best Opera - ITTA) at the Everyman Theatre. He is principal conductor with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra and has directed and conducted its most recent operatic concert series in performances of La Traviata, The Merry Widow and Carmen. Future collaborations with Cork Opera House will see him conduct The Magic Flute in concert as well as undertaking the role of Music Director for Cork Opera House’s production of Annie this summer.

Compositions include Easter 1916 - premiered by Fiona Shaw and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; The Nightingale and the Rose - an opera; scores for the feature films Tree Keeper and Shem the Penman Sings Again (recently premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh); the plays Sisters of the Rising and Lovers at the Everyman; as well as other short films, choral works, piano pieces and numerous operatic, choral and orchestral arrangements.

Other projects include directing the dance film Inner Landscapes; conducting a recording with the National Chamber Choir; playing piano with Karen Underwood; and guest conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra

Please click on the image below to view Eibhlín Gleeson's presentation, 'Behind the Curtain - the Importance of Art in our Society, as told from the Artist's Perspective', given at the Quercus Lecture Series 2017, including some very special musical performances.


Stewart Hosford is the managing director and founder of Five West Ltd, a leading sports consultancy, delivering value driven solotions within the saiing and marine industry. Just prior to this, in 2010, he was appointed Managing Director of Alex Thompson Racing and HUGO BOSS Sailing.

Previously, Stewart was Head of Sourcing at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was one of the youngest exectutives in RBS history including a year as Chief Procurement Officer of ABN AMRO. He led the sourcing teams across all categories of spend, including RBS sports sponsorship portfolio.

Stewart was instrumental in the signing of many major sports sponsorship deals for RBS including the 6 Nations, Golf, F1, and Tennis Properties. Prior to this, Stewart gained extensive in management consultancy with six year as a Director of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

Please click on the image below to view Stewart Hosford's presentation, 'The Business of Sport', given at the Quercus Lecture Series 2017.

Sarah Jameel and Alan Hayes are both Quercus Active Citizenship Scholars at UCC; Sarah studies Dentistry while Alan is studying Social Science.

Sarah is originally from Sri Lanka where she has been working on healthcare based activism since the age of 11 in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami and subsequently founded KICK THE BUTT (an anti teen-smoking campaign and Food Beyond Borders (a storytelling platform on food culture). Alan who is from Ireland began his active citizenship projects in mental health and suicide prevention from the age of 16, is a record artist with an iTunes single "Survivor" which he wrote for suicide awareness and then went on to form the Thomas Hayes Trust for suicide prevention and counselling in Ireland.

Alan and Sarah have also both been selected as a Global Teen Leaders by the We Are Family in New York City for exceptional community service and for promoting peace through the achievement of basic human needs. Collectively, they have been recognized by the World Economic Forum, The Late Late Show, TEDMED and Cycle Against Suicide and TV3's Ireland AM for continued work in youth activism. 

Please click on the image below to view Sarah and Alan's presentation, 'The Activist State of Mind', given at the Quercus Lecture Series 2017.


Quercus Lecture Series 2015/16


18 January – Professor Colin Hill, APC Microbiome Institute and School of Microbiology, UCC  
"Science is NOT fun!"

25 January – Professor Jerry Murphy, Marine Renewable Energy Ireland and School of Engineering, UCC  
"Green Gas: a solution to waste treatment, a provider of renewable energy and a facilitator of intermittent renewable electricity"

1 February – Dr Karen Neville & Dr Sheila O’Riordan, Business Information Systems, UCC  
"Integrating experience, education, and perception for effective risk communication: applying lessons learned from Cork’s flooding past towards the development of emergency management systems"

8 February – Professor John Cryan, APC Microbiome Institute and School of Microbiology, UCC
"Stressed Inside Out: Memories, Moods & Maladies"

22 February – Professor Geraldine Boylan, Paediatrics & Child Health, UCC
“Baby Brainwaves”

29 February – Professor Steve Hedley, School of Law, UCC
“The Idea of a National Strategy for Higher Education”

07 March – Professor Alastair Christie, School of Applied Social Studies, UCC
"Child protection and welfare: Researching why children come into care"

14 March – Professor Kathy Hall, School of Education, UCC
“Accounting for educational success? Movements, MOOCs, Mentors”

Science is NOT fun!

Colin Hill has a Ph.D in molecular microbiology and is a Professor in the School of Microbiology at University College Cork, Ireland. His main interests are in infectious disease, particularly in the role of the gut microbiota in protecting against microbial infections in the gastrointestinal tract. He is a Principal Investigator and founding member of the APC Microbiome Institute, a large research centre devoted to the study of the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease. He has held consecutive Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator Awards since 2001. In 2005 Prof. Hill was awarded a D.Sc by the National University of Ireland in recognition of his contributions to research. In 2009 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy and in 2010 he was a joint recipient of the Metchnikoff Prize in Microbiology and was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology. He served as President of ISAPP (the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics from 2011-2014. He has published more than 400 peer reviewed papers and holds 14 patents.

Green Gas: a solution to waste treatment, a provider of renewable energy and a facilitator of intermittent renewable electricity

Professor Jerry Murphy serves as the Interim Director of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) MaREI centre; this centre has funding in excess of €32M and includes for over 80 researchers and 45 industry partners. Professor Murphy is Vice Director of the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) where he is also Director of the Bioenergy and Biofuels Research group. His own bioenergy research team includes for 9 PhD students and 2 post-docs. He has published over 80 peer review journal papers in the last 10 years. Professor Murphy has served as the Ireland representative at International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Tasks since 2007. He was appointed the leader of Task 37 “Energy from Biogas” for the trimester 2016 – 2018. He is an academic member of the School of Engineering and served as the Director of the Energy Degree (2013 – 2015). In this role he led the accreditation process, which ensured that Energy Engineering in UCC was the first accredited degree in this space in Ireland.

Integrating experience, education, and perception for effective risk communication: applying lessons learned from Cork’s flooding past towards the development of emergency management systems

Dr Karen Neville is a Senior Lecturer with Business Information Systems (BIS), UCC and Director of the Centre for Resilience and Business Continuity (CRBC). Karen has 15 years’ experience in industry and academia researching security, learning and DSS, generating over €9 million in funding. She also co-directs the award winning MSc in Information Systems for Business Performance (ISBP), UCC’s largest business postgraduate course. Karen is the coordinator of the €3.5 million S-HELP EU FP7 project.

Dr Sheila O’Riordan is a post-doctoral researcher on the FP7 S-HELP (Securing - Health Emergency Learning Planning) project within the Centre for Resilience and Business Continuity (CRBC), Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Ireland. The central aim of S‑HELP is to develop and deliver a holistic framed approach to healthcare preparedness, response and recovery for large scale disasters. Her research interests include emergency management, decision support tools, user-centred design, user-artefact interactions, technical affordances, social media, and user behaviour.

Stressed Inside Out: Memories, Moods & Maladies

John F. Cryan is Professor and Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork and is also a Principal Investigator in the APC Microbiome Institute. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and PhD from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. He was a visiting fellow at the Dept Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Australia, which was followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. Prof. Cryan's current research is focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress, psychiatric and immune-related disorders. He has received many awards including UCC Researcher of the Year in 2012; the University of Utrecht Award for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research in 2013 and being named on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher list in 2014. He was a TEDMED speaker in Washington in 2014 and spoke at WIRED Health in London in 2015.

Baby brainwaves

Geraldine Boylan is Professor of Neonatal Physiology, Department of Paediatrics & Child Health, UCC and Director of the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research - INFANT Geraldine is a scientist and has worked in the area of clinical neurophysiology for many years. Since 1996, she has worked exclusively in the field of neonatal neurophysiology. She leads the Neonatal Brain Research Group in the INFANT centre - a multidisciplinary research team focused on neurological monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit, particularly for seizure detection and automated neurological assessment. Researchers in the group, have developed a seizure detection algorithm for newborn babies and this algorithm is currently under clinical evaluation INFANT curates one of the largest banks of physiological data from newborn babies in the world and a variety of data analytic techniques are applied for the benefit of newborn health.

Child protection and welfare: Researching why children come into care

Alastair Christie has been Head of the School of Applied Social Studies, UCC, since February 2014. Before joining the School in 1997, he worked as a lecturer in Lancaster University (England), and prior to this, he worked as a social worker and social work manager in London (England) and Vancouver (Canada). Once joining the School of Applied Social Studies, he established the four-year Bachelor in Social Work degree and subsequently was a co-founder of the Doctor of Social Science (DSocSc) in 2005. His research interests draw on both social work and social policy and focus on how social work is constructed/provided within patriarchal and racialised contexts. Alastair has been an active member of a number of local Non-Government Organisations and, in particular, he was the Chair of Board of the Cork Simon Community and is currently a member of the Board of the Traveller Visibility Group in Cork.

Accounting for Educational Success - Movements, MOOCs and Mentors 

Kathy Hall is Professor of Education and Head of School of Education in UCC. Previously she held chairs in education in Leeds Metropolitan University and the Open University and was Senior Lecturer in Canterbury Christ Church University. Before that she held various roles in the education system in Ireland. Kathy has led several research projects in education, is currently PI for a national longitudinal evaluation of the major changes introduced recently into Teacher Education. She has published widely on various topics associated with this presentation - her most recent book (with Curtin and Rutherford) is entitled Networks of Mind: Learning, Culture, Neuroscience (Routledge, 2014).

Quercus Lecture Series 2014/15


26 January – Professor Ted Dinan, Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and Department of Psychiatry, UCC  
"The collective unconscious: how microbes influence our brains"

2 February – Professor Paul Ross, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC
"The changing face of food in Ireland: opportunities in food science, nutrition and microbiome research"  

9 February – Professor Louise Kenny, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UCC
“Development origins of adult disease - if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother”

16 February – Fiona Kearney, Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery
“The Artful I: Exhibition-led learning”

23 February – Professor John O’Halloran, Vice-President for Teaching & Learning and Director of the Quercus Programme, UCC 
“Greening the Campus”

2 March – Dr Theresa Reidy, Department of Government, UCC 
“Referendums in Ireland, the good, the bad and the ugly”

The collective unconscious: how microbes influence our brains

Ted Dinan is Professor of Psychiatry and a Principal Investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork. He was previously Chair of Clinical Neurosciences and Professor of Psychological Medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Prior to that he was a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin. He has worked in research laboratories on both sides of the Atlantic and has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Psychiatrists and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He has published over 200 papers and numerous books on the pharmacology and neurobiology of affective disorders. His primary research focus is on immune and endocrine aspects of depression and irritable bowel syndrome.

The changing face of food in Ireland: opportunities in food science, nutrition and microbiome research

Paul Ross graduated from UCC with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Microbiology, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology. Following postdoctoral research and an Assistant Professorship at Wake Forest University, NC, he moved to Teagasc’s Moorepark Food Research Centre to lead the Food Biotechnology programme, which encompasses aspects ranging from gut flora to novel antimicrobials, including bacteriocins and bacteriophage. Until recently he was Head of Food Research at Teagasc and Adjunct Professor at UCC. Paul is now Head of College of Science Engineering & Food Science at UCC and is a Principal Investigator in the APC’s Microbes to Molecules Research Spoke and the Food Health Ireland research centre. He was awarded a D.Sc. in 2009 based on published work and received the William C. Haines Dairy Science in 2007 and the Enterprise Ireland Commercialization award in 2008.

Development origins of adult disease - if it's not one thing, it's your mother

Louise Kenny is a UCC Professor of Obstetrics and is Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Louise graduated in the UK and later worked in Manchester before moving in 2006 to UCC and Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH). At CUMH, she is part of the Perinatal Medicine team and has a particular interest in hypertensive disorders of medicine and other maternal complications. Louise has led several multi-million euro projects including SCOPE (Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints) and BASELINE (Babies After SCOPE, Evaluating Longitudinal Indices of Neurological and Nutritional Endpoints). The BASELINE study is the first longitudinal birth cohort study in Ireland. Babies are monitored from before birth, and information regarding their mother’s health, lifestyle and environment is collected as part of the maternal SCOPE study. In 2013, Louise became the founding Director of INFANT, the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research. INFANT is mainly based at UCC, where it is home to close to 100 researchers working across the entire perinatal space. INFANT has a diverse research funding portfolio of over €30m. Louise’s work has resulted in three patent applications relating to pregnancy biomarkers and more than 100 peer-reviewed original papers, reviews and book chapters. She is the Editor of the 19th edition of ‘Obstetrics by Ten Teachers’- the world’s leading undergraduate textbook in obstetrics.

The Artful I: Exhibition-led learning

Fiona Kearney is the founding Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, a contemporary art museum on the campus of University College Cork. Throughout her academic and professional career, Fiona has received several distinguished awards including the designation of college scholar by UCC, the NUI Prix d'Honneur from the French Government, a UCC President’s Award for Research on Innovative Forms of Teaching, and a Fulbright scholarship. In June 2006, she was awarded the Jerome Hynes Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme, the highest award offered to an individual by the Arts Council of Ireland. She was awarded a fellowship by the Edward T. Cone Foundation to attend Session 453 of the Salzburg Global Seminar in May 2008, and was among a selected group of global museum leaders who participated in the Getty Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center in L.A. in July 2008. In January 2009, she was appointed by Minister Martin Cullen to serve as a member of the Arts Council of Ireland for a five year term where she chaired the Policy & Strategy committee. She currently serves on the board of VISUAL centre for contemporary art, Carlow.

Greening the Campus

A graduate of UCC and a specialist in ornithology, John O’Halloran holds the chair of Zoology, and was Head of School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES) at UCC before being appointed as Vice-President for Teaching & Learning in June 2014. John has completed over 50 research projects since 1989 and has published almost 200 research articles, 8 books and 16 book chapters. He has delivered over 150 research presentations nationally and internationally. He is dedicated to transferring research from the field, lab and bench to class and industry. His main areas of research are avian ecology, forest ecology and aquatic ecotoxicology and his work addresses questions ranging from ecosystem processes and biodiversity assessment, through to individual species studies, organ, organelle and genetic studies.

Referendums in Ireland, the good, the bad and the ugly

Dr Theresa Reidy is a lecturer in the Department of Government at University College Cork, where she teaches Irish politics, political economy and public finance. Theresa's research interests lie in the areas of public finance and electoral behaviour in Ireland. Dr Reidy has been involved in a number of research projects on elections and referendums in Ireland and she has received research funding from the Irish Research Council, the Department of Education, Irish Aid, the National Academy for the Integration of Research and Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) and the European Union. Theresa is very involved in the political studies community. She is Vice President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI), was honorary secretary of the PSAI from 2006 to 2011 and she represents political science on the social science committee of the Royal Irish Academy since 2007. She has given expert evidence to parliamentary committees, the Constitutional Convention and is a regular contributor to national and international radio, television and the print media.


Quercus Talented Students' Programme

G31, The Hub,