The College of SEFS invites you to our series of inaugural professorial lectures. Inaugural lectures are an occasion to welcome new professors and learn of their work to date, research and emerging goals. The UCC community, as well as the local, national, and international community are encouraged to attend these opportunities to engage with our recently-appointed professors and their scholarship.
School of Engineering and Architecture/Environmental Research Institute
25 April 2023, 5pm. Boole 6
Meet the Professors
Find out more about the professors, their background, research history and what their professorial lecture entails.
Professor Gerard Killeen, AXA Research Chair in Applied Pathogen Ecology
Date: 29 November 2022
Location: Sustainable Futures Lab, UCC.
Lecture Title: Career adventures with some of the world’s most dangerous animals and pathogens: An African-centred personal perspective.
Ultimately, we are all Africans and share a common heritage that has been indelibly shaped by the unique history of continuous, uninterrupted evolution on the continent we all originate from. Because human beings have a much longer history in Africa, many species of dangerous animal on the continent have co-evolved along with us, usually to our benefit through innate tendencies to avoid us. However, now that we, our crops, and our livestock offer pests and pathogens such unprecedented opportunities to exploit, we also need to learn from less encouraging examples of long-term co-evolution that give us a hint of what may lie ahead unless we manage our future far more astutely.
In the context of increasingly frequent emergence of zoonotic pathogens like HIV, SARS, COVID, and Monkeypox, I will explain how malaria has shaped human history and how a small number of human-adapted mosquito species have mired Africa in holoendemic transmission and entrenched poverty that it is only now starting to tentatively put behind it. More importantly, I will describe my personal experiences of involvement in recent progress and ongoing struggles with malaria in Africa, with a particular emphasis on how to survive, manage and enjoy such a career, with those at the outset of their own careers specifically in mind.
In particular, I will outline solution-oriented perspectives on the most frustrating non-technical issues that currently hold back the African scientists, practitioners, and home-grown institutions who can deliver sustained progress over the long term, specifically entrenched inequity of opportunity, white saviourism and outright profiteering by established players from the global north.
Professor Ruth Massey | SALI Professor for Microbiome and Health Sciences at UCC
25 October 2022, Boole 2, UCC
“The art of not taking 'NO' for an answer: The microbial endeavours of a female professor”. Ruth Massey has a B.A. (mod) in Natural Sciences and a Ph.D in Molecular Microbiology both awarded by Trinity College Dublin. Upon completion of her Ph.D. she moved to the UK where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at both the Universities of Oxford and Bath, and it was in the laboratory of Sharon Peacock in Oxford where her interest in Gram positive bacterial pathogen began. Ruth’s first independent position was in the Zoology Dept. of the University of Oxford, where Wellcome Trust funding allowed her to set up her first lab, which subsequently moved to Bath in 2007. In 2017 Ruth moved to the University of Bristol and in 2019 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and promoted to Professor of Microbial Pathogenicity. In 2021 Ruth became the SALI Professor for Microbiome and Health Sciences at UCC affiliated with both the Schools of Microbiology and Medicine, and is an APC Principal Investigator. In addition to her academic interests in microbial pathogenicity, Ruth is a scientific consultant and shareholder of a biotech company Microgenetics Ltd., and using their patented technology they are developing a diagnostic testing service for use in both agricultural and pharmaceutical settings. She is a mother to three children and two dogs and a passionate rugby coach.
Professor Maria McNamara, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Maria McNamara is a palaeobiologist who studies the evolution of animal coloration and of the vertebrate integument. Her work has a strong analytical focus, including electrobeam imaging (SEM, TEM, EPMA), vibrational spectroscopy (micro-FTIR and micro-Raman), and synchrotron X-ray analysis (XRF and XANES). Recent research highlights include the discovery that traces of ancient melanin can reveal the anatomy of fossil animals, that feathered dinosaurs shed their skin as dandruff like mammals, and that pterosaurs (the cousins of dinosaurs) had feathers.
Professor McNamara has a BSc(Hons) Earth Sciences from NUIG (2002) and a PhD in palaeobiology from UCD (2006). Following an IRCSET postdoctoral fellowship at UCD, she worked in STEM communication as the Geopark Geologist associated with the then-incipient Burren-Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark. Maria was then awarded a Marie Curie International Fellowship and spent three years at Yale University, followed by a postdoc position at the University of Bristol.
She joined UCC in 2013 as a College Lecturer, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016 and to Full Professor in 2020. She currently holds a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant to work on fossil biomolecules, building on her previous ERC Starting Grant working on fossil color.
In recent years, the field of palaeontology has been transformed by the increasing adoption of cutting-edge technologies for imaging and analysis of fossils. Discoveries of preserved soft tissues in diverse fossil taxa have yielded dramatic and often controversial claims of preserved anatomical structures and biomolecules in fossils tens, and even hundreds, of millions of years old. A case in point is research on fossil colour, especially ancient melanin. In this talk I will review how my research has contributed to our understanding of the fossil record and of its limits, and the major challenges that remain.
Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series - Professor Gregorio Iglesias
22 February at 5pm | Boole 6 | Boole Basement, UCC
“Wind energy under climate change” Prof Gregorio Iglesias is Professor of Marine Renewable Energy at University College Cork and Honorary Professor of Coastal Engineering at the University of Plymouth. He is listed in the Top 10 Engineering and Technology Scientists in Ireland. Prof Iglesias held a Marie Curie individual fellowship focused on the effects of wave farms on coastal processes (WaveImpact). He contributed to the IEC standards for wave energy device development (scale-model testing) and the Spanish Standards for Maritime Works (ROM). Prof Iglesias is a member of various Editorial Boards and the Subject Editor of Energy (Elsevier) for wave, tidal and hydropower. He has attracted over €68M of research funding, and his h-index is 58.
Professor Dirk Pesch
School of Computer Science and Information Technology
Lecture Title: The Internet of Things and Sustainability
Over the last decade, we have started to extend the Internet from connecting computers to access information and to communicate with each other to connecting “Things” around us. These Things can be anything from our homes and the appliances therein, our buildings and cities, to our cars, to things in our environment and even our bodies. The “Internet of Things” connects the Internet through wireless communication, sensors and actuators to our physical world. This gives us unprecedented data on our environment to gain insights into how our world works but also the ability to control our environment. Connecting to the physical world offers the opportunity to become more sustainable but the current trend also threatens sustainability. This lecture will give examples of the potential of the Internet of Things for sustainability but will also highlight challenges and some solutions to making the Internet of Things more sustainable itself.
Dirk Pesch joined the School of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) as Professor of Computer Science (Internet of Things) in February 2019. Prior to joining University College Cork, Dirk was with Cork Institute of Technology (now Munster Technological University Cork), where he developed research activities that led to the establishment of the Nimbus Research Centre of which he became the founding director in 2009. Under his leadership, Nimbus became a leading centre for application and industry-focused research in Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems applications. In December 2016, CIT designated him as a Professor. Dirk holds a Dipl.Ing (MEng) degree from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and a PhD from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, both in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.
Prof. Pesch’s research focuses on the design and analysis of future networked systems for the Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems with applications in smart and connected communities and smart manufacturing. He is the Director of the Science Foundation Ireland funded Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies (http://www.advance-crt.ie) and a co-Principal Investigator in the SFI CONFIRM Centre for Smart Manufacturing (http://www.confirm.ie) and the SFI CONNECT Centre for Future Networks (http://www.connectcentre.ie). Dirk is also a steering committee member of the Cork Smart Gateway (http://www.corksmartgateway.ie), a smart communities initiative in Cork City and County. Before joining academia, Dirk was a design engineer with Nokia in Germany and the UK, developing and implementing communication protocols for a range of cordless telecommunication systems.
We increasingly depend on digital systems and rely on their secure operation. To provide a secure system it is essential to identify and authenticate users and, in many cases, machines. We need to know who requests access or provides data to authorise access. Typically, users are authenticated by providing a password; a procedure we are all familiar with and we are also aware of the difficulties in keeping passwords and the consequences when passwords are lost or revealed. However, our digital world is becoming more complex and in many scenarios passwords are not usable, useful or desirable for authentication of either users or machines. New methods are necessary to authenticate users, machines and data. In this talk I will describe first classical authentication and associated challenges, and then describe some of my research work looking at novel authentication methods. My talk will cover areas such as wireless signal authentication, Physical Unclonable Functions (PUF) and authentication in Personal Voice Assistants (PVA) such as Siri and Alexa.
Professor Utz Roedig joined the School of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) at UCC in January 2019, and has been Head of the School of CSIT since September 2021. Before moving to Cork he was Professor at Lancaster University, UK, where he led the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). Prior to his work in Lancaster he held research positions at UCC and Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany. Prof Utz Roedig received his Dipl.-Ing degree in Electrical Engineering in 1997 and his Dr.-Ing in Computer Science in 2002 from Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.
He is a co-Principle Investigator of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded CONNECT Centre for Future Networks, and Principle Investigator of the SFI Frontiers of the Future Award 'Personal Voice Assistant Security and Privacy'.
His research interests are computer networks and security with focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). His work looks at IoT communication mechanisms and the software used to construct IoT systems with a particular focus on cybersecurity. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers in this field and his research collaborations with industry partners have resulted in several patents. Over the last number of years his research has been supported by a number of research grants funded by EU, SFI, EPSRC and Industry. He frequently serves as TPC member of international conferences such as DCOSS, EWSN, IPSN, and he is a grant reviewer for international funding bodies such as EPSRC (UK), ESF (EU) and FWO (Belgium).