People

Prof Vincent O'Flaherty

Director

Vincent is a microbiologist with expertise in microbial biofilm and microbial ecology research, specifically focused on: anaerobic biofilm reactor technology for biorefining, energy production and wastewater treatment; control of biofilms in infectious disease settings and the microbial ecology of
anaerobic biofilms and soil ecosystems. Vincent is scientific lead for the Sustainability Pillar of the Dairy Processing Technology Centre funded by the Irish Dairy Industry and Enterprise Ireland and is actively involved in several other projects focused on the development of a sustainable biomass and biorefining sector. His research group developed low-temperature anaerobic biofilm technology towards commercialisation and the technology developed was the basis for the establishment of NVP Energy. Vincent is also co-founder of a spin-out company from NUI, Galway – Westway Health – which was formed in 2012 and is focused on the development of an exciting and novel antimicrobial platform for infection control in veterinary and human settings.

Prof John McGrath

Director

John is an environmental microbiologist in the School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast.  Much of his research is devoted to understanding how microbial communities can be managed to remove and recycle value added products from waste, make renewable energy sustainable, and improve human health. Specifically, this work focuses on the biogeochemistry of microbial phosphorus cycling in the marine, freshwater, terrestrial, agri-food and engineered (anaerobic digestor and activated sludge) environments, and the development of biological and chemical approaches for the removal and/or recovery of high value compounds from waste e.g. phosphorus, ammonia, volatile fatty acids, formaldehyde and the herbicide (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid – MCPA).

John’s research is translational in nature and involves a cross-disciplinary focus encompassing microbiology, biochemistry, microbial ecology, metagenomics, metatranscritpomics, engineering, and chemistry.  His group works in close collaboration with Prof. Vincent O’Flaherty (NUI-Galway) on anaerobic digestion, Dr. Paul Williams (QUB-IGFS) on soils and with Dr. Panagiotis Manesiotis from the Queen’s University Department of Chemistry on the development of novel sorbents for removing and/or recycling valuable products from waste. John works with a wide range of industrial partners from across the water and agri-food industries, as well as various governmental departments

Dr Katrina Macintosh

Programme Manager

Katrina is Programme Manager for the Irish Nutrient Sustainability Platform.  She works as a Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast.  Katrina’s research expertise includes phosphorus sustainability, decision support tools for nutrient management, policy, water quality and catchment science, and social science.  Katrina previously worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Ulster University validating passive sensors for measuring nutrient concentrations in agriculturally dominated catchments, and studied lake ecosystem interactions across a nutrient enrichment gradient.  Katrina’s PhD research investigated naturally occurring iron deposition in upland catchments and effects on aquatic ecology.

Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis

Director

Panagiotis is a materials chemist with expertise in the development of tailor-made sorbents for applications in nutrient recovery and recycling from waste, as well as the development of sensor devices for environmental monitoring and bioanalysis.

Panagiotis’ research group are currently working on the development of sorbents for the capture and recycling of phosphorus, a non-renewable resource essential to life, and ammonia, a valuable nutrient whose overuse plays a role in the transportation and enhanced deposition of acidic pollutants, resulting in acidification of ground and water bodies, which can harm plant and animal life. More recently, the group also started work on the recovery of volatile fatty acids from anaerobic digestion effluents. Panagiotis’ is also the lead investigator in the development of optical sensors for phosphate and has licenced technology used in the capture of formaldehyde.