Partner Opportunities


PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

IBR-Nano : Development of a pen-side biosensor diagnostic device blueprint for detection of IBR in bovines.

Ref: 2014016


Iinfectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a viral infection of bovines caused by Bovine Herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1).  Once entering the host, following a brief viraemia, which may or may not be associated with clinical signs, BoHV-1 maintains a latent infection within the host.  During periods of stress, the virus has the capability to re-activate resulting in an additional period of viral shedding and infection of herd cohorts.   In addition, once IBR enters a herd, viral spread is rapid and full herd-infection can result within weeks.  It is therefore of enormous benefit if both shedding and carrier animals can be identified at an early stage to allow their removal from the herd or application of an appropriate vaccination programme.  Laboratory based tests can result in a window of opportunity being missed in that results may not be available for days allowing uncontrolled viral spread to continue in the interim. 

In recent years, the application of biosensors to diagnostics has experienced substantial growth with the global biosensor market estimated to exceed $10.6 billion by 2013.  The emerging trend for point-of-care instrumentation is driving the development of miniaturised systems capable of reliable and rapid quantification of a wide range of biomolecules.  One-dimensional (1D) nanostructures are attractive building blocks for future sensing devices and systems.  In electrochemistry, nanoelectrodes offer a number of enhancements compared to macroelectrodes due to their many advantageous properties: 1) low background charging, 2) high current density due to enhanced mass transport, 3) low depletion of target molecules, 4) low supporting electrolyte concentrations and 5) shorter RC time constant.  IBR-Nano will employ robust electron beam lithography methods to permit rapid prototyping of both single nanowire and nanowire array electrochemical devices and achieve highly sensitive sensing of IBR targets.  Application of nanosensor technology on-farm to allow rapid generation of results and immediate veterinary intervention would be hugely beneficial to the Irish beef and dairy industries.   


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (e.g. biochemistry, chemistry, biotechnology). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for laboratory work and periods of field work. A full EU driving licence is desirable.


The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc, Moorepark, Cork and The Tyndall National Institute, Cork.  The student will be based at Teagasc, Moorepark and will be registered with University College Cork, under the supervision of Dr. Alan O’Riordan in association with Teagasc supervisor Riona Sayers. Periods of laboratory work will be undertaken at Tyndall. The Fellowship will start as soon as possible after 1st of October when the most suitable candidate is appointed.

The fellowship provides a stipend of €22,000. University fees are paid by the student from the stipend which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications

  • Dr. Riona Sayers, AGRIC, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork


  • Dr. Alan O’Riordan, Nanotechnology, TNI, Cork


Application Procedure

Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a one page (A4) letter of interest simultaneously to:

Ms. Riona Sayers ( and Dr. Alan O’Riordan (

Closing date - 7th September 2014.



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