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AOR-17 – PhD Studentship in Development of a nanosensor to detect differences in DNA methylation

AOR-17 –  PhD Studentship in Development of a nanosensor to detect differences in DNA methylation

Contract: Full time/Fixed Term

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork wishes to appoint a candidate to a PhD Studentship in collaboration with Teagasc. Teagasc has been funded by Science Foundation Ireland to investigate the role of epigenetics in regulating immune cell metabolism and phenotype, disease susceptibility and diagnostic detection of infected cattle.

The key to successful control strategies for zoonotic infections is to reduce the burden of disease at source, and enormous potential exists for research impact on bovine immunology to enhance sustainable livestock production and also to protect the food chain & human health.


 We have previously shown an inverse correlation between expression of key immune genes and methylation level which could have important implications for disease susceptibility1, disease progression and the performance of diagnostics. Building on this and other exciting preliminary data, this project will assess DNA from whole blood and single cell samples from healthy and infected cattle to detect methylation changes associated with disease progression and infection status. There is also an important focus on translation and industrial application in association with the Tyndall National Institute. While a number of biosensor approaches to differentiate between DNA of different methylation states are under development, strategies based on electrochemistry offers distinct advantages in terms of simplicity, low cost, fast response time and miniaturisation. In collaboration with Teagasc, Dr O’ Riordan has recently developed a similar sensor for the detection of viral diarrhoea antibodies in bovine serum2.


 The successful candidate will be based in the Bioscience Research Facility in Co. Meath, which is a major initiative to expand Teagasc's capacity for advanced and translational research in animal bioscience in year 1. From years 2-4, the student will be based with Dr. Alan O’ Riordan in the Tyndall National Institute, Cork and registered in UCC.


 PhD applicants should have a (2.1-1st class) chemistry or cognate discipline. The ideal candidate will have experience in analytical science demonstrating knowledge of different analytical techniques (with some experience in electrochemistry being preferred) and possess an understanding of analytical protocols and processes. The ability to work in a multidisciplinary field cutting across chemistry, biochemistry and analytical science will be essential. The candidate should have good problem solving skills and a demonstrated ability to work on their own initiative.

Inquiries for this post can be made to or

An annual student stipend of €18,000.00 applies for this successful candidate for this position. 

Yearly University academic fees will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

For further information on this position, please contact Dr. Alan O’Riordan, Nanotechnology Group, Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions

Step 1 - click here to download and complete the application form

Step 2 – return the completed application form, together with your cv and motivation letter to

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process. 

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.