Post Doctoral Researchers

The UCD Centre for Plant Science has a number of Post Doctoral Researchers who work predominantly within the labs of the Principal Investigators. The work closely with the Research and Technical Staff and often help mentor Affiliated Research Students.

Dr Harriet Benbow

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and the UCD Earth Institute

Harriet Benbow is a postdoctoral research fellow interested in identifying genetic resistance to Septoria tritici blotch in wheat and the model monocot Brachypodium distachyon. Harriet is predominantly interested in bioinformatics, particularly mining RNA sequence data for potential candidate genes, and identifying useful single nucleotide polymorphism markers that are appropriate for use in wheat breeding programmes.

Harriet did her PhD in the Cereal Genomics group at Bristol University, under the supervision of Professor Keith Edwards. Her PhD work, dissecting the genetic control of grain weight in bread wheat, explored a range of methods, including differential expression analysis by RNAseq, QTL and GWAS analyses, and genetic mapping.

Dr Brian Murphy

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and UCD Earth Institute

Brian R. Murphy is a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Professor Fiona Doohan. He is currently engaged in an SFI-funded project examining the effects of fungal root endophytes on field grown barley cultivars growing under nutrient stress. This work aims to determine if these endophytes can reduce economically and environmentally expensive chemical fertilisers by using endophytic microorganisms.

Before his post-doctoral research work at UCD, he earned his undergraduate and PhD degrees in botany at Trinity College Dublin. His undergraduate thesis looked at the effects of elevated levels of UV-B radiation on the morphology of pollen grains. His PhD work was based around a novel method of isolating fungal root endophytes from a wild barley relative which he used as barley cultivar inoculants in a series of successful laboratory and field experiments. His widely published work demonstrated many endophyte-induced benefits for barley growing under a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses.

Dr Alexandre Perochon

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

Alexandre Perochon is currently a post-doctoral research fellow in molecular plant pathology in the group of Professor Fiona Doohan. His work is currently focused on orphan genes associated signalling pathways and their roles in environmental stress responses in plants, with a particular interest in wheat responses to Fusarium Head blight.

Before his post-doctoral research fellow, he earned his PhD degree in physiology and molecular biology of plants at the University of Toulouse (France), where he worked in a CNRS/University laboratory belonging to an INRA campus. His PhD work was on plant stress signalling in the plant model Arabidopsis focusing on calcium signalling.

Dr Ganesh Thapa

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and the UCD Earth Institute

Ganesh Thapa is presently associated with Professor Fiona Doohan's group and works in investigating huge EMS generated Cadenza TILLING population in collaboration with the John Innes Centre (UK) Rothamsted Research Centre (UK) and UCD through KASPAR and HRM analysis looking to find out specific SNP that may be helpful to improve cereal crops for future. His research also focusses around characterisation of primary defence genes and receptor kinase in wheat against Fusarium.

Before joining UCD, he had a brief stint as Post-Doctoral scientist at CPRU, UKZN, Westville Campus, Durban with Professor Gret Kruger. There, he was involved with expression, purification and characterization of HIV PR protein with N15 labelling for structural analysis of wild type HIV PR proteins and its MDR related mutant type HIV PR protein.

He obtained his doctorate from Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG), India in July 2013, wherein he worked in the field of molecular mechanistic of heavy metal heperaccumulator water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes Solms.) and characterisation of heavy metal stress responsive genes. Apart from that, he has been working in the field of molecular stress biology, molecular genetics and stress physiology since 2001 in different research projects in reputed institutes of India. Overall research experience thus far helped him to gain a wide range of knowledge in various abiotic stresses, submergence tolerance in rice, heat shock proteins, drought and heavy metals stress and understand the intricacies and networks of various stress responses in plants.

Dr Brian Tobin

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

Brian Tobin's work has centred on investigating the carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems and in particular above- and below-ground carbon and biomass allocation. Forest types that Brian has worked on include Sitka spruce and ash plantations and I co-manage the Dooary Forest Research Station. Brian's research has involved a large degree of inventory work, and the development of conversion and expansion factors for converting existing forest inventory volume to biomass data and in developing new research to apply to data arising from the National Forest Inventory to supply Kyoto and UNFCCC reporting requirements, e.g. examining the impact of disturbance on forest deadwood carbon pools. Other interests include silvicultural system development to optimise short rotation species productivity, apiculture and honeybee pollination ecology at Rosemount Environmental Research Station.

Dr Binbin Zhou

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

Binbin Zhou did his PhD in the Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM) in Toulouse (France) working on how model plant Arabidopsis thaliana resistance to Ralstonia solanacearum. During his PhD, his work concerned the study of identification of target genes of plant immune receptor RRS1-R and investigation of molecular relationship between effector (PopP2) and the RRS1-R.

In 2015, he moved to the Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions lab in University College Dublin (Ireland) as a postdoc. He is now focusing on the identification and characterization of resistance and susceptibility genes are involved in wheat response to Septoria tritici blotch, and functional characterization of a wheat protein in response to Fusarium head blight. The main goal of these research is to identifying genes for disease resistance breeding in cereals.