I am a palaeobiologist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork. I have a PhD from University College Dublin and did postdoctoral research at University College Dublin, before working as a Geopark Geologist in what is now the Burren-Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark. I then worked as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Yale University (USA) and did further postdoctoral research at the University of Bristol, before taking up my appointment as Lecturer in Geology at UCC.
My research focuses on the preservation of soft tissues in the fossil record and how this provides unique insights into the biology of ancient animals. My current major research projects relate to the preservation of structural and pigmentary colours in fossils, especially insects and feathers, and how this informs on the evolution of communication strategies in animals through time. I lead a growing research group composed of postgraduate researchers and various keen undergraduate research volunteers. My research is highly interdisciplinary and lies at the interface of geology, palaeontology, evolutionary biology, chemistry and applied physics. As a result, my collaborators are from diverse disciplines in institutions around the globe.
My teaching is closely aligned with my research. I teach a number of undergraduate modules at UCC, including second year palaeobiology, third year evolution, stratigraphy and geological map interpretation, and geohazards and science communication, and fourth year palaeobiology.
Public outreach of science is a major feature of my work at UCC and beyond. I have hosted exhibits and interactive public lectures at science festivals in Ireland, the UK and beyond, delivered interactive classes to primary and secondary school students, featured in numerous interviews on live radio and TV and on TV science documentaries.