Research Projects

Sara Finnerty

Current PhD Student

Bioprospecting of novel marine terpenoids using mass spectrometry and lipidomics approaches.

Research Project Summary:

My PhD will study marine organisms for potentially bioactive, novel terpenoids. I will be following lipidomics approaches to investigate the secondary metabolites produced by the sample organisms. A variety of techniques will be used to characterise the terpenoid constituents of the samples, including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

The goal is to identify new compounds which can contribute meaningfully to human health and the blue bioeconomy. This research strives to provide novel insights into the marine environment, where much remains unexplored.


Hi, I’m Sara. I have recently started a PhD with the ProspecTER project in Atlantic Technological University Sligo, under the supervision of Dr Shane O’Reilly. This project is in partnership with Dublin City University and Dr Brian Kelleher, under the Science Foundation Ireland Frontiers for Partnership Programme.

I am originally from Galway. I studied Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences with Trinity College Dublin. I thoroughly enjoy chemistry and have a particular interest in natural sources of products, including medicines. Education is very important to me, and I am very happy to be returning to an educational environment with ATU Sligo.

Joining the ProspecTER project is an exciting new opportunity for me. It is giving me the opportunity to develop my skills in natural product chemistry. I am glad of the chance to move into this area, building on the experience from my pharmacy degree. There are many exciting new developments in the area of natural products. Marine research, in particular, allows us to gain an understanding of this dynamic environment, which is so important to all of our lives.

With this research, I hope to learn more about the marine world, and how we can look to it as a source of value and understanding. In this way, I hope to bring about positive change, while learning myself in the process.