Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Programme
Project : Development of a robust open data platform to underpin marine data acquisition, predictive analytics and visualisation services for the Marine ICT Sector
Researcher: Siobhan Moran National University of Ireland, Galway
Project Summary: The main aim of this research project is to develop an early warning system that can interpret coastal data for a range of users. In particular, the system will assess the risk of coastal flooding as a result of adverse marine and weather conditions.
Through the existing SmartBay infrastructure and other data sources, there will be an abundance of accurate weather and marine data available. The project will explore suitable data analytics approaches, to reliably interpret this data and deliver timely information, customised for each stakeholder group. These include– members of the public, emergency response agencies, city officials and marine professionals - in both Galway Bay and Cork Harbour. Such data analytics will be complemented by appropriate data visualisation tools and techniques, and made available via a number of channels, including web and hybrid mobile applications.
Researcher Biography: Siobhan Moran is a research student at the Discipline of Information Technology, NUI Galway. Her research is funded via the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership scheme with SmartBay as Industry Partner. She initially graduated with a Marine Science Degree and worked for almost 20 years in the Irish Marine sector, gathering experience across a broad range of related areas. These included Health Management and Project Management roles within the fish-farming sector as well as research positions with GMIT, Fisheries Research Centre (Dept.of the Marine) and the Marine Institute.
While working with the Marine Institute, Siobhan was involved in a number of successful research projects, presenting the findings at annual industry-science workshops. She also managed the Phytoplankton Laboratory which is a part of the National Monitoring Programme for shellfish. It is also responsible for reviewing phytoplankton sampling methodologies and experimental research design so as to improve efficiency in the monitoring and management of harmful algal bloom events (HABs) in Irish waters. As a result, the MI phytoplankton lab was the first in the Northern Hemisphere to be accredited for such work.
More recently, Siobhan returned to NUI Galway to complete a postgraduate diploma in ICT (Information & Communication Technologies), winning the Cisco Award for Best Group Project. She subsequently worked for a short period as freelance developer on Enterprise Ireland funded projects, specialising in hybrid application development. The combination of Marine, Research and ICT skills ideally positions her for a role as Data Scientist in the SmartOceans/Marine sector and is what attracted her to this project.
Project : Antifouling Strategies for Marine Deployed Infrastructure
Researcher: Alan Barrett, Dublin City University
Project Summary: Any object immersed within a water environment will undergo biofilm formation within minutes. In the case of sensors, biofilm formation can have an immediate deleterious effect on data quality and therefore the sensors will require improved maintenance to restore and improve data integrity. This project funded by the Irish Research Council and National Infrastructure Access Programme addresses the need for novel effective antifouling materials to combat biofouling on infrastructure or sensors in the marine environment. This will be achieved by investigation and production of materials that include slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and nanoparticle-doped and functionalised materials. The SmartBay Team will support deployment of materials on panels and on commercial and novel sensors using the National Test and Demonstration Infrastructure in Galway Bay. The buoys in Galway Bay will be used to deploy materials on panels and deploy sensors on the variety of infrastructures supported by SmartBay.
Researcher Biography: Alan was awarded a Beaufort Undergraduate Research Scholarship Programme in 2013 before graduating from Dublin City University with a B.Sc in Analytical Science. Alan’s internship was spent under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Sullivan and Prof. Fiona Regan. The Beaufort project and final year undergraduate research project both related to the issue of biofouling, focusing on superhydrophobic antifouling.
After graduating he then continued in the MESTECH research group working as a research assistant working with Dr. Aoife Power on the development of novel materials for industrial applications. Alan has recently commenced an Irish Research Council and National Infrastructure Access Programme funded PhD ‘Development of novel nano-surface enhancement for the development of improved antifouling materials for marine sensing applications’.
Project : Development of a sensor platform to detect Azadinium spinosum and associated toxin Azaspiracid, a shellfish poisoning toxin.
Researcher: Daniel McPartlin, Dublin City University
Project Summary: Increasing occurrences of harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been attributed to increased pollution and changing ocean temperatures. In the southwest coast of Ireland, HABs have caused annual closures of coastal fisheries due to the presence of toxic dinoflagelate Azadinium spinosum. Shellfish consume A. spinosum and the associated toxin (azaspiracid-1) builds up within their systems. Consumption by consumers causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Such occurrences have driven the need for highly-sensitive and accurate ‘on-site’ monitoring systems.
Current analytical detection methods are expensive and are not conductive to ‘on-site’ monitoring. Biosensors incorporating recombinant antibodies have emerged as an optimal alternative method of detection as they can allow for inexpensive, ‘real-time’, ‘on-site’ monitoring with excellent sensitivity and specificity. During this project recombinant antibodies will be developed in DCU to detect A. spinosum and azaspiracid-1.
This project will build on a previously successful Irish Marine Institute Galway project that monitored the movement of dinoflagelates along the southwest coast of Ireland as well as an ‘on-site’ toxin detection device previously developed in DCU. During this project, the movement of A. spinosum will be validated using the specific immunometric platform. SmartBay Ireland Ltd. will coordinate with DCU to oversee the ‘on-site’ marinisation, deployment and communication requirements of the novel device.
Researcher Biography: Daniel McPartlin is a first class honours graduate of BSc in Biotechnology in Dublin City University. Since graduating from DCU he has worked as a research assistant for Prof. Richard O’Kennedy in the Biomedical Diagnostic Institute, specialising in the operation and maintenance of the Biacore 1000, 3000 and 4000 systems, which are at the heart of the BDI Antibody operation, one of the most comprehensive and advanced antibody characterisation facilities in Europe. During this time he also worked on a collaborative effort with Queen’s University Belfast developing antibodies specific to an important drug molecule of interest using novel screening techniques developed in the BDI.
In 2014 he was awarded the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme to carry out a PhD in the School of Biotechnology in DCU in collaboration with SmartBay Ireland Ltd. The aim of this project is to develop a novel detection platform to detect the occurrence of Azadinium spinosum and its associated toxin azaspiracid-1. This toxin, which causes nausea and diarrhoea in humans, is associated with the contamination of shellfish and, consequently, the closure of coastal fisheries on the southwest coast of Ireland.