Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MHE04 (FT), MHE05 (PT)

CAO Points :

The Department of Chemistry is committed to providing excellence in teaching, research and in the training of PhD students. Our aim is to provide graduate students with every opportunity to enhance and develop their career, by providing good supervision, training in research methodology and associated professional skills; all of which will prepare them for their subsequent career.

The main objective of this programme is to provide graduate students with an integrated broad-based training in the discipline of chemistry including the most advanced research methodology in physical, organic, inorganic and analytical chemistry.

Closing date
Research applications are generally accepted at any time

September (or other agreed time)

Candidates for a PhD degree will normally be expected to have a Second Class Honours Grade 1 primary degree in Chemistry, or a relevant discipline. Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:
• IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
• TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
• TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
• PTE (Pearson): 62

Maynooth University’s TOEFL code is 8850

Current Research Areas
- BioAnalytics and Neuroscience
- Electrochemistry, Sensors and Materials Chemistry
- Physical Chemistry of Low Temperature Materials and Biomolecules
- Bioinorganic & Medicinal Chemistry
- Synthetic & Mechanistic Organic Chemistry
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry
- Environmental & Green Chemistry

Prof John P Lowry
Research in Prof Lowry’s group involves the development and application of new analytical methodologies to study neurochemical phenomena in the living brain. Methods used include sampling (e.g. Brain Microdialysis), spectroscopic (e.g. fMRI) and electrochemical (e.g. In Vivo Voltammetry) techniques which allow investigations of the functions and roles of specific neurochemicals in neuronal signalling, drug actions, and well-defined behaviours.

Prof Carmel B Breslin
Research in Electrochemistry and Materials Chemistry is focused on the chemical and electrochemical synthesis of new materials that have potential applications in areas as diverse as Environmental Technologies, Biological Sensors and Drug Delivery. Our work on sensors involves the incorporation of macrocyclic cages into conducting polymer films to give sensors that are both selective and sensitive for a biological target. In the area of drug delivery we focus on the formation of polymeric and hydrogel materials that can be programmed to bind and release drugs. Our projects in environmental technologies include studies on the formation of new materials that can trap and extractorganic pollutants from the environment.

Dr. Robert Elmes
Dr. Elmes’ research interests lie in the fields of supramolecular chemistry and chemical biology where the group is trying to address problems in both health- and nano- science. The research concerns designing new materials for drug delivery, diagnostic tools, antitumor therapeutics, and environmental remediation. Dr. Elmes’ research is specifically directed at designing biomimetic materials using biopolymers, which can undergo supramolecular self-assembly processes.

Dr Frances Heaney
Dr Heaney's research funded by SFI, IRCSET and Maynooth University lies in the applications of synthetic chemistry to solving problems at the chemistry/biology interface.  We have an interest in chemical modifications for drug delivery purposes e.g. derivitisation of short interfering RNAs; in development of calixarene based metal ion sensors; and in functionalization of biomolecules to facilitate study of biochemical processes

Dr Malachy McCann
Research is conducted on the synthesis of new transition metal complexes. Emphasis isplaced on complexes that may exhibit bioactivity and, thus, are potential candidates for new antimicrobial and anti-cancer drugs.

Dr John G McCaffrey
Time-resolved, laser spectroscopy of matrixisolated metal atoms is used to examine the behaviour of these elementary solid state systems, i.e. guest atoms isolated in the face-centered-cubic, solid rare gas hosts. Molecular dynamics work is being done on the luminescence spectroscopy of metal atoms isolated in  the solid rare gases (M/RG) based on the use of sums of diatomic MRG pair potentials. A recent collaboration with Dr Claudine Crepin at the CNRS, Orsay France, is utilising ultra-fast laser techniques to study the tautomerism of porphyrins isolated in low temperature solids.

Dr. Elisa Fadda
Dr. Fadda uses a variety of computational chemistry techniques to study the molecular determinants regulating structure, dynamics and energetics of small molecules up to large biomolecular systems and the interaction between them.
Current research interests involve the following topics:
- Design of target-specific peptides for the development of diagnostic, prognostic and risk assessment microarrays.
- Elucidation of the molecular determinants regulating the DNA-lesion recognition and repair machinery, as well as the molecular mechanism underlying drug-induced inhibition of repair.
- DNA packaging, chromatin structure and nucleosome energetic and structural determinants underlying binding specificity

Dr A Denise Rooney
Dr Rooney’s research is based on organometallic chemicals which can act catalysts or as fluorescent switches, and the synthesis of functionalised polymers and macrocycles. These materials can act in the sensing and remediation of organic molecules and inorganic (NO3-) ions. Currently polymer materials are being designed to slowly deliver nitrification inhibitors which could reduce nitrogen losses from soil, while others have been shown to promote the growth of highly ordered copper-based nanostructures.

Dr John C Stephens
Dr Stephens carries out research in synthetic organic chemistry with a focus on medicinal chemistry and asymmetric synthesis. Medicinal chemistry involves the design, synthesis and development of new pharmaceutical drugs that are suitable for therapeutic use. Dr Stephens has a particular interest in diabetes, neurological disorders and microbial infections. Dr Stephens’s interest in asymmetric synthesis lies in the efficient control of selectivity in bond making reactions, particularly C-C bond making processes.

Dr Trinidad Velasco-Torrijos
Dr Velasco-Torrijos’ research interests are in the interface of Chemistry and Biology: in particular in the area of synthetic carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology. The research addresses the role of carbohydrates in cell regulation and cell communication processes, with the aim to develop carbohydrate-based bioactive molecules with potential therapeutic applications. Projects include the synthesis of glycoconjugates as modulators of the immune response and neurodegenerative conditions, and inhibitors of bacterial infection.

Dr Jennifer McManus
The study of self assembly and phase transitions in biological soft condensed matter (such as lipids, DNA and protein) forms the basis of the lab’s research. Interests range from engineering devices to transport DNA for gene delivery, to understanding the molecular origins for diseases which occur when mutations in proteins lead to the formation of condensed phases, such as amorphous aggregates or crystals under physiological conditions.

Dr Nataša Mitic
Dr Mitic is investigating the mechanisms of action of various biocatalysts (enzymes), in particular those requiring metal ions for their function. A range of spectroscopic techniques, such as electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and magnetic circular dichroism (MCD), and kinetic measurements (steady state and stopped-flow) are employed to monitor catalysis and identify and characterise reaction intermediates. Some of these enzymes are established drug targets and insight gained in these studies will be applied to design potent inhibitors as potential new drug leads. Dr Mitic collaborates internally with Drs McCann and Schenk from the Department of Chemistry and Dr Kavanagh from the Department of Biology, and externally with Prof Graeme Hanson from the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia).

Students must take a minimum of 10 credits in taught modules (at least 5 in generic/transferable modules and at least 5 in subject specific/advanced specialist modules) from the structured PhD programme.

Course Duration: 2 years Full-time, 3 years Part-time

The knowledge gained through the study of chemistry opens many career pathways, including, but not limited to, chemistry, medicine, law, business, chemical physics, environmental science, and teaching. The American Chemical Society ( and Royal Society of Chemistry ( maintain career services web pages which have information about careers in chemistry.

Online application only

PAC Code
MHE05 Part-time

The following information should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of birth certificate or valid passport.

Back to top