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Dr Helen O'Shea

education and career profile

Dr Helen O’Shea was awarded her BSC (Hons) from UCC in 1985, and went on to complete a PhD in TCD, graduating in 1990. She was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the University of Cambridge from 1990-1996, when she moved to Ireland to take up a position as a Lecturer in CIT.  She served as chair of the Post-Graduate Research Board in CIT from 2001-2008; was actively involved in CIT’s successful application for delegated authority Dr. O’Shea has played a key role in obtaining funding of over €1,646,298 (personal funding for group); and is involved as a partner in funding of over €9,497,428 awarded to date: from Cullen Fellowship, ERA-Net, Departments of Agriculture and Health, IRCSET and the TRS to support scientific research, including two FIRM grants, with CIT as Lead Partner and Dr. O’Shea as P.I..  She has active collaborations with UCC, UCD, DCU, AFBI and the Universities of Bari, Leuven and Dalhousie, resulting in several publications.  Dr. O’Shea is currently in receipt of funding from; the Department of Agriculture, (FIRM)and the Marine Institute (Cullen Fellowship).  She was a key member in the CREATE/Bioexplore team, where €3.8 million was awarded to CIT under PRTLIV funding.


Research interests 

Main areas of research interest; Virology and epidemiology, in particular gastroenteritis viruses, infecting both humans and food animals.  Antibiotic resistance, biofilms and the antibacterial/antiviral effects of bioactive glass, marine bioactives and how these can add value to foods etc.


ongoing research 

  • Investigation of respiratory disease on Irish pig farms, associated risk factors, and the relationship with performance, welfare and antimicrobial use. Funding Body: FIRM (Department of Agriculture). Post Graduate Student: Ms Rose Fitzgerald
  • Next generation sequencing to determine the occurrence of Norovirus Genotype. Funding Body: Marine Institute (Cullen Fellowship). Post Graduate Student: Ms Amy Fitzpatrick


previous research 

  • SeaRefinery [Marine Bioactives from Saccharina lasissima). Funding Body: ERA Net (EU). Post Graduate Student: Ms Orlaith O’Connell
  • Zoonotic Potential of Rotavirus. Funding Body: FIRM (Department of Agriculture). Post Graduate Students: Dr Norma Reidy, Dr Grainne Lennon, Dr PJ Collins, Dr Olivia Cashman



Relevant publications include:

  • Collins, et al., Molecular detection of kobuviruses in livestock in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Arch Virol (2017). doi:10.1007/s00705-017-3223-6
  • Lynda Gunn, PJ Collins, Mary O'Connell and Helen O'Shea. Phylogenetic Investigation of enteric Bovine Coronavirus in Ireland reveals partitioning between European and Global Strains. (2015) Irish Veterinary Journal 68 (1), 31.
  • PJ Collins, Emily Mulherin, Helen O'Shea, Olivia Cashman, Grainne Lennon, Eugene Pidgeon, Suzie Coughlan, William Hall, Séamus Fanning Changing patterns of rotavirus strains circulating in Ireland: Re‐emergence of G2P [4] and identification of novel genotypes in Ireland. Journal of medical virology (2015) 87 (5), 764-773.
  • Gunn L, Collins PJ, Fanning S, McKillen J, Morgan J, Staines A, O'Shea H. Detection and characterisation of novel bocavirus (genus Bocaparvovirus) and gastroenteritis viruses from asymptomatic pigs in Ireland. Infect Ecol Epidemiol.(2015) 5: 27270 -
  • Zeller M, Heylen E, Damanka S, Pietsch C, Donato C, Tamura T, Kulkarni R, Arora R, Cunliffe N, Maunula L, Potgieter C, Tamim S, Coster S, Zhirakovskaya E, Bdour S, O'Shea H, Kirkwood CD, Seheri M, Nyaga MM, Mphahlele J, Chitambar SD, Dagan R, Armah G, Tikunova N, Van Ranst M, Matthijnssens J Emerging OP354-Like P[8] Rotaviruses Have Rapidly Dispersed from Asia to Other Continents. Mol Biol Evol. (2015). doi: 10.1093/molbev/msv088
  • Lennon G, Reidy N, Collins PJ, Gunn L, Coyle PV, Cryan B, Fanning S, O'Shea H. A comparison of the efficiency of ELISA and selected primer sets to detect Norovirus isolates in southern Ireland over a four-year period (2002-2006): variation in detection rates and evidence for continuing predominance of NoV GII.4 genotype. Arch Virol. (2014);159(7):1697-1705.
  • Collins P, Mulherin E, Cashman O, Lennon G, Gunn L, O'Shea H, Fanning S. Detection and characterisation of bovine rotavirus in Ireland from 2006-2008. Ir Vet J. (2014) 20;67(1):13.
  • O'Shea H, Mulherin E, Matthijnssens J, McCusker MP, Collins PJ, Cashman O, Gunn L, Beltman ME, Fanning S. Complete genomic sequence analyses of the first group A giraffe rotavirus reveals close evolutionary relationship with rotaviruses infecting other members of the Artiodactyla Vet Microbiol. (2014) 14;170(1-2):151-6.
  • Gunn L., Feeney S.A., Cashman O., Collins P.J., Coyle P.V. and O’Shea H. Molecular Characterization of Group A Rotavirus Found in Elderly Patients in Ireland; Predominance of G1P[8], Continued Presence of G9P[8], and Emergence of G2P[4]. J Med Virol (2012) Volume 84, Issue 12, pages 2008–2017.  DOI: 10.1002/jmv.23416
  • Matthijnssens J, Miño S, Papp H, Potgieter C, Novo L, Heylen E, Zeller M, Garaicoechea L, Badaracco A, Lengyel G, Kisfali P, Cullinane A, Collins PJ, Ciarlet M, O'Shea H, Parreño V, Bányai K, Barrandeguy M, Van Ranst M. Complete molecular genome analyses of equine rotavirus A strains from different continents reveal several new genotypes and a largely conserved genotype constellation. J Gen Virol. (2011); 93(Pt 4):866-75.
  • Cashman O, O'Shea H. Detection of human bocaviruses 1, 2 and 3 in Irish children presenting with gastroenteritis. Arch Virol. (2012);157(9):1767-73.
  • O. Cashman, P J. Collins, G. Lennon, B. Cryan, V. Martella,,  S. Fanning, A. Staines, H. O’ Shea Molecular characterisation of group A rotaviruses detected in children with gastroenteritis in Ireland in the years 2006-2009. Epidemiology and Infection (2011) 14:1-13.
  • O Cashman, G Lennon, RD Sleator, E Power, S Fanning, H O'Shea. Changing profile of the bovine rotavirus G6 population in the south of Ireland from 2002 to 2009. (2010). Veterinary microbiology 146 (3), 238-244.
  • Collins, P.J., Martella, V., Buonavoglia, C. O’Shea H. Identification of a G2-like porcine rotavirus bearing a novel VP4 type, P[32] Vet. Res. (2010) 41(5): 73-84.
  • Collins PJ, Martella V, Sleator RD, Fanning S, O'Shea H. Detection and characterisation of group A rotavirus in asymptomatic piglets in southern Ireland. Arch. Virol. (2010); 155(8):1247-59.
  • Cashman, O., Lennon, G., Sleator, R.D., Power, E., Fanning, S., O’Shea, H. Changing profile of the bovine rotavirus G6 population in the south of Ireland from 2002 to 2009. Vet Microbiol. (2010); 15; 146 (3-4):238-44.
  • Collins, P.J., Martella, V., Buonavoglia C O’Shea, H. Detection and characterization of porcine sapoviruses from asymptomatic animals in Irish farms. Veterinary Microbiology (2009); 139(1-2):176-82.
  • Collins, P.J. Cullinane, A. Martella, V. O’Shea, H. Molecular characterisation of equine rotavirus in Ireland. J. Clin. Micro (2008) 46:10 p.3346–3354.
  • Collins, P.J., Martella, V. O’Shea, H.  Detection and characterisation of group C rotavirus in asymptomatic piglets in Ireland. J. Clin. Micro (2008) 46:9 p.2973-2979.
  • Mulherin, E., Bryan, J., Beltman, M., O’ Grady, L., Pidgeon, E., Garon, L., Lloyd, A., Bainbridge, J., O’ Shea, H., Whtye, P. and Fanning, S. Molecular Characterisation of a Bovine-Like Rotavirus Isolated from a Giraffe. BMC Veterinary Research (2008), 4:46.
  • G. Lennon, N. Reidy, B. Cryan, S. Fanning, H. O'Shea. Changing profile of rotavirus in Ireland: Predominance of P[8] and emergence of P[6] and P[9] in mixed infections. J. Med. Virol. (2008): 80: 524-530.
  • G. Lennon, O. Cashman, K. Lane, B. Cryan and H. O’Shea.  Prevalence and Characterization of Enteric Adenoviruses in the South of Ireland. J. Med. Virol. (2007) 79:1518–1526.
  • N. Reidy, G. Lennon, S. Fanning, E. Power and H. O'Shea. Molecular characterisation and analysis of bovine rotavirus strains circulating in Ireland 2002–2004.Vet. Microbiol. (2006) 117, 242-247.
  • Reidy, N. O’Halloran, F. Fanning, S Cryan, B. and O’Shea, H. Emergence of G3 and G9 Rotavirus and Increased Incidence of Mixed Infections in the Southern Region of Ireland 2001-2004. J. Med. Virol. (2005). 77; 571-578.
  • O’Halloran, F., Lynch, M., Cryan, B., O’Shea, H. & Fanning, S. (2000).Molecular characterization of Rotavirus in Ireland: Detection of Novel Strains Circulating in the Population. J Clin Microbiol. (2000) 38(9):3370-4.

Book Chapters (invited)

  • Viral Pathogens as Therapeutic Delivery Vehicles: in Patho-Biotechnology EdS: Roy Sleator and Colin Hill ISBN: 978-1-58706-304-6 Chapter author: Helen O'Shea (invited chapter).
  • Rotavirus: In Molecular Detection of Animal Rotavirus Pathogens. Helen O’Shea, P. J. Collins, Lynda Gunn, Barbara A. Blacklaws, John McKillen and Miren Iturriza Gómara (invited chapter).
  • Elsevier Module (invited): Viruses associated with foodborne infections. H. O’Shea, B. A. Blacklaws, P.J. Collins, J. McKillen , R. Fitzgerald. Helen O'Shea (