Ms Patricia Hughes

22-05-2013

Patricia HughesI came to AIT in 2006 to studyVeterinary Nursing, a course which I had always aspired to do. I’m glad I chose AIT as I thoroughly enjoyed the course from an academic and social perspective. The course supplied me with extensive practical and scientific knowledge in the care of large and small animals. I continued on after Veterinary Nursing to complete my Honours Degree in Agricultural Scienceandin turn changed my career path. My final year project was supervised by Dr. Damien Brady whose excellent leadership and vast knowledge in the area microbiologyresearch led me to continue my studies within AIT and pursue an MSc in Food Microbiology via research mode. I am based in the Biosciences Research Institute and my project encompasses the study of novel antimicrobial agents. The primary focus of the study is to characterise and evaluate the antimicrobial efficacy of lipids sourced from vegetable oils. The major findings of the research reside in our synthesis and analysis of modified coconut oil which significantly inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium which is a major cause of tooth decay. The work has led the exciting discovery of a natural antimicrobial agent, which may aid in the control of dental caries which is a commonly overlooked health problem. The research project is led by Dr. Damien Brady, Dr. Carmel Kealey and Prof. Neil Rowan and was presented at the Society of General Microbiology’s autumn 2012 conference in the University of Warwick. Our research was released to the general media and received worldwide acclaim. This exposure accelerated the research and allowed us to establish collaborations both nationally and internationally. We have recently filed a PCT Patent for modified coconut oil and I myself have transferred from MSc to PhD. In all, my time spent in AIT has been very worthwhile!

Patricia Hughes bio