Ann graduated top of her class with a B.Sc. degree in Genetics and Cell Biology from Dublin City University in 2012. As an undergraduate she obtained the DiaMonD Ureka award which allowed her to research in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute on a summer internship. She also worked in the National Institute of Cellular Biology, Smurfit Institute of Genetics and spent 6 months researching in the Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics in University of Pennsylvania. After gaining such a wealth of wet lab experience Ann decided to delve into the world of Bioinformatics and carried out her undergraduate thesis on “The Evolution of Mammalian Genomic Imprinting” in the Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution Group. Ann was awarded her own funding through IRCSET for her outstanding academic ability. She commenced her PhD in August 2012 and is based in Dr Mary J. O’Connell’s Compuational and Molecular Evolution Research Group at the University of Leeds and her project collaborator is Professor James O. McInerney at The University of Manchester (mcinerneylab).
Ann’s project addresses the emergence of novel protein coding elements. The complete genomes of a full range of vertebrates is studied in this project using novel network based approaches. We have successfully identified novel protein coding sequences that are likely to have contributed to the evolution of clade/species-specific synapomorphies.
Ann received the Orla Benson travel award 2013, the “best oral presentation” at the annual biocomputing and bio-innovation conference at UCD in 2013, and has just been awarded a Young investigator travel grant from the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution to attend their annual international conference in Australia http://smbe2016.org/.