Professor John Nolan is the Principal Investigator of the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG, www.mprg.ie). His research group studies the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness, and current studies are investigating the link between nutrition and brain health and function. He has presented at over 100 international scientific conferences and has published over 76 peer-reviewed scientific papers on his area of research (2956 = citations, H index = 34). He is the editor of a CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group book publication entitled “Carotenoids and Retinal Disease.” He also has editorial roles at the European Journal of Ophthalmology and the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Nolan is also Chair of the International Brain and Ocular Nutrition Conference, which is held at Downing College, Cambridge University, UK., see www.bonconference.org, and is also Chair of the ARVO Macula and Nutrition Group.
Professor Stephen Beatty
Professor Stephen Beatty is the Director of the Macular Pigment Research Group. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1990, and trained as an ophthalmic surgeon in Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Geneva. He has been a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with a special interest in retinal disease since 2001.
Stephen Beatty has a strong track record in research, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications (2,332 citations, H index 22), and his research interest include cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Stephen Beatty was appointed Professor at Waterford Institute of Technology in 2010 and Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin in 2011.
Dr Alfonso Prado Cabero
Dr Alfonso Prado Cabrero is a Senior Scientist at the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG), with over 9 years of research experience in the field of carotenoids and 12 yeas of experience in research on Molecular and Human Genetics. He is currently managing a project funded by the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Programme focused in developing new biotechnology to produce natural carotenoids and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids at the commercial level. Alfonso received his BSc Degree in Biochemistry from University of Navarra (Spain) in 1999. Then he joined the department of Genetics of University of Seville to work on the description of genes involved in carotenoid biosynthesis in the fungus Fusarium. During this period he was awarded with an EMBO short term fellowship in 2005 to complete his research at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Freiburg (Germany). After graduating in 2006 (Honours), he worked for three years in the Unit of Immunology of Hospital de la Princesa (Madrid, Spain) to investigate the effect of hypoxia on lipid catabolism in the heart. Then he was awarded with a Juan de la Cierva Fellowship from the Spanish Government to join the department of Molecular Biology of Cancer at IIB (CSIC, Madrid), where he investigated the involvement of Ephrin-A3 on metastasis progression. In 2013 he joined the Centre for Desert Agriculture of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST, Saudi Arabia) as Research Scientist. There he developed his research on the biosynthesis of the carotenoid derived plant hormones Strigolactones and Abscisic acid. In 2014 he was awarded the Howard Fellowship at the Macular Pigment Research Group, to work on the origin of the macular carotenoid meso-zeaxanthin.
Dr. Rachel Moran
Dr. Rachel Moran, an American/Irish scientist, is a Howard Postdoctoral Researcher at the NRCI. Prior to this current position, she completed her PhD entitled "Non-dietary determinants and correlates of plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in an Irish population" within NRCI and under the supervision of Professor John Nolan and Professor Stephen Beatty. She was part of the first WIT Presidential PhD Scholarship Programme. Rachel believes that lifestyles and behaviours towards nutrition have a major impact on the prevention and progression of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. In 2010, she obtained a BSc (Honours) degree in Biotechnology with Quality Management from WIT and also gained pharmaceutical experience in Genzyme, Sanofi. She is a first author on two publications (one under review). She is also a co-author on 11 publications and has attended 8 national and international conferences. Rachel has attended many workshops and courses including level 3 phlebotomy, Advanced Vision Optometric Tests (AVOT), Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), Heidelberg Spectralis and Advanced Chromatographic Techniques. She is currently project managing three new clinical trials in Waterford, Coordinating a cross-sectional study in Mexico and supervising two PhD candidates. When she is not in the chemistry or vision lab, she enjoys reading, baking and spending time with her family.
Ganjar Saefurahman is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group, Waterford Institute of Technology. He is currently working on the project entitled Lutein Algae Feasibility funded by the European Research Council. He completed a BSc degree in Marine Science in the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia in 2008. He worked as a laboratory and lecturer assistant at the Laboratory of Ichthyology, Marine Biology, Chemical Oceanography, and Aquatic Ecology, Bogor Agricultural University between 2005 and 2008. He continued to work as a researcher with the Microalgae R&D Laboratory, Surfactant and Bioenergy Research Center, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia from 2008 to 2011. His research group conducted various projects of microalgae R&D funded by government institutions, e.g. the Ministry of Research and Technology, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, private industries, and international institutes.
In 2011, Ganjar became an Australian Development Scholarships Awardees from Indonesia. He continued a M.Phil study of Biological Sciences as a research student at Algae R&D Centre, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Australia from 2012 to 2014. His research thesis was the effects of different light spectra on the growth, composition and productivity of microalgae. In 2013, he was one of the Junior Research Award nominees in the 7th International Algae Congress, Germany. Ganjar is a member of the International Society for Applied Phycology, the Asia-Pacific Society for Applied Phycology and the Royal Society of Western Australia. His area of R&D is microalgae culture, photobiology and applied phycology for high-value products and environmental applications.
Rebecca is a 3rd year PhD candidate at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland in Waterford Institute of Technology. Rebecca has a keen interest in the role of nutrition for optimising health and wellbeing, with a specific interest in the potential role of nutrition in maintaining cognitive health and reducing the risk of neurological diseases, namely Alzheimer’s disease. Her current project, the Cognitive impAiRmEnt Study (CARES), is investigating the role of nutrition supplementation on cognitive function among individuals with mild cognitive impairment in comparison to age-matched controls. This research is being performed under the supervision of Professor John Nolan, Professor Stephen Beatty and Professor Riona Mulcahy, and support from Dr Robert Coen. Rebecca has previously worked as a Research Technician on the European Research Council-funded Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST), which investigated the impact of enrichment of macular pigment on visual performance. Rebecca holds a BA (Honours) in Health Promotion. She has also completed an MSc (by Research) in sedentary behaviour, which involved characterising the habitual physical activity and sedentary patterns of individuals with peripheral arterial disease. In 2018, Rebecca was awarded the School of Health Science student of the year award in WIT, as well as Early Investigator of the Year at the Brain and Ocular Nutrition Conference in Cambridge, UK. Outside of her academic interests, Rebecca enjoys keeping fit (swimming and walking), reading and attending sporting events, namely the Irish sport known as hurling.
Laura is currently employed at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland as a Research Assistant. Laura was first employed on the ERC funded CREST project in 2014, and has since secured a new contract as Research Assistant on the Enterprise Ireland funded LEAF project. Laura works as point of contact for Professor Nolan for all WIT related queries. Laura graduated from WIT with an Honours Degree in Business Studies in 2012.
Dr Marina Green
Marina Green is an Internal Medicine consultant from Mexico. She is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group in Waterford Institute of Technology. She received her medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) Medical School, Mexico in 2011. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Zubiran (INCMNSZ), Mexico in 2016. She is board certified in Internal Medicine by the Mexican Board of Internal Medicine since 2016. After completing her training in internal medicine, she was subsequently awarded a Fundacion para la Salud y la Educacion Salvador Zubiran, INCMNSZ grant to pursue a research career as clinical researcher in Nutrition. Currently she is working on a project entitled “Bioavailability of the macular carotenoids: the relationship between diet, serum concentrations, and macular pigment optical density”, a PhD Scholarship she successfully attained through competitive interview. Marina Green has done research in experimental surgery, clinical research and hospital health quality. During her medical training, she became an assistant professor for UNAM Medical School. She is interested on cellular metabolism, finding the way in which nutrients affect genetic changes, and developing public policies for a deeper change in human health through the cooperation between basic and clinical research and enhancing translational medicine.
Stephanie Byrne is a Registered General Nurse who completed a BSc (Hons) in General Nursing in Waterford Institute of Technology, graduating with First Class Honours (1:1). After her graduation from WIT, she had the opportunity to gain a diverse range of nursing skills at University Hospital Waterford, working in both the Oncology/Haematology Department and the Radiology Department. Currently, she is working on a PhD research study at the NRCI entitled “Memory Intervention with Nutrition for Dementia (re-MIND)”. This research aims to investigate the impact of supplementation with dietary nutrients on the natural progression of individuals with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Emmanuel Ankamah is a postgraduate research student with the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. He is currently working on the Floater Intervention Study (FLIES), which is designed to investigate the impact of supplementation with a novel nutrient formulation on visual disturbance resulting from vitreous floaters, using a robust randomized placebo-controlled trial. Prior to starting his PhD, he was a practicing Optometrist in Ghana as the resident optometrist at Friends Eye Center (a specialist eye clinic and partner of Unite for Sight, USA,). Dr. Ankamah counts himself fortunate to have worked closely with Faculty as they embarked on research projects, while pursuing a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree at the Department of Optometry and Visual Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. This inspired him to consider the prospects of a career in teaching and research. As a result, he accepted an invitation to serve as a Teaching and Research Assistant (TA) in the Department of Optometry, KNUST, after graduating with distinction in 2015.This position offered him more opportunity to work closely with faculty on different areas of vision research and develop the requisite skills for a research career in this field. Dr. Ankamah aspires to develop a research career in vision science with special interests in vitreoretinal diseases, ocular nutrition, cognitive function and visual function. He also aspires to become a consultant in vision science where he can contribute to eye care and research policies, support clinical trials, and spearhead eye care projects aimed at preventing blindness within the sub-Saharan region.