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Rita Hickey

Research Officer

Research Interests


Senior Research Officer investigating:

  • The biological properties of sugars/oligosaccharides isolated from food sources
  • The effect of food derived oligosaccharides on host-microbial interactions in the gut
  • The extraction, enrichment, fractionation and structural analysis of food derived oligosaccharides
  • Development of bioassays for investigating the bioactive properties of glycans/oligosaccharides isolated from food sources
  • Manager of the Teagasc Tissue culture facilities at Moorepark


2008 FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture
2003 Ph.D. Microbiology from NUI Cork (UCC) 
1998 B.Sc. Hons (1H) from NUI Dublin (UCD)


  1. Morrin, S. T., Buck, R. H., Farrow, M. and Hickey, R. M.* (2021) Milk-derived anti-infectives and their potential to combat bacterial and viral infection, Journal of Functional Foods, 81, 104442.
  2. Quinn, E. M. O’Callaghan T. F., Tobin J. T., Murphy, J. P., Sugrue K., Slattery, H., O’Donovan M and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). Changes to the Oligosaccharide Profile of Bovine Milk at the Onset of Lactation. Dairy 1, 284–296; doi:10.3390/dairy1030019
  3. Quinn, E. M., Kilcoyne, M., Walsh, D., Joshi, L. and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). A Whey Fraction Rich in Immunoglobulin G combined with Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 exhibits synergistic effects against Campylobacter jejuni. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21(13):4632.
  4. Walsh, C. Lane, J.A., van Sinderen, D. and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). Human milk oligosaccharides: Shaping the infant gut microbiota and supporting health. Journal of Functional Foods, 72, 104074.
  5. Morrin, S.T., McCarthy, G., Kennedy, D., Marotta, M., Irwin, J. A. and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). Immunoglobulin G from bovine milk primes intestinal epithelial cells for increased colonization of bifidobacteria AMAB express. 10 (1), 114.
  6. Walsh, C. Lane, J. A., van Sinderen, D. and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). From lab bench to formulated ingredient: Characterization, Production, and Commercialization of Human Milk Oligosaccharides. Journal of Functional Foods. 72, 104052.
  7. Quinn, E. M., Slattery, H., Walsh, D., Joshi, L. and Hickey, R. M.* (2020). Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 and Goat Milk Oligosaccharides Show Synergism In Vitro as Anti-Infectives against Campylobacter jejuni. Foods 9(3), 348.
  8. Quinn, E. M., Joshi, J and Hickey R. M.* (2020). Symposium review: Dairy-derived oligosaccharides-Their influence on host–microbe interactions in the gastrointestinal tract of infants. Journal of Dairy Science. 103(4):3816-3827.
  9. Morrin S. M. and Hickey R. M.* (2020). New insights on the colonization of the human gut by health-promoting bacteria. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 104:1511–1515
  10. Lane JA, Calonne J, Slattery H, Hickey R. M.* (2019). Oligosaccharides Isolated from MGO™ Manuka Honey Inhibit the Adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus Aureus to Human HT-29 cells. Foods. 8(10) pii: E446.
  11. Morrin, S. T., Owens, R. A., Le Berre, M., Gerlach, J. Q., Joshi, L., Bode, L., Irwin J. A., and Hickey R. M.* (2019a) Interrogation of Milk-driven Changes to the Proteome of Intestinal Epithelial Cells by Integrated Proteomics and Glycomics. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 67(7):1902-1917
  12. Morrin S. T., Lane J. A., Marotta, M. Bode, L., Carrington, S. D., Irwin J.A. and Hickey R. M.* (2019b) Bovine colostrum-driven Modulation of Intestinal Epithelial Cells for increased Commensal Colonisation. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 103(6), 2745-2758.
  13. Quinn, E. M., Slattery, H, Thompson A. P., Kilcoyne M., Joshi L. and Hickey R. M.* (2018) Mining milk for factors which increase the adherence of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis to intestinal cells. Foods 7(12), 196
  14. O’Riordan N., O’Callaghan, J, Buttò, L. F., Kilcoyne M., Joshi L. and Hickey R. M.* (2018) Bovine glycomacropeptide promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis and modulates its gene expression. Journal of Dairy Science. 101:1–12.
  15. Ryan, J. T., Slattery, H., Hickey R. M. and Marotta M. (2018) Bovine Milk Oligosaccharides as Anti-Adhesives against the Respiratory Tract Pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. International Dairy Journal 81; 87-94



Key note speaker at NIZO2021 Dairy Conference: Innovations in Dairy Ingredients on “The impact of glycosylation on milk protein functionality” Hickey, R. M. (Virtual 7/10/21)

Oral presentation given at the International Whey Conference: A Better Whey of Life (IWC2020) on “Ingredients in whey aimed at boosting probiotic establishment in the gut” Hickey, R. M. (Virtual, 20/11/20)

Oral presentation given on “The influence of the milk glycome on human health” at the ADSA Teagasc-Moorepark Symposium: Animal Diet, Dairy Product Quality, and Advances in Dairy Foods Nutrition and Health. Hickey, R. M. (Cincinnati, USA 26/6/19)