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Ruth Hamill

Research Officer

Research Interests

My research interests focus on muscle molecular biology and meat science with a view to understanding the biological processes underpinning meat quality, the identification of novel biological markers of quality and characterisation of the structure/function relationship in meat products. Traits of interest include technological and sensory aspects of muscle and meat quality, such as colour, flavour, tenderness, composition and water-holding capacity. Several projects aim to identify transcriptomic and proteomic variation associated with divergence in these quality traits and a major area of interest is the identification of novel genetic variation associated with beef and pork quality. The structure/function relationship in meat products is being examined in model systems, such as extracted myofibrils, using techniques such as microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and high field NMR

Current Projects

Nationally funded projects involve collaborators in UCC, UCD and NUIG. I am currently PI and co-ordinator of a DAFF FIRM-funded collaborative project focused on understanding the link between ultrastructure, physico-chemistry and technological and sensory properties entitled “Understanding the physico-chemistry of the meat matrix and its potential as a delivery system for added bioactive compounds.” I am a technical partner on an industry-led Enterprise Ireland project. Other projects in which I collaborate include Work Package 3.4 of the integrated Framework 6 project “ProSafeBeef” (EU FP6), “COST Action 861: European Network for Pig Genomics” (EU FP6), “Sustainable pork production; from gene expression to nutrient utilization efficiency and pork meat quality (UCD ENS Programme), “The influence of breed and diet on nutritional and sensory parameters of pork” (DAFF FIRM) and “The genomic and proteomic regulation of pork quality” (DAFF FIRM). I also have ongoing collaborations with Teagasc colleagues in both Food and Agriculture research areas.


B.Sc. (1H) in Zoology and Ph.D. in population genetics, both from the School of Biology and Environmental Science, UCD

Professional Membership

Represented Ireland on the management committee of COST Action 861: European Network for Pig Genomics.

Member of the Society for Animal Genetics and the Genetics Society.

Keenan, D. F., Resconi, V. C., Smyth, T. J., Lefranc, C., Botinestean, C., Kerry, J. P., Hamill, R. M. (2015). The effect of partial-fat substitutions with
encapsulated and unencapsulated fish oils on the technological and eating quality of beef burgers over storage. Meat Science, available online, doi:10.1016/j. meatsci.2015.04.013

Tobin, B. D., M. G. O’Sullivan, R. Hamill and J. P. Kerry (2014). European consumer attitudes on the associated health benefits of neutraceutical containing processed meats using Co-enzyme Q10 as a sample functional ingredient. Meat Science 97(2): 207–213.

Keenan, D. F., Auty, M. A. E., Doran, L., Kerry, J.P., Hamill, R. M. (2014). Investigating the influence of inulin as a fat substitute in comminuted products using rheology, calorimetric and microscopy techniques. Food Structure, 01: 2014

Hamill, RM, Aslan, O, Mullen, AM, O’Doherty, JV, McBryan, J, Morris, DG and Sweeney, T (2013). Transcriptome analysis of porcine M. semimembranosus divergent in intramuscular fat as a consequence of dietary protein restriction. BMC Genomics.2013, 14:453

Di Luca, A, Elia, G, Hamill, RM and Mullen, AM (2013). 2-D DIGE proteomic analysis of early post mortem muscle exudate highlights the importance of the stress response for improved water-holding capacity of fresh pork meat. Proteomics, 13, 9, 1528-1544.

Hamill, RM, McBryan, J, McGee, C, Mullen, AM, Sweeney, T, Talbot, A, Cairns, MT, Davey, GC (2012). Functional analysis of muscle gene expression profiles associated with tenderness and intramuscular fat content in pork. Meat Science, 92, 4, pp. 440-450.

Ryan,MT,  Hamill, RM, O’Halloran, AM, Davey,G, McBryan, J, Mullen, AM, McGee, C,Gil, M ,Southwood, Ol and Sweeney, T(2012). SNP variation in the promoter of the PRKAG3 gene and association with meat quality traits in pig. BMC Genetics, 2012, 13:66  

McArdle, R, Hamill, R.M. and Kerry, J.P. (2011). Utilisation of hydrocolloids in processed meat systems. In: Processed meats: improving safety,
nutrition and quality, p. 243–269. Edited by J.P. Kerry and J.F. Kerry, Woodhead Publishing.

Di Luca, A, Mullen, AM, Elia, G, Davey, G and Hamill, RM (2011). Centrifugal drip is an accessible source for protein indicators of pork ageing and water-holding capacity. Meat Science, 88, 2, 261-270

Hamill, RM, Marcos, B, Rai, DK and Mullen AM (2011). Omics technologies for meat quality management. In: Omics Technologies: Tools for Food Science. Taylor and Francis, UK.


Ruth McArdle, Ph.D. student

Alessio Di Luca, Ph.D. student