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Paula O'Connor

Technician - Food Programme

Research Interests

Paula is an experimental officer dealing with Food bioactives, Bioactive peptides, Antimicrobial resistance. She runs the Bioactive Peptide Discovery Unit (BPDU) which is a unique facility designed to purify and characterise bioactive peptides from a number of sources. Her main areas of expertise are peptide purification, MALDI TOF mass spectrometry, peptide synthesis and amino acid analysis. She is interested in the development of novel antimicrobials as alternatives to antibiotics with a particular interest in bacteriocins which are small peptides produced by bacteria that kill closely related strains (narrow spectrum) or different genera (broad spectrum).


PhD in Food Microbiology, University College Cork.  2021

M.Sc. University College Cork, Ireland. 1992

B.Sc. (Hons) in Food Microbiology, University College Cork, Ireland. 1989


  1. Kuniyoshi TM, O’Connor PM, Lawton E, Thapa D, Mesa-Periera B, Abulu S, Hill C, Ross RP, Oliveira RPS and Cotter PD (2022) An oxidation resistant pediocin PA-1 derivative and penocin A display effective ant-Listeria activity in a model human gut environment. Gut Microbes 14:e2004071
  2. O’Reilly C, O’Connor PM, O’Sullivan O, Rea MC, Hill C and Ross RP (2021) Impact of nisin on Closteroides difficile and microbiota composition in a faecal fermentation model of the human colon. Journal of Applied Microbiology doi:10.1111/jam.15250
  3. O’Sullivan JN, O’Connor PM, Rea MC, Hill C, Field D, and Ross RP (2021) Nisin variants from Streptococcus and Staphylococcus successfully express in Lactococcus lactis NZ9800 Journal of Applied Microbiology 131:2223-2234
  4. O’Connor PM, Kuniyoshi TM, Oliviera RPS, Hill C, Ross RP and Cotter PD (2020) Antimicrobials for food and feed; a bacteriocin perspective. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 61:160-167
  5. Sugrue I, O’Connor PM, Hill C, Stanton C, and Ross RP (2020) Actinomyces produce defensin-like bacteriocins (actifensins) with a highly degenerate structure and broad antimicrobial activity. Journal of Bacteriology 202 issue 4 e00529-19
  6. Hill D, O’Connor PM, Altermann E, Day L, Hill C, Stanton C and Ross RP (2020) Extensive bacteriocin gene shuffling in the Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus complex reveals gallocin D with activity against vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Scientific Reports 10:13431
  7. Garcia-Gutierrez E, O’Connor PM, Colquhoun IJ, Vior NM, Rodriguez JM, Mayer MJ, Cotter PD and Narbad A, (2020) Production of multiple bacteriocins, including the novel bacteriocin gassericin M, by Lactobacillus gasseri   LM19, a strain isolated from human milk. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology doi.org/10.1007/s00253-020-10493-3
  8. Garcia-Gutierrez E, O’Connor PM, Saalbach G, Walsh CJ, Hegerty JW, Guinane CM, Mayer MJ, Narbad A, and Cotter PD (2020) First evidence of production of the lantibiotic nisin P. Scientific Reports doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60623-0
  9. O’Sullivan JN, O’Connor PM, Rea MC, O’Sullivan O, Walsh CJ, Healy B, Mathur H, Field D, Hill C and Ross RP (2020) Nisin J, a novel nisin variant, is produced by Staphylococcus capitis sourced from the human skin microbiome. Journal of Bacteriology 202 issue 3 e00639-19
  10. Lynch D, O’Connor PM, Cotter PD, Hill C, Field D, and Begley M (2019) - Identification and characterisation of capidermicin, a novel bacteriocin produced by Staphylococcus capitis. PlosOne doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223541
  11. O’Connor PM, O’Shea EF, Cotter PD, Hill C and Ross RP (2018) The potency of the broad spectrum bacteriocin, bactofencin A, against staphylococci is highly dependent on primary structure, N-terminal charge and disulphide formation. Scientific Reports 8:11833 doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30271-6