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Kerry Ryan

Postdoctoral Researcher – SOILGUARD Project

Research Interests

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher with a passion for understanding and exploring the environment around us. My academic journey began with a degree in Botany from Trinity College Dublin, where I delved into the intricacies of plant biology and ecological systems. My interest in environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture led me to pursue a Teagasc Walsh Scholarship PhD in Soil Microbiology from the University of Galway, where I investigated the effects of multi-species grassland mixtures on the composition and function of the soil microbiome in temperate grasslands.

My research interests encompass sustainable soil management, soil biodiversity, plant-soil interactions and ecosystem functioning. I am particularly focused on understanding the intricate relationships between soil microbiomes, agricultural management practices, and climate change resilience. My current work as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the SOILGUARD project, funded by the European Union Horizon2020 programme, aims to advance our understanding of soil biodiversity and multifunctionality across different biogeographical regions.

In addition to my research endeavours, I have a keen interest in sharing research and making science accessible. To facilitate this, I organise and run the Johnstown Castle Seminar Series. This platform serves as a forum for colleagues from various research fields to stay informed about the latest research emerging from our centre. By providing insight into ongoing projects, the seminar series offers valuable perspectives for advisors, students, and researchers across disciplines. Furthermore, it fosters insightful discussions and encourages collaboration by showcasing the diverse work conducted within our community.

Key interests:

  • Soil microbiome
  • Multi-species grasslands
  • Plant-microbe interactions

Current Projects

In collaboration with Dr. Fiona Brennan and Dr. John Finn, I am involved in the SOILGUARD project, which brings together multidisciplinary partners to develop a conceptual framework for sustainable soil management and biodiversity conservation. Through this project, we seek to promote evidence-based conservation strategies while enhancing soil multifunctionality and human wellbeing.


  • 2024  -  Professional Diploma in Researcher Development (Level 9), University College Dublin.
  • 2022  -  PhD in Soil Microbiology, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • 2018  -  BSc. (Hons) in Botany, Trinity College, Dublin

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2023

SOILGUARD: Ag Nascadh Bithéagsúlacht Ithir le Bainistíocht Ithir Talmhaíochta

Summary of Kerry’s PhD for the Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme - June 2021

Kerry Ryan – Macro to micro: how plants shape the microbial world below us