The Research

Prof. Teeling is a tenured lecturer at University College Dublin, Ireland since 2005 where she holds a prestigious Science Foundation Ireland, President of Ireland's Young Investigator Award. Her academic career started when she graduated with a first class honours Zoology degree from University College Dublin, Ireland (1995) where she specialized in field biology and mate choice behaviour of female fallow deer. She then pursued an M.Sc. in animal behaviour at the University of Edinburgh and at the Cochrane Ecological Institute, Canada where she investigated the captive behaviour of the endangered swift fox (1997). Unable to answer evolutionary questions using ecology and behaviour alone she pursued a Ph.D. in molecular phylogenetics at Queen's University of Belfast and at the University of California Riverside, USA (2002). Excited by the potential of using evolutionary unique animals to enhance man's understanding of his own genome, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at National Institutes of Health, Maryland USA (2005). Her integrative research in the fields of comparative genomics and conservation biology uncovers the genetic signatures of survival that enables species to adapt to an ever-changing environment. The two mains goals of her research are: (1) to inform medicine and molecular biology to enable a better understanding of the structure and function of the human genome; (2) to understand and therefore conserve natural populations and environments to promote ecosystem well-being and functioning. To achieve both of these goals she has established and manages a large research team that studies diverse organisms in a comparative genomic framework both in the laboratory and in the field. She also is the Founder and Director of the Center for Irish Bat Research (2008) that is a cross border initiative between Queen's University Belfast, N. Ireland and University College Dublin, Ireland.

There are five main research areas that are addressed in the Teeling Batlab:

  1. Phylogenetic relationships and the evolutionary history of bats and other eutherian mammals.
  2. Molecular mechanisms and evolution of sensory perception in mammals and their implications for visual and auditory diseases.
  3. Echolocation's role in the speciation process (Picture taken of Craseonycteris by Dr. I. Mackie and Dr. S. Puechmaille in Myanmar).
  4. Conservation and geographic origin of Irish vertebrates focusing particularly on bats.
  5. The evolution of natural immunity in mammals.

These questions are addressed using molecular data and interpreted in light of ecological, physiological, paleontological, behavioural and morphological data. This integrative whole organism approach is essential to uncover the intricacies of evolutionary history both at the phylogenetic and population genetic level and has direct implications for biomedical studies.

Students and Researchers involved in the laboratory
Michael Clarke (Post Doc) Bioinformatician on the AGELESS project ;

Joanna Kacprzyk (Post Doc) ;

Conor Whelan (Reasearch Assistant) ;

Andrea Locatelli (PhD Student) ;

Huang Zixia (PhD Student) - Comparative 'Wildlife' transcriptomics uncovers the mechanisms of halted ageing in mammals;

David Jebb (PhD Student) The bioenergetics and mitochondrial genetics of longevity in mammals ;

Nicole Foley (PhD Student) - The role of telomeres in the evolution of exceptional longevity in bats.;

Graham Hughes (Post Doc) - Bioinformatician on the AGELESS project, Microbiomics of the aeging bat gut flora;

Una Nealon (PhD Student) - The effect of windfarms on bats in Ireland;

Stephen Mahony (PhD Student) - A systematic study of stream frogs;

Past Researchers and Students:
Dr. Sebastien Puechmaille - (Postdoctoral Researcher), is studying echolocation's role in speciation. His main project is a population genetics and ecological investigation in the conservation and species status of Craseonycteris thonglongyai(bumble-bee bat) in Thailand and Myanmar. He is also involved in assessing the distribution of Geomyces destructans and its affect in European bats.

Kieth Grehan (MSc Student) - The evolution of microbial resistance in vespertilinoid bats;

Dr. Emma Boston - (PostDoctoral researcher) working as part of the Centre for Irish Bat Research, a newly established cross border collaboration funded by NPWS, at both University College Dublin and Queen's University Belfast. My primary research focuses on population genetics and phylogeography of Irish bats, in particular our current project examines three of Ireland's rarest Myotis sp. the Whiskered bat, the Brandt's bat and the Natterer's bat. Our group hope to further knowledge and develop a conservation strategy for these bats in Ireland;

Dr. Bruno Fonseca Simoes (PhD Student) - A comparative genomic investigation into the evolution of vision in mammals;

Dr. Daniel Buckley(PhD Student) - Ecological, molecular and phylogenetic investigation into the conservation status and population sructure of Whiskered bats and Brandts bats in Ireland;

Dr. Michael Bekeart Evolution of Vision and Olfaction in Mammals; Uniprime ;

Dr. Jennifer ComminsPositive Selection in Mammals, design of universal primers, bioinformatic support;

Dr. Sara Hayden A comparative genomic investigation into the evolution of olfaction in mammals;

Dr. Serena Dool A population genetics and ecological investigation into the geographic origin and population structure of Rhinolophus hipposideros (lesser horseshoe bat) in Ireland;

John Kirwan, MSc. A comparative genomic study of the molecular evolution of hearing in mammals;

Aisling Heggernan, MSc. Aisling Heffernan , MSc- An investigation into the breed status and geographic origin of the Kerry Bog Pony;

Affiliated Organisations
The Centre for Irish Bat Research: A research partnership between University College Dublin and Queen's University Belfast. The Centre for Irish Bat Research (CIBR) was established in May 2008. This is a cross border initiative based at both University College Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, and Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Recent Funding
European Research Council (ERC)
[European Research Council]

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS)

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)

Fundacao Para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT)

The Heritage Council
[The Heritage Council]

Science Foundation Ireland, PIYRA - President of Ireland Young Research Award 2006
[UCD news] [SFI news] [SFI gallery]

Science Foundation Ireland, RFP - Research Frontiers Programme 2005
[SFI Funded Women Researchers]

Irish Research Council for Science and Engineering - Postgraduate Awards 2006
[Embark Initiative]

Science Foundation Ireland, UREKA - Undergraduate Research Experience and Knowledge Award 2005-2008

Doctoral Grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology 2007