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Featured Researchers

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Nola Hewitt-Dundas
Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas

Professor Hewitt-Dundas' research interests include the dynamics of innovation ecosystems in an international context, innovation, technology transfer and networks with an emphasis on small and medium enterprises, business strategy and technology adoption.

Professor Hewitt-Dundas' research has been driven by the desire to explain business performance and how this is affected by the ecosystem that businesses are located in. She has worked extensively with businesses and policy makers in the UK, Ireland and internationally, evaluating and advising on how governments can intervene to overcome failures in the market that constrain business growth.

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Laura Lundy
Professor Laura Lundy

Professor Laura Lundy is an international expert on children’s rights and child and youth participation and author of the widely used Lundy model of child participation.

Professor Lundy is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights and a Professor of Education Law and Children’s Rights. She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights. Her expertise is in law and human rights with a particular focus on children’s right to participate in decision-making and education rights.

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Professor Katy Hayward

Professor Katy Hayward is a sought-after expert on Brexit, the Irish border and the peace process, and a leading political sociologist on the island of Ireland.

Professor Hayward has twenty years’ research and teaching experience on the impact of the EU on the Irish border and peace process. She is the author of over 180 publications, including the reports UK Withdrawal and the Good Friday Agreement (with Prof. David Phinnemore) and Brexit at the Border: Voices from local communities in the central border region of Ireland/Northern Ireland.

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Janice Carruthers
Professor Janice Carruthers

Professor Carruthers is a world-leading expert on the French language (variation and change; the structure of oral French) and on Language Policy.

Professor Carruthers is a sociolinguist, working mainly on the French Language, particularly on the structure of spoken varieties of the language (including storytelling), on temporal features (e.g. tense, aspect, connectives) and on linguistic variation. Professor Carruthers lead a large AHRC-funded research project on Language Policy which focuses on Modern Languages and Community Languages in the UK, particularly in the devolved jurisdictions.

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Professor Joanne Hughes

Joanne is a world-leading educationalist. She has developed a shared education model in Northern Ireland now used in Israel and Macedonia as a tool to promote reconciliation

She has been appointed to the first ‘UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Relations in Divided Societies’ taking forward a model of shared education around the world.

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Lee McGowan
Professor Lee McGowan

Professor Lee McGowan is interim Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University.

Professor McGowan’s research focuses on European Politics. Over the last two decades, he has developed an international reputation for expertise in the politics of competition policy and produced the first major work from political science on the EU competition regime.

Professor McGowan is particularly interested in the structures of EU governance with special reference to European competition policy; the relationship between the UK and the EU; the theme of far right and populist politics and political violence.

Professor McGowan's work
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Professor Richard English

Professor Richard English is Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

Professor English is a worldrenowned expert on terrorism and was awarded a CBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list for services to the understanding of modern-day terrorism. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.

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800x533 Anne-Marie McAlinden
Professor Anne-Marie McAlinden

Professor Anne-Marie McAlinden is a Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, and Director of Research in the School of Law.

Professor McAlinden is a worldleading expert on sexual offending against children and the author of over 50 publications, as well as three sole-authored monographs including ‘The Shaming of Sexual Offenders’, which was awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize in 2008.

She has been Principal Investigator on a number of ESRC funded projects, including a recently completed three-year study on ‘Sex Offender Desistance’; and currently ‘Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past’, in which one of the case studies is institutional child abuse. Her research has also been cited in The New York Times and The Economist.

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Professor Michael Alcorn
Professor Michael Alcorn

Michael is the Dean of Internationalisation, School of Arts, English and Languages.

Michael Alcorn’s compositional interests lie at the intersection between instrumental, electroacoustic music and areas of new media creative practice. His music has been performed and broadcast in the UK, Europe, North and South America and the Far East and featured at leading new music festivals in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and the US.

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Professor Karola Dillenburger
Professor Karola Dillenburger

Karola is a world expert in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the use of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA)

Her work focuses on how early interventions can enhance the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families and can result in significant cost savings across health, social care and education.

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Professor David Phinnemore

Professor Phinnemore is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading academic experts on the European Union and Brexit, particularly in relation to Northern Ireland.

Professor Phinnemore’s research interests include the politics and processes of the EU in relation to withdrawal, enlargement, association agreements and treaty reform. He has extensive knowledge and understanding of the EU position on UK withdrawal, the issues facing Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, and the options for delivering on ‘flexible and imaginative solutions’ to address the unique challenges that Brexit poses for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland.

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Professor David Phinnemore
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Stephen Smartt
Professor Stephen Smartt

Professor Smartt is an astrophysicist specialising in surveying the sky for transient and explosive events.

Professor Smartt is one of the global leaders in astronomy in the field of sky surveys and astrophysical transients. He has led innovative international projects that survey the sky to find supernovae and exploding stars. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, he has directly identified which stars explode as supernovae making a series of discoveries that advanced our understanding of what causes these brilliant flashes of light across the Universe.

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Jenny McKinley
Professor Jennifer McKinley

Professor McKinley’s research has focused on the application of spatial analysis techniques, including geostatistics, compositional data analysis and Geographical Information Science (GIS), to soil geochemistry, environmental and criminal forensics, human health, slope instability, airborne geophysics and weathering studies.

She is alsoPresident of the International Association of Mathematical Geoscientists (IAMG) ( which is a global network of experts in spatial and temporal modelling (including health).

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Professor Simon Cotton

Professor Simon Cotton is the Director of the Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI) and a world leading expert in the areas of wireless channel characterisation and modelling.

Among his other areas of expertise are 5G, device-to-device, vehicular, and wearable communications. Simon received the 2010 IEEE H. A. Wheeler Prize Paper Award. He was awarded the Sir George Macfarlane Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Philip Leverhulme Prize from the Leverhulme Trust both in 2011. From 2010-2015, Simon held a highly prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship.

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Professor Maire O'Neill
Professor Máire O'Neill

Maire is a British Female Inventor of the Year and the youngest-ever engineering professor at Queen’s University Belfast

She is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading cryptography experts and the inventor of a high-speed silicon security chip that is used in more than 100 million TV set-top boxes. Her current work focuses on the design of novel security solutions for communications applications.

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Professor Biqiong Chen

Professor Chen, an expert in polymer nanocomposites, takes a holistic approach to research, combining synthesis, functionalisation, processing, characterisation and application of polymers, nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites.

She is developing advanced polymer nanocomposites with controllable morphologies and properties, which can be used in many applications including healthcare, energy and general engineering fields.

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Professor Stuart James

Stuart has invented a porous liquid. This discovery has paved the way for efficient and greener chemical processes

His invention could ultimately lead to ‘carbon capture’: the trapping of carbon dioxide from major sources – such as fossil-fuel power plants – and storing it to prevent entry into the atmosphere.

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Professor Dimitrios S Nikolopoulos

Dimitrios is Professor and Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS)

His research explores scalable computing systems for data-driven applications and new computing paradigms at the limits of performance, power and reliability. His accolades include: The Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the DOE CAREER Award and the IBM Faculty Award.

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Trung Duong
Dr Trung Duong

Dr Trung Duong from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology won the 2017 Newton Prize for designing a wireless communications system that can withstand natural disasters.

The prize is awarded each year to just five people throughout the world.

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Professor Robert Bowman

Professor Robert Bowman’s research is focused on the development and evaluation of advanced materials for data storage technology.

His research topics include rare earth magnetism, rare-earth-ferromagnetic coupling phenomena, synthetic magnetic multilayers and plasmonic materials to facilitate heat assisted magnetic recording sponsored by industry. This is recognised through the award of a Seagate Technology - Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair.

Robert also leads an advanced materials hub, established in 2010, in partnership with Seagate Technology that led to the establishment of an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage along with over a dozen companies and University of Glasgow that he directs. He is also a founder and Director of a successful spin-out company Causeway Sensors Ltd.

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Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Professor Jose Bengoechea
Professor Jose Bengoechea

Jose’s work is at the frontline in the war against superbugs and antibiotic resistance

His team at the Centre for Experimental Medicine targets infections with antibiotics strengthening weak spots in our defences that allow infections to take hold; a revolutionary approach allowing the human body to fight back.

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Professor Stuart Elborn
Professor Stuart Elborn

Professor Elborn is a well-established international leader in healthcare having driven major changes in healthcare delivery in the field of cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.

Prior to taking up his current post at Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Elborn was Clinical Professor of Respiratory Medicine/Consultant Physician and Director of Adult Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Lung Infection at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital London.

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Donna Fitzsimons
Professor Donna Fitzsimons

Professor Fitzsimons' research is focused on improving care for people with chronic conditions, particularly in helping them better understand their illness, engage in effective self-management, embrace preventative strategies and achieve optimal end of life care.

The purpose of this work is to help develop, test and translate innovative interventions to tackle complex health issues. She is also interested in supporting professionals to use evidence to enhance their practice and in the development of clinical practice guidelines.

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Joanne Reid
Professor Joanne Reid

Professor Reid uses mixed methodologies to focus on cancer care and palliative care for both malignant and non-malignant conditions.

Professor Reid's main research focus is on cachexia in chronic illness, most notable in: cancer, renal, and cardiac populations. She also has research interests in associated health services research; for example, she has current grant income on studies such as DIAdIC (European Commission H2020); Place of death within Northern Ireland – projections to 2040 (Marie curie); and Understanding the holistic experiences of living with a kidney transplant (British Renal Society / Kidney Care UK).

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Professor Christopher Scott

Chris’s research focuses on the development of new antibody and nano-medicine based approaches for the treatment of cancer.

His group also works extensively on understanding the complex milieu of the tumour microenvironment, and in particular protease species that are up-regulated in aggressive and metastatic tumours.

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Frank Kee
Professor Frank Kee

Professor Kee is the Director of the Centre for Public Health in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, and previously directed one of the UKCRC Centres of Excellence for Public Health Research (2008-2018).

Professor Kee’s interests span a wide range of subjects in epidemiology, public health, health services research and complexity science and in finding better ways to evaluate the impact of our academic endeavours, both methodologically and in terms of knowledge mobilisation that can impact policy and practice.

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Aine Aventin
Dr Áine Aventin

Dr Aventin is a social psychologist and social research methodologist who specialises in complex behavioural intervention development, optimisation and evaluation. Her research focuses on addressing global challenges in sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Aventin is an experienced public health researcher, having worked as principal investigator and co-investigator on a number of multi-disciplinary international studies involving several partner institutions.

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Helen McCarthy
Professor Helen McCarthy

Prof McCarthy’s research team have focused on the development of non-viral delivery systems for nanomedicine applications in the School of Pharmacy.

These biomimetic peptide systems are designed to overcome the extra and intracellular barriers, so that the macromolecular payload can be delivered at the destination site in order to exert the optimal therapeutic effect. Helen has designed and patented three delivery systems. Current research projects involve gene therapy for metastatic deposits; miRNA therapeutics for oncology and wound healing applications; mRNA and DNA vaccination strategies; and regeneration of bone by increasing the bioavailability of ceramics.

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Garry Laverty
Dr Garry Laverty

Dr. Laverty's Biofunctional Nanomaterials group research the development of unique materials for biomedical applications based on the building blocks of life (e.g. peptides).

Dr Laverty's recent work relates to the development of an injectable in situ forming peptide hydrogel implant for sustained drug delivery. EPSRC, MRC and Wellcome Trust support has allowed this to be developed primarily for use in HIV/AIDs and combined contraception but this system is also showing promise for use in conditions with medication adherence and drug delivery issues (e.g. ocular use, cancer).

Dr Deirdre Gilpin

Dr Gilpin's research team is focussed on investigating infection in chronic lung disease and currently focussed on determining the contribution of the many microbes present in the lung, to development of disease and exacerbation in cystic fibrosis, COPD and bronchiectasis.

Ongoing projects range from determining the effect of cigarette smoke and electronic cigarette vapour on the key lung pathogens, investigating the significance of MRSA infection in the lungs of people with CF and developing novel outcome measures for assessing antimicrobial efficacy in the CF lung.

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Mark Lawler
Professor Mark Lawler

An internationally renowned scientist with over 30 years experience in cancer research, who is passionate about translating his research for the benefit of patients and society.

He has received numerous awards including the prestigious 2018 European Health Award and he is frequently invited to speak at top-tier international conferences. He was also architect of the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which he launched with patients and health professionals in the European Parliament on World Cancer Day 2014.

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Professor Tunde Peto
Professor Tunde Peto

Professor Peto's research interests covers chronic blinding diseases, ophthalmic image analysis, epidemiology and statistics.

In addition to her academic work, Professor Peto is responsible for the Belfast Ophthalmic Reading Centre and a wide research portfolio. Her main interest has always been common blinding retinal diseases, with special emphasis on characterisation of diabetic retinopathy and its imaging modalities.

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