Prof Fiona Regan


Fiona Regan is Professor in Chemistry at Dublin City University and Director of the DCU Water Institute. Fiona studied Environmental Science and Technology and later completed a PhD in analytical chemisty in 1994. Following postdoctoral research in optical sensing in DCU, in 1996 she took up a lecturing position at Limerick Institute of Technology. In 2002 Fiona joined the School of Chemical Sciences as a lecturer in analytical chemistry, in 2008 she became senior lecturer and in 2009 became the Beaufort Principal Investigator in Marine and Environmental Sensing.

Fiona’s research focuses on environmental monitoring and she has special interest in priority and emerging contaminants as well as the establishment of decision support tools for environmental monitoring using novel technologies and data management tools. Her work includes the areas of separations and sensors (including microfluidics), materials for sensing and antifouling applications on aquatic deployed systems.

Research Expertise

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Select Publications

The use of nanoparticles in anti-microbial materials and their characterization
  E Weir, A Lawlor, A Whelan, F Regan      2008      Analyst
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection of primary B cells causes B-cell activation and proliferation. Activation of B cells requires binding of antigen to the B-cell receptor and a survival signal from ligand-bound CD40, signals that are provided by the EBV LMP1 and LMP2A latency proteins. Recently, Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling has been reported to provide a third B-cell activation stimulus. The interaction between the EBV and TLR pathways was therefore investigated. Both UV-inactivated and untreated EBV upregulated the expression of TLR7 and downregulated the expression of TLR9 in naive B cells. UV-inactivated virus transiently stimulated naive B-cell proliferation in the presence of the TLR7 ligand R837, while addition of the TLR7 antagonist IRS 661 impaired cell growth induced by untreated EBV. Interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF-5) is a downstream mediator of TLR7 signaling. IRF-5 was induced following EBV infection, and IRF-5 was expressed in B-cell lines with type III latency. Expression of IRF-5 in this setting is surprising since IRF-5 has tumor suppressor and antiviral properties. B-cell proliferation assays provided evidence that EBV modulates TLR7 signaling responses. Examination of IRF-5 transcripts identified a novel splice variant, V12, that was induced by EBV infection, was constitutively nuclear, and acted as a dominant negative form in IRF-5 reporter assays. IRF-4 negatively regulates IRF-5 activation, and IRF-4 was also present in type III latently infected cells. EBV therefore initially uses TLR7 signaling to enhance B-cell proliferation and subsequently modifies the pathway to regulate IRF-5 activity.

Anti-microbial materials have multiple applications in medicine, industry and commercial products. Recent research has proposed the use of nanoparticles in a range of materials, as some metal nanoparticles are known to possess antibacterial properties. The development of such materials presents both the chemist and the biologist with the challenge to effectively choose analytical methods that provide relevant information regarding these materials. Herein, we describe techniques for the characterization of the nanoparticle-doped materials and methods for the determination of their efficacy against biofilm formation.


Predicting the performance of molecularly imprinted polymers: selective extraction of caffeine by molecularly imprinted solid phase extraction
  Keith Farrington, Edmond Magner, Fiona Regan      2006      Analytica chimica acta
Protein fusion technology has enormously facilitated the efficient production and purification of individual recombinant proteins. The use of genetically engineered affinity and solubility-enhancing polypeptide “tags” has increased greatly in recent years and there now exists a considerable repertoire of these that can be used to solve issues related to the expression, stability, solubility, folding, and purification of their fusion partner. In the case of large-scale proteomic studies, the development of purification procedures tailored to individual proteins is not practicable, and affinity tags have therefore become indispensable tools for structural and functional proteomic initiatives that involve the expression of many proteins in parallel. Here, the rationale and applications of a range of established and more recently developed solubility-enhancing and affinity tags are outlined.

A rational design approach was taken to the planning and synthesis of a molecularly imprinted polymer capable of extracting caffeine (the template molecule) from a standard solution of caffeine and further from a food sample containing caffeine. Data from NMR titration experiments in conjunction with a molecular modelling approach was used in predicting the relative ratios of template to functional monomer and furthermore determined both the choice of solvent (porogen) and the amount used for the study. In addition the molecular modelling program yielded information regarding the thermodynamic stability of the pre-polymerisation complex. Post-polymerisation analysis of the polymer itself by analysis of the pore size distribution by BET yielded significant information regarding the nature of the size and distribution of the pores within the polymer matrix. Here is proposed a stepwise procedure for the development and testing of a molecularly imprinted polymer using a well-studied compound—caffeine as a model system. It is shown that both the physical characteristics of a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) and the analysis of the pre-polymerisation complex can yield vital information, which can predict how well a given MIP will perform.


The bfl-1 gene is transcriptionally upregulated by the Epstein-Barr virus LMP1, and its expression promotes the survival of a Burkitt's lymphoma cell lineDetermination of anti‐inflammatory drugs and estrogens in water by HPLC with UV detection
  Anna Stafiej, Krystyna Pyrzynska, Fiona Regan      2007      Journal of Separation Science

An analytical method based on LC and UV detection has been developed for the determination of anti‐inflammatory compounds and estrogens in water samples. The drugs investigated were diclofenac, ketoprofen, ibuprofen, naproxen, clofibric acid, estriol, 17β‐estradiol, estrone and ethynylestradiol. The detection limits were in the range of 6–74 μg/L and 0.041–0.16 mg/L for acidic pharmaceuticals and estrogens, respectively, using narrow‐bore C18 analytical column. Analyte enrichment from water samples was achieved by SPE procedure using polymeric Strata‐X cartridges. Average recoveries obtained from 2.5 L of surface water sample were in the range of 77–98%.


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