A molecular plant pathologist by training, Aoife has broad ranging experience in crop protection research, agronomy and knowledge transfer in the arable and horticulture crop sectors. Her PhD conducted with Teagasc investigated novel sources of resistance to Septoria tritici in wheat and the model grass species Brachypodium distachyon. She has since held roles in agrochemical regulatory science and as a field vegetable pathologist with ADAS, achieving her BASIS Certificate in Commercial Horticulture in 2018.
At NIAB, she works to identify and build cross-cutting relationships between fundamental and applied research programmes to deliver the best IPM strategies onto farm. Her research interests centre around development of integrated disease management strategies for broadacre crops and ecologically-based tactics for better IPM; incorporating detailed studies on fungal, pest and plant populations with field experimentation and on-farm trialling.
The crop specialist team, together with the regional teams work to deliver knowledge exchange by presenting at meetings, delivering demonstrations at trial sites and national events. The team looks to develop contract research activities by liaising with industry organisations and commercial companies as well as supporting the delivery of internal and external training on all aspects of crop protection and agronomy.
Vegetable Brassica Diseases’ Guide (2020) for AHDB Horticulture
Brennan, C.J., Zhou, B., Benbow, H.R., Ajaz, S., Karki, S.J., Hehir, J.G., O'Driscoll, A., Feechan, A., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F.M., 2020. Taxonomically restricted wheat genes interact with small secreted fungal proteins and enhance resistance to Septoria tritici blotch disease. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, p.433.
Hehir, J.G., Connolly, C., O' Driscoll, A., Lynch, J.P., Spink, J., Brown, J.K.M., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E., 2018. Temporal and spatial field evaluations highlight the importance of the presymptomatic phase in supporting strong partial resistance in Triticum aestivum against Zymoseptoria tritici. Plant Pathology, 67(3), pp.573-583.
O’Driscoll, A., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E., 2015. Exploring the utility of Brachypodium distachyon as a model pathosystem for the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. BMC research notes, 8(1), p.132.
O’Driscoll, A., Kildea, S., Doohan, F., Spink, J. and Mullins, E., 2014. The wheat–Septoria conflict: a new front opening up?. Trends in plant science, 19(9), pp.602-610.