Prof Richard O’Kennedy


Professor of Biological Sciences

Subject area: Biochemical Immunology

Current Research Projects:
  • Developments of novel antibody and cell based sensor systems
  • Drug metabolism and mode of action (coumarins and coumarin derivatives)
  • Antibody-based assay development
  • Novel antibody labelling systems
  • Genetic methods of antibody production

Prof. Richard O’Kennedy is principal researcher with the Applied Biochemistry Group. For more information see the Applied Biochemistry Group’s website.

Research Expertise

PhD Students

Select Publications

Advances in biosensors for detection of pathogens in food and water
  Paul Leonard, Stephen Hearty, Joanne Brennan, Lynsey Dunne, John Quinn, Trinad Chakraborty, Richard O’Kennedy      2003      Enzyme and Microbial Technology

While most microbes play an important role in nature, certain potentially harmful microbes can contaminate food and water, and cause a plethora of infectious diseases in both animals and humans. Conventional methods for detecting microbial contamination have primarily relied on time-consuming enrichment steps, followed by biochemical identification, having a total assay time of up to 1 week in certain cases. Over the last decade, a great deal of research has focused on the development of biological sensors for the detection of micro-organisms, allowing rapid and “real-time” identification. This paper reviews some of the most commonly used biosensor systems based on their transducer properties, which include surface plasmon resonance (SPR), amperometric, potentiometric, and acoustic wave sensors and their applications for the detection of pathogens in food and water. It also highlights some of the limitations of applying biosensors for the detection of pathogens, such as sensitivity, cost and the need for sample pre-treatment.


The pharmacology, metabolism, analysis, and applications of coumarin and coumarin-related compounds
  Denise Egan, Richard O'kennedy, Elizabeth Moran, Dermot Cox, Ena Prosser, R Douglas Thornes      1990      Drug Metabolism Reviews

Coumarin was first isolated in 1822 and synthesized in 1868. It was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s, being classified as a category 1 carcinogen and hepatotoxin, based on animal data. However, this may require revision in the light of subsequent animal data. Many derivatives of coumarin have been shown to possess anticoagulant, tumoristatic, and immunostimulatory properties, and some derivatives have been used for fluorescent labeling and as laser dyes. This review outlines the metabolism, pharmacology, applications, and methods of analysis of coumarin compounds.


Mastitis detection: current trends and future perspectives
  C Viguier, S Arora, N Gilmartin, K Welbeck, R O’Kennedy      2009      Trends in Biotechnology

Bovine mastitis, the most significant disease of dairy herds, has huge effects on farm economics due to reduction in milk production and treatment costs. Traditionally, methods of detection have included estimation of somatic cell counts, an indication of inflammation, measurement of biomarkers associated with the onset of the disease (e.g. the enzymes N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase and lactate dehydrogenase) and identification of the causative microorganisms, which often involves culturing methods. These methods have their limitations and there is a need for new rapid, sensitive and reliable assays. Recently, significant advances in the identification of nucleic acid markers and other novel biomarkers and the development of sensor-based platforms have taken place. These novel strategies have shown promise, and their advantages over the conventional tests are discussed.


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