Meet the Team
Humans of MISE
Meet the human dimension of the MISE Project
Lead Partner: Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)
Dr Catherine O’Reilly, MISE Project Leader
Catherine obtained a BA (mod) from Trinity College Dublin where she also carried out her PhD studies on unstable mutants in Salmonella typhimurium. Catherine completed postdoctoral positions at the Max Plank institute, Cologne, Germany and Durham University, UK, before being appointed as a lecturer in molecular genetics at the University of Sunderland. Catherine joined WIT in 1995 where she continued her research in molecular and microbial biology, but she also developed a new interest in ecology. Catherine initially applied her molecular skills to develop novel DNA analysis techniques to monitor pine marten populations. Her research has now considerably expanded to incorporate a wide range of mammal species in the Molecular Ecology Research Group. These DNA techniques were integral to the establishment of the MISE project.
Dr Peter Turner, MISE Project Leader
Peter originally trained as a biochemist in Bath, and spent time working in neurobiology and enzymology in Dublin. He then worked in industry in the UK for 12 years developing biological toxic waste treatments and plastics derived from bacteria. Peter finally managed to escape the lab into Ecology after returning to Ireland. Peter now uses his broad scientific experience combining lab based DNA methods and field ecology to track wild pine marten using forensic science.
Dr David O’Neill, MISE Project Manager
David graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology with Quality Management from WIT. He also completed his PhD at WIT where he investigated the genetic systems behind the ability of seaweed to accumulate metals. David started with MISE in 2011 as the Project Scientist, originally working on the development and application of new DNA tests, and later became Project Manager. Between the jigs’n’reels, his scientific interests lie in molecular biology techniques and has research experience in their application to study DNA in bacteria, algae and animals.
Dr Denise O’Meara, MISE Project Officer
Denise has a PhD in the area of red squirrel genetics from WIT and a BSc in Applied Ecology from University College Cork. Denise has been working with the MISE project since its commencement in 2011, and played important roles in the development and organisation of local otter surveys and worked extensively on educational projects with school groups. Denise is passionate about science communication and outreach.
Edel Sheerin, MISE Project Assistant
Edel graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with a BSc in Zoology. She joined the MISE team in September 2013 as Project Assistant and has been responsible for conducting the genetic analysis of MISE samples in the laboratory. In her free time she enjoys getting outdoors; hill walking, horse riding and surfing! Her research interests lie in the field of conservation genetics and she intends to pursue a career in this area.
Dr Lee Coffey, Former MISE Project Manager
Lee completed a BSc (H) in Applied Biology with Quality Management and a PhD in Molecular Biotechnology at WIT in 2002 and 2007, respectively. In this time he gained experience in industry in both microbiological and pharmaceutical laboratories. Lee conducted his postdoctoral research at the PMBRC from October 2007 to March 2011, expanding the biocatalysis research while also serving as manager of the Molecular Biology research lab. In March 2011 he became Project Manager for the MISE project until August 2013. Lee then left the MISE project to take up a role as Lecturer in the Department of Science, WIT and a Principal Investigator at the PMBRC where he is now leading the molecular biotechnology/biocatalysis research group.
Bernadette Guest, Heritage Officer
Bernadette is Heritage Officer with WCCC. The Heritage Office provides a strategic and co-ordinated approach to managing heritage through the implementation of the Waterford Heritage and Local Biodiversity Plans and also provides advice and information on heritage projects, heritage funding and heritage legislation both within the local authority and to the wider community. The Heritage Officer is involved in project management of the MISE INTERREG project. The project has provided significant data that is being used as environmental indicators feeding into the Waterford Habitat Map and informing conservation assessments within planning authority work programmes and policy.
Andrew Harrington, MISE Project Officer
Andrew graduated from UCC with a BSc in Applied Ecology, and after stints as a volunteer worker on a wildlife preserve in Oregon and as a science teacher back home in Ireland, joined the MISE Project at its commencement in 2011. Andrew has a wide interest in wildlife and conservation but has enjoyed the experience of working on wild mammals and in particular bats. He is currently pursuing a part-time MSc on bat genetics in WIT.
Dr Liam Lysaght, Director
Liam is Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, a national organisation that collects and manages data on Ireland’s biodiversity. He is originally an ornithologist by training, but has become involved in projects on many different aspects of biodiversity. He is currently leading the Atlas of Mammals in Ireland project which will produce detailed distribution maps of over 60 species of mammals that are found in Ireland and its offshore waters. Liam previously worked with The Heritage Council and began his professional career as Park Ranger in the Burren National Park.
Dr Henry Schofield, Conservation Programme Manager
Henry has worked for the VWT since 1990. After studying for a PhD in the ecology and conservation biology of lesser horseshoe bats, Henry set up the Trust’s first bat reserves for this species. This was followed by further projects on rare tree bats. Henry’s role is to have an overview of the Trust’s conservation and research projects, and to develop and oversee the Trust’s conservation policy. Henry has a long-term interest in bats but enjoys working on all mammals. He is a keen amateur photographer and a trustee of BatLife Europe.
Natalie Buttriss, CEO
Natalie was appointed as the VWT’s first CEO in 2007, bringing to the Trust extensive business, marketing and fundraising skills gained in her charity business career. Her responsibilities include working with the Board of Trustees in leading the strategic direction of the Trust, developing policies and managing the staff, finances and resources. She is directly involved in developing key partnerships and funding bids and ensuring the work of the Trust is promoted to relevant audiences. Prior to the VWT, Natalie worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years primarily for environmental charities including The Woodland Trust, Sustrans and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. She is based near Ledbury, Herefordshire, UK.
Aline Denton, MISE Project Officer
Aline, a Zoology graduate, joined the VWT in February 2014 as project officer on the Trust’s partnership project, MISE. Prior to this, Aline had a 17 year career in the bio-pharmaceutical sector in manufacturing and compliance roles, and pursued her interest in the natural world in her spare time. Since 2009, Aline has been working and volunteering with a variety of conservation organisations in mid Wales, including CCW (now NRW), and Denmark Farm Conservation Centre where she is now a Trustee. She is also an active member of her local bat group.
Dr Jenny MacPherson, Former MISE Project Officer
Jenny is a zoologist with a background in research on a range of mammal species including pine marten, dormice, red squirrel, water vole and mink. She gained an MSc in conservation at University College London and then went on to a PhD at Royal Holloway. She joined the VWT at the beginning of 2011 as Project Officer on the MISE project, working with volunteers and local communities on surveys and conservation of a range of mammal species in west Wales. In 2014, Jenny became the Trust’s Pine Marten Project Manager, managing the Pine Marten Recovery Project for England and Wales.
Dr Liz Halliwell, Mammal Ecologist
During the course of her career Liz has worked on a range of British mammals including badgers, dormice, mink and moles. She gained a PhD from Aberdeen University following research into the relationship between red squirrels and pine martens. In 2001 Liz joined the Countryside Council for Wales as Mammal Ecologist, providing specialist advice, information and strategic overview of issues related to the conservation and management of terrestrial mammals. She continues in the same role in NRW, including managing of NRW’s element of the MISE project and has welcomed the opportunity to get out and do more fieldwork!
Becky Clews-Roberts, MISE Project Officer
Becky’s previous roles with The Mammal Society, RSPB Cymru and as a self-employed Ecological Consultant have enabled her to hit the ground running as Project Officer for the final year of the project in north Wales. Her knowledge of MISE was gained whilst volunteering for Ceri Morris on a variety of surveys including the Dwyryd Otter surveys, dormouse box checks and harvest mouse nest search and bait pot surveys. She has very much enjoyed being part of MISE and working alongside such superb volunteers!
Ceri Morris, Former MISE Project Officer
Ceri came from a background in Marine Biology, and previously worked with dolphins in Scotland and humpback whales in Australia. Returning to her native North Wales, she worked on conservation based projects focussing on communities, volunteers and public engagement. When she came to the MISE Project in 2011, she soon had to learn all about dormice, otters and red squirrels, and quickly discovered a passion for sniffing out otter spraint! After 3 years with MISE, her dream job opportunity came up at NRW and she moved on to become a Marine Mammal Specialist where she provides advice on marine mammal conservation in Wales.