Researchers at UCD


Barbara Murphy

Lecturer In Equine Science

Access Centre
2.41 A
Agriculture and Food Science Centre
University College Dublin
Dublin 4

Tel: 01 716-7717


Dr. Barbara Murphy is the Animal Science – Equine programme option co-ordinator within the School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine. Having worked for leading equine organisations in the US and Ireland, she combines expertise gained from both her academic equine science background and equine industry experiences to oversee a relevant and highly competitive degree programme. Following a BSc in Equine Science from the University of Limerick, she spent a year working within the thoroughbred industry in the US and Ireland before pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Science at the Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky. Her scientific research relates to studying the clock genes that control biological rhythms in animals. Specifically, her studies investigate how circadian rhythms are involved in important reproductive phenomena and how jet lag related disruption of these rhythms impacts performance in the equine athlete.




Year 2000 Institution: University of Limerick
Qualification: BSc (First Class Hons) Subject: Equine Science



Book Chapters

Murphy, BA (2012) 'Genomics of the Circadian Clock' In: Chowdhary, BP (eds). Equine Genomics. International: Wiley Blackwell. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

McGivney, BA,McGettigan, PA,Browne, JA,Evans, ACO,Fonseca, RG,Loftus, BJ,Lohan, A,MacHugh, DE,Murphy, BA,Katz, LM,Hill, EW; (2010) 'Characterization of the equine skeletal muscle transcriptome identifies novel functional responses to exercise training'. BMC Genomics, 11 . [DOI] [Details]
LM Watts, JA Browne, BA Murphy (2012) 'Investigation of a non-invasive method of assessing the equine circadian clock using hair follicle cells'. Journal of circadian rhythms, 10 (7). [Details]
CM Walsh, RL Prendergast, JT Sheridan, BA Murphy (2012) 'Blue light from light-emitting diodes directed at a single eye elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in horses'. Veterinary Journal, . [Details]
Murphy, BA; Walsh, CM; Woodward, EM; Prendergast, RL; Ryle, JP; Fallon, LH; Troedsson, MH. (2013) 'Blue light from individual light masks directed at a single eye advances the breeding season in mares'. Equine Veterinary Journal, . [Details]
Gildea S, Quinlivan M, Murphy BA, Cullinane A (2013) 'Humoral response and antiviral cytokine expression following vaccination of thoroughbred weanlings¿A blinded comparison of commercially available vaccines'. Vaccine, . [Details]
Murphy, BA, Wagner, AL, McGlynn, OF, Kharazyan, F, Browne, JA, Elliott, JA (2014) 'Exercise influences circadian gene expression in equine skeletal muscle'. The Veterinary Journal, 201 (1):39-45. [Details]
Hession CE, Eastwood B, Watterson D, Lehane CM, Oxley N, Murphy BA (2014) 'Therapeutic Horse Riding Improves Cognition, Mood Arousal, and Ambulation in Children with Dyspraxia'. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, . [Details]
Murphy BA, Blake CM;Brown JA;Martin AM;Forde N;Sweeney LM;Evans AC (2015) 'Evidence of a molecular clock in the ovine ovary and the influence of photoperiod'. Theriogenology, 84 (2):208-216. [DOI] [Details]
Margaret B. Nolan, Caroline M. Walsh, Noelle Duff, Conor McCrarren, Ralph L. Prendergast, Barbara A. Murphy (2017) 'Artificially extended photoperiod administered to pre-partum mares via blue light to a single eye: Observations on gestation length, foal birth weight and foal hair coat at birth'. Theriogenology, 100 :126-133. [DOI] [Details]
Murphy BA, Martin AM, Furney P, Elliott JA.; (2011) 'Absence of a melatonin rhythm under acutely extended darkness in the horse. Journal of Circadian Rhythms'. Journal of circadian rhythms, 9: 3 . Available Online [Details]
Martin, A.M., Elliott, J.A., Duffy, P., Blake, C., Attia, S.B., Browne, J.A., Katz, L.M., Gath, V., McGivney, B.A., Hill, E.W., Murphy, B.A. ; (2010) 'Circadian regulation of locomotor activity and skeletal muscle gene expression in the horse'. Journal of Applied Physiology, 109 (5):1328-1336. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Murphy, BA; (2009) 'Chronobiology and the horse: Recent revelations and future directions'. Veterinary Journal, . Available Online [Details]
Murphy, BA, Merant, C, Vick MM, Cook, RF, Brooks, SA, Horohov, DW, Fitzgerald, BP; (2008) 'Equine neutrophils respond to PGE2 by activating expression of core circadian clock genes'. The Open Veterinary Science Journal, 2 :96-103. Available Online [Details]
Bellone RR, Brooks SA, Sandmeyer L, Murphy BA, Forsyth G, Archer S, Bailey E, Grahn B; (2008) 'Differential gene expression of TRPM1, the potential cause of congenital stationary night blindness and coat spotting patterns (LP) in the Appaloosa horse (Equus caballus)'. Genetics, 179 (4):1861-1870. [Details]
Vick, MM, Murphy, BA, Sessions, DR, Reedy, SE, Kennedy, EL, Horohov, DW, Cook, RF, Fitzgerald, BP; (2008) 'Effects of systemic inflammation on insulin sensitivity in horses and inflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue'. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 69 (1):130-139. Available Online [Details]
Murphy, BA, Elliott, JA, Vick, MM, Sessions, DR, Kennedy, EL, Fitzgerald, BP; (2007) 'Rapid phase adjustment of melatonin and core body temperature rhythms following an abrupt 6 h advance of the light/dark cycle in the horse'. Journal of Circadian Rhythms, 5 (5). Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Murphy, BA, Vick, MM, Sessions, DR, Cook, RF, Fitzgerald, BP; (2007) 'Acute systemic inflammation transiently synchronizes clock gene expression in equine peripheral blood'. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 21 (4):467-476. [DOI] [Details]
Murphy, BA, Lear, TL, Adelson, DA, Fitzgerald, BP ; (2007) 'Chromosomal assignments and sequences for the equine core circadian clock genes'. ANIMAL GENETICS, 38 :84-85. [Details]
Murphy, BA, Vick, MM, Sessions, DR, Cook, RF, Fitzgerald, BP; (2006) 'Evidence of an oscillating peripheral clock in an equine fibroblast cell line and adipose tissue but not in peripheral blood'. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 192 (7):743-751. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Vick MM, Sessions DR, Murphy BA, Kennedy EL, Reedy SE, Fitzgerald BP.; (2006) 'Obesity is associated with altered metabolic and reproductive activity in the mare: effects of metformin on insulin sensitivity and reproductive cyclicity'. Reproduction Fertility and Development, 18 (6):609-617. [Details]
Fitzgerald BP, Vick MM, Adams AA, Murphy BA, Sessions DR, Horohov DW, Cook RF, Shelton BJ, ; (2007) 'Relationships among inflammatory cytokines, obesity, and insulin sensitivity in the horse'. Journal of Animal Science, 85 (5):1144-1155. [DOI] [Details]
Sessions DR, Reedy SE, Vick MM, Murphy BA, Fitzgerald BP.; (2004) 'Development of a model for inducing transient insulin resistance in the mare: preliminary implications regarding the estrous cycle'. Animal Science, 82 (8):2321-2328. [Details]

Other Journals

Fonseca, RG; Kenny, DA; McGivney, BM; Murphy, BA; Hill, EW; Katz, LM (2016) 'Effect of training on plasma myeloperoxidase concentrations measured before and following intense exercise in Thoroughbred racehorses' Comparative Exercise Physiology 12 (1) :17-25. [DOI] [Details]

Conference Publications

Murphy, BA; (2011) Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning at Third Level? 2011 National Association of Equine Affiliated Academics Conference [Details]
Murphy, BA; McGlynn, OF; Kharazian, F; Browne, JA.; (2011) The influence of exercise on entrainment of skeletal muscle transcription in the horse Equine Science Society Meeting [Details]
Murphy, BA; Barrett, T; Schlueter, B.; (2011) Development of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning as an Elective Module within an Irish Equine Curriculum Equine Science Society Meeting [Details]
Fonseca RG, Kenny DA, McGivney BA, Murphy BA, Hill EW, Katz LM; (2011) The response of plasma myeloperoxidase concentrations to exercise and training in a group of Thoroughbred flat racehorses over a two-year period of time French Equine Veterinary Association (AVEF) [Details]
Murphy BA et al; (2010) The effect of sampling time on physiological measurements of horses during a standardised treadmill exercise test 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology [Details]
Murphy, B.A. et al; (2010) Evidence that circadian rhythms regulate muscle function in a large agricultural species-the horse Plant and Animal Genomics XVIII [Details]
Murphy BA et al; (2009) Identification of a circadian clock in equine skeletal muscle Proceedings of the 8th International Equine Genome Workshop [Details]


Research Interests

My research interests are related to chronobiology, the science of biological timekeeping, and specifically how the annual and daily light dark cycles influence animal physiology. Recent research projects from my group relate to elucidating clock control of ovulation in ruminants, exercise regulation of circadian gene expression in equine skeletal muscle, light manipulation of mare reproduction and evaluating how jet lag influences equine physiology. Most recently we are interested in the use of extended light to influence gestation length and foal birth weight when administered to pre-partum mares.

Research Projects

Sponsor : Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Title : EQUILUME: Individual Light Therapy for Horses
Start Date / End Date : 12-SEP-11 / 28-FEB-12
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Influence of Time of Day on Immune Response and Influenza Vaccine efficacy in the Horse
Start Date / End Date : 17-MAY-10 / 16-NOV-11
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Attendance at the 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology
Start Date / End Date : 03-AUG-09 / 31-JAN-11
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Circadian regulation of exercise capacity and skeletal muscle gene expression in the Thoroughbred horse
Start Date / End Date : 03-AUG-09 / 31-JAN-11
Sponsor : Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)
Title : Circadian Regulation of Activity & Gene Expression in Equine Skeletal Muscle.
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-08 / 30-SEP-09
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Investigating circadian regulation of the ovin ovulatory cascade
Start Date / End Date : 26-MAY-08 / 01-DEC-09
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Circadian Regulation of Equine Skeletal Muscle
Start Date / End Date : 01-AUG-08 / 31-JUL-11


Teaching Philosophy

Effective teaching means inspiring students to learn for themselves and requires continually adapting ones own teaching style in light of feedback and reflection. My objective is to inspire the initiative to question what is known and ambition to find answers to what is unknown so the cycle of learning continues.

Enhancement of Teaching

In line with my philosophy statement and UCD's Education Strategy, my teaching aims to stimulate creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship via the integration of teaching and research. By incorporating exploration of current equine research within module content, topics within ANSC30220, ANSC30240 and ANSC30260 have motivated multiple students to pursue related research projects for their Equine Science Project (ANSC40090) resulting in publications in peer-reviewed international journals (Watts et al, 2012; Walsh et al, 2012), a Highly Commendable by the Undergraduate Awards of Ireland 2011, and the pursuit of postgraduate opportunities with me for Masters programs and Research Assistantships. Engaging students in the process of learning by facilitating reflection, employing a backwards design model even at the lecture level (learning objectives provided on initial slides), focusing content on processes that lie at the heart of the discipline, emphasizing and revisiting threshold concepts, motivates my students beyond the classroom and creates lifelong learners. Opportunities to constantly adjust my own teaching style via peer observation and feedback from students ensures I remain an effective teacher. I find the anonymous one-minute paper, ("What was the most important thing you learned in today's lecture? What question remains unanswered?") a very effective means of evaluating student understanding and my teaching effectiveness and use it at least once per module, providing feedback in the subsequent lecture. An invitation to present at the annual Festina Lente "Opening Doors to Learning" conference in May 2011 was recognition of my efforts to facilitate personal growth and development for students within equine modules.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

Curriculum design for the BAgrSc Equine degree relied on awareness of external and internal influencing factors and identification of the needs of the many programme stakeholders. Stakeholder feedback was critical to meet changing industry and institutional demands and was elicited frequently via interaction with PWE employers during placement site visits, focus groups with students and Programme Board interaction. A constructive alignment approach (Biggs, 2004) was used as a scaffold at the module and programme level so that learning could continuously build from a solid foundation. For example, foundation knowledge of cell biology is provided in Stage 1. An understanding of the fundamental principles of cell division is required to progress to Animal Reproduction content in Stage 2. Greater depth of content and application of concepts to species specialization occurs in Equine Reproduction in Stage 3. The equine stud placement for PWE in Semester 2 of Stage 3 permits practical application of specialized knowledge and grounds the academic content in a real-world environment. Finally, this concrete learning experience facilitates insight into industry concerns and provides topics for student-driven, relevant investigations for the Equine Science Project in Stage 4. Experiential design (Toohey, 2000) components that facilitate learning via real-world experiences include industry work placement, stakeholder site visits and trips to the UCD research farm. To produce graduates equipped to deal with real problems faced by the equine industry and increase their employability, then concrete experiences relevant to real-life situations provide opportunities for the cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking and acting to occur (Kolb, 1981). Provision of relevant specialized knowledge and research-informed teaching is augmented by allowing spare capacity in the system for synthesis of ideas and concepts to occur (Knight, 2001). By limiting content but funneling resources towards developing the skills that facilitates student self-learning, there is unlimited scope for life-long learning.

Developing as a Teacher

The completion of a GDipUTL has informed all aspects of my teaching and influenced the design of the BAgrSc Animal Science-Equine curriculum. EDUC41060 encouraged a constructivist and backwards design approach to the curriculum. EDUC41070 introduced me to PBL and the concept of chaos/complexity theory which I now use frequently in lectures to encourage students to problem solve and generate their own content in specific situations. EDUC40500 provided opportunities for me to review and reflect on my own teaching styles and benefit from constructive feedback from peer observation sessions. UTL40030 provided an exploration into the scholarly qualities of teaching and learning and prompted me to develop a set of graduate competencies relevant for the equine Programme. Summarised, these are: Scientific competency, Personal and intellectual autonomy, Research and enquiry skills, Communication skills, Self-awareness. UTL40180 expanded my awareness of technological innovations in teaching and learning and has encouraged me to make greater use of these tools in my modules. Online discussion fora are now an integral aspect of my communication with students. Finally, UTL40020 content was a key instigator of my endeavours to realign learning objectives, teaching activities and assessment strategies across my modules to maximize student learning.

Innovation & Leadership

Innovation and leadership in teaching and learning often means situating oneself at the edge of chaos such that order provides structure upon which chaos can build new behaviours, patterns, or understandings (Chaos/complexity theory). I have found that embracing PBL within a blended approach to learning can achieve this. PBL provides a feedback sensitive, adaptive environment where students self-organise, learn and adapt to changed circumstances as they contribute to pooling knowledge from experiences and self-directed research.