Researchers at UCD


James Carolan

Occasional Lecturer

School Of Biology & Environment Science

Tel: +353 1 716


  • 1992-1998: Received BA degree from Trinity College Dublin in Botany 
  • 1998-2003: Received PhD from Trinity College Dublin after carrying out a phylogenetic analysis of the medicinally important plant genus Papaver.
  • May –September 2001: Awarded an Enterprise Ireland grant to visit the Department of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary’s University, London to receive training in the theory and application of cytogenetic in-situ hybridisation.
  • May-November 2004: Took a technician’s post in the Genetics Laboratory of the SBES assisting PhD students with molecular aspects of their projects in addition to the day-to-day running of the lab.  This position also involved coordinating and teaching the Senior Sophistor Gene 20010 genetics practicals (6 practicals) (Zool 2006; 120 students). 
  • November 2004 –Present: Post Doctoral Fellow working on a SFI funded project attempting to identify the proteins found in the saliva of the economically important plant pest the aphid. A number of novel protein collection methods have been developed within the SBES Insect Ecophysiology group. By employing proteomic and mass spectrometry methodologies it is hoped that the interaction between plant and aphid can be understood in greater detail and that novel targets for the disruption of aphid feeding may be identified. 
  • Feb-April 2007: Lectured the genetics portion of the Cells Genes and Microbes Module (Biol 10020: 8 lectures. 2 Practicals) to junior sophistors (c. 300 students)



Conference Contributions

Carolan J.C. & Wilkinson T.L.; (2006) Using proteomics to understand the plant-insect inetraction- towards novel targets for pest control. [Oral Presentation], The BioNet Conference, The Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland , 09-JAN-06 - 10-JAN-06.
Carolan J.C. & Wilkinson T.L.; (2005) A proteomics approach to identify key components of aphid saliva. [Oral Presentation], Society for experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain , 11-JUL-05 - 15-JUL-05.
Carolan J.C., Hook I. & Hodkinson T.R. ; (2003) Phylogenetics of Papaver and related genera (Meconopsis, Roemeria, Stylomecon) based on DNA sequences from ITS nuclear ribosomal DNA and plastid trnL intron and trnL-F intergenic spacers. [Oral Presentation], 2nd biennial international conference of Systematics, TCD Dublin , 15-APR-03 - 18-APR-03.
Carolan J.C., Hook I. & Hodkinson T.R.; (2002) Systematics and phytochemical analysis of Papaver section Oxytona. - Oral presentation. (Winner of best oral presentation). [Oral Presentation], Irish Botanists Meeting, National University of Ireland, Maynooth , 16-APR-02 - 18-APR-02.
Carolan J.C., Hook I. & Hodkinson T.R.; (2001) Systematic and phytochemical analysis of Papaver section Oxytona. [Oral Presentation], World Conference on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Budapest, Hungary , 08-JUL-01 - 11-JUL-01.
Carolan J.C., Hook I. & Hodkinson T.R.; (2000) Molecular and cytological characterisation of in-vitro-cultured Papaver bracteatum. [Poster Presentation], Taxonomy Today, University of Reading, Reading, UK , 13-JUN-00 - 16-JUN-00.


Employer: UCD
Position: Technician
Employer: UCD
Position: Post Doctoral Fellow


Year 1998 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: BA Subject:
Year 2003 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject:

Other Activities

Skills profile &Laboratory experience:


  • PCR, AFLPs, cycle sequence reactions, nucleotide sequencing, phylogenetic analysis, phytochemical extraction and analysis, in-vitro culturing (with subsequent aseptic techniques)

Technicians Post

  • DNA and RNA extraction, PCR, RT-PCR, Real Time PCR, AFLPs, RAPDs, cycle sequence reactions, nucleotide sequencing, oligonucleotide primer design, intermicrostellites, RLM-RACE, and VNTRs.

Post Doc

  • SDS PAGE, 2d electrophoresis, HPLC, Liquid Chromatography, DIGE, Western Blotting, use of fluorogenic substrates, and various protein isolation and purification methods. Aphid specific techniques include aphid stylectomy, artificial diet preparation and aposymbiotic aphid generation. I successfully developed a protocol for the reproducible acquisition of undegraded protein from aphid saliva (collect and purify salivary proteins form 4000 aphids over a 24 hour period) and was responsible for the first successful 2DE of aphid salivary proteins



Peer Reviewed Journals

Carolan, J.C., Hook, I.L.I., Chase, M.W., Kadareit, J.W. and Hodkinson, T.R.; (2006) 'Phylogenetics of Papaver and Related Genera Based on DNA Sequences from ITS Nuclear Ribosomal DNA and Plastid trnL Intron and trnL-F Intergenic Spacers'. ANNALS OF BOTANY, 98 (1):141-155. Available Online [Details]
Carolan, J.C & Wilkinson, T.L.; (2005) 'A proteomics approach to identify key components of aphid saliva'. COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY, 141 (3):S225-S236. [Details]

Other Journals

Carolan et al.,; (2002) 'Using AFLP markers for species differentiation and assessment of genetic variability of in vitro cultured Papaver bracteatum (Section Oxytona )' In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Plant 38 (3) :300-307. [Details]


Research Interests

My two main areas of research at present are Phylogenetics and Proteomics 
  • Phylogenetics. During my PhD I became interested in the processes of evolution and How, by understanding these processes we could tease apart the relationships that exist between groups of organisms.  Additionally I became interested in the conflicts that arise from phylogenetic groupings based on molecular data and the traditional taxonomic groupings of the taxa. Working on Poppies (Papaver) I analysed the group based on morphological, phytochemical and molecular (genetic) characters. I found that certain morphological characters had evolved many times and using them to base taxonomic classifications on, resulted in artificial taxonomies. However only when morphology and molecular phylogeny are view together do we produce more naturalistic taxonomies.
  • Proteomics. I have great interest in the technical and application side of proteomics particularly with respect to insects. I have used proteomic and mass spectrometry methodologies to identify the proteins found in the saliva of the economically important pest insect-the aphid. It is though that the saliva plays a key role in overcoming the plant host defence mechanisms and by identifying the proteins secreted by the aphid may allow us to understand this interaction in greater detail. I have developed and pioneered a number of methods and protocol for the collection of analysable amounts of aphid saliva over the post doc and the identification portion of the project is currently underway. I have recently begun to use these techniques to investigate the proteome of whole insects and am interested in looking at the differences that occur under different conditions and with or without their bacterial symbiont also.



Internal Collaborators

<< UCD Conway Proteomic Core Facility >>

External Collaborators


  • Professor Angela Douglas Department of Biology University of York
  • Dr. Trevor Hodkinson, Departmet of Botany, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr. Ingrid Hook, School of Pharmacognosy, Trinity College Dublin  
  • Professor Joachim Kadereit Institut für Spezielle Botanik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität,Germany
  • Professor Mark Chase Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK >>