Prof Joe Gallagher



I graduated from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (BSc. in Biology and Chemistry, Ph.D., in antimicrobial compounds, fungal fermentation and yeast biochemistry. I have since worked in the areas of microbial and plant molecular biology, enzymology and biochemistry. Initially on the characterisation, cloning and expression of recombinant cellulases and chitinases from both fungi and bacteria, and later on the genes and enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism in grasses and clovers.


The principle aim of my research is to understand components of carbohydrate metabolism and digestibility in grasses (e.g. Miscanthus and perennial ryegrass) and to translate these to improving crop performance, processability, and substrate supply for biorefining. This involves studying gene regulation and expression, the properties of gene products and their localisation within the plant/cell. This allows us to identifying candidate genes and markers for use in gene mapping and breeding programmes.

Other research activities include biorefining of plant feedstocks to fine and bulk chemicals including biofuels. We have on-going research projects along the pipeling from feedstock to product that includes: feedstock development and agronomy; pre-processing; processing and product isolation at a range of scales (this includes microbe and enzyme discovery); valorisation of other components; modelling and process integration.

Research Groups

  • Bioeconomy


Giles, H, Bull, SP, Lignou, S, Gallagher, J, Faka, M & Methven, L 2024, 'A narrative review investigating the potential effect of lubrication as a mitigation strategy for whey protein-associated mouthdrying', Food Chemistry, vol. 436, 137603. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.137603
Bryant, D, Sandoval, J, Gallagher, J, Rodriguez-Garcia, J & Whiteside, K 2024 'Improved Nutritional Value of Surplus Bread and Perennial Ryegrass Extracts Via Solid-State Fermentation (SSF) with Rhizopus oligosporus'. 10.21203/
Bhatia, R, Timms-Taravella, E, Roberts, LA, Moron-Garcia, OM, Hauck, B, Dalton, S, Gallagher, JA, Wagner, M, Clifton-Brown, J & Bosch, M 2023, 'Transgenic ZmMYB167 Miscanthus sinensis with increased lignin to boost bioenergy generation for the bioeconomy', Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts, vol. 16, no. 1, 29, pp. 29. 10.1186/s13068-023-02279-2
Ravella, R, Walker, DJ, Gallagher, J, Winters, A & Bryant, D 2022, Addressing key challenges in fermentative production of xylitol at commercial scale: A closer perspective. in M das Graças de Almeida Felipe & AK Chandel (eds), Current Advances in Biotechnological Production of Xylitol: Fermentative Production of Xylitol. 1 edn, Springer Nature, pp. 181-204. 10.1007/978-3-031-04942-2_9
Kendrick, EG, Bhatia, R, Barbosa, FC, Goldbeck, R, Gallagher, JA & Leak, DJ 2022, 'Enzymatic generation of short chain cello-oligosaccharides from Miscanthus using different pretreatments', Bioresource Technology, vol. 358, 127399. 10.1016/j.biortech.2022.127399
More publications on the Research Portal