I am a physicist and postdoctoral research associate at the Gray Laboratories under the guidance of Dr. Mike Partridge. My current research is chiefly concerned with the mathematical modelling of oxygen distribution in both vascular and avascular tumours. I am also interested in modelling the interactions of radiation (both particulate and photon) with tissue and the influences of factors such as oxygen on energy transfer. I am also a frequent contributor to the Irish Times, BBC and the Guardian, where I mainly write science opinion pieces. In this capacity, I try to encourage a critical-thinking / evidence based approach to often contentious issues. I am a joint winner of the 2014 Sense about Science / Nature Maddox Prize for standing up for science. and a regular radio / television contributor and panellist.

Current research

Oxygen dynamics are of fundamental importance in determining how tumours grow and respond to therapy - oxygen is a potent radiosensitizer, and poorly oxygenated tumours are both more radio and chemo resistant than well-oxygenated growths. Better understanding of underlying tumour oxygenation may allow the selective boosting of dose to regions of hypoxia (low oxygen) and eventually improve treatment outcome. To this end, I produce mathematical models of oxygen distributon inside tumours and validate these using both avascular models (typically multi-cellular tumour spheroids) and histological sections from real tumours. Recent work and papers are available under the research section of this website.

Journalism and media

I write on a multitude of topics and am a keen advocate of critical thinking and the scientific method. I'm strongly of the belief that applying the lens of science to the many issues we face as a society today will help us make informed and pragmatic choices, but judging from the cartoonish animosity of some hate-mail I receive this is not a view shared by everyone! My Guardian science profile can be found here and my Irish Times opinion pieces here (please note pieces prior to April 2013 are not indexed on the IT website). I also am a frequent contributor on radio and television debates and discussions on scientific and social topics. For more information on my media output, please see the media section or visit my personal blog here.

Other interests

I am an active musician and play several instruments to varying degrees of proficiency, as well as sing tenor. My chief instrument is guitar, and I have been known to front an 80's cover band, a hard rock / metal group and play in the pit for musicals, often at approximately the same time - for the most part I've even managed to keep these roles separate, despite being firmly of the (distinctly minority) opinion we're long overdue a metal 80's musical-theatre hybrid. I am also an actor when I can find the time. I have a decent working knowledge of modern history and politics. In addition, I am a regular hill walker, cyclist, chess player and opinionated git.

About Me


I really should select a better image but that would require time and energy, which means there's a Heisenberg joke in there somewhere (the real-life Physicist, not the fictional Drug Lord!). Please note this site is still in beta and will likely change in upcoming days! Any opinions expressed are my own and not those of the University unless they have a particularly cool opinion, in which case I'll shamelessly pilfer it and pass it off as my own.