Nicola grew up in Wicklow with her parents, sister, and brother. She currently lives in Roundwood, and has two dogs: Bruce and Noodle the poodle. She loves getting out of work on a Friday and heading off to the mountains in search of ancient Irish passage tombs. Nicola keeps 70 Jacob sheep with her mum, collects fossils, does photography, and loves astrology. She loves all music, particularly Andrea Bocelli, and her favourite country to visit is Japan because it’s so different to anywhere else.
Nicola is a Lecturer and Assistant Professor (Ad Astra fellow) at the School of Veterinary Medicine and a Fellow of the Conway Institute, UCD. Nicola is qualified as both a scientist and a veterinary surgeon. Her current research is based on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, and she also uses a One Health approach to study the hepatitis E virus as well – a disease that comes from animals and is increasingly causing acute hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, in humans.
One of Nicola’s current research projects is focused on testing whether a new antiviral drug can be used against SARS-CoV-2. Using 3D models of the human upper airway in the lab, they have shown that this drug puts a halt to the virus that causes Covid-19. They think it works by opening the virus up, and therefore destroying its structure and ability to replicate.