Research Interests:

The laboratory works in the field of systems biology the objective of which is the study of biological systems, including genes, RNAs, proteins, metabolites and cells in a focused manner, and organs, organisms and populations in a broader context.

Areas of research focus include:

  • Studying the effects of man-made contaminants (e.g. microplastics, persistent organic pollutants, xenobiotics) on marine and human health

  • Studying prostate cancer in the context of racial differences and nutritional deficiency

  • Examining the impacts of long term space travel – specifically the effects of nutrition, torpor, space radiation and microgravity on hepatic and intestinal biology

  • Developing a rat model of opioid abuse to better understand the biological basis for substance abuse disorders and advance development of preventive strategies and more efficacious treatments

  • Developing a robust toolkit for better integration of Omics data sets into genotype-phenotype predictions.

  • Studying the role of noncoding RNAs in the development of cancer and metabolic diseases


Current Teaching

Module Code Module Title
BIO2302 Food Choice, Diet and Health
BIO3301 Food Supply Safety Chain & Security
BIO4102 & ALU8002 Advanced Food Bioanalysis
BIO2305 Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics
SCM8152 Systems Medicine: From Molecules to Populations

Supervise students and/or dissertation marking from the following courses

Module Code Course Title
BIO3308 4th Honors Project
BIO4301 MSci Research Project
BBC8003 MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology Research Project
BIO3302 FQN Honours Project Module

Past Teaching at Medical University of South Carolina, SC

Role Faculty Module Code Module Title
Faculty College of Graduate Studies CGS 727 Designing Rigorous Research; Principles in Rigor, Transparency and Reproducibility
Faculty College of Graduate Studies CGS 780 Human Genetics & Genomics

Guest Lecturer at Medical University of South Carolina, SC

Pathology, Pediatrics, Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy & Sleep Medicine, and Public Health Sciences

Past Teaching at University of California San Diego/San Diego State University, CA

Role Module Code Module Title
Course Co-Director FPM237 Microarray Genomics Technology and Informatics
Lecturer MED260 Modern Techniques of Biomedical Research
Course Director BIOL-40050 From Gene to Function
Course Director BIOL-40127 Microarray Technologies
Lecturer BIOM-200B From the Molecule to the Organism
Lecturer BIOM-252 Human Genetics and Genomics

Meet the Team

The Hardiman Lab is based in the School of Biological Sciences and the Institute for Global food Security at Queen’s University Belfast

Principal Investigator



Ada Liliana Madrid Sandoval

Music, Travelling, Reading, Yoga & meditation, Food Safety, Food Security, miRNAs, Endocrine Disrupters


Adam Lloyd

Food, Nature, Wine, Cooking, Travel


Ali Can

Science, Nature, Dancing, travelling, music, food, microplastic


Alix McDaid

Surfing, skating, playing piano, Microplastics


Amin Arif

Food, Travelling, Culture, Poetry, Music, Research, Wet Lab


Analia Kinen

Interests, Cooking, Cycling, Travelling, Age of Empires II, Funko pop, Wet Lab


Aoibheann Rainey

Reading, cooking, hiking, travelling, ,


Cecília Bertacini

Travel, Food, Dogs, Movies/Series, Dance, Physiology, Reproduction, Pollutants


Dr Christina Biamis

Travelling, Science, Art and Food, Microplastics


Dr Rebecca Morgan

Animal welfare, Classical Piano, Prostate cancer, lncRNAs, Vitamin D, Fusion genes


Dr Sarah Abdulmalek

Cycling and hiking, Reading, History and politics, Travelling, Music, Research and learning


Dr Thomas Cahill

Keeping active, Science, Irish language culture and history, Current affairs, Travelling, Torpor, Mental health, Cancer research


Elisha Muzonzini

Marathon, Jogging, Music, Advanced Food Safety, Vitamin D, LncRNAs, Prostate Cancer, Microplastics in milk


Fay Blabrough

Reading, Surfing, Sailing, Microplastics, Earthworms, ,


Finian Tobias Okoro

Football, Travelling, Science, Microplastics


Henry Darling

Hiking, Travelling, Cycling, Music, Camping


James Mackle

IOT, Woodwork, Guitar, Piano, Addiction, Multi-omics, Machine Learning


Jamuna Shri Thyagarajan

Astrology, Palmistry, Cooking, Handball, Science, Technology


Kyle Lawlor

Woodwork and crafts, Hiking and trekking, Martial Arts, Traveling, All things Animals, ,


Lihini Nilma

Cricket, Music, Photography, Art


Lim Jen Tat

Travelling, Movies, Music


Mary McCormick

Sprinting, crossfit, Digital Art, ,


Payel Dhar

Food, Travelling, Music, Nature, Research, Wet Lab


Precious Eboreime

Environmental Biology, Bioinformatics, Movies


Ruan O'Tiarnaigh

Business, Yacht racing, Travelling, Food, Wine, Music, Art


Siti Lateefa Az Zahra Budiyanto

Reading, Music, Psychology, Science, Nature


Viona Pricillia

Cancer and Genomics, Web-based tool development, Cooking, Art


Yimin Xu

Eating, Drawing, Travelling



Adam Harris

Running, cycling, rowing, All things data and computers


Anamika Sharma

Cooking, Reading, Listening to music, Hiking, Travelling


Andrew Millar-Wilson

Climbing, Music, Pharmaceutical development, Industrial biology, Primatology, Languages, Data science and visualisation


Annette O'Farrell

Walking, cooking, cinema


Ben Weekes

Music, television, cooking, travelling, fashion, baking


Conor Porter

Reading, Guitar, Spending time with my friends and family, Smoltification of Atlantic salmon


Deepa Sudeeshna Nekkanti

Science, Badminton, Sky diving, Singing, Travelling, Camping, Reading


Dr Hao Wang

Travelling, Running, Playing the flute, Metabolic diseases, miRNAs and lncRNAs


Dr Willian Abraham da Silveira PhD

Travelling, Reading, Martial Arts, History, Philosophy, Multi-omics, Ageing and space travel


Gerald Rice

Aviation, Genetic medicine, Hiking, Spaceflight, Water sports


Heather Greig

Live music, Travelling, Cooking, Walking my dogs, Learning Irish, Hibernation and Space Flight


Jack Roban

Travelling, Music, Football, Swimming, Multi-omics, Epigenetics, Precision Medicine


Richard Hillis

Swimming, Baking, Guitar, Painting, Drawing, Art, Travelling, Languages, Reading, Sci-fi, Hibernation and Space Flight


Ryan Kelly

Running, Music, Reading, Science


Ryan Millar

Sport, Travelling, Scuba Diving, Reading, Cancer Biology


Shuai Wang

football, guitar, movies


Yu-Xuan Liang

Reading, Music, Basketball, Sports


Name Role Year
Yuxuan Liang China Scholarship Council Visiting PhD Student 2022-2023; College of Food Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China 2023
Dr. Hao Wang Ph.D. student, 2020-2022; present - University of Edinburgh Institute of Genetics and Cancer 2022
Annette O’Farrell MSc Advanced Food Safety 2022; present - Ph.D. student Queen’s University Belfast 2022
Ben Weekes BSc Biological Sciences 2022; present - Ph.D. Student Queen’s University Belfast 2022
Eolann Duffy BSc Biological Sciences 2022
Jack Roban MSc Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics, 2022; present - PhD Student University College Dublin/SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science 2022
Deepa Sudeeshna Nekkanti MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology 2022
Richard Hillis MSci Biochemistry with Professional Studies 2021; MSc Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics 2022; present - Ph.D. student Queen’s University Belfast 2022
Gerald Rice BSc Biological Sciences 2022; present - Medical Student Queen’s University Belfast 2022
Dr Willian Abraham da Silveira PhD Research Fellow 2019-2021; present - Lecturer in Molecular Genetics and Genomics · Staffordshire University, UK 2022
Anamika Sharma MSc Advanced Food Safety, 2021 2021
Andrew Millar-Wilson MSc Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics 2021
Ryan Kelly MSc Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics, 2021 2021
Anamika Sharma MSc Advanced Food Safety 2021
Shuai Wang MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology 2021
Adam Harris Bioinformatics Scientist/Sys Admins Lead 2019-2022; present - Bioinformatician at AilseVax, Belfast, NI 2022
Ryan Millar BSc (Hons) Biol Sci with Professional Studies; present - Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2021
Heather Greig BSc (Hons) Biol Sci with Professional Studies; present - Almac Clinical Services 2021
Richard Hillis MSci Biochemistry with Professional Studies 2021
Conor Porter MSci in Marine Biology with Professional Studies 2021
Madison Brown MSc Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics; present - Cardinal Health 2020
Jacopo Umberto Verga Jacopo Umberto Verga MSc Molecular and Applied Biology (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy) ERASMUS Programme; present - PhD Candidate in Genomic Data Science, NUI Galway, Ireland 2020
Dulcie Keeley BSc Biological Sciences; present - Tropic Biosciences 2020
Diarmuid Owens BSc Biological Sciences; present - Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit 2020
Keir Herink BSc Biological Sciences 2020
Amirah Mohamud MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology 2019
Zehao Chen MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology 2019

Partners and Collaborators

I maintain active research collaborations with groups in the USA (University of California, Medical University of South Carolina, Wake Forest School of Medicine), (Université de Camerino & Università Politecnica delle Marche (Italy), National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland), University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and Swansea University (Wales).


Current and Recent Research Funding

Title Role Funder
Development of a biopsychosocial translational research programme in post-traumatic stress disorder co-I UKRI/ESRC
Actions of endocrine disrupting chemicals in seabirds Supervisor UKRI/NERC
The Genetic Basis of Opioid Dependence Vulnerablility in a Rodent Model MPI US NIH/NIDA
Medical University of South Carolina Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center in Precision Medicine and Minority Men’s Health Subcontract PI NIH/NIMHD
Effect of Induced Hibernation and Prolonged Radiation Exposure on the Zebrafish Gut Epigenome PI NASA/SC-EPSCoR USA
Statistical Methods for Genetic Studies, Using Network and Integrative Analysis Co-I US NIH/NIGMS
A Novel Multiscale Data Integration Framework for Omics Big Data Modeling (in the Genomes to Phenomes framework) PI NSF/SC-EPSCOR Pilot
Algorithms for Literature-Guided Multi-Platform Identification of Cancer Subtypes Co-I US NIH/NCI



Christina Biamis - Microplastic-derived Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on Seabird Epigenetics Video Presentation

Alix McDaid - Investigating the emerging issue of microplastics and their impact on terrestrial ecosystems


Thomas Cahill - Utilization of an induced torpor-like state as a countermeasure for low dose radiation exposure in a zebrafish model



miRmapper is an R package for analyzing the predicted impact that micro RNAs have on the post transcriptional regulation of mRNAs. The user will provide the list of miRNAs of interest and the predicted target genes for each, as well as a list of the differentially expressed genes from the sequencing experiment. miRmapper will generate metrics and plots of the interactions.


PIMENTo is an R package to normalize, analyze, and visualize microarray data

Research In The News

Space omics in Europe

The European Space Agency (ESA) Space Omics Topical Team recently released its final report and publication of 13 articles in the scientific journal iScience.

In recent years, multiple model systems, including humans, have been exposed to microgravity environments, either real (spaceflight) or simulated. This special issue collates the contributions of European scientists on how to give space biology research the opportunity to meet molecular biology gold standards in the context of international consortia such as ISSOP ( and the Space Omics Topical Team. This collection also addressed a general stress response, usually linked to mitochondrial function, as a common response observed across all kingdoms of life so far, usually observed in synergy with the molecular level adaptation to suboptimal environments, such as those observed in spaceflight and microgravity simulation experiments. The special issue also contains state-of-the-art multi-omics-based contributions, with a particular emphasis on describing past, present, and future contributions of European molecular biology scientists to the international landscape in space omics research.

The Space Omics Topical Team, comprised of established scientists and researchers from across Europe, including Prof. Gary Hardiman and Dr. Thomas Cahill from QUB has been engaged in an ambitious mission to unravel the mysteries of space biology. The pioneering work of the Space Omics Topical Team focuses on the study of omics - genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics - in the unique environment of space, aiming to gain invaluable insights into the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on living organisms.

Among these contributions, three articles feature QUB, affirming our organisation’s role in advancing space omics research.

The full list of published articles from QUB can be viewed here:

Aránzazu Manzano, Silvio Weging, Daniela Bezdan, Joseph Borg, Thomas Cahill, Eugénie Carnero-Diaz, Henry Cope, Colleen S. Deane, Timothy Etheridge, Stefania Giacomello, Gary Hardiman, Natalie Leys, Pedro Madrigal, Felice Mastroleo, F. Javier Medina, Jakub Mieczkowski, Manuel A. Fernandez-Rojo, Keith Siew, Nathaniel J. Szewczyk, Stephen B. Walsh, Willian A. da Silveira, Raúl Herranz. Enhancing European capabilities for application of multi-omics studies in biology and biomedicine space research. iScience. 2023 Sep 15;26(9). Space Omics Topical Team; Colleen S. Deane, Joseph Borg, Thomas Cahill, Eugénie Carnero-Diaz, Timothy Etheridge, Gary Hardiman, Natalie Leys, Pedro Madrigal, Aránzazu Manzano, Felice Mastroleo, F. Javier Medina, Manuel A. Fernandez-Rojo, Keith Siew, Nathaniel J. Szewczyk, Alicia Villacampa, Stephen B. Walsh, Silvio Weging, Daniela Bezdan, Stefania Giacomello, Willian A. da Silveira, Raúl Herranz. Space omics research in Europe: Contributions, geographical distribution, and ESA member state funding schemes. iScience. 2022 Feb 15;25(3):103920. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.103920. Andrew Millar-Wilson, Órla Ward, Eolann Duffy, Gary Hardiman. Multiscale modelling in the framework of biological systems and its potential for spaceflight biology studies. Iscience. 2022 Oct 26; (11), 105421. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105421

The Space Omics Topical Team members promote standard application of space omics in Europe. They focused their final report on four main themes: i) continued participation in and co-ordination with international omics endeavours; ii) strengthening of the European space omics infrastructure including workforce and facilities; iii) capitalizing on the emerging opportunities in the commercial space sector, and iv) capitalizing on the emerging opportunities in human subjects’ research.

For more information or opportunities to work in the space omics sector, you may contact Prof. Gary Hardiman by email.

Ecotoxicological Impacts of Micro(Nano)plastics in the Environment: Biotic and Abiotic Interactions

Prof Hardiman, Prof. Tony Walker, Dr. Cristina Panti, Dr. Miguel Oliveira, and Dr. Farhan Khan edited a special issue in MDPI Microplastics. The issue reflects upon the significance of recent findings on Micro(Nano)plastics and the implications they hold for our planet and its inhabitants. The journey to fully comprehend the ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics requires an unwavering commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and a steadfast embrace of the One Health Approach. This issue is a catalyst for further research, innovation, and concerted efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of microplastics, ultimately preserving the health and integrity of our environment for future generations.

Prof Hardiman publishes new book with Oliana Carnevali ‘Environmental Contaminants and Endocrine Health.

The book focuses specifically on contaminants with hormonal-disrupting activities and provides insights into the multiple effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and their mechanism of action (MoA). The content covers EDC sources and impacts, EDCs as sources of disease and health impairment in laboratory models, EDCs as the cause of illness and health impairment in humans and wild species, and the removal of hazardous pollutants from wastewaters to highlight intervention, mitigation, and adaptation for reduced threat.

Lihini Nilma from Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (ECT+)

A nice spotlight on one of our visiting students at QUB Lihini Nilma from Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (ECT+) -She has been working at QUB School of Biological Science and Institute for Global Food Security with ALİ CAN and Prof Hardiman and focusing on utilizing high content screening (HCS) to evaluate the impacts of the two most-produced biodegradable plastics. #biodegradableplastics #microplastics #nanoplastics #MNPs #OneHealth #PLA #PCL

Hailing from Sri Lanka and studying at University of Pau and Adour Countries, the Universidade do Porto and the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea Lihini’s master’s thesis, now at Queen’s University Belfast, delves into the effects of biodegradable micro and #nanoplastics (BMNP) on human health.

With the reduction in the use of conventional #plastics, the plastics #industry has shifted towards the production of compostable #biodegradable plastics, manufacturing over 2,11 million tonnes in 2018 alone.

However, the environmental and ecological effects of biodegradable micro and nanoplastics (BMNPs), including the adsorption and release of toxic substances, as well as the role of BMNPs in transporting legacy contaminants, are yet to be fully understood.

While not all biodegradable plastics exhibit the same rates of decay in the aquatic environment, biodegradation can still take a considerable amount of time.

The objective of this project is to assess the implications of transitioning from oil-based plastics to newer biodegradable alternatives. She is focusing on utilizing high content screening (HCS) to evaluate the impacts of the two most-produced biodegradable plastics, namely biobased PLA (polylactic acid) and non-biobased PCL (Polycaprolactone), on three human cell lines: Caco-2 (human intestine cells), HepG2 (human hepatoma cells), and SH-SY5Y (human brain cells).

Ada Madrid Sandoval presents at the VIBE meeting.

Ada Madrid Sandoval has an opportunity to present her master’s dissertation project at Virtual Institute of Bioinformatics and Evolution, All-Ireland Conference in May 2023. Her work explores how bisphenol A alters the transcriptome of the developing zebrafish.

Toxic mechanisms underlying Aflatoxin B1 exposure

Delighted to see this paper published in May 2023 - where we explore the toxic mechanisms underlying Aflatoxin B1 exposure -congrats to all authors and in particular to Jacopo Umberto Verga - he arrived in Belfast as an ERASMUS visiting student the week before we went into lockdown back down in 2019 - it was a tough time for all of us - but being in a new city and alone I really felt for him - this paper is a testament to his resilience and perseverance.

Congrats to Dr. Thomas Cahill on passing his Ph.D. viva exam.

Congrats to Dr. Thomas Cahill on passing his Ph.D. viva exam in May 2023. Many thanks to Prof. Stephen Harridge from KCL and Prof. Mark Mooney for serving as examiners, and Prof. Brian Green for chairing.

Transcriptome Profiling Reveals Enhanced Mitochondrial Activity as a Cold Adaptive Strategy to Hypothermia in Zebrafish Muscle

Check out our new research paper led by Dr. Thomas Cahill which characterises the response to low dose radiation in zebrafish muscle, explores transcriptomic mechanisms of radioprotection from an induced torpor-like state, and reveals shared strategies to cold tolerance with hibernating animals

Prof Hardiman was thrilled to give a talk in March 2023 at the @UNESCO_fr@LimnoPlast conference focussed on microplastic sources, impacts, behavior, economic perspectives, and innovative technological solutions.

How to improve traceability with genomics?

In Jan 2023, Prof Hardiman participates on a Panel addressing - How to improve traceability with genomics?

How does sequencing provide a trail back to a food source and what are the practical applications of this exciting science? An end to end solution and deep dive into the actual technological platforms available.

With Dr. Marc Allard, Research Microbiology, US Food and Drug Administration and Jacob Sickmann Ransborg, Eurofins

Congratulations to Alix McDaid, DAERA PhD Student in Biological Sciences for receiving first place in the poster prize competition (Second Year PhD students)

Congratulations to Christina Biamis, QUADRAT PhD Student in Biological Sciences for receiving first place in the poster prize competition (Third Year PhD students)

Congratulations to Eolann Duffy - Final Year Undergrad Student BSc Biological Sciences for receiving the ‘Outstanding Commitment Prize for a graduating UG student’.

Congratulations to Dr. Hao Wang on passing her PhD. viva exam

Congrats to Rebecca Morgan on her first first-author publication. Long non-coding RNAs and their potential impact on diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy in prostate cancer: racial, ethnic, and geographical considerations

BBC RADIO ULSTER Evening Extra 21/05/2021

New research shows how the zebrafish could help humans reach Mars

Scientists examine why travelling through space, exposure to radiation and micro-gravity ‘accelerate ageing’

Simulated heart attacks could help researchers screen drugs

Fabulous scientific facts - as chosen by scientists; Zebrafish could help humans reach Mars

Interplay Between MicroRNAs and Targeted Genes in Cellular Homeostasis of Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Gary Hardiman (Medical University of South Carolina) received U01 to study opioid dependence in HS rats

Guardians of the environment

Hollings Cancer Center researcher lands $8M grant to improve cancer outcomes for minority men

Racial Disparities At Transcriptome Level Found For Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Genes in African American Men May Be Affected by Vitamin D Supplementation

Transcriptome differences in prostate cancer highlight racial disparities and vitamin D

Weathered oil from DW Horizon spill may threaten fish embryos and larvae development

Harnessing Big Data

Split Decision: Stem Cell Signal Linked With Cancer Growth

Researchers Describe First Functioning “Lipidome” of Mouse Macrophage

Q&A: UCSD’s Hardiman on an Aquatic Multispecies Array to Study the Effects of Endocrine Disruption

UC San Diego Receives $2.5 Million NIH Grant To Establish Digestive Diseases Research Center

UCSD’s Gary Hardiman Discusses The Future Of Core Array Faclities


  • +44 (0)28 9097 4961
  • 19 Chlorine Gardens, Belfast, Antrim BT9 5DL
  • Institute for Global Food Security: Biological Sciences Building
  • Monday - Friday 09:00 to 17:00

Available Positions:

There are currently no vacancies at the Hardiman Lab

Guidance For International Students

Please check

If there are fellowship opportunities, you are interested in applying for – e.g., Commonwealth, Colt Foundation. Etc. please contact Prof Hardiman a month before the application deadline.