Dr James Carolan

Biology, Human Health Institute

Senior Lecturer
Associate Professor

(01) 708 6367


1998 BA, Botany, Trinity College Dublin
2004 PhD, Trinity College Dublin
2004 Technical Officer; SBES, University College Dublin
2004-2008 Science Foundation Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow, UCD SBES
2007-2010 Assistant Lecturer, UCD SBES
2010-2011 SFI Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin
2011-2013 Assistant Lecturer, Department of Biology, Maynooth University
2013- Lecturer in Biology, Department of Biology, Maynooth University

Twitter: @JimCarolanMU
URL: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James_Carolan

Research Interests

Throughout Nature, organisms interact with each other. Some of these interactions may be mutualistic and benefit both partners whereas others may be parasitic and involve one organism benefiting to the detriment of the other. Research in my group (Applied Proteomics Laboratory) investigates such interactions, specifically those involving important plant, insect and microbial species of economic, biomedical and agricultural significance. We adopt an integrated approach employing genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics to identify and investigate the interactions at the molecular and cellular level. My work has elucidated the molecular basis of many interactions and is leading us to the development of practical strategies for pest management and insect conservation. I have considerable expertise in non-model organism proteomics and data analysis and routinely develop bespoke proteomic strategies for groups and collaborators applying proteomic methodologies to their research for the first time.

Competitive Science Foundation Ireland funding for Departmental quantitative mass spectrometry (MS) facilities was secured which has enabled multiple new projects within Biology at MU. This instrumentation is also available to external academic and industry users (Contact: caroline.a.batchelor@mu.ie).

All MS-related publications 
(67) to February 2020 are available at: https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document//Q%20Exactive%20Publications%20-20022020.pdf

Current research in our lab can be classified into four broad areas:

1. Aphid-plant interactions
A considerable component of our research involves the economically important plant pest, the aphid (the dreaded greenfy!). We are particularly interested in aphid-plant interactions and have developed methods to acquire and analyse aphid effectors (molecules that modulate or negate plant host defences) and saliva allowing us to identify the molecular determinants of plant resistance/susceptibility and aphid virulence/avirulence. This research which is conducted with numerous international collaborators is resulting in a more detailed understanding of the plant/aphid interaction and provides insight into host plant selection processes and the ongoing chemical arms race between plants and aphids that began 250 million years ago. I am a member of the International Aphid Genomics Consortium a group of over 120 International researchers responsible for sequencing and annotating the genomes of a number of aphid species including the recently published Acyrthosiphon pisum and coordinate the AphidAtlas project which involves the application of proteomic data to assist gene and genome annotation (proteogenomics). We are also interested in other aspects of aphid biology including symbiont interactions, immunology and reproduction.

2. Investigating the decline of a key ecological pollinator; the bumblebee
Bumblebees are key ecological service providers and play an essential role in the maintenance and productivity of both wild and commercial plant communities. However, these valuable pollinators are currently facing major declines due to a combination of factors including climate change, intensive agriculture, introduction of alien species, exposure to chemical toxins, and the spread of pathogens and parasites. Given their importance. little is known about the molecular level effects these factors have on bees and research in our group aims to address these knowledge gaps by characterising cellular and molecular level changes in bees to various stressors (pathogens, parasites and pesticides) in both native and commercial bees.We are also involved in a number of bumblebee conservation programmes and insect DNA barcoding studies and we have recently initiated the Bumblebee Nest Initiative on the Maynooth University campus in an attempt to provide nesting sites for emerging spring queens which will ultimately benefit the flora on campus with increased pollination services. I was a member of the Bumblebee Genome Initiative that published the genomes for Bombus terrestris and B. ignitus (see publications) and I was involved in immune gene and haemolymph protein annotation efforts.

3. Identification of natural bioadhesives with potential medical application
Many organisms have evolved highly adaptive mechanisms of adhesion that underpin crucial aspects of their habit. In collaboration with the UCD Nanofunctional Group we are investigating marine bioadhesive systems used by fish ectoparasites to attach to their slimy and wet host. We have sequenced the genome for one of these parasites and directly identified the protein components of the adhesive matrix using mass spectrometry based proteomics. These proteins are now being investigated further to determine their potential as synthetic bioadhesives.

4. Investigating the molecular basis of Ascariasis using a murine model
Ascariasis is a disease of humans caused by infection of the nematode Ascaris lumbricoides. It is very common in developing countries and it is estimated that over 800 million people are currently infected. In a collaborative effort with Professor Celia Holland (Trinity College Dublin) we apply quantitative proteomics to investigate host-parasite interactions between two murine strains with differential resistance to the nematode. Our work has uncovered clear intrinsic differences in the host liver proteome and the response to Ascaris which provides new insights into the molecular determinants of resistance. We plan to further expand this work in an attempt to identify novel molecular processes and targets for treating or even preventing this disease, one that affects almost one sixth of the human population.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Larragy, S.J.; Möllmann, J.S.; Stout, J.C.; Carolan, J.C.; Colgan, T.J. (2023) 'Signatures of Adaptation, Constraints, and Potential Redundancy in the Canonical Immune Genes of a Key Pollinator'. Genome Biology and Evolution, 15 . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Cullen M.G.; Bliss L.; Stanley D.A.; Carolan J.C. (2023) 'Investigating the effects of glyphosate on the bumblebee proteome and microbiota'. Science of the Total Environment, 864 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2023 Schwarze, J; Carolan, JC; Stewart, GS; McCabe, PF; Kacprzyk, J (2023) 'The boundary of life and death: changes in mitochondrial and cytosolic proteomes associated with programmed cell death of Arabidopsis thaliana suspension culture cells'. Frontiers in Plant Science, 14 . [DOI]
2023 Eakins, J.; Lynch, M.; Carolan, J.C.; Rowan, N.J. (2023) 'Studies on the novel effects of electron beam treated pollen on colony reproductive output in commercially-reared bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) for mass pollination applications'. Science of the Total Environment, 899 . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Vickneswaran, M; Carolan, JC; Saunders, M; White, B (2022) 'Establishing the extent of pesticide contamination in Irish agricultural soils'. Heliyon, 9 (9). [DOI]
2022 Margalit A; Sheehan D; Carolan JC; Kavanagh K; (2022) 'Exposure to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa secretome alters the proteome and secondary metabolite production of Aspergillus fumigatus'. Microbiology - Society for General Microbiology, 168 (3). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Lillis P.E., Kennedy I.P., Carolan J.C., Griffin C.T. (2022) 'Low temperature exposure has immediate and lasting effects on the stress tolerance, chemotaxis, and proteome of entomopathogenic nematodes'. Parasitology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Lillis PE; Griffin CT; Carolan JC; (2022) 'The effect of temperature conditioning (9°C and 20°C) on the proteome of entomopathogenic nematode infective juveniles'. PLoS ONE, 17 (4). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 López-Ballesteros A.; Delaney A.; Quirke J.; Stout J.C.; Saunders M.; Carolan J.C.; White B.; Stanley D.A. (2022) 'Assessing availability of European plant protection product data: an example evaluating basic area treated'. PeerJ, 10 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Anatte Margalit and James C. Carolan and Fiona Walsh (2022) 'Global protein responses of multidrug resistance plasmid-containing Escherichia coli to ampicillin, cefotaxime, imipenem and ciprofloxacin'. 28 :90-96. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgar.2021.12.006 [Full-Text]
2021 Vickneswaran M.; Carolan J.C.; White B. (2021) 'Simultaneous determination of pesticides from soils: A comparison between QuEChERS extraction and Dutch mini-Luke extraction methods'. Analytical Methods, 13 (46):5638-5650. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Margalit, Anatte,Carolan, James C,Kavanagh, Kevin (2021) 'Bacterial Interactions with Aspergillus fumigatus in the Immunocompromised Lung'. 9 (2). [Link] [Full-Text]
2021 Byrne, Stephen and Schughart, Maximilian and Carolan, James C and Gaffney, Michael and Thorpe, Peter J and Malloch, Gaynor and Wilkinson, Tom and McNamara, Louise (2021) 'Genome sequence of the English grain aphid, Sitobion avenae and its endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola'. . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Coughlan P.; Carolan J.C.; Hook I.L.I.; Kilmartin L.; Hodkinson T.R. (2020) 'Phylogenetics of Taxus using the internal transcribed spacers of nuclear ribosomal DNA and plastid trnL-F regions'. Horticulturae, 6 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Margalit A.; Carolan J.C.; Sheehan D.; Kavanagh K. (2020) 'The Aspergillus fumigatus Secretome Alters the Proteome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Stimulate Bacterial Growth: Implications for Co-infection'. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 19 (8):1346-1359. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Khan, R,S,A., Ali, Z., Niazi, A.K., Carolan, J.C., Wilkinson, T (2020) 'In silico Characterization of a Candidate Protein from Aphid Gelling Saliva with Potential for Aphid Control in Plants'. Protein and Peptide Letters, . [DOI]
2019 Margalit A; Kavanagh K; Carolan JC; (2019) 'Characterization of the proteomic response of A549 cells following sequential exposure to Aspergillus fumigatus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa'. Journal of Proteome Research, 19 (1):279-291. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Deslyper G; Holland CV; Colgan TJ; Carolan JC; (2019) 'The liver proteome in a mouse model for Ascaris suum resistance and susceptibility: evidence for an altered innate immune response'. Parasites and Vectors, 12 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Mangan R.; Carolan J.; Baars J. (2019) 'Molecular characterization of Hydrellia lagarosiphon, a leaf mining biological control agent for Lagarosiphon major, reveals weak variance across large geographic areas in South Africa'. Biological Control, 132 :8-15. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Deslyper G; Doherty DG; Carolan JC; Holland CV; (2019) 'The role of the liver in the migration of parasites of global significance'. Parasites and Vectors, 12 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Colgan TJ; Finlay S; Brown MJF; Carolan JC; (2019) 'Mating precedes selective immune priming which is maintained throughout bumblebee queen diapause'. BMC Genomics, 20 (1). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Colgan, TJ; Carolan, JC; Sumner, S; Blaxter, ML; Brown, MJF (2019) 'Infection by the castrating parasitic nematode Sphaerularia bombi changes gene expression in Bombus terrestris bumblebee queens'. Insect Molecular Biology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Eitle MW; Carolan JC; Griesser M; Forneck A; (2019) 'The salivary gland proteome of root-galling grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae Fitch) feeding on Vitis spp'. PLoS ONE, 14 (12). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Cullen MG; Thompson LJ; Carolan JC; Stout JC; Stanley DA; (2019) 'Fungicides, herbicides and bees: A systematic review of existing research and methods'. PLoS ONE, 14 (12). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Green D.; Colgan T.; Thompson R.; Carolan J. (2019) 'Exposure to microplastics reduces attachment strength and alters the haemolymph proteome of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)'. Environmental Pollution, 246 :423-434. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Namara LM; Griffin CT; Fitzpatrick D; Kavanagh K; Carolan JC; (2018) 'The effect of entomopathogenic fungal culture filtrate on the immune response and haemolymph proteome of the large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis'. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Boulain H.; Legeai F.; Guy E.; Morlière S.; Douglas N.; Oh J.; Murugan M.; Smith M.; Jaquiéry J.; Peccoud J.; White F.; Carolan J.; Simon J.; Sugio A. (2018) 'Fast evolution and lineage-specific gene family expansions of aphid salivary effectors driven by interactions with host-plants'. Genome Biology and Evolution, 10 (6):1554-1572. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Oliver E. Prŷs-Jones and Paul H. Williams and James C. Carolan (2018) 'Bumblebees of the Azores (Apidae: Bombus)'. 52 (5-6):345-349. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Surlis C; Carolan JC; Coffey M; Kavanagh K; (2018) 'Quantitative proteomics reveals divergent responses in Apis mellifera worker and drone pupae to parasitization by Varroa destructor'. Journal of Insect Physiology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Mc Namara, L; Carolan, JC; Griffin, CT; Fitzpatrick, D; Kavanagh, K (2017) 'The effect of entomopathogenic fungal culture filtrate on the immune response of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella'. Journal of Insect Physiology, 100 :82-92. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Deslyper G; Colgan TJ; Cooper AJ; Holland CV; Carolan JC; (2016) 'A Proteomic Investigation of Hepatic Resistance to Ascaris in a Murine Model'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10 (8). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Surlis C.; Carolan J.; Coffey M.; Kavanagh K. (2016) 'Proteomic analysis of Bayvarol® resistance mechanisms in the honey bee parasite Varroa destructor'. Journal of Apicultural Research, :1-16. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 The International Bumblebee Genomics Consortium (2015). Sadd B., et al., including Carolan, J.C. (2015) 'The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization. Genome Biology'. Genome Biology, 16 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Browne, N; Surlis, C; Maher, A; Gallagher, C; Carolan, JC; Clynes, M; Kavanagh, K (2015) 'Prolonged pre-incubation increases the susceptibility of Galleria mellonella larvae to bacterial and fungal infection'. Virulence, 6 :458-465. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Scriven, JJ; Woodall, LC; Tinsley, MC; Knight, MIE; Williams, PH; Carolan, JC; Brown, MJF; Goulson, D (2015) 'Revealing the hidden niches of cryptic bumblebees in Great Britain: Implications for conservation'. Biological Conservation, 182 :126-133. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Barribeau, SM, Sadd, BM, du Plessis, L, Brown, MJF, Buechel, SD, Cappelle, K, Carolan, JC et al. (2015) 'A depauperate immune repe​rtoire precedes evolution of sociality in bees. Genome Biology​, 16, 83'. Genome Biology, 16 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Zhao, CY; Escalante, LN; Chen, H; Benatti, TR; Qu, JX; Chellapilla, S; Waterhouse, RM; Wheeler, D; Andersson, MN; Bao, RY; Batterton, M; Behura, SK; Blankenburg, KP; Caragea, D; Carolan, JC; Coyle, M; El-Bouhssini, M; Francisco, L; Friedrich, M; Gill, N; Grace, T; Grimmelikhuijzen, CJP; Han, Y; Hauser, F; Herndon, N; Holder, M; Ioannidis, P; Jackson, L; Javaid, M; Jhangiani, SN; Johnson, AJ; Kalra, D; Korchina, V; Kovar, CL; Lara, F; Lee, SL; Liu, XM; Lofstedt, C; Mata, R; Mathew, T; Muzny, DM; Nagar, S; Nazareth, LV; Okwuonu, G; Ongeri, F; Perales, L; Peterson, BF; Pu, LL; Robertson, HM; Schemerhorn, BJ; Scherer, SE; Shreve, JT; Simmons, D; Subramanyam, S; Thornton, RL; Xue, K; Weissenberger, GM; Williams, CE; Worley, KC; Zhu, DH; Zhu, YM; Harris, MO; Shukle, RH; Werren, JH; Zdobnov, EM; Chen, MS; Brown, SJ; Stuart, JJ; Richards, S (2015) 'A Massive Expansion of Effector Genes Underlies Gall-Formation in the Wheat Pest Mayetiola destructor'. Current Biology, 25 :613-620. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Rao S.; Carolan J.; Wilkinson T. (2013) 'Proteomic Profiling of Cereal Aphid Saliva Reveals Both Ubiquitous and Adaptive Secreted Proteins'. PLoS ONE, 8 (2). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Carolan, JC; Murray, TE; Fitzpatrick, U; Crossley, J; Schmidt, H; Cederberg, B; McNally, L; Paxton, RJ; Williams, PH; Brown, MJF (2012) 'Colour Patterns Do Not Diagnose Species: Quantitative Evaluation of a DNA Barcoded Cryptic Bumblebee Complex'. PLoS ONE, 7 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Williams, PH; An, JD; Brown, MJF; Carolan, JC; Goulson, D; Huang, JX; Ito, M (2012) 'Cryptic Bumblebee Species: Consequences for Conservation and the Trade in Greenhouse Pollinators'. PLoS ONE, 7 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Colgan, TJ; Carolan, JC; Bridgett, SJ; Sumner, S; Blaxter, ML; Brown, MJF (2011) 'Polyphenism in social insects: insights from a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression in the life stages of the key pollinator, Bombus terrestris'. BMC Genomics, 12 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Carolan, J.C., Caragea, D., Reardon, K.T., Mutti, N.S., Pappan, K., Dittmer, N, Cui, F., Reeck, G.R, Castaneto, M., Poulain, J., Dossat, C., Wilkinson, T.L., Tagu, D., Reese, J.C. and Edwards, O.R. (2011) 'Predicted effector molecules in the salivary secretome of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) – a dual transcriptomic/proteomic approach'. Journal of Proteome Research, 10 :1505-1518. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2010 Wang, Y., Carolan, J.C.*., Hao, F-H., Nicholson, J., Wilkinson, T.L. & Douglas, A.E. (2010) 'Integrated metabonomic-proteomic analysis of an insect-bacterial symbiotic system'. Journal of Proteome Research, 9 :1257-1267. [Full-Text]
2010 International Aphid Genomics Consortium (including Carolan, J.C.) (2010) 'Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum'. PLoS Biology, 8 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2009 Nic An Ultaigh, S., Carolan, J.C., Britton, C., Murray, L. & Ryan, M.F (2009) 'Isolation and characterisation of a cathepsin L gene from Strongylus vulgaris'. Experimental Parasitology, 121 :293-299. [Full-Text]
2009 Carolan J.; Fitzroy C.; Ashton P.; Douglas A.; Wilkinsonl T. (2009) 'The secreted salivary proteome of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum characterised by mass spectrometry'. Proteomics, 9 (9):2457-2467. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Carolan, J.C., Hook, I.L.I., Chase, M.W., Kadereit, J.W. & 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 :141-155. [Full-Text]
2005 Carolan, J.C. &Wilkinson.T.L. (2005) 'A proteomics approach to identify key components of aphid saliva'. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 141 :S225-S236.
2002 Carolan J.C., Hook, , I.L.I., Walsh, J.J. & Hodkinson, T.R. (2002) 'Using AFLP markers for species differentiation and assessment of genetic variability of in vitro-cultured Papaver bracteatum (section Oxytona)'. IN VITRO CELLULAR & DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 38 :300-307. [Full-Text]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2016 Rao S.A., Carolan J.C.*, Wilkinson, T.L (2016) 'Proteomic Insights into the Hidden World of Phloem Sap Feeding' In: Management of Insect Pests to Agriculture. : Springer International Publishing. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Will T.; Carolan J.; Wilkinson T. (2012) 'Breaching the Sieve Element-The Role of Saliva as the Molecular Interface Between Aphids and the Phloem' In: Phloem: Molecular Cell Biology, Systemic Communication, Biotic Interactions. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Will, T., Carolan J.C. and Wilkinson, T.L. (2012) 'Molecular interactions between aphids and host plants' In: van Bel and Thompson(Eds.). Phloem: Molecular Cell Biology, Systemic Communication, Biotic Interactions. : Wiley-Blackwell. [DOI]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2018 McLoughlin, M.; Casey, E.; Timoney, J.; Carolan, J.; Seaman, S.; and Maher, A.; (2018) Second Irish OSGeo Symposium 2018 Biodiversity Mapping for Maynooth University using OpenStreetMap Portlaoise, Ireland, .
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.