• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

  • 954 Citations
  • 19 h-Index

Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr Nigel Ternan is a Senior Lecturer in molecular microbiology in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Ulster University. After graduating with a BSc Hons (2.1) in Microbiology from The Queen’s University of Belfast he commenced his PhD studies in the School of Biology and Biochemistry at Queen’s University, completing his thesis entitled ‘Biodegradation of minoalkylphosphonates by Environmental Bacteria’ in June 1997.

Dr Ternan has more than 20 years' research experience in the areas of microbial biochemistry and physiology, biotechnology, and infectious disease research.

He has previously characterised novel microbial enzymes for industrial use, developed novel microbial biosensors and bioreactors for water treatment, and established a strong track record in systems biology analysis of microbial pathogens.

Successful completion of programmes of research by Dr Ternan across biotechnology and engineering fields has resulted in competitively awarded research funding of over £6 M (e.g, from UK EPSRC, GCRF, Invest Northern Ireland proof of concept scheme, Innovate UK, and the EU)

He has published over 40 research articles in high impact peer-reviewed journals, with over 700 citations of his work to date (H index = 16) in addition to holding UK, EU and US patents in the area of microbial diagnostics.

Dr Ternan currently leads research at Ulster into the gut pathogen Clostridium difficile, and has developed a well-funded and high impact programme of systems biology research into this pathogen.  An integrated proteomic and transcriptomic approach, coupled with modern reverse genetics techniques has yielded new insights into the pathogen’s physiology, with the potential for the identification of novel therapeutic targets, therapeutic methods, and detection strategies. More recently, we have shown that interaction of this gut pathogen with human gut metabolome constituents induces the expression of sporulation associated genes several hundred-fold, with profound implications for pathogenicity and pathogen transmission.

The Ternan lab has also developed strong collaborative links with local healthcare trusts and SMEs in the arena of healthcare acquired infections, resulting in successful delivery of several programmes of work in other areas, for example in assessing the efficacy of novel biocides for the healthcare sector, developing high yield bioreactors for the food industry and applying a cross disciplinary approach to novel pathogen detection methods.

Research Interests

  • Infectious disease physiology
  • bacterial stress responses
  • proteomics
  • transcriptomics.
  • bioinformatics

Teaching Interests

  • Delivery of high quality, well received teaching in disciplines of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Proteomics & Genomics.
  • Placement/employability tutor for Biology and Biomedical sciences DPP students
  • Member of faculty study abroad working group.

Administrative Roles

  • Module coordinator for BMS307, BIO350, BIO351, BMS320, BMS504, BMS505, BIO700, BIO800.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Nigel Ternan is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Competent but complex communication: The phenomena of pheromone-responsive plasmids

Sterling, A., Snelling, W. J., Naughton, P., Ternan, N. G. & Dooley, JSG., 2 Apr 2020, In : PLoS Pathogens. 16, 4, p. 1-19 19 p., e1008310.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    9 Downloads (Pure)
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Assessing Microbial Water Quality: Electroanalytical Approaches to the Detection of Coliforms

    Bigham, T., Dooley, JSG., Ternan, N. G., Snelling, W. J., Castelán, M. C. H. & Davis, J., 31 Dec 2019, In : Trends in Analytical Chemistry. 121, p. 1-18 18 p., 115670.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Electroanalytical Properties of Chlorophenol Red at Disposable Carbon Electrodes: Implications for Escherichia coli Detection

    Casimero, C., Bigham, T., Mc Glynn, R., Dooley, JSG., Ternan, N. G., Snelling, W. J., Critchley, M. E., Zinkel, C. L., Smith, R. B., Sabogal-Paz, L. P. & Davis, J., 1 Dec 2019, In : Bioelectrochemistry. 130, 7 p., 107321.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    • 1 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
    • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

    A Strategic NICHE Research Collaboration Meeting

    William Snelling (Organiser), , Helene Mc Nulty (Participant), , James Dooley (Participant), , Nigel Ternan (Participant), , Leane Hoey (Participant), , Catherine Hughes (Participant), , Paul Cotter (Participant), & Roy Sleator (Participant)

    2 Mar 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

    Safewater; Workpackage 5 Workshop

    William Snelling (Participant), , Nigel G Ternan (Participant), & JSG Dooley (Participant)

    4 Jul 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...