I am originally from Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland. I obtained a BA in Physics and Astrophysics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and an MSc in Space Science at University College London. I also completed my PhD with the Astrophysics Research Group in TCD, studying sunspot evolution with vector magnetic field observations from the Hinode spacecraft in order to better understand solar flare processes. From 2013 until 2016 I worked as a Space Weather Research Scientist at the Met Office, the national meteorological service for the United Kingdom. There I transitioned basic science to operational space weather forecasting.
Space weather describes the changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space. Severe space weather events in the form of solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and solar energetic particle events, have the potential to severely affect a range of vital technologies. It is thus crucial to improve our scientific understanding of solar storms and the Sun-Earth connection in order to provide accurate forecasts of severe events. With a background in both solar and Earth-atmospheric physics, I study the solar source of space weather and its impact on Earth.
I am currently working on two EU-funded collaborations, the Framework Package 7 HELCATS project, and the Horizon 2020 FLARECAST project. As part of HELCATS, I am analysing the solar surface sources of CME events as determined by the STEREO spacecraft, correlating magnetic active region properties with CME kinematics. FLARECAST aims to provide a state-of-the-art ensemble flare forecast system with real-time verification. As a Project Management Board member during my time in the Met Office, I worked on the verification of forecasts, as well as dissemination to industry. At TCD I will focus on researching active region magnetic properties for improved forecasting methods.