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Dr. Mary Rooney
Research Fellow, Biochemistry


I completed an undergraduate honours degree in Biochemistry in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2012, followed by a 4-year SFI funded PhD with University College Dublin (UCD) and TCD. During my PhD I made some substantial discoveries including the finding that CoQ10 levels in equine skeletal muscle are correlated with myostatin genotype, which led to the development of a high-selling equine supplement; EnergeneQ10, and significantly, my PhD findings provided mechanistic evidence to account for the myostatin 'speed gene' effect on race distance aptitude in Thoroughbred horses. I furthered research while working as a postdoctoral research fellow with Prof. Richard Porter in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology in TCD in 2017, where we furthered my PhD discoveries and began new research into equine skeletal muscle as well as working on various other bioenergetics and metabolism research projects. Currently, I am situated in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology working as a Research Fellow while holding an Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Partnership Grant as Principal Investigator, working on a project investigating equine muscle efficiency, associated with myostatin genotype and the impact of vitamin supplementation and exercise on metabolic potential and I am in the passionate process of establishing my own research group. I currently give a small number of lectures to hundreds of Freshman Medical, Radiotherapy and Pharmacy students and supervise various undergraduate laboratory classes and I have 1 biochemistry research masters student under my supervision.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

The Use of Reactive Oxygen Species Production by Succinate Driven Reverse Electron Flow as an Index of Complex 1 Activity in Isolated Brown Adipose Tissue Mitochondria in, editor(s)Palmeira, Carlos M., Moreno, António J. (Eds.) , Mitochondrial Bioenergetics: Methods & Protocols, Springer, 2021, [Andrea Dlasková, Kieran J. Clarke, Mary F. Rooney and Richard K. Porter] Book Chapter, 2021

M. F. Rooney and Caitriona E. Curley and J. Sweeney and M. Griffin and R. K. Porter and E. Hill and L. Katz, Prolonged oral coenzyme Q10-β-cyclodextrin supplementation increases skeletal muscle complex I+III activity in young Thoroughbreds, Journal of Applied Animal Nutrition, 8, (1), 2020, p11 - 20 Journal Article, 2020 URL TARA - Full Text

Hill EW, McGivney BA, Rooney MF, Katz LM, Parnell A, MacHugh DE., The contribution of myostatin (MSTN) and additional modifying genetic loci to race distance aptitude in Thoroughbred horses racing in different geographic regions., Equine veterinary journal, 51, (5), 2019, p625-633 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

Mary F. Rooney, Emmeline W. Hill, Vincent P. Kelly, Richard K. Porter, Chris Rogers, The "speed gene" effect of myostatin arises in Thoroughbred horses due to a promoter proximal SINE insertion, PLOS ONE, 13, (10), 2018, pe0205664 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Mary F. Rooney, Caitriona E. Curley, Michael E. Griffin, Lisa M. Katz, Richard K. Porter, Emmeline W. Hill, Dietary supplementation with MicroActive Coenzyme Q10 increases plasma and skeletal muscle Coenzyme Q10 levels in Thoroughbred horses that are genetically variable for basal Coenzyme Q10 activity levels, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics, 1859, 2018, pe62--e63 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Rooney M.F., Hill E.W., Kelly V.P., Porter R.K., The "speed gene" effect of myostatin arises in Thoroughbred horses due to a promoter proximal SINE insertion, PLoS ONE, 13, (10), 2018 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Mary Francis Rooney, The Biochemical and Bioenergetic Consequences of the Myostatin SNP g.66493737C>T and SINE insertion 227 bp polymorphism in Skeletal Muscle of Thoroughbred Horses, 2017 Thesis, 2017 TARA - Full Text

Rooney, M.F., Porter, R.K., Katz, L.M. , Hill, E.W., Skeletal muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics and associations with myostatin genotypes in the Thoroughbred horse, PLoS ONE, 12, (11), 2017 Journal Article, 2017 URL TARA - Full Text

Geoghegan, F. and Buckland, R.J. and Rogers, E.T. and Khalifa, K. and O'Connor, E.B. and Rooney, M.F. and Behnam-Motlagh, P. and Nilsson, T.K. and Grankvist, K. and Porter, R.K., Bioenergetics of acquired cisplatin resistant H1299 non-small cell lung cancer and P31 mesothelioma cells, Oncotarget, 8, (55), 2017, p94711-94725 Journal Article, 2017 DOI TARA - Full Text

Martin DS, Leonard S, Devine R, Redondo C, Kinsella GK, Breen CJ, McEneaney V, Rooney MF, Munsey TS, Porter RK, Sivaprasadarao A, Stephens JC, Findlay JB., Novel mitochondrial complex I inhibitors restore glucose-handling abilities of high-fat fed mice., J Mol Endocrinol , 56, (3), 2016, p261 - 271 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Mary F Rooney, Emmeline W Hill, Lisa M Katz and Richard K Porter , MSTN genotype variation affects skeletal muscle mitochondrial abundance and fibre composition in untrained Thoroughbred horses,, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics, European Bioenergetics Conference 2016 (EBEC 2016), Riva del garda, July 2-7, 2016, edited by Paolo Bernardi , Volume 1857, 2016, ppp44- Meeting Abstract, 2016 DOI TARA - Full Text

Mary F. Rooney, Caitriona E. Curley, James Sweeney, Michael E. Griffin, Richard K. Porter, Emmeline W. Hill, Lisa M. Katz, Prolonged oral coenzyme Q10-ß-cyclodextrin supplementation increases plasma CoQ10 concentration and skeletal muscle complex I+III activity in young, untrained healthy Thoroughbreds Journal Article, DOI

Research Expertise


My main academic research interests skeletal muscle metabolism, mitochondrial efficiency, myostatin protein expression and downstream effects, the effect of supplements on muscle metabolism and energy efficiency, exercise adaption, cachexia and sarcopenia etc. Although my funded research concentrates on the equine realm, my interest transverses all species. In addition to those main research interests, I work on various other projects spanning a wide range of topics, including macrophage metabolism and inflammatory responses, cancer cell bioenergetics and cannabinoid research, among others.


  • Title
    • Exploitation of a Novel in vitro Skeletal Muscle Cell System to Develop New Nutritional Products for the Thoroughbred Horse
  • Summary
    • The aim of this project is to investigate the impact of vitamin supplementation and/or Plusvital current/novel supplements and exercise on the metabolic efficency of equine skeletal muscle in vitro. Novel equine skeletal muuscle immortal cell lines we have established are being employed to assess the variation in metabolic phenotype due to myostatin gene polymorphisms and the effect of supplements and exercise on these phenotypes.
  • Funding Agency
    • Enterprise Ireland
  • Title
    • Fructose Metabolism in Macrophages
  • Title
    • An Assessment of the Efficacious Role of ART27.13 (NEO1940) in a Human in vitro Cell Model of Cachexia
  • Funding Agency
    • Industry Funded