Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte
International Women's Day; Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte, Director of Research, enviroCORE, Institute of Technology Carlow
Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte is a nematologist and the co-Director of Research in enviroCORE, the Institute of Technology Carlow’s Centre of Research and Enterprise in environmental science, whose mission is to promote strategic applied research and education in innovative environmental biotechnology, with a view towards sustainable economic and social development. Having been awarded a first class honours undergraduate degree in the Technology of Crop Production from the University of Western Macedonia in her native Greece, she then moved to the UK where she obtained an MSc in the Technology of Crop Protection from the University of Reading.
At Reading, she continued her studies after which she was awarded her PhD on the biological control of the black vine weevil, Otiorhunchs sulcatus, using entomopathogenic nematodes. She subsequently completed two postdoctoral fellowships in Maynooth University, on the molecular genetics of entomopathogenic nematodes and on the development of molecular probes for the identification of quarantine tephritid fruit flies. Her move to the Institute of Technology sector happened when she joined the Institute of Technology Carlow, initially as an Assistant Lecturer, but with a strong focus on research. In Carlow, she thus developed a strong research profile, forming the Molecular Ecology and Nematode Research Group, she secured substantial external research funding and was instrumental for the establishment of enviroCORE, which she now leads. Her research interests encompass the area of agri-environmental science, specifically, biological control of insect pests using entomopathogenic nematodes, the development of DNA-based diagnostics for quarantine pests, bumblebee molecular ecology and conservation, the development of sustainable plant parasitic nematode management methods and the application of nematodes and their assemblages as indicators of environmental change. Dr Kakouli-Duarte is involved in many national and international scientific and community bodies and committees, while she feels very strongly for and is actively involved in scientific outreach and public engagement for the strengthening of the Institute and the wider region. While considerable amount of her time and energy is devoted to research, she taps on her research experience to inform her teaching modules and truly believes in and nourishes the potential of her students to address challenges at national and global level. This is even more relevant in the context of the ReNu2Farm Interreg_NWE funded project (www.nweurope.eu/renu2farm) on soil nutrient sustainability, which she manages on behalf of the project’s IT Carlow team. Dr Kakouli-Duarte is the co-editor of the single international volume in environmental nematology called “Nematodes as Environmental Indicators” (CABI, 2009), she has numerous internationally peer-reviewed publications and conference contributions, and she has been the convenor of national and international conferences in environmental science and environmental nematology.