Dr Nigel Ternan

Senior Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences

Coleraine campus

Room W0073,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Biomedical Sciences Research

Senior Lecturer

Dr Nigel Ternan


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 £700,000 (e.g, from UK EPSRC, Invest Northern Ireland proof of concept scheme and the European Union)

He has published over 30 research articles in high impact peer-reviewed journals, and over 500 citations of his work to date (H index = 14). As well as having both UK and EU patents granted 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.

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.

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 BIO316, BMS307, BIO350, BIO351, BMS504, BIO523, BMS508, BIO824.
  • Faculty study abroad working group
  • Faculty Employability Framework Review committee.