Dr Owen Kavanagh


After graduating from University College Dublin with a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology (minor in Biochemistry & Physiology) I gained a PhD in Immunology from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Since then I have gained extensive experience carrying out biomedical research in QUB and in Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas (USA). My main research interests are focused on immunology and include novel vaccine/adjuvant technologies, plant-derived immunomodulators and immunoassay development. I have taught a variety of scientific subjects and I have embraced new teaching technologies to enhance student learning experiences. Prior to starting in York St John University in 2015, I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching (PGCHET) and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA).


Further Information



I teach all levels of the new BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science and am module leader for:

Level one

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Introductory Microbiology and Immunology

Level two

  • Infection & Immunity
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology

Level three

Prior to joining York St John University I taught a diverse array of subjects from International Policy to Food Security and Biomedical sciences at undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc) level.

I have supervised student research projects at BSc, MSc and PhD level.




My research interests are diverse but mainly focus on identifying and monitoring biological markers (biomarkers) in humans including:

  • Correlating blood vitamin D levels in sub-elite footballers to athletic performance/injury prevention (In collaboration with the YSJU School of Sport & The i2i soccer academy.
  • Identifying salivary biomarkers of perfectionistic-driven stress in high risk individuals. (In collaboration with Prof. Andy Hill, YSJU School of Sport).

Other research interests include:

  • Cancer pharmacology
  • Plant-derived medicines (natural products)

I have published my research in internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals such as Vaccine, Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Analytica Chimica Acta, Journal of Travel Medicine, Epidemiology and Infection, Environmental Science & Technology and Research in Veterinary Sciences.

I serve as a Review Editor for Frontiers in Immunology (Immunotherapy & Vaccines) and an invited reviewer for Food Chemistry, Food Analytical Methods, Journal of Virological Methods & BMC Veterinary Research.




Kavanagh, Owen and Jones, Sue (2017) The Pros and Cons of Using Personal Response Systems in an Interactive Scientific Debate. British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science , 19 (2). pp. 1-11.

Kavanagh O, Elliott CT, Campbell K. Progress in the development of immunoanalytical methods incorporating recombinant antibodies to small molecular weight biotoxins. Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2015; 407(10):2749-70.

Ajami NJ, Kavanagh OV, Ramani S, Crawford SE, Atmar RL, Jiang ZD, Okhuysen PC, Estes MK, DuPont HL. Seroepidemiology of norovirus-associated travellers' diarrhea. Journal of Travel Medicine 2014 (1): 6-11.

Brownlow T, Kavanagh OV, Logan EF, Hartskeerl RA, Savage R, Palmer MF, Krahl M, Mackie DP, Ellis WA. 'Leptorapide' - a one-step assay for rapid diagnosis of human leptospirosis. Epidemiology and Infection 2013: 1-6.

Kavanagh OV, Adair BM, Welsh M, Earley B. Immunogenetic responses in calves to intranasal delivery of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) epitopes encapsulated in poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide) microparticles. Research in Veterinary Science 2013; 95(2): 786-93.

Kavanagh OV, Adair BM, Welsh MD, Earley B. Local and systemic immune responses in mice to intranasal delivery of peptides representing bovine respiratory syncytial virus epitopes encapsulated in poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide) microparticles. Research in Veterinary Science. 2013; 94(3): 809-12.

Suárez-Pantaleón C , Huet AC , Kavanagh O , Lei H, Dervilly-Pinel G, Le Bizec B , Situ C, Delahaut P. Production of specific polyclonal antibodies for the detection of recombinant bovine somatotropin. Analytica Chimica Acta 2012; 761: 186-93.

Kavanagh O, Zeng XL, Ramani S, Mukhopadhya I, Crawford SE, Kang G, Estes MK. A time-resolved immunoassay to measure serum antibodies to the rotavirus VP6 capsid protein. Journal of Virological Methods 2012; 189(1): 228-31

Kavanagh O, Estes MK, Reeck A, Raju RM, Opekun AR, Gilger MA, Graham DY, Atmar RL. Serological responses to experimental Norwalk virus infection measured using a quantitative duplex time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay.Clinical Vaccine Immunology 2011; 18(7): 1187-90.

da Silva AK, Kavanagh OV, Estes MK, Elimelech M. Adsorption and aggregation properties of norovirus GI and GII virus-like particles demonstrate differing responses to solution chemistry.Environmental Science & Technology 2011; 45(2): 520-6.

Reeck A, Kavanagh OV, Estes MK , Opekun AR, Gilger MA, David Y. Graham DY , Atmar RL. Serologic Correlate of Protection against Norovirus-Induced Gastroenteritis. Journal of Infectious Disease 2010; 202(8): 1212-8.

Kavanagh OV, Ajami NJ, Cheng E, Ciarlet M, Guerrero RA, Zeng CQ, Crawford SE, Estes MK. Rotavirus enterotoxin NSP4 has mucosal adjuvant properties. Vaccine 2010; 28(18): 3106-11.

Mukhopadhya I, Anbu D, Iturriza-Gomara M, Gray JJ, Brown DW, Kavanagh O, Estes MK, Kang G. Anti-VP6 IgG antibodies against group A and group C rotaviruses in South India. Epidemiology and Infection 2010; 138(3): 442-7.

Kavanagh OV, Earley B, Murray M, Foster CJ, Adair BM. Antigen specific IgA and IgG responses in calves inoculated intranasally with ovalbumin encapsulated in poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres. Vaccine 2003; 21 (27-30): 4472-4480.

Recent Conferences Papers

Development of specific antibodies to detect recombinant bovine growth hormone in milk. 5th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis, Prague Czech Republic, November 1-4 2011

Development of immunoassays for rapid detection of recombinant bovine growth hormone in milk. Food Integrity and Traceability Conference. QUB Belfast, Northern Ireland 21-24 March 2011

Serological Correlate of Protection against Norovirus-Induced Gastroenteritis. 4TH International Calicivirus Conference, Santa Cruz, Chile October 16-19 2010

Rotavirus proteins as molecular binders. Wellcome Trust Tri-National Initiative, Cape Town, South Africa May 9-12 2008


Professional Activities


I serve as a Review Editor for the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Immunology (Immunotherapies & Vaccines sub-section) and am an invited reviewer for:

  • Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
  • Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Journal of Virological Methods
  • Food Chemistry
  • BMC Veterinary Research
  • Food Analytical Methods
  • Health Information and Libraries Journal

I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).



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