Prolego employees Advisory board

Our team

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Belinda Hernandez

Co-founder and CEO Dr Belinda Hernández is a Bio-Engineer and Research fellow with TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging) in Trinity College Dublin. Her research interests include Bayesian models and machine learning methods for use on high dimensional data such as proteomic and genomic data as well as multivariate and predictive modelling.

Prior to TILDA Belinda was an Assistant Professor in Statistics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics UCD (2015-2017) and completed her PhD in Bayesian methods for Proteomic Biomarker development and validation in UCD in 2015. Belinda also has an MSc in Applied Statistics from Oxford University and a BA Mod in Management Science and Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin.

Andrew Parnell

Co-founder and CSO Professor Andrew Parnell is Deputy Director of Machine Learning and Statistics at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and Head of Statistics and Actuarial Science in University College Dublin. He has over 50 publications is areas as diverse as: machine learning, Bayesian hierarchical modelling, manufacturing analytics, learning analytics, climate change, genetics, and others.

Andrew is happiest when coding in R and C++, and testing new models on large, high-dimensional data sets. He most enjoys working with a diverse range of scientists to create the best possible prediction model on their data.

Mahdi Amina

Chief Data Scientist Dr Mahdi Amina is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University College Dublin. He completed his PhD in Machine Learning and MSc in communication engineering at University of Westminster, London, and proceeded to two other postdoc positions in big data analytics. He has been involved in several research projects prior to joining UCD across Europe; in the University of Genoa (Italy) and the University of Central Lancashire(UK). Passionate about predictive genetic data modelling, the move to UCD was a natural fit.

He has 5 years experience of genetic data analysis and medical sensory device design through which a previous algorithm was patented.

Want to join?

Prolego are currently looking for talented data scientists to work at the interface between genetics and data science. If you have high ability in R/Python and C++ and are interested in the world of big data, please drop us a line below.

Scientific and Management Advisory Board

Alan Fahey

Professor Alan Fahey graduated with a BAgrSc (Hons) degree from University College Dublin in 2001. He then moved to West Lafayette, Indiana in the US to do a masters degree in Animal Breeding, from which he graduated in 2004. After completing his masters degree he began a PhD in cooperation with Purdue University and the United States Department of Agriculture, where he looked at the genetic effects of the neuroendocrine response to social stress in WhiteLeghorn hens from group selected lines and individual selected lines. He graduated with a PhD in December 2008.

Alan's current research interests are in determining the genetic factors associated with the twinning frequency in beef cattle. He has also established a Central Progeny Testing sheep flock at UCD. The objective of this flock is to contribute to the phenotypic and genotypic information currently being collected by Sheep Ireland, and to also collect information on intensive phenotypes such as residual feed intake, methane emissions, growth rates, and lameness. Tissue for DNA collection has been collected from all sheep at UCD Lyons Estate and will be used to determine QTLs for these traits.

David MacHugh

Professor David MacHugh obtained a BA (Mod) degree in Genetics from Trinity College Dublin in 1988 and undertook PhD research in animal genomics at TCD. His postdoctoral work on livestock paleogenomics was funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Bioarchaeology. In 1999 he took up a lectureship in University College Dublin and was appointed Professor in 2009. He is currently the Associate Dean for Research, Innovation and Impact at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. He is also a Conway Investigator (, co-founder and Scientific Advisor to Equinome Ltd. ( and a co-founder and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IdentiGEN Ltd. (

Prof MacHugh’s research programme is focused on functional genomics of host-pathogen interactions for Mycobacterium bovis infection and development of novel disease biomarkers for bovine tuberculosis. Other research activities include livestock production genomics; population genomics of extinct and modern livestock populations; and with Professor Emmeline Hill, genomics of health and performance traits in Thoroughbred horses.

Steve Pennington

Professor Steve Pennington is Professor of Proteomics in UCD. A chemist (Imperial College, London) and PhD biochemist (University of Cambridge) by training, he has spent much of his research career using mass spectrometry to measure and characterise proteins. He has given over 150 invited presentations at international events, published over 75 scientific papers as well as editing and contributing to several books including editing one of the first books on Proteomics that was translated into Chinese and Japanese.

He is highly energetic, enthusiastic and focused on bringing protein biomarker research endeavours to clinical utility and value. To support this, Steve has commercial experience and has developed significant insight into the molecular diagnostics arena. He has been consultant to a number of companies including a major private proteomics-based biotech that went on to a successful IPO and has been Director of Research and Board Member of a Cambridge-based seed-corn funded fledgling biotech company.

Adrian Raftery

Professor Adrian E. Raftery is Professor of Statistics and Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and obtained a B.A. in Mathematics (1976) and an M.Sc. in Statistics and Operations Research (1977) at Trinity College Dublin. He obtained a doctorate in mathematical statistics in 1980 from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France under the supervision of Paul Deheuvels. He was a lecturer in statistics at Trinity College Dublin from 1980 to 1986, and then an associate (1986-1990) and full (1990-present) professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington. He was the founding Director of the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences (1999-2009).

Adrian has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed statistical, sociological and other journals. His research focuses on Bayesian model selection and Bayesian model averaging, model-based clustering, inference for deterministic simulation models, and the development of new statistical methods for demography, sociology, and the environmental and health sciences. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He was identified as the world's most cited researcher in mathematics for the decade 1995-2005 by Thomson-ISI.

Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan was the founding Managing Director of Equinome, a world leader in the development of proprietary predictive genomic tests for athletic ability and health in horses. He led the company from university spin-out through scale-up and growth over four continents, culminating in a successful exit to Plusvital in 2015. Prior to Equinome, Donal worked in Ireland and Spain as bioprocess engineer on the design, construction and commissioning of biopharmaceutical plants. He holds a BE from University College Dublin, an MBA from University College Dublin and a Diploma in Corporate Finance from the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Donal is currently the Director of Research and Investment at Enerman Ltd.