Dr Brian O'Rourke

PhD, BSc

PhD (Chem), UCD, 1983
BSc (Hons), UCD, 1979
  • Research Interests
  • Publications
  • Research Supervision

Brian O’Rourke obtained a PhD at UCD in physical chemistry in 1983 and began work as a pharmaceutical analyst with the R&D laboratories of a Sligo dermatological manufacturer. Here he worked on new product development creating two new patented compositions for the treatment of dermatological conditions.

Four years later he transferred to product development at a large pharmaceutical manufacturer in Athlone, working on controlled-release medications, followed by a stint at a cosmetic manufacturer in Dublin.  He moved to Paris in 1989 becoming Applied R&D Manager with Roure, a manufacturer of sunscreening and other speciality chemicals, flavours and perfumes. Here he supervised a laboratory of twenty scientists working on antibacterial and antioxidant properties of various synthetic and natural materials. Two further patents were issued. Returning to Ireland in 1993 he worked as a consultant to a number of cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies in Ireland and in France. He became a member of the part-time staff of I.T. Carlow in 1995 and a full time lecturer in 2000.    His research interests are primarily in product development and trouble-shooting and in general surface-chemical applications and he has worked in a close collaboration with Dr Norman McMillan bringing at a vital time a necessary chemical and applications expertise to what was previously for the most part an instrumentation project.

Research Interests

  • Use of microemulsions and other novel delivery systems as replacements for organic solvents in industrial processes.
  • Pharmaceutical formulation/compounding.
  • Use of tensiography as qualitative and quantitative tool in laboratory analysis.

Current Research Projects

  • The development of a drop-volume tensiometer without correction factors;
  • The analysis of adsorbed protein and cholesterol monolayers;
  • The evaluation of Italian olive oils of different source by tensiography and light-scattering.

Research Experience

  • Collaborator with Dr Norman McMillan in I.T Carlow since 1996
  • Supervisor of two PhD, one MSc post-grad students.
  • Member of Institute of Chemistry of Ireland. 
  • Member of Society of Cosmetic Scientists.



  •  ‘Microemulsions’, Belgian Patent, 1988;
  •  ‘Dispersible Emollient Gels’, Belgian Patent, 1989;
  •  ‘Fragrance Formulations’, Swiss Patent, 1992
  •  ‘Perfume Compositions’, Swiss Patent, 1993


A Wavelet, Fourier and PCA Data Analysis Pipeline: Application to Distinguishing Mixtures of Liquids.  Kokuer, M., Murtagh, F., McMillan, N.D., Riedel, S., O’Rourke, B., Beverly, K., Augousti, A. T., and Mason, J. 
A new phase-coherent data-scatter fingerprinting and archiving technique for qualitative ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and a new improved quantitative method for multi-component colorimetric determinations of food colours, N.D. McMillan, B. ORourke, in Press (Analityca Chemica Acta), In Press
Ecological tensiography: initial application study on water colour from an Irish bog unpolluted river and rivers receiving mine effluent,  DDG McMillan, AC Bertho, B ORourke, M Neill, D Morrin, Sensors and their Applications XII (IOPP, Bristol and Philadelphia, Sept 2003), 591-597
A feasibility study into differential tensiography for water pollution studies with some important monitoring proposals, AC Bertho, DDG McMillan, ND McMillan, B ORourke, G Doyle, M ONeill, M Neill, Sensors and their Applications XII (IOPP, Bristol and Philadelphia, Sept 2003), 291-296