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Our People

Plusvital has a very strong team of both scientists and horse industry experts. Our research team includes genetic researchers, vets, bio-informaticians, developers and nutrition experts giving us an in-house expertise that is second to none. Our sales and marketing team include executives with a wide range of equine industry experience, giving them a clear insight into how to best use our products and services to give our customers a competitive edge.

We are always looking for high-potential people to join our fast-paced team at Plusvital. If working at the cutting-edge of the equine industry excites you, please forward your CV and a brief cover note to info@plusvital.com

Mike Shelly

CEO

Mike Shelly is the CEO of Plusvital. Mike is a chemical engineer by background with an MBA from UCD Smurfit graduate school of business. He started his career in biotech where he worked in a number of operational and process engineering roles for Wyeth (now Pfizer) and Amgen in Ireland, Switzerland and the USA. Upon completion of his MBA, he joined a startup renewable energy company operating in the UK and Ireland in a business development/management position. Upon the successful trade sale of this business, Mike returned to Ireland where he joined Plusvital as Head of Business Development and he became CEO in early 2015. Mike is passionate about the vision of building a world-class equine science company based in Ireland and is far too tall to ride horses.

Prof Emmeline Hill

CSO

Professor Emmeline Hill was a co-founder of Equinome Ltd. and leads the Plusvital R&D team. In 2004 she was awarded a President of Ireland Young Researcher Award to establish the world’s first academic research programme dedicated to understanding performance traits in the Thoroughbred. She has been at the forefront of Thoroughbred performance genomics during the last decade and has published more scientific papers on equine exercise genomics than any other researcher worldwide. She is an Associate Professor of Equine Science at University College Dublin and leads the Equine Exercise Genomics research group at UCD funded by Science Foundation Ireland. She has retrained a former steeplechaser to be her weekend hack and she rides regularly with her two children.

Ciara Watt

General Manager: Nutraceuticals

Ciara Watt studied Environmental Science at NUIG and also completed a BA in Marketing in French. Having worked for the world renowned Coolmore Stud both in Ireland and the US, as well as International Sales for Glanbia/GAIN Horse Feeds she has vast knowledge of the Global thoroughbred Industry. Horses have always been a passion having ridden and competed from an early age. Ciara has won the ladies side-saddle class at the Royal Dublin Horse Show as well as representing Ireland in dressage and show jumping in Switzerland at the World Equestrian Student Games. Ciara also owned her own chocolate company exporting handmade truffles to the UK and France and was finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards before selling the company.

Paul Kane

Financial Controller

Paul Kane is the Financial Controller of Plusvital. He holds a BA in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, although he has worked in accountancy since completing his degree. Paul qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2013, having completed his training in Mazars. He joined Plusvital in February 2019 from the position as Director of Transaction Services at Mazars.

Paul hopes is excited by Plusvital’s scientific foundations and novel products and he hope to put his financial expertise to use in the development of the business, all the while developing his knowledge of the equine industry.

Dr Beatrice Mcgivney

Research Manager

Dr Beatrice McGivney is the Research Manager at Plusvital. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Human Genetics and then joined Professor Hill’s Equine Exercise Genomics research group obtaining a PhD in Equine Functional Genomics. Beatrice started her career in Equinome Ltd in 2009 and following a three-year interval working as postdoctoral researcher she returned to Equinome Ltd. in 2014. Beatrice’s research has focussed on understanding the genetic response to exercise in the Thoroughbred and the development of tests to predict performance traits in the Thoroughbred racehorse. She loves to get out riding whenever she the opportunity arises with hunting and polocrosse being the latest endeavours.

Dr Amy Holtby

Product Development

Originally from Yorkshire, Amy joined Equinome Ltd in July 2013 with first-class honours in Equine Science from the Royal Agricultural University (Cirencester).   During her degree, she worked with high-performance polo ponies which inspired her undergraduate research project investigating myostatin mutations in polo ponies, which she conducted in collaboration with Equinome.  More recently with passionate interest in equine behaviour, welfare, performance and industry Amy completed her doctoral degree, supported by Plusvital, investigating genetic contributions to behaviour in the Thoroughbred horse.  This research was performed as part of the Equine Genomics Group at University College Dublin.  Amy has since returned to a research and development role in Plusvital as a Product Owner, facilitating both early stage research fieldwork, as well as overseeing product development.  When not ‘empowering equine performance’ at her desk in Plusvital Amy is a keen runner, taking part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon and Connemarathon earlier this year.

Fiona Goor

Genetic Sales Executive - Australia/new Zealand

Originally from Scotland, Fiona Goor has been involved for 25 years in the racing and breeding industry. After graduating from college, she moved to Sydney working in the bloodstock and marketing departments of William Inglis & Son for 3 years and in 1999 moved to Ireland to take up a position at Derrinstown Stud in the Nominations department.
In 2002, the opportunity arose at the international bloodstock agency, De Burgh Equine where she then spent 13 years as Office Manager and during these years also worked in a consultancy role to William Inglis & Son, and latterly, Aushorse as their European Representative, travelling to Australia each year to attend the major yearling sales.

Heather Mackenzie

Sales Manager - Ireland

Heather Mackenzie originally from Cheltenham is Sales Manager for Ireland at Plusvital. Heather has a wealth of knowledge of the equine industry having studied equine management and worked in the industry for almost 20 years. Heather competed in eventing in Ireland as well as riding in point to points across the UK. Heather has had the pleasure of caring for some special horses in some of the UK’s top racing yards including Grand national winning trainer Lucinda Russell and Sue Smith. With a passion for nutrition and how it can impact on performance, Heather has an excellent understanding of how supplements can really benefit clients in the Racing, Breeding and Sport horse sectors.

Gita Lelesiute

Operations Manager

Gita Lelesiute, originally from Lithuania, completed her BA degree in English Philology at Vilnius Pedagogical University and set out for some adventure to Ireland where she’s lived for over 14 years. She joined the Plusvital team as Executive Assistant to the CEO in early 2014, and became Operations Manager in 2015. Gita manages the process of supplements orders and works closely with our factory at David Taylor Animal Nutrition Ltd to ensure smooth manufacture and dispatch. From exports and registration documents to regulatory processes and quality control, Gita provides fast and efficient support to our agents worldwide.

Gita is also our Office Manager, overseeing the smooth day-to-day running of the business.

She devotes her spare time to her daughter and her pets and is an avid animal rights advocate.

Leanne Corduff

Genomics Lab Manager

Leanne Corduff has worked as a Research Assistant on the Beef Data Genomic Programme with Weatherbys Ireland, a scheme carried out aiming to improve the genetic merit of the cattle herd. Previously, she worked as a Microbiologist in a food, water and Environmental Testing laboratory. She studied a Bachelor of Science in Applied Bioscience in Dundalk Institute of Technology and an honours degree in Environmental Biology. She has an interest in health and equine performance in horse racing and has two race horses at home.

Prof David Machugh

Scientific Advisory Committee

Prof 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 (www.ucd.ie/conway), co-founder and Scientific Advisor to Equinome Ltd. (www.equinome.com) and a co-founder and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IdentiGEN Ltd. (www.identigen.com).

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.

Prof Lisa Katz

Scientific Advisory Committee

Prof Lisa Katz, an Associate Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, UCD, Ireland, obtained her DVM from the University of Georgia (USA, 1994) and holds an MSc degree in equine exercise physiology (Washington State University, USA, 1998) and a PhD degree in equine vascular biology (Royal Veterinary College, UK, 2003). She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM, 2001) and the European College of Equine Internal Medicine (ECEIM, 2005). Prof Katz has over 44 refereed publications in the scientific and clinical veterinary literature and has made several contributions to book chapters in her specialist areas. Her clinical and research interests include equine laminitis, equine exercise physiology and equine genomics.