Centre for Microbial Host Interactions

We explore the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and human cells in order obtain a better understanding of how they contribute to disease, and in order to develop better antimicrobial therapies. This is a specialist Institute designated research centre of excellence within the larger Centre of Applied Science for Health.

PI Names: Dr. Máire Callaghan, Dr. Emma Caraher & Dr. Gordon Cooke
Postgraduate Research Students (Currently)
Jade Fay 
Nicole Grant 
Mitchell Moody 

In the last 5 years - 
In excess of €795 K from external agencies in the last 5 years for specific research projects -  SFI, Health Research Board, Industry, HEA, EU, Enterprise Ireland.
In addition cira €144 K secured from TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus President’s Research Awards.

Prof. Amanda McCann, Conway Institute, University College Dublin
Prof. Seamas Donnelly, TBSI, Trinity College Dublin
Dr. Chris Watson, Queens University Belfast
Prof. Pradeep Singh, University of Washington, Seattle
Dr. Katie Hisert, University of Washington, Seattle

Selected Publications: 

  • GRAY, R. D., HARDISTY, G., REGAN, K. H., SMITH, M., ROBB, C. T., DUFFIN, R., MACKELLAR, A., FELTON, J. M., PAEMKA, L., MCCULLAGH, B. N., LUCAS, C. D., DORWARD, D. A., MCKONE, E. F., COOKE, G., DONNELLY, S. C., SINGH, P. K., STOLTZ, D. A., HASLETT, C., MCCRAY, P. B., WHYTE, M. K. B., ROSSI, A. G. & DAVIDSON, D. J. 2018. Delayed neutrophil apoptosis enhances NET formation in cystic fibrosis. Thorax, 73, 134-144.
  • TYNAN, A., MAWHINNEY, L., ARMSTRONG, M. E., O'REILLY, C., KENNEDY, S., CARAHER, E., JULICHER, K., O'DWYER, D., MAHER, L., SCHAFFER, K., FABRE, A., MCKONE, E. F., LENG, L., BUCALA, R., BERNHAGEN, J., COOKE, G. & DONNELLY, S. C. 2017. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor enhances Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation, potentially contributing to cystic fibrosis pathogenesis. FASEB J, 31, 5102-5110.
  • HISERT, K. B., HELTSHE, S. L., POPE, C., JORTH, P., WU, X., EDWARDS, R. M., RADEY, M., ACCURSO, F. J., WOLTER, D. J., COOKE, G., ADAM, R. J., CARTER, S., GROGAN, B., LAUNSPACH, J. L., DONNELLY, S. C., GALLAGHER, C. G., BRUCE, J. E., STOLTZ, D. A., WELSH, M. J., HOFFMAN, L. R., MCKONE, E. F. & SINGH, P. K. 2017. Restoring Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function Reduces Airway Bacteria and Inflammation in People with Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Lung Infections. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 195, 1617-1628.
  • DENNEHY, R., ROMANO, M., RUGGIERO, A., MOHAMED, Y. F., DIGNAM, S. L., MUJICA TRONCOSO, C., CALLAGHAN, M., VALVANO, M. A., BERISIO, R. & MCCLEAN, S. 2017. The Burkholderia cenocepacia peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein is involved in epithelial cell attachment and elicitation of inflammation. Cell Microbiol, 19. 
  • HISERT, K. B., SCHOENFELT, K. Q., COOKE, G., GROGAN, B., LAUNSPACH, J. L., GALLAGHER, C. G., DONNELLY, S. C., WELSH, M. J., SINGH, P. K., MCKONE, E. F. & BECKER, L. 2016. Ivacaftor-Induced Proteomic Changes Suggest Monocyte Defects May Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Cystic Fibrosis. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, 54, 594-7.

Research Visitors:
In 2017 launched 6 week summer research projects for 3rd  year and final year undergraduate TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus students to promote STEM and Infection research.

Other Information: 

  • CENTRE FOR MICROBIAL HOST INTERACTIONS at IT TallaghtVisits to primary schools to promote STEM and talk about the importance of antibiotics.
  • Support of annual SciFest competition (secondary school students usually in transition year) in IT Tallaght including acting as judges, giving talks on cystic fibrosis.
  • Founding members of AMR Ireland (Antimicrobial resistance Ireland) promoting the importance of antibiotic stewardship to the public and supporting researchers.
  • Created Teaching in Higher Education module for postgraduates as part of structured graduate program.
  • Created Bacterial Interactions with the Host Epithelia module for postgraduates as part of structured graduate program.
  • Workshop on grant writing and paper writing for staff and postgraduates. 


  • Synergy Centre at ITT Dublin
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  • Member of the Technological University for Dublin Alliance
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