Profile And Projects

Siobhan McClean - CMHI at ITT DublinSiobhán McClean, PhD.
Principal investigator and joint-coordinator of the Centre of Microbial Host Interactions.
My research focusses on the direct interactions between bacteria and lung epithelia and mechanisms of colonisation. Using proteomic techniques we have identified several proteins that are involved in attachment of Bcc to lung epithelial cells. Several of these were also shown to be immunogenic in our immunoproteomic studies. We are currently evaluating a subset of these in preclinical studies. Due to homology with Burkholderia pseudomallei proteins, we are also evaluating homologous proteins in a B. pseudomallei challenge model in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We also investigate the adaptations that Bcc undergoes during chronic infection.


Maire Callaghan - CMHI at ITT DublinMáire Callaghan, PhD.
Principal investigator and joint co-ordinator of the Centre of Microbial Host Interactions at ITT Dublin.
My research is focussed on the cystic fibrosis (CF) group of pathogens the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc). Current projects include an investigation of the potential adaptation of these pathogens during chronic infection and consequences for host responses and an analysis of the mechanisms of iron acquisition by Bcc as a potential target for novel therapeutics.


Cindy Collins - CMHI at ITT DublinCindy Collins, PhD.
My Enterprise Ireland funded project involves the development of two Bcc vaccine antigens with a view to their commercialisation. These two antigens have given excellent protective responses to Bcc challenge in immunisation studies. This vaccine could potentially immunise CF patients against this infection and to treat patients who already have infection, which once acquired cannot be eradicated by current treatments.


Mark Murphy - CMHI at ITT DublinMark Murphy, PhD.
My focus is in elucidating the utility of biofilm formation by Bcc bacteria to its evasion of neutrophil anti-microbial activity. To this end, I carried out an SFI-funded project to study what influence Bcc biofilms have on the behaviour and fate of neutrophils, concurrently addressing the influence of neutrophils on biofilm formation by the bacteria.


Ruth Dennehy - CMHI at ITT DublinRuth Dennehy, PhD student.
My SFI-funded project involves studying the pathogenicity of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc). We identified immunogenic Bcc proteins using serum from Bcc colonised patients. I am now examining the roles of two of these proteins, a peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein (Pal) and a hypothetical protein, in the pathogenesis of Bcc.


Niamh Whelan - CMHI at Itt DublinNiamh Whelan, PhD student.
My PhD project is aimed at better understanding the iron acquisition strategies of the cystic fibrosis pathogen Burkholderia cenocepacia, as well as characterising host response. I am funded by HEA-PRTLI cycle 5.




Luke McGuigan - CMHI at ITT DublinLuke McGuigan, PhD student.
I am examining the adaptive strategies of Burkholderia cenocepacia over the course of infection in an effort to identify mechanisms that may potentially inform novel treatment modalities. I am funded by the IRC.




Louise Cullen - CMHI at ITT DublinLouise Cullen, PhD student.
My IRC funded project focuses on the adaptation of cystic fibrosis pathogens from time of early acquisition to chronic colonisation. I have investigated the alterations in phenotype of a series of Burkholderia cenocepacia bacterial isolates over time, including the evolution of their virulence, their ability to attach to and colonise host cells, host response and proteome of these isolates. Understanding how this chronically colonising pathogen adapts and survives within the CF host may lead to potential therapeutic targets to treat Bcc and eradicate chronic infections.

Arundi - CMHI at ITT DublinArundhuti Chakrabarti
I am investigating the potential role of bile salts in the pathogenesis of and the host response to Bcc in lung epithelia. I am funded by HEA-PRTLI cycle 5.



Stefanie - CMHI at ITT DublinStefanie Raschke (ERASMUS student from University of Leipzig)
I am an ERASMUS student from Germany and my six month- project deals with the optimization of recombinant protein expression. I am scaling up production of a Bcc vaccine antigen from shaking flasks to 2l-fermenters and I am optimizing a range of process parameters, including temperature, induction time and inducer concentration. Another aim of my project is the optimization of subsequent downstream processing.

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