Current Projects in Infection/Immunity

Ian O' Neill

Ian O' Neill

Supervisor:  Dr. David Clarke

I am currently investigating the role of E.coli in inflammatory bowel diseases. A particular strain of E. coli, Adherent invasive E. coli (AIEC), has been isolated from patients with Crohns disease and have the ability to invade and replicate in macrophages and epithelial cells . We are using intracellular fluorescent imaging to determine how AIEC replicate within these cells.

Alicia Campion


Supervisor: Prof. Colin Hill

Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized peptides produced by a wide range of bacteria. They exhibit antimicrobial activity against a number of significant pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. Among the most extensively investigated lantibiotics is Nisin A, which has been used in the food industry as a natural preservative (E234). Because of their antimicrobial activities, lantibiotics have the potential as chemotherapeutic agents. My research project focuses on the activity of a bioengineered derivative of Nisin A called M21V (Nisin V) which has enhanced antimicrobial activities. The aim is to investigate the activity of Nisin V against a luminescentListeria monocytogenes strain in a murine infection model and to see if it is more effective at controlling the systemic spread of L. monocytogenes compared to Nisin A.

Nina Konstantindou

Supervisor: Dr. John Morrissey


The fungus Candida albicans and bacteriumPseudomonas aeruginosa are opportunistic pathogens that infect similar vulnerable patients and locations. These include the cystic fibrosis lung, burn wounds, catheters, and medical implants. Both organisms use signalling systems to sense their environment, communicate within their population, and co-ordinate virulence. Recently, it has emerged that interactions via secreted signals between these pathogens can also take place. Dr. Morrissey's work has shown that there is bidirectional signalling that affects important phenotypes such as production of virulence factors and biofilm formation. The aim of my project is to continue this work and dissect the molecular mechanism of these interactions using a range of techniques including molecular biology, RTqPCR, cell culture and confocal microscopy.

Molecular Cell Biology

School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Cork.