Prof Siobhán McClean is the Head of Biochemistry at University College Dublin. She has a key interest in respiratory pathogens that cause opportunistic infections and in vaccine development to prevent infection. In particular, she focuses on several highly antimicrobial resistant bacteria such as Burkholderia cepacia complex, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Pseudomonas aeruginosa as well as Klebsiella pneumoniae. Effective treatments for these infections are very challenging due to antibiotic resistance. She has been studying how bacteria attach to lung cells, the first step in starting an infection, for over 15 years. This has led to her and her lab developing a proteomic platform technology to identify the proteins that bacteria use to attach to human cells. So far, researchers in her team have identified several proteins have proved to be excellent vaccine candidates in Burkholderia cepacia complex and Burkholderia pseudomallei. They have applied the same approach to look for vaccine antigens against other antibiotic resistant bacteria. The McClean lab comprises a group of 7 researchers all investigating how bacteria interact with human cells or vaccine projects. Prof McClean also coordinates a Horizon 2020 MSCA Innovative Training network called BactiVax which focuses on training 15 PhD students in the to develop better vaccines for bacterial infections.
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