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Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

My main research interests involve Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity, specifically mechanisms that contribute to its ability to evade and manipulate host immunity. S aureusis a major human pathogen and has one of the most sophisticated arsenals of virulence factors in prokaryotes. It is a clonal pathogen whereby certain clones circulate at higher frequencies in certain geographical regions. One aim is phenotypically investigate the immune evasive capacity of a broad range of clinical isolates from different clonal groups and combine this data with their genetic information to unravel their immune evasiveness. This functional genomics approach will allow us to understand, on a global level, genetic loci involved in immune evasion and to highlighted clonal specific virulent signatures which will aid in the development of novel immune therapeutics. 

My second research objective is centred on two Gram-negative human pathogens (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii). In this project we will evaluate how these organisms restrict immune activation, evade/resist phagocytosis and invade and persist intracellularly. 

In both projects we will use start-of-the-art molecular microbiological techniques including but not limited to cloning, gene expression, protein-protein interactions, flow cytometry, serum bactericidal and ex vivo blood killing assays, cell culture, complement deposition studies and bioinformatics.

Willing to supervise PhD

Experience working in a microbiology/ immunobiology or molecular biology is preferred but not essential. We are seeking candidates with a strong interest in host-pathogen interactions with motivation to explore and better understand the molecular basis of pathogen immune evasion. 

Education/Academic qualification

Natural Sciences, Bachelor of Science, Trinity College Dublin

1 Oct 20051 Jun 2009

Molecular Medical Microbiology, Master in Science, University of Nottingham

1 Oct 200930 Sep 2010

External positions

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lund University

1 Jun 201730 Nov 2018

Research Fellow, Fundació Institut Investigació Germans (IGTP) Trias i Pujol, Barcelona, Spain

1 Mar 201631 May 2017

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Research Output 2011 2019

2 Citations (Scopus)

Catch Me if You Can: Streptococcus pyogenes Complement Evasion Strategies

Ermert, D. & Laabei, M., 28 Sep 2018, In : Journal of Innate Immunity. p. 1-10 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Disease-associated genotypes of the commensal skin bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis

Méric, G., Mageiros, L., Pensar, J., Laabei, M., Yahara, K., Pascoe, B., Kittiwan, N., Tadee, P., Post, V., Lamble, S., Bowden, R., Bray, J. E., Morgenstern, M., Jolley, K. A., Maiden, M. C. J., Feil, E. J., Didelot, X., Miragaia, M., de Lencastre, H., Moriarty, T. F. & 5 othersRohde, H., Massey, R., Mack, D., Corander, J. & Sheppard, S. K., 1 Dec 2018, In : Nature Communications. 9, 1, p. 1-11 11 p., 5034.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
3 Citations (Scopus)

Epistasis analysis uncovers hidden antibiotic resistance-associated fitness costs hampering the evolution of MRSA

Yokoyama, M., Stevens, E., Laabei, M., Bacon, L., Heesom, K., Bayliss, S., Ooi, N., O'Neill, A. J., Murray, E., Williams, P., Lubben, A., Reeksting, S., Meric, G., Pascoe, B., Sheppard, S. K., Recker, M., Hurst, L. D. & Massey, R. C., Jul 2018, In : Genome Biology. 19, 1, 94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
antibiotic resistance
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Microbial Drug Resistance

Short Leucine-Rich Proteoglycans Modulate Complement Activity and Increase Killing of the Respiratory Pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis

Laabei, M., Liu, G., Ermert, D., Lambris, J. D., Riesbeck, K. & Blom, A. M., 1 Nov 2018, In : The Journal of Immunology. 201, 9, p. 2721-2730 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access