Immunology / Microbiology

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Research Area

Principal Investigators

Dr. Linda Holland

T: 01 700 5708

My research is focused on studying the interactions that occur between bacteria and fungi during mixed species biofilm formation and co-infections. I use many techniques such as gene deletion strategies, static and flow biofilm assays and next generation sequencing technologies such as RNA seq. Other interests include using the invertebrate model Galleria mellonella to study single and mixed species infections and investigation of novel antimicrobial agents for the treatment of biofilm related infections.


  1. O’Flynn D, Lawler J, Yusuf A, Parle-McDermott A, Harold D, Mc Cloughlin T, Holland L, Regan F, White B. A review of pharmaceutical occurrence and pathways in the aquatic environment in the context of a changing climate and the COVID-19 pandemic. Anal Methods. 2021 Feb 7;13(5):575-594. doi: 10.1039/d0ay02098b. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33507166.
  2. Fitzgerald S, Duffy E, Holland L, Morrin A. Multi-strain volatile profiling of pathogenic and commensal cutaneous bacteria. Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 21;10(1):17971. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-74909-w. PMID: 33087843; PMCID: PMC7578783.
  3. Brennan B, Briciu-Burghina C, Hickey S, Abadie T, Al Ma Awali SM, Delaure Y, Durkan J, Holland L, Quilty B, Tajparast M, Pulit C, Fitzsimons L, Nolan K, Regan F, Lawler J. Pilot Scale Study: First Demonstration of Hydrophobic Membranes for the Removal of Ammonia Molecules from Rendering Condensate Wastewater. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 May 30;21(11):3914. doi: 10.3390/ijms21113914. PMID: 32486214; PMCID: PMC7312626.
  4. Iracane E, Donovan PD, Ola M, Butler G, *Holland LM. (2018) Identification of an exceptionally long intron in the HAC1 gene of Candida parapsilosis. mSphere 3:e00532-18
  5. Donovan PD, Holland LM, Lombardi L, Coughlan AY, Higgens DG, Wolfe KH, Butler G. TPP riboswitch-dependent regulation of an ancient thiamine transporter in Candida. (2018) PLos Genet. 14(5): e1007429.
Research Group Members

Ciara Furlong (MSc)

Ciara is investigating the interactions that occur between the fungal pathogen Candida parapsilosis and the bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus during biofilm formation. The project is titled – Cross-kingdom interactions and bio-communication and is funded by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award.

Shane Fitzgerald (PhD)

Shane is co-supervised with Dr Aoife Morrin in the School of Chemistry. He is studying the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by bacteria and fungi with a view to using the VOC analysis as a clinical diagnostic tool to inform chronic wound treatment. The project is titled – SWAB (Smart Wound Analysis for Bacterial volatiles) and is funded by Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Supplemental PhD funding scheme.

Azeez Yusuf (Post-doctorate researcher)

Azeez is working on the project EMPIRE – Effect Based Monitoring for Pharmaceutical Pollution in Ireland. He is using bioassays to monitor for pharmaceuticals in Irish surface water catchments. Transcriptomic and bioinformatics analysis of gene expression in invertebrates exposed to pharmaceuticals will also be studied.

This project is funded by the EPA Research Programme 2012-2020.

Principal Investigators

Michael Freeley, PhD
Assistant Professor in Precision Medicine.

T: 01 700 5961

T-cell activation and production of inflammatory molecules is a normal immune response that protects us from infectious agents (elimination of the pathogen while ignoring our own cells) as well as the development of cancer. However, T-cells produce an unregulated inflammatory response against host tissues in autoimmune/inflammatory disease, whereas T-cell immunity is often suppressed in cancer. We are looking at the key pathways and genes used by T-cells for the generation of inflammatory responses and investigating how these pathways may be inhibited/augmented for the treatment of inflammatory disease and cancer, respectively.

Current research is focusing on novel biomarkers expressed on skin-homing human T-cells as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. In addition, we are also evaluating non-viral delivery of nucleic acids to human T-cells to re-program them towards cancer cells.


  1. Day JP, Whiteley E, Freeley M, Long A, Malacrida B, Kiely P, Baillie GS. (2018) RAB40C regulates RACK1 stability via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Future Science OA. 4(7): FSO317.
  2. Verma NK, Fazil MH, Kottaiswamy T, Praseetha P, Kumar S, Panda AK, Freeley M, Smith S and Kelleher D. (2016) LFA-1/ICAM-1 ligation in T-cells promotes Th1 polarization through a GSK3β signalling-dependent Notch pathway. Journal of Immunology. 197(1): 108-18.
  3. Freeley M, Derrick E, Dempsey E, Hoff A, Davies A, Leake D, Vermeulen A, Kelleher D and Long A. (2015) RNAi screening with self-delivering, synthetic siRNAs for identification of genes that regulate primary human T cell migration. Journal of Biomolecular Screening 20(8): 943-956.
  4. Freeley M and Long A. (2013) The Two Hit Hypothesis: An Improved Method for siRNA Mediated Gene Silencing in Stimulated Primary Human T Cells. Journal of Immunological Methods 396(1-2): 116.
  5. Freeley M, O’Dowd F, Paul T, Kashanin D, Davies A, Kelleher D, Long A. (2012). L-plastin regulates polarisation and migration in chemokine-stimulated human T lymphocytes. Journal of Immunology 188(12): 6357-70.