Welcome to the NUI, Galway Enteric Pathogen Research Laboratory

The Enteric Pathogen Research Laboratory (EPRL) was founded in 1997 where research is based on bacterial pathogens with specific focus on Campylobacter jejuni, the major causative agent of gastro-enteritis worldwide.  The areas of research of this lab are summarised below. 



Detection and Epidemiology

Use of Genotyping methods and DNA probe technology for detection and epidemiological studies on pathogenic bacteria. 
Use of molecular methods (culture and DNA - based) for detection identification and epidemiological studies of bacterial food pathogens. Methods include: PCR, PFGE, RAPD, RFLP, Ribotyping, DNA sequencing. 

Adaptive Tolerance Response in Campylobacter spp.

Physiological stress response in bacteria and the effect of processing treatments of bacterial survival, virulence and gene expression. In particular the Adaptive Tolerance Response in Campylobacter spp. Methods include the use of proteomics and microarrays. 

Study of antibiotic resistance mechanisms

Evaluation of the effect of sub-inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics on the selection of single and multiple drug resistance in bacterial pathogens. 


Biofilm formation. 

Bioactive Ingredients from Algal Sources

Assessment of the effects of the alginate and laminaran extracts on intestinal flora. 
Novel Antimicrobial tools to limit Campylobacter infection of poultry 



Present Lab Members

Dr. Cyril Carroll:  Principle Investigator 

Dr. Athanasia Varsaki:  Postdoctoral Researcher (Marie Curie Fellow) 

Ms. Olivia Duignan:  Postgraduate 
Project:  Adaptive responses of Campylobacter jejuni to antibiotic and biocide selection pressures in chemostat culture. 

Mr. Iain Douglas:  Postgraduate 
Project:  Effect of Functional beverages enriched in polysaccharides on bacteria. 

Ms. Fiona Carr:  Postgraduate 
Project:  Investigation on the colonisation of poultry by characterised Campylobacter  strains genetically and the potential of selected algal extracts in limiting this colonisation. 
Ms. Ann Smyth    
Project:  Effect of Isolation Media and Incubation Temperature on Isolation of Campylobacter jejuni Genotypes from Foodstuffs Enriched in Preston Broth 

Former Lab Members

Research Assistants 
Ms. Aoibhinn Lawlor, Ms. Emma Casey, Ms. Diane Canty. 

Ph.D Students 
Dr. Karen Duffy (Ph.D. awarded 2001) 
Thesis:  Cloning and sequencing of the groELS  operon and analysis of GroEL expression in Campylobacter  jejuni  in response to physiological stress 

Dr. Justine Fitzmaurice (Ph.D. awarded 2003) 
Thesis:  Molecular Diagnostic Assays for E.coli 0157 :H7 

Dr. Rachel Fallon (Ph.D. awarded 2004) 
Thesis:  A study of Campylobacter species in an integrated Irish poultry processing facility 

Dr. Caroline Murphy (Ph.D. awarded 2004) 
Thesis:  A study of acid stress resistance mechanisms in Campylobacter jejuni     

Dr. Kevina O'Donoghue (Ph.D.awarded 2004) 
 Thesis:  Physical and Biological Characteristics of Biofilms and Biomaterials 

Dr. Majella Maher (Ph.D. awarded 2004) 
Thesis:  Molecular assays for Campylobacter species 

Dr. Imelda Doolan (Ph.D. awarded 2004) 
Thesis:  Studies on the epidemiology of Campylobacter species in commerciall produced Irish Broiler Flocks 

Dr. Aoife O'Leary (Ph.D. awarded 2006) 
Thesis:  A comparative study of thermophilic Campylobacter isolates of clinical and food origin using genotypic and antimicrobial characterisation techniques 

M.Sc. Studies

Ms. Sharon O Toole (M.Sc. awarded 1996) 
Thesis:  Construction of Genomic DNA libraries for Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter fetus  in a Lambda Zap ExpressionVector 

Ms. Yvonne McGrath (M.Sc. awarded 1997) 
Thesis:  Typing of Campylobacter jejuni by Restriction Fragment End labelling 

Ms. Brigid Grennan (M.Sc. awarded 1998) 
Thesis:  Isolation of Recombinant Clones containing groEL Genetic Sequences from a  Lambda Zap Campylobacter fetus Genomic Library 

Ms. Emma Robinson (M.Sc. awarded 1999) 
Thesis:  Chromosomal and plasmid DNA analysis of Tetracycline Resistant Campylobacter jejuni strains 

Ms. Catherine Kiely (M.Sc. awarded 2001) 
Thesis:  The development and Optimisation of Two Dimentional gel Electrophoresis for the detection of Stress Induced Genes in Campylobacter jejuni 

Ms. Emma Casey (M.Sc. awarded 2001) 
Thesis:  Comparative DNA sequencing of PCR products from clinical Campylobacter jejuni isolates 

Ms. Maria Ryan  (M.Sc. awarded 2002) 
Thesis: Characterisation of Campylobacter strains isolated from a broiler farm at different stages of Chick development 

Ms. Ann Smyth  (M.Sc. awarded 2008) 
Thesis:  Effect of Isolation Media and Temperature on Recovery of Campylobacter jejuni from Poultry 

UREKA Students

Ms. Nina L DeBenedictis  (MIT, USA - Summer 2005) 
Project :     Effect of Sub-Inhibitory Concentrations of Ciprofloxacin on the  Selection of Drug Resistance in Campylobacter jejuni 

Mr. Ronan Shaughnessy (NUIGalway – Summer 2005)                            
Thesis: Comparison of Phenotypic Methods for Determining Antimicrobial Susceptibility in Campylobacter 

Ms. Ewelina Romanowska (Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland - Summer 2006) 
Project: Characterization of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from Irish poultry by Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) 

Ms. Jessica Miller (University of Georgia, Athens, USA - Summer 2006) 
Project:Mechanism of Ciprofloxacin Resistance in a Chemostat Culture of C. jejuni ATCC 11168 with Selective Pressure 

Ms. Melissa Sweeney (NUI, Galway  - Summer 2007) 
Project:  Selective bias determination of Campylobacte spp. isolation protocols. 

Ms. Alicja Barczynska (Technical University of Lodz, Poland - Summer 2007) 
Project:     Effect of benzalkonium chloride on the selection of resistance in Campylobacter jejuni using a chemostat model 

Ms. Natalia Shmitova (Moscow State University – Summer 2008) 
Project:    Investigation of the Potential Anti-Microbial Efficacy of Novel Algal Extracts against Campylobacter Strains 

Ms. Dominika Staniec (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland – Summer 2008) 
Project:    The Role Played by the Efflux Pump CmeABC  in the Development of Resistance to Biocides and Antibiotics in Campylobacter jejuni. 

Leigh Summer Students

Ms. Natalie Bieber (Summer 2007) 
Project:  Seaweed extracts as inhibitors of bacteria.