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      Research Statement

      I hold a Chair in Clinical Pharmacy and am the Director of Research at the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast. I have an international track record in lung microbiome research with my translational research programme focusing primarily on the improved detection and treatment of lung infection in patients with respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis and COPD.  I have published over 100 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and serves on a number of scientific advisory boards as well as editorial boards.

      I lead a multidisciplinary team of research staff including pharmacists, microbiologists and clinicians. My laboratory is a world class centre of excellence which aims to develop the next generation of treatments, diagnostic tools and standards of care in order to alleviate or cure respiratory infection.

      All staff and students in my team are dedicated to working together to push the boundaries of scientific and clinical discovery. Our goal is to translate these advances into new clinical and therapeutic approaches that will ultimately improve the lives of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and other respiratory diseases.

      Research in my group is focused primarily on the improved detection and treatment of lung infection in patients with respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Microbiome analysis is performed, using both enhanced aerobic and anaerobic culture techniques and non-culture based next- generation sequencing, on samples from patients with CF, bronchiectasis, COPD and primary immune deficiency. Using these techniques, we have identified that a much wider range of bacteria may cause respiratory infection in patients with these diseases than was previously thought. We have also discovered that bacteria which do not require oxygen to live may be present in the airways.


      My team’s current research programme is designed to:

      • Establish the role of these organisms in causing infection and damage in the lungs of patients with respiratory disease

      • Determine why these bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics used to treat infection

      • Evaluate the efficacy of antibiotics and other agents under low oxygen conditions which mimic conditions in the lung and;

      • Examine whether changes in antibiotic treatment to target a wider range of bacteria present in the lungs result in improved clinical outcomes for patients

      Our group are also leading a €50 million, 5-year Europe-wide, Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funded project to develop new drugs that could improve the lives of patients with CF and bronchiectasis. The iABC (inhaled Antibiotics in Bronchiectasis and Cystic Fibrosis) consortium, which is made up of industry partners Novartis and Polyphor and world-leading lung specialists from across Europe, will develop new ‘inhaled antibiotics’ to manage chronic lung infection, the main cause of disease and death in patients with these conditions.

      Watch more about my research on this video.

      Research Statement




      Achievements and Distinctions


      Frequent Journals

      • Journal of Cystic Fibrosis

        ISSNs: 1569-1993

        Elsevier Inc.

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 3.31 SJR 1.928 SNIP 1.314


      • Pediatric Pulmonology

        ISSNs: 8755-6863, 1099-0496

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1099-0496

        Wiley-Liss Inc.

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.13 SJR 0.967 SNIP 0.986


      • Journal of Hospital Infection

        ISSNs: 0195-6701

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1532-2939

        W.B. Saunders Ltd

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.66 SJR 1.234 SNIP 1.508


      • Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology

        ISSNs: 1011-1344

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1011-1344, 1873-2682


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 3.07 SJR 0.697 SNIP 1.04


      • European Respiratory Journal

        ISSNs: 0903-1936

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1399-3003

        European Respiratory Society

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 5 SJR 3.413 SNIP 2.332


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