Mr Sean Kelly
School of Biomedical Sciences (Faculty of Health)
I am a Senior Technician working with Dr Gyorgy Fejer on the development and characterisation of novel, primary murine alveolar macrophage cell lines, which exhibit gene knockouts pertaining to key components of macrophage innate immune responses. This project is funded by the NC3Rs and is based on the seminal work by Dr Fejer establishing the original 'wild type' alveolar macrophage-like cell line, MPI cells (Fejer et al., 2013), which was commended for its potential to reduce the use of animals in research.
I am also a PhD student supervised by Dr Gyorgy Fejer, investigating interactions between respiratory bacterial pathogens and alveolar macrophages, and the development of complex in vitro systems for the study of such interactions. We have a focus is on the study of antimicrobial resistant bacterial pathogens (i.e. Mycobacterium abscessus and Staphylococcus aureus), and I am co-supervised by Prof Mat Upton, as well as a member of the Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogens Research Group.
2018-2022 ResM Biomedical Science (PT), Awaiting examination, University of Plymouth.
2010-2013 BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, Achieved First Class (1st), University of Plymouth.
- Member of Microbiology Society.
- Member of Society for Applied Microbiology.
My research interests are in the investigation of how respiratory pathogens, particularly bacterial species, interact with the innate immune system of the lungs. Specifically, I am focused on the interaction of such pathogens with alveolar macrophages (AMs), as the sentinel immune cells of the lung airways.
Primarily, we use the well-characterised MPI cell model for our research; a continuously-growing, non-transformed murine AM-like cell line, established by Dr Gyorgy Fejer (Fejer et al., 2013). However, we are also characterising a number of other murine, porcine, and human primary cell models, to help advance our in vitro systems for respiratory pathogen investigations. These other cell lines are based on the same principles of macrophage development that guided MPI cell establishment.
These primary cell models enable large-scale investigation of AM functions, which would ordinarily be limited by the scarce availability of primary isolated AMs from animal and human donors. Importantly, these cell lines can replace and reduce in vivo macrophage studies, and help contribute to a significant reduction in the number of experimental animals required for such investigations.
Our research into pathogen-macrophage interactions helps to understand mechanisms of infection-associated lung disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, we are able to model respiratory bacterial infection of AMs in vitro, and investigate potential antimicrobial treatments for such pathogens - particularly those that persist intracellularly within macrophages. Our research in this area is focused on bacterial pathogens of notable antimicrobial resistance (AMR), such as Mycobacterium abscessus and Staphylococcus aureus. Using our infection models, we study the efficacy of different antibiotic combinations against these pathogens, as well as novel antimicrobial peptide treatments, discovered from the natural product screening programme run by Prof Mat Upton and his Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogens Research Group.
Previously completed research projects:
- "The role of lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferases in mononuclear phagocyte immune responses to double-stranded RNA." with Prof Simon Jackson (Undergraduate dissertation project; 2012-2013).
- "Novel targets for Septic Shock: Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase expression and its role in the inflammatory response." with Prof Simon Jackson (Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship; 2012).
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Butler J, Kelly SD, Muddiman KJ, Besinis A & Upton M (2022) 'Hospital sink traps as a potential source of the emerging multidrug-resistant pathogen Cupriavidus pauculus: characterization and draft genome sequence of strain MF1' Journal of Medical Microbiology 71, (2) , DOI Open access