Welcome to the Department of Microbiology
The Department of Microbiology strives to enhance the vision of its benefactor Grania Guinness of an academic institute committed to exploration of the interactions between microbial pathogens and their hosts and to advancement of knowledge likely to impact positively on the development of vaccines, diagnostic tools and novel preventive and therapeutic treatments to combat and control infectious and communicable diseases affecting mankind and domestic animals worldwide.
Brewing up a storm: quiescent yeast cells are not so quiet
It has been estimated that many cells spend the majority of their lifetime in a non-dividing, or quiescent state. During quiescence (or G0), these cells are often considered as ‘resting', whereby metabolic activity and gene expression are reduced. Another key characteristic of quiescence is that this state is reversible, and cells can re-enter the cell cycle to resume growth when specific conditions occur.
Numerous cells in the human body persist in this non-dividing state, including neurons and muscle cells. Stem cells also form quiescent populations which, for example, can re-enter the cell cycle in response to tissue damage to aid repair. Furthermore it is now known that cancer cells can become quiescent, during which time they are more resistant to drug treatments. However, research into this so-called ‘inactive' cellular state has often been over-looked, and the mechanisms that regulate quiescence are poorly understood.
A collaboration between Dr Alastair Fleming (Department of Microbiology), Dr Karsten Hokamp (Department of Genetics) and Prof Mary Ann Osley at the University of New Mexico, USA, has used the humble brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae , as a model organism in which to study cellular quiescence. The study mapped and compared the gene transcription machinery, and distinct chromosomal modifications that are associated with gene activity, across the entire genomes of actively-growing and quiescent yeast cells. Surprisingly, the study revealed that the genomes of the ‘inactive' quiescent cells retained many of the chromosomal signatures that are normally associated with actively growing cells, despite their shut-down in cellular activity. Furthermore the transcription machinery, although inactive, remained associated with most genes across the quiescent cell genome. Together, the study revealed that quiescent yeast cells are not inert, but are highly poised to resume growth and proliferation when the environment becomes favourable. Read More 13/02/17
Shoebox Appeal - DU Microbiological Society
Staff and students of the Department of Microbiology generously put together shoeboxes for the Inner City Helping Homeless Christmas appeal. These shoeboxes included essentials such as gloves, hats, socks, clothes as well as chocolates, books and other small gifts which will be donated to the homeless community and to those in emergency accommodation. Read more 21/12/16
College Open Day 2016, Saturday 10th December
The Department would like to thank all our volunteers at the Microbiology stand for the College Open Day. 10/12/16
Microbiology Society Prize
Dr. Alastair Fleming (left) congratulating Senior Sophister student Kevin Lyons who was awarded the Microbiology Society Prize for the highest Junior Sophister mark in Microbiology in 2016. Read More1/11/16
2016 Normanby Lecture in Microbiology
This year's Normanby Lecture in Microbiology was given by Professor Tony Maxwell of the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK.
The Normanby Lecture in Microbiology was established in 1996 in recognition of the considerable financial support that has been provided by the Normanby family in constructing, extending and refurbishing the Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine over more than six decades. Read more... 27/10/16
Visualising how Salmonella genes are regulated
In a collaboration with scientists at the University of Liverpool, Dr Aoife Colgan and Assistant Professor Carsten Kröger (both at the Department of Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin) have determined the roles of the important regulatory systems that allow the human pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium to cause disease. Read More 29/08/16