Sinead C. Corr
Sinéad qualified with a BSc Microbiology from University College Cork in 2002 and in 2006 obtained a PhD in Molecular Microbiology at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, under the supervision of Prof. Colin Hill. During this time she investigated the interaction of the food borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes with the gastrointestinal epithelium and the therapeutic potential of probiotics to treat intestinal infection. A research highlight showed that bacteriocin production by the probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius protects against Listeria, the first time the exact mechanism of probiotic action had been identified in vivo (From the Cover: Corr et al. 2007 PNAS). Sinéad subsequently undertook a postdoctorate position as part of a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline and the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, under the mentorship of Prof. Fergus Shanahan, investigating novel therapeutics for the treatment of IBD. In 2008, Sinéad joined the lab of Prof. Luke O’Neill at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, were she further investigated the role of innate signalling pathways in intestinal infection and IBD. In 2012, Sinéad was awarded a Starting Investigator Research Grant from Science Foundation Ireland, to investigate the role of miRNA’s in the regulation of gut homeostasis or inflammatory disease. In 2015, Sinéad was appointed Assistant Professor in Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin, and established the Host-Microbe Interface & Gut Immunity lab. Here she continues to research the molecular mechanisms underpinning the crosstalk between the intestinal immune system and the gut microbiota, and the microbial modulation of gut immunity in disease associations, in particular microbiome-associated disorders like IBD. The influence of the microbiota on health and disease, and the potential to harness it as a therapeutic strategy, is a research focus. Sinéad continues to have strong collaborative links with the APC on this research goal.
My laboratory focusses primarily on the host-microbe interface within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, in particular modulation of intestinal immunity by the gut microbiota. We use molecular based approaches combined with animal models and clinical samples to understand the molecular mechanisms which govern the interplay between the gut microbiota and the host organism, specifically with the intestinal epithelial barrier and innate immunity. The subsequent maintenance of health or development of infectious or inflammatory disease as a result of this interplay is of particular interest. Gastroenteritis, including bacterial infectious diseases, are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, while inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) affect over 2 million people in Europe. An important aspect of our work is to characterize the host mechanisms which mediate gut health in response to infectious and resident microbes and to determine how the presence of the commensal microbiota can influence intestinal immunity, giving rise to either homeostasis or disease. The key focus of this work is to enable strategic manipulation of intestinal immunity and the gut microbiota with the ultimate goal of reducing the severity of intestinal infectious and inflammatory diseases. Research in my lab heavily focusses on the host-microbiota dialogue, investigating the signalling interactions between the host and its microbiota which mediate immune-inflammatory responses. Using in vivo based methods combined with Next-Generation Sequencing we hope to decipher to what extent the microbiota can modulate the intestinal barrier and inflammation, and how beneficial members of the microbiota, termed “probiotics”, can be used to therapeutically manipulate gut immunity or to directly inhibit infection by bacterial pathogens. Translation of our research and the development of novel therapies for the treatment of microbiome-associated inflammatory conditions like IBD is an integral part of our work.
Assistant Professor in Microbiology, Group leader, Host-Microbe Interface & Gut Immunity, Dept. of Microbiology, Moyne Institute of Preventative Medicine; Trinity College Dublin