Dan Neill joins Molecular Microbiology
Published on 10 May 2023
Dan Neill has joined the Division of Molecular Microbiology, as Senior Lecturer.
Dan’s research seeks to understand how bacterial pathogens of the airways sense and respond to the host environment. The bacterial species that naturally inhabit the human respiratory tract live primarily as commensals or as asymptomatic colonisers of upper airway environments. However, many of those same species are capable of causing severe disease when they undergo the so-called commensal-pathogen switch. Relatively little is known about the host and pathogen factors that drive this phenotypic conversion. It is this process that Dan’s lab studies, using molecular genetic techniques combined with experimental evolution approaches and in vitro and in vivo infection models that capture key features of host-pathogen interactions in the airways. Current work investigates temperature-dependent, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in Streptococcus pneumoniae and the influence of gradients of airway metabolite availability on bacterial virulence and infection outcomes.
In addition to interests in the basic biology of host-pathogen interactions, Dan’s lab pursues translation programmes. Ongoing drug-discovery work aims to develop novel antimicrobial potentiators for treatment of drug-resistant chronic bacterial infections of the cystic fibrosis airways. He is also part of an international consortium working towards standardisation of the preclinical pipeline for development of novel antimicrobial agents for treatment of chronic lung infection.
Dan is relocating from the University of Liverpool, where he worked first as a post-doc, and more recently as a Wellcome and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellow, in the Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology. Prior to that, Dan worked as a post-doc at the University of Leicester, following on from a PhD in infection immunology at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, where he worked on the characterisation of innate lymphoid cells and defined their role in defence against helminth infection.
Dan said “I am delighted to be joining the Division of Molecular Microbiology here in Dundee. The Division, and the University, have an international reputation, and I have already been made to feel very welcome. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone here and to building collaborative partnerships with colleagues across the School of Life sciences and beyond.”
Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall, Head of the Division of Molecular Microbiology said, "I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Dan Neill to the University of Dundee. His ground-breaking research is not only fascinating in its own right, but his distinctive expertise and experiences are sure to provide invaluable insights, perspectives, and innovative ideas that will help drive other work across the Division of Molecular Microbiology forward."