Clinical Microbiology

The Department of Clinical Microbiology – established in 1965 – is located in the Smurfit Building, on the Beaumont Hospital campus.

Integration and liaison between the hospital, including the diagnostic laboratory, and the RCSI department is critical to our remit in teaching, research and patient care.

The department also has links with the National Reference Laboratories at St James’s and oversees the provision of a national reference laboratory services on invasive pneumococcal disease at Temple Street Children's University Hospital. This contributes to national and international surveillance and informs national pneumococcal vaccination strategy.

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The department teaches in the School of Medicine, across all the RCSI teaching sites in Dublin, Bahrain and Perdana, as well as delivering courses in the Schools of Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Postgraduate Nursing in Dublin. The department also runs the ‘Safe Patient Care Course, Foundations in Infection Prevention and Control’ with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), which is aimed at frontline healthcare workers who are not infection prevention and control specialists.

The Department is at the forefront of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) approaches for students, which include podcasts, online quizzes, and interactive in-class and online teaching materials. We aim to promote patient-centred care using e-learning modalities focusing on the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of important infections and to promote excellence in antimicrobial stewardship using online cases targeting correct decision making for the appropriate choice of empiric antimicrobials. We engage with students on important patient-centred topics in real-time through our departmental Instagram account.

In addition, departmental members participate in postgraduate and public education on infection control, sepsis, antibiotics and antibiotic resistant organisms.

The department’s primary research focus is healthcare-associated infection (HCAI), particularly those that are difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance. HCAIs include infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile and multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacilli. We investigate challenging infections involving bacterial biofilms such as device-related infections and infections in the setting of cystic fibrosis and diabetes.

We are active in the area of infection surveillance, prevention and control, including epidemiological investigations, novel decontamination methods and new approaches to the treatment of bacterial infections.

We are committed to improving patient care through our research. Our strengths in achieving this are our collaborative approach and our combined expertise, which includes basic scientists, clinician scientists and clinical microbiologists.

Departmental staff participate in a variety of public engagement and media events to highlight the importance of HCAIs and antimicrobial resistance prevention and sepsis management. Informed by our research and clinical activities, we contribute significantly to healthcare policy, national guidelines and national clinical programmes through membership of national and international committees.

Professor of Clinical Microbiology/Head of Department

Emeritus Professor

  • Mary Cafferkey

Honorary Clinical Associate Professor

  • Edmond G. Smyth

Associate Professor

Senior Lecturers

Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology

Lecturers (Clinical)

  • Rachel Grainger
  • Caoimhe Brennan

Lecturer and Teaching and Research Coordinator

Postdoctoral Research Scientists

Honorary Lecturers

  • Karen Burns
  • Suzanne Corcoran
  • Rosemarie Curran
  • Binu Dinesh
  • Blánaid Hayes
  • Karina O’Connell
  • Hélene McDermott
  • Toney Poovelikunnel