Dr Deirdre McClean

The University of Edinburgh

Deirdre joined the lab as an EPA funded post-doctoral research fellow working on a 5-year climate assessment for Ireland. In particular, working to synthesise and communicate the ongoing research into climate change in Ireland, projected impacts and mitigation strategies across multiple sectors.

She is a community ecologist and epidemiologist using various experimental systems and large datasets to understand the dynamics of communities under stress. I am especially interested in applying ecological principles to understand the evolution, spread and maintenance of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria across humans and animals. Climate change and antimicrobial resistance are two of the most significant global chronic challenges to our societies. The intersection of these fields is where much of my research interests lie.

Deirdre obtained a BA(Mod) in Zoology from TCD, where she studied speciation in island bird populations in Indonesia. Following this, she pursued a PhD in TCD Zoology with Dr Ian Donohue working on the ecological stability of communities and ecosystems undergoing disturbance. During this time,  she combined fieldwork on freshwater macroinvertebrates and laboratory experiments on model microbial communities. Deirdre worked briefly as a lecturer at Dublin Business School, teaching statistics through R in for ‘Business and Big Data’ before moving to Edinburgh as a Wellcome Trust post-doctoral fellow. She worked with numerous researchers and groups, including; Dr Luke McNally, Prof. Nick Colegrave, Prof. Mark Woolhouse and Dr Helen Alexander and hence shifted the focus to the impact of ecological interactions on the evolution of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria.

Deirdre is passionate about teaching (particularly in the field) and science communication and outreach. When not science-ing, she wanders happily around a wood looking at bugs, plotting trips to see exotic animals, or drinking wine and cuddling her cat!