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Orla Keane

Research Officer - Infection Biology

Research Interests

My research focuses on animal health with an emphasis on host-pathogen interactions. An understanding of such interactions is increasingly important due to societal concern regarding the use of antimicrobials, the emergence of antibiotic and anthelmintic resistance, and the effect of climate change on pathogen epidemiology. We aim to understand the role of host and pathogen genomic variation in controlling infection outcome and disease progression. Pathogens of interest include bovine-associated Staphylococcus aureus and Teladorsagia circumcincta in sheep.  

Current Projects

  • Use of an ovine model of Enzootic abortion of Ewes to evaluate recombinant proteins as novel subunit diagnostics and vaccines for Chlamydophila abortus
  • Strain-specific pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus
  • Anthelmintic resistance in nematode of cattle
  • Molecular characterization of adhesin-receptor interactions in bovine-adapted Staphylococcus aureus
  • Genetic diversity of drug susceptible and multi-drug resistant Teladorsagia circumcincta


  • B.A.(mod) in Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Grad. Dip in Statistics, Trinity College Dublin
  • Ph.D., Trinity College Dublin


  • Research Officer: Teagasc, Animal & Bioscience Department, AGRIC, Grange.  2009 – Present.
  • Visiting Researcher: Animal Genomics, AgResearch, Invermay, Mosgiel, New Zealand.  Nov 2014 – Mar 2015.
  • Post-doctoral Fellow in Evolutionary Genetics: Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin.  2008 – 2009.
  • Research scientist: Animal Genomics, AgResearch, Invermay, Mosgiel, New Zealand.  2006.
  • Post-doctoral Fellow: Molecular Biology Unit AgResearch, Dept of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.   2003 – 2005.

Professional Membership

  • Microbiology Society
  • Irish Society for Parasitology
  • International Society for Animal Genetics

Murphy MP, Niedziela DA, Keane OM.  EHS matrix incubated in media containing penicillin retains sufficient concentrations of antibiotic to inhibit growth of susceptible microorganisms.  J. Microb Methods.  2017.  139: 103-106.

Keegan JD, Good B, DeWaal T, Fanning J, Keane OM.  Genetic basis of benzimidazole resistance in Teladorsagia circumcincta in Ireland.  Ir Vet J. 2017.  70: 8.

Keane OM. Genetic diversity, the virulence gene profile and antimicrobial resistance of clinical mastitis-associated Escherichia coli. Res Microbiol. 2016.  

McRae KM, Good B, Hanrahan JP, McCabe MS, Cormican P, Sweeney T, O'Connell MJ, Keane OM. Transcriptional profiling of the ovine abomasal lymph node reveals a role for timing of the immune response in gastrointestinal nematode resistance. Vet Parasitol. 2016. 224:96-108.

Budd KE, Mitchell J, Keane OM. Lineage associated expression of virulence traits in bovine-adapted Staphylococcus aureus. Vet Microbiol. 2016. 189:24-31.

Keegan JD, Keane OM, Farrell L, Byrne W, De Waal T, Good B.  Characterisation of ivermectin and multi-drug resistance in two field isolates of Teladorsagia circumcincta from Irish sheep flocks.  Vet Parasitol: Regional Studies and Reports. 2016.  1-2: 3-9.

McRae KM, Stear MJ, Good B, Keane OM. The host immune response to gastrointestinal nematode infection in sheep. Parasite Immunol. 2015. 37(12):605-13.

Budd KE, McCoy F, Monecke S, Cormican P, Mitchell J, Keane OM. Extensive Genomic Diversity among Bovine-Adapted Staphylococcus aureus: Evidence for a Genomic Rearrangement within CC97. PLoS One. 2015. 10(8):e0134592.

McRae KM, Good B, Hanrahan JP, Glynn A, O'Connell MJ, Keane OM. Response to Teladorsagia circumcincta infection in Scottish Blackface lambs with divergent phenotypes for nematode resistance. Vet Parasitol. 2014. 206(3-4):200-7.

Keane OM, Keegan JD, Good B, de Waal T, Fanning J, Gottstein M, Casey M, Hurley C, Sheehan M. High level of treatment failure with commonly used anthelmintics on Irish sheep farms. Ir Vet J. 2014. 67(1):16.

Lauren O’Neill
Dagmara Niedziela
Anne Kelleher
Shauna Drumm
Dovile Murasukaite