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Kieran Meade

Research Officer - Immunogenetics & Animal Health

Research Interests

  • Discovery of new immune genes, with specific focus on β-defensin and cathelicidin host defence peptides (HDPs).
  • Functional characterisation of these peptides as alternatives to antibiotics and targets to breed for disease resistance (SNPs and CNV).
  • Immunocompetance in the neonatal calf and inflammation in the post-partum cow
  • Epigenetic regulation of immunity with a focus on Mycobacterial infections

Current Projects

Reproductive immunology

  • Host-pathogen interplay and bacterial clearance post-partum
  • Regulation of β-Defensin and Cathelicidin (host defence peptides) expression
  • Role of HDP in reproduction and fertility

Mechanisms of Immunity

  • Epigenetics and bovine tuberculosis
  • Improved diagnosis of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis
  • SNP discovery in β-Defensin and Cathelicidin genes
  • Neutrophil and γδ T cell biology


Bachelor of Agriculture in Animal Science, University College Dublin. 
Ph.D. in Molecular genetics, University College Dublin included work in Michigan State University and ILRI, Kenya. 
Postdoctoral research in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin and School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.

Professional Membership

Irish Society of Immunology (ISI) 
Adjunct Assistant Professor in Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.
Currently secretary of the Association of Veterinary Teaching and Research work (AVTRW)


  • A dual targeted β-defensin and exome sequencing approach to identify, validate and functionally characterise genes associated with bull fertility. Whiston R, Finlay EK, McCabe MS, Cormican P, Flynn P, Cromie A, Hansen PJ, Lyons A, Fair S, Lonergan P, O' Farrelly C, Meade KG. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 25;7(1):12287. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12498-x. PMID: 28947819 
  • The CD4(+) T cell methylome contributes to a distinct CD4(+) T cell transcriptional signature in Mycobacterium bovis-infected cattle. Doherty R, Whiston R, Cormican P, Finlay EK, Couldrey C, Brady C, O'Farrelly C, Meade KG. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 10;6:31014. doi: 10.1038/srep31014. PMID: 27507428 
  • Advances in bovine immunology - new tools and new insights to tackle old foes. Meade KG. Front Immunol. 2015 Feb 17;6:71. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00071. eCollection 2015. No abstract available. PMID: 25741343 
  • Comparative epigenetics: relevance to the regulation of production and health traits in cattle. Doherty R, O' Farrelly C, Meade KG. Anim Genet. 2014 Aug;45 Suppl 1:3-14. doi: 10.1111/age.12140. Epub 2014 Jul 1. PMID: 24984755 
  • Bovine β-defensin gene family: opportunities to improve animal health? Meade KG, Cormican P, Narciandi F, Lloyd A, O'Farrelly C. Physiol Genomics. 2014 Jan 1;46(1):17-28. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00085.2013. Epub 2013 Nov 12. PMID: 24220329


Peer-reviewed publications 

Anne-Barry Reidy, B. Sc 
– Regulation and Expression of novel Defensin genes in Cattle

Amy Brewer, B.Sc, M.Sc
- Improved diagnostics for endometritis in the post-partum dairy cow

Paul Kelly, M.Sc
- Regulation of endometrial immune responses in the post-partum dairy cow

Megan O’ Brien, M.Sc
- Interleukin 8 haplotype and their role in neonatal disease susceptibility