Esmeralda Herrero BSc. PhD


Esmeralda Herrero graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with a BSc in Pharmacology and completed a PhD in Microbiology in University College Dublin. Her research investigated bacterial proteases and their role in prion decontamination and was filed into a UK patent in 2015. Following her PhD, Esmeralda worked for a year as research and development scientist for a novel biotech company before her role as scientific officer in virology in airmid healthgroup.

Esmeralda has over 5 years research experience in mammalian cell culture, molecular biology, bacterial culturing, infectious assays, protein purification, protein biochemistry and laboratory management


Tristan Russell BSc. PhD


Tristan graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Microbiology. During his degree, Tristan completed a one-year internship at a pharmaceutical company where he gained experience of working in an industrial laboratory. Tristan moved to Ireland in 2014 after choosing to study for a PhD at University College Dublin. The PhD research used molecular biology techniques to study infectious disease, specifically host-virus interactions. Tristan recently graduated from his PhD and joined the virology team at airmid healthgroup in the spring of 2019.  


Kevin Ellison


Kevin is in his third year at DCU where he has been studying Genetics and Cell biology. He is working in the Environmental Chambers under the supervision of Jake Behan.


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Bugs versus Drugs: the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance

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Bugs vs Drugs Science GalleryYesterday the Science Gallery was the venue for a Health Research Board (HRB) sponsored talk on antimicrobial resistance entitled “Bugs versus Drugs”. It was an evening of insightful discussion between Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick (Consultant Microbiologist Beaumont Hospital and Senior Lecturer at RCSI), Dr Andrew Murphy (a General Practitioner and Professor in NUI Galway) and science journalist Maryn McKenna. The broadcaster Jonathan McCrea hosted the conversation. As the audience included non-scientists, Dr Fitzpatrick started by explaining that while “bugs” in microbiology include bacteria, viruses and fungi, antibiotics only work against bacteria and often only against a specific type of bacteria. Antibiotic resistance refers to the strategies bacteria develop to prevent antibiotics from acting against them.

Some of the figures quoted were staggering. According to a recent report 700,000 people die every year from infection by drug-resistant bacteria and other pathogens. Without intervention this figure could rise to 10 million deaths by 2050. Maryn McKenna described the problem as a “storm of antibiotic resistance”. The author of that recent report, Jim O’Neill, is an economist. This is not as strange as it may first seem as the widespread consequences of antimicrobial resistance include financial effects. Without action to tackle antimicrobial resistance the cost of lost global production between now and 2050 is estimated to be 100 trillion US dollars. The panel remarked that Lord O’Neill had provided an interesting viewpoint of the issue in his report. Indeed a recurrent theme of the evening’s talk was the need for collaboration between countries, sectors, governments and more to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Dr Murphy commented that there is no one silver bullet, lots of action is required and we have to collectively act together. For example we all have to be careful in how we use antimicrobials. They can be beneficial in certain situations such as antimicrobial surfaces in hospitals. However the widespread use of consumer antibacterial soaps, for example, has the potential to select for drug resistance.

We may be reaching a tipping point. Last week news broke that E. coli carrying the gene for resistance to the “last resort” antibiotic colistin was found in the US, following its discovery in China last November. This emphasises the necessity for concerted efforts to address drug resistant infections such as the global innovation fund established by the UK and China that was announced late last year.

The event finished with the panel opening the conversation up to the audience, some of whom offered their ideas on strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance. Video of the evening’s discussion is available on the Science Gallery’s YouTube channel here.

Further Reading

    Some tweets from the night