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Dr Jakki Cooney

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Life Sciences & MSSI, Faculty member of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (UCC).

Current team comprises Dr Todd Kagawa (team co-leader), Dr Brian Noonan (Senior Research Fellow), Ms Monica Jain (PhD student), Mr Simon White (Research Assistant and PhD student), Ms Ruth Cullen (PhD student), Mr Senan Behan (PhD student), Ms Aisling Treacy (MSc student)

Current Funding

  • Enterprise Ireland funding: Development of an immobilized enzyme-based anti-sepsis device
  • Research Ireland New Foundations: Investigation of specificity of CEPs from probiotic organisms
  • IRCSET studentships: (1) Inhibitors of medically important bacterial proteases & (2) Biochemical characterization of IL-8 cleaving bacterial proteases
  • Member of CÚRAM – Centre for Research in Medical Devices

Dr Jakki Cooney studied at Trinity College Dublin (B.A. Mod. Biochemistry, &  Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology).  Since 2007 she has been a Lecturer in Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Limerick.  Dr Cooney has over 25 years’ experience as a Microbiologist and Protein Chemist.  Her research interests lie in the analysis of protein structure, function, and catalysis, specifically relating to the role of proteases in bacterial-host interactions. She has attracted >€2M in funding from both National (including SFI, EI and IRC) and International (Sweden, New Zealand) funding agencies. Her career is built on her international experience within the University of Limerick; Lund University, Sweden; University of Victoria, Canada; Massey University, New Zealand and GSK, US.  She has published highly cited, high impact papers in both microbiology and biochemistry.


Zhihong Sun , Hugh M.B. Harris, Angela McCann, Chenyi Guo, Silvia Argimón, Wenyi Zhang,   Xianwei Yang, Ian B. Jeffery, Jakki C. Cooney, Todd F. Kagawa ,Wenjun Liu  ,Yuqin Song, Elisa Salvetti, Agnieszka Wrobel, Pia Rasinkangas, Julian Parkhill, Mary C. Rea, Orla O’Sullivan, Jarmo Ritari, François P. Douillard, R. Paul Ross, Ruifu Yang , Alexandra E. Briner, Giovanna E. Felis, Willem M. de Vos,, Rodolphe Barrangou, Todd R. Klaenhammer, Page W. Caufield, Yujun Cui , Heping Zhang, Paul W. O’Toole.  Expanding the biotechnology potential of lactobacilli through comparative genomics of 213 strains and associated genera.  Nat. Commun. 6:8322 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9322 (2015).

Thornton RF, Murphy EC, Kagawa TF, O'Toole PW, Cooney JC. The effect of environmental conditions on expression of Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron C10 protease genes. BMC Microbiol. 2012 Sep 3;12:190. doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-190. PubMed PMID: 22943521; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3462683.

Collins J, van Pijkeren JP, Svensson L, Claesson MJ, Sturme M, Li Y, Cooney JC, van Sinderen D, Walker AW, Parkhill J, Shannon O, O'Toole PW. Fibrinogen-binding and platelet-aggregation activities of a Lactobacillus salivarius septicaemia isolate are mediated by a novel fibrinogen-binding protein. Mol Microbiol. 2012 Sep;85(5):862-77. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2012.08148.x. Epub 2012 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 22724453.

Murphy EC, Mörgelin M, Cooney JC, Frick IM. Interaction of Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron with the kallikrein-kinin system. Microbiology (SGM). 2011 Jul;157(Pt 7):2094-105. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.046862-0. Epub 2011 Apr 28. PubMed PMID: 21527472; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3167891.

Thornton RF, Kagawa TF, O'Toole PW, Cooney JC. The dissemination of C10 cysteine protease genes in Bacteroides fragilis by mobile genetic elements. BMC Microbiol. 2010 Apr 23;10:122. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-10-122. PubMed PMID: 20416045; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2873492.