Dr Aoife Boyd

PhD BA

Contact Details

Senior Lecturer
Discipline of Microbiology
Arts/Science Building
H91 TK33
E: Aoife.Boyd@nuigalway.ie
 
researcher
 

Biography

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology
Director of Pathogenic Mechanisms Group
Director of Final Year BSc Microbiology Programme

Research Interests:

  • Host-pathogen interactions and One Health
  • Bacterial toxins and virulence mechanisms
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus - seafood-borne gastroenteric pathogens 
  • Manipulation of eukaryotic cell signalling pathways and cell activities by bacteria
  • Anti-microbial and anti-virulence molecules from natural marine and terrestrial sources
  • Prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in Irish shellfish
  • Antimicrobial resistant bacteria on spider fangs

The Pathogenic Mechanisms group

The Pathogenic Mechanisms group characterises the molecular mechanisms deployed by bacteria to colonise, survive and multiply during infection. By identifying and characterising the mechanisms that a bacterium uses to ensure its survival and persistence in a human or animal, these molecular activities can then be targeted for the development of antimicrobials and therapeutics.

The Pathogenic Mechanisms group utilises molecular techniques to investigate relationships between bacteria and the cells of humans and animals. The balance of bacterial pathogenic mechanisms versus the host immune response determines whether the bacteria will be killed and eliminated from the host or whether the bacteria will survive in the host and multiply. Bacteria have evolved a myriad of ways by which they can tip the balance in their favour. Several bacterial pathogens use Type III Secretion Systems (TTSS) to modulate host cell behaviour. TTSS directly channel effector proteins from bacteria into eukaryotic cells, where they cause dysfunctional regulation of  eukaryotic cell signalling proteins and sabotage the normal processes of the cell, thereby enhancing the ability of the bacteria to colonise the host. For example, cytokine and chemokine production may be altered, epithelial barrier functions may be  perturbed, or bactericidal mechanisms may be inhibited.      

One primary research focus are Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus which cause gastroenteritis after eating contaminated shellfish. They also have a severe detrimental economic impact on aquaculture. Our goal is to understand the molecular basis for the pathogenicity of Vibrio species. 
  • Investigating how Vibrio stress responses facilitate bacterial survival and virulence
  • Identifying and characterising marine sponge molecules that inhibit the virulence of Vibrio and other pathogens
  • Studying the prevalence of pathogenic Vibrio in Irish shellfish
As well as increasing understanding of Vibrio pathogenesis, this research promotes a broader knowledge of virulence mechanisms and host manipulation by bacteria. It has the potential to  lead to the development of preventive and therapeutic antimicrobial strategies, thereby improving food safety and human health.

A recent direction of research is the identification of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria on the bodies and fangs of household spiders. The bacteria could cause skin infections after a person is bitten by a spider. AMR is an urgent and growing problem worldwide. A One Health approach interconnecting human, animal and environmental health is the only way to tackle the problem.



Research Interests


Research Interests:

Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis
  • Host-pathogen interactions and One Health
  • Bacterial toxins and virulence mechanisms
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus - seafood-borne gastroenteric pathogens 
  • Manipulation of eukaryotic cell signalling pathways and cell activities by bacteria
  • Anti-microbial and anti-virulence molecules from natural marine and terrestrial sources
  • Prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in Irish shellfish
  • Antimicrobial resistant bacteria on spider fangs
The grants listed below are only those on which I am/was the lead PI. 
In addition I am/was co-PI on EU-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions H2020 Initial Training Network,  EU Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge programme, PRTLI-V Graduate Research education programme and HEA PRTLI-IV Facility grants.








Research Projects

  Project Start Date End Date
IRC POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP 2020 LAURA CUTUGNO: GENETIC CHARACTERISATION OF THE VIBRIO VULNIFICUS STRESSOSOME AND ITS ROLE IN STRESS RESPONSE AND VIRULENCE 01-OCT-20 30-SEP-26
DAFM - Genomics to Investigate Risks of Toxin-Producing Vibrio in Irish Shellfish 01-FEB-20 31-OCT-22
IRC POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP 2017 - MD NEYAZ KNAN - VIRULENCE MECHANISMS OF PATHOGENIC BACTERIA AS TARGETS FOR BIODISCOVERY: IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ANTI-VIRULENCE MOLECULES FROM MARINE SPONGES 01-OCT-17 30-SEP-21
SFI - RFP VIBRIO-EPITHELIAL CELL INVASION - A.BOYD 01-SEP-08 15-OCT-13
SFI-RFP VIBRIO-JNK ACTIVATION - A. BOYD 01-SEP-08 15-OCT-13
UREKA SITE 01-FEB-08 31-JAN-11
TOXINS+HUMAN CELL RESPONSES 20-OCT-05 28-FEB-07
MF2004 MF85 04 M AOIFE BOYD 21-SEP-04 20-SEP-05
TYPE III SECRETION SYSTEMS A BOYD 10-MAY-04 31-DEC-22
IRCSET SC 2002 476 AOIFE BOYD 20-JAN-04 20-JAN-07

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2021) 'Metagenomic identification, purification and characterisation of the Bifidobacterium adolescentis BgaC ß-galactosidase'
Mulualem DM;Agbavwe C;Ogilvie LA;Jones BV;Kilcoyne M;O'Byrne C;Boyd A; (2021) 'Metagenomic identification, purification and characterisation of the Bifidobacterium adolescentis BgaC ß-galactosidase'. Applied Microbiology And Biotechnology, 105 (3) [DOI] [Details]
(2020) 'Synanthropic spiders, including the global invasive noble false widow Steatoda nobilis, are reservoirs for medically important and antibiotic resistant bacteria'
Dunbar JP;Khan NA;Abberton CL;Brosnan P;Murphy J;Afoullouss S;O'Flaherty V;Dugon MM;Boyd A; (2020) 'Synanthropic spiders, including the global invasive noble false widow Steatoda nobilis, are reservoirs for medically important and antibiotic resistant bacteria'. Scientific Reports, 10 (1) [DOI] [Details]
(2020) 'rpoB mutations conferring rifampicin-resistance affect growth, stress response and motility in Vibrio vulnificus'
Cutugno L;Mc Cafferty J;Pané-Farré J;O'Byrne C;Boyd A; (2020) 'rpoB mutations conferring rifampicin-resistance affect growth, stress response and motility in Vibrio vulnificus'. Microbiology, [DOI] [Details]
(2020) 'Mild stress conditions during laboratory culture promote the proliferation of mutations that negatively affect Sigma B activity in Listeria monocytogenes'
Guerreiro DN;Wu J;Dessaux C;Oliveira AH;Tiensuu T;Gudynaite D;Marinho CM;Boyd A;García-Del Portillo F;Johansson J;O'Byrne CP; (2020) 'Mild stress conditions during laboratory culture promote the proliferation of mutations that negatively affect Sigma B activity in Listeria monocytogenes'. Journal Of Bacteriology, [DOI] [Details]
(2019) 'Brominated Bisindole Alkaloids from the Celtic Sea Sponge Spongosorites calcicola'
Jennings LK;Khan NMD;Kaur N;Rodrigues D;Morrow C;Boyd A;Thomas OP; (2019) 'Brominated Bisindole Alkaloids from the Celtic Sea Sponge Spongosorites calcicola'. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24 (21) [DOI] [Details]
(2018) 'In vitro comparative cytotoxicity study of a novel biocidal iodo-thiocyanate complex'
Tonoyan, L,Boyd, A,Fleming, GTA,Friel, R,Gately, CM,Mc Cay, PH,O'Flaherty, V (2018) 'In vitro comparative cytotoxicity study of a novel biocidal iodo-thiocyanate complex'. Toxicology In Vitro, 50 :264-273 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2014) 'Translocation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus across an in vitro M cell model'
Finn, R,Ahmad, T,Coffey, ET,Brayden, DJ,Baird, AW,Boyd, A (2014) 'Translocation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus across an in vitro M cell model'. Fems Microbiology Letters, 350 :65-71 [DOI] [Details]
(2014) 'Manipulation of intestinal epithelial cell function by the cell contact-dependent type III secretion systems of Vibrio parahaemolyticus'
O'Boyle, N,Boyd, A (2014) 'Manipulation of intestinal epithelial cell function by the cell contact-dependent type III secretion systems of Vibrio parahaemolyticus'. Frontiers In Cellular And Infection Microbiology, 3 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2013) 'The MSHA pilus of Vibrio parahaemolyticus has lectin functionality and enables TTSS-mediated pathogenicity'
O'Boyle, N,Houeix, B,Kilcoyne, M,Joshi, L,Boyd, A (2013) 'The MSHA pilus of Vibrio parahaemolyticus has lectin functionality and enables TTSS-mediated pathogenicity'. International Journal Of Medical Microbiology, 303 :563-573 [DOI] [Details]
(2012) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus ToxRS Regulator Is Required for Stress Tolerance and Colonization in a Novel Orogastric Streptomycin-Induced Adult Murine Model'
Whitaker, WB,Parent, MA,Boyd, A,Richards, GP,Boyd, EF (2012) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus ToxRS Regulator Is Required for Stress Tolerance and Colonization in a Novel Orogastric Streptomycin-Induced Adult Murine Model'. Infection And Immunity, 80 :1834-1845 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'
Matlawska-Wasowska, K,Finn, R,Mustel, A,O'Byrne, CP,Baird, AW,Coffey, ET,Boyd, A (2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'. BMC Microbiology, 10 [DOI] [Details]
(2008) 'Identification of Components of the Sigma B Regulon in Listeria monocytogenes That Contribute to Acid and Salt Tolerance'
Abram, F,Starr, E,Karatzas, KAG,Matlawska-Wasowska, K,Boyd, A,Wiedmann, M,Boor, KJ,Connally, D,O'Byrne, CP (2008) 'Identification of Components of the Sigma B Regulon in Listeria monocytogenes That Contribute to Acid and Salt Tolerance'. Applied And Environmental Microbiology, 74 :6848-6858 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2008) 'Bordetella pertussis expresses a functional type III secretion system that subverts protective innate and adaptive immune responses'
Fennelly, NK,Sisti, F,Higgins, SC,Ross, PJ,van der Heide, H,Mooi, FR,Boyd, A,Mills, KHG (2008) 'Bordetella pertussis expresses a functional type III secretion system that subverts protective innate and adaptive immune responses'. Infection And Immunity, 76 :1257-1266 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2005) 'Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin modulates innate and adaptive immune responses: distinct roles for acylation and enzymatic activity in immunomodulation and cell death'
Boyd A, PJ Ross, H Conroy, N Mahon, E Lavelle and KH Mills. (2005) 'Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin modulates innate and adaptive immune responses: distinct roles for acylation and enzymatic activity in immunomodulation and cell death'. Journal of Immunology, 175 :730-838 [Details]
(2004) 'Adenylate cyclase toxin from Bordetella pertussis synergizes with lipopolysaccharide to promote innate interleukin-10 production and enhances the induction of Th2 and regulatory T cells'
Ross PJ, EC Lavelle, KH Mills and A Boyd. (2004) 'Adenylate cyclase toxin from Bordetella pertussis synergizes with lipopolysaccharide to promote innate interleukin-10 production and enhances the induction of Th2 and regulatory T cells'. Infection and Immunity, 72 :1568-1579 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2002) 'Identification of in vivo expressed vaccine candidate antigens from Staphylococcus aureus'
Etz H, DB Minh, T Henics, A Dryla, B Winkler, C Triska, A Boyd, J Söllner, W Schmidt, U von Ahsen, M Buschle, SR Gill, J Kolonay, H Khalak, CM Fraser, A von Gabain, E Nagy and A Meinke. (2002) 'Identification of in vivo expressed vaccine candidate antigens from Staphylococcus aureus'. PNAS, 99 :6573-6578 [Details]
(2002) 'Selection of peptide entry motifs by bacterial surface display: application to a genomic library of Staphylococcus aureus'
Taschner S, A Meinke, A von Gabain and A Boyd. (2002) 'Selection of peptide entry motifs by bacterial surface display: application to a genomic library of Staphylococcus aureus'. Biochemistry Journal, :367-393 [Details]
(2000) 'Competition between the Yops of Yersinia enterocolitica for delivery into eukaryotic cells: Role of the SycE chaperone binding domain of YopE'
Boyd A, I Lambermont and GR Cornelis. (2000) 'Competition between the Yops of Yersinia enterocolitica for delivery into eukaryotic cells: Role of the SycE chaperone binding domain of YopE'. Journal of Bacteriology, 182 :4811-4821 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2000) 'YscP, a Yersinia protein required for Yop secretion that is surface exposed, and released in low Ca2+'
Stainier I, S Bleves, C Josenhans, L Karmani, C Kerbourch, I Lambermont, S Tötemeyer, A Boyd and GR Cornelis. (2000) 'YscP, a Yersinia protein required for Yop secretion that is surface exposed, and released in low Ca2+'. Molecular Microbiology, 37 :1005-108 [Details]
(2000) 'Yersinia enterocolitica can deliver Yop proteins into a wide range of cell types: Development of a delivery system for heterologous proteins'
Boyd A, N Grosdent, S Tötemeyer, C Geuijen, S Bleves, M Iriarte, I Lambermont, J-N Octave, and GR Cornelis. (2000) 'Yersinia enterocolitica can deliver Yop proteins into a wide range of cell types: Development of a delivery system for heterologous proteins'. European Journal of Cell Biology, 79 :659-671 [Details]
(1998) 'TyeA, a protein involved in control of Yop release and in translocation of Yersinia Yop effectors'
Iriarte M, M-P Sory, A Boland, A Boyd, SD Mills, I Lambermont and GR Cornelis. (1998) 'TyeA, a protein involved in control of Yop release and in translocation of Yersinia Yop effectors'. EMBO Journal, 17 :1907-1918 [Details]
(1998) 'LcrG is required for efficient translocation of Yersinia Yop effector proteins into eukaryotic cells'
Sarker MR, M-P Sory, A Boyd, M Iriarte and GR Cornelis. (1998) 'LcrG is required for efficient translocation of Yersinia Yop effector proteins into eukaryotic cells'. Infection and Immunity, 66 :2976-2979 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(1998) 'Heparin interferes with translocation of Yop proteins into HeLa cells and binds to LcrG, a regulatory component of the Yersinia Yop apparatus'
Boyd A, M-P Sory, M Iriarte and GR Cornelis. (1998) 'Heparin interferes with translocation of Yop proteins into HeLa cells and binds to LcrG, a regulatory component of the Yersinia Yop apparatus'. Molecular Microbiology, 27 :425-436 [Details]
(1998) 'The virulence plasmid of Yersinia, an anti-host genome'
Cornelis GR, A Boland, A Boyd, C Geuijen, M Iriarte, C Neyt, M-P Sory and I Stainier (1998) 'The virulence plasmid of Yersinia, an anti-host genome'. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 62 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(1995) 'Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms: role of the alginate exopolysaccharide'
Boyd A and AM Chakrabarty (1995) 'Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms: role of the alginate exopolysaccharide'. Journal Of Industrial Microbiology, 15 [Details]
(1994) 'Role of alginate lyase in cell detachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa'
Boyd A and AM Chakrabarty. (1994) 'Role of alginate lyase in cell detachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa'. Infection and Immunity, 66 :2976-2979 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(1994) 'Identification of amino acid residues involved in the activity of phosphomannose isomerase-guanosine 5'-diphospho-D-mannose pyrophosphorylase'
May TB, D Shinabarger, A Boyd and AM Chakrabarty. (1994) 'Identification of amino acid residues involved in the activity of phosphomannose isomerase-guanosine 5'-diphospho-D-mannose pyrophosphorylase'. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 269 :4872-4877 [Details]
(1993) 'Nucleotide sequence and expression of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa algF gene controlling acetylation of alginate'
Shinabarger D, TB May, A Boyd, M Ghosh and AM Chakrabarty. (1993) 'Nucleotide sequence and expression of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa algF gene controlling acetylation of alginate'. Molecular Microbiology, 9 :1027-1035 [Details]
(1993) 'Sequence of the algL gene of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and purification of its alginate lyase gene product'
Boyd A, M Ghosh, TB May, D Shinabarger, R Keogh and AM Chakrabarty. (1993) 'Sequence of the algL gene of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and purification of its alginate lyase gene product'. Gene, 131 :1-8 [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
(2005) 'Evasion of Immune Responses by Bacteria'
Mills KH and Boyd A (2005) 'Evasion of Immune Responses by Bacteria' In: Topley & Wilson's Microbiology And Microbial Infections. UK: Hodder Arnold. [Details]
(2001) 'Yersinia'
Boyd A and GR Cornelis (2001) 'Yersinia' In: Principles of Bacterial Pathogenesis. USA: Academic Press. [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
(2019) 'Pathogenic bacteria in our oceans' shellfish'
Boyd, A (2019) 'Pathogenic bacteria in our oceans' shellfish' Microbiology Today, 46 (1) :14-17. [ARAN Link] [Details]

Other Item

  Year Publication
(2004) Microbiology Research at NUI, Galway. Irish Scientist Yearbook.
Boyd, A. (2004) Microbiology Research at NUI, Galway. Irish Scientist Yearbook. Other Item [Details]

Teaching Interests

I have extensive broad experience of module co-ordination, MSc and BSc programme management and student teaching in each year of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with large to small class sizes (8-280 students). I have supervised the research projects of 20 MSc students and >100 BSc students and visiting students/researchers. I currently teach and assess on 10 modules and co-ordinate 1 module and the 4th Year BSc Science-Microbiology programme. From 2005-2017 I was Director of MSc Biotechnology programme.


Recent Postgraduate Students

  Graduation Name Degree Primary Supervisor
2020 Daniel Mehabie Mulualem PhD Y
2017 Christy Agbavwe PhD Y
2013 Rebecca Finn PhD Y
2013 Nicky O'Boyle PhD Y
2016 Joanne Szyzdic Msc

Current Postgraduate Students (Research)

  Student Degree Type Type
Laura Cutugno Doctorate - Structured PhD (Science) Supervisor
Md Neyaz Khan Doctorate - Structured PhD (Science) Supervisor