Mark graduated from the National University of Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) in 2009 with a BSc degree (double honours) in Biology and Chemistry. During his final year of undergraduate Mark worked on virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough. This project peaked Mark’s interests in molecular underpinnings of disease and he proceded to secure a PhD position at DCU.
Mark’s PhD is SFI funded (award to Dr Loscher) and is jointly supervised by Prof. Christine Loscher and Dr. Mary O’Connell.
Mark began his PhD in October 2009, with the central aim being to examine the role of Surface Layer Proteins (SLPs) as virulence factors in Clostridium difficile infection using a combination of skills and techniques from bioinformatics, molecular evolution, cell biology and immunology. Clostridium difficile is a nosocomial pathogen, that is a serious threat for hospitalized individuals undergoing antibiotic treatment. It is known to cause in a vast spectrum of symptoms in infected patients, with certain strains causing much more severe infection outcomes than others. Mark is testing the hypothesis that the sequences for the SLPs from C. difficile strains contribute to their observed variation in disease severity.
Mark successfully defended his PhD work in September 2014 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Kingston Mills at Trinity College Dublin.