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Full NameProf. Fidelma Fitzpatrick

Clinical Microbiology

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

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Research Fields
  • infectious disease and the immune system
  • epidemiology/population health research
  • preventive medicine/behavioural change interventions
Postgrad Medical Specialties
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Anaesthetics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Public Health
Medical Subspecialties
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Haematology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Vascular Medicine
  • Other
Other Medical Specialties:

Clinical Microbiology, Infection Prevention and Control

My Work

The theme of our departmental research is “Infection and Host Response”.

The Dept of Clinical Microbiology is based in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin which is advantageous in supporting our collaborative approach to clinically impactful research. Our combined expertise includes basic scientists, clinician scientists and clinical microbiologists, many of us have dual hospital and academic appointments. We investigate and identify novel ways to prevent and treat healthcare-associated infections (HAI). This is important as HAI are increasingly caused by antibiotic-resistant (AMR) bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridiodes difficile and Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE). We also investigate chronic infections involving bacterial biofilms such as device-related infections and infections in the setting of cystic fibrosis and diabetes.

Our multidisciplinary translational research programme addresses the societal challenge of infection and AMR covering surveillance, epidemiology, infection prevention and control as well as pathogenic mechanisms of infection. These studies underpin the advancement of innovative healthcare solutions including novel decontamination methods, better diagnostic tools and new medicines and interventions. In addition, our research also informs healthcare policy to shape clinical practices leading to improved patient safety and clinical outcomes.

For more information on the Dept of Clinical Microbiology see our website and individual researcher profiles at

Potential Projects

Project 1: Biofilms cause challenging, difficult to treat healthcare-associated infections including wound and device-related infections. Pathogens are often antimicrobial resistant (AMR) further increasing complications and contributing to poorer clinical outcomes. Innovative approaches are urgently required to treat infections that respond poorly due to biofilms and AMR. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) s have alternative antibiotic mechanisms to conventional antibiotics. We have recently discovered potent antimicrobial activity and moderate anti-biofilm activity of poly-l-lysine-based AMPPs against AMR clinical isolates of S.aureus and P.aeruginosa. These novel polymers will be evaluated and further developed for potent killing and enhanced anti-biofilm properties against AMR bacteria. The relationships between; structural features and; antimicrobial activity, anti-biofilm properties and toxicity to mammalians cells, will be explored. Applying an iterative strategy, the efficacy of the most promising candidate structures will be further evaluated against clinical isolates recovered from active infections, using an in-vivo-like in-vitro biofilm model and conditions that more closely mimic the infection environment.

Project 2: Contamination of the near-patient environment is a recognised transmission pathway for many HAI, but the extent to which and Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) exploit this pathway is not well understood. CPE colonised patients, shed CPE to their environment, which may also become contaminated due to retroactive contamination from e.g., drains. The aim is to prospectively investigate CPE in patients and the ward environment in three patient groups (CPE-colonized, potential CPE contacts, patients not colonised/contacts). Other factors which potentially contributing to transmission e.g. cleaning, incontinence, antimicrobial use will be assessed. Comparison of CPE in the near-patient environment, with patient isolates will help elucidate potential routes of spread. By understanding transmission dynamics, effective interventions can be designed and tested for incorporation into infection prevention and control programmes in hospitals in Ireland (and abroad)