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Full NameProfessor Suzanne Cloonan

School of Medicine, Trinity Biosciences Institute

Trinity College Dublin

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields
  • genetics, genomics and molecular biology
  • infectious disease and the immune system
  • cell and developmental biology/regenerative medicine
  • physiology and non-communicable disease
  • nutrition
Postgrad Medical Specialties
  • Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Pathology
Medical Subspecialties
  • Haematology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunology
  • Respiratory Medicine
My Work

At our translational research laboratory within the Trinity Biosciences Institute, we are dedicated to discovering novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for chronic respiratory diseases. Our primary focus is on unravelling the environmental and genetic risk factors that contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Nat Med. 2016 Feb;22(2):163-74).

We are particularly interested in the role of immune cells in the lung and how they utilize micronutrients like iron—a process known as nutritional immunity (Respir Res. 2021 Apr 29;22(1):133). We are also interested in understanding how the battle for micronutrients between host and pathogen within the respiratory tract could lead to groundbreaking advancements in the treatment and management of chronic lung diseases such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or asthma.

We employ state-of-the-art cell culture models, in vivo infection models and cutting edge technologies (JCI Insight. 2023, J Exp Med. 2021, J Immunol. 2020, Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2023, Sci Rep. 2020, Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020). We also collaborate closely with Tallaght University Hospital and St James Hospital to access primary cells on a weekly basis from individuals with chronic respiratory diseases.

A full list of publications can be found here:

Potential Projects

The below research project ideas are centred on the theme of nutritional immunity and the response of the lung to injury and/or infection

1. The role of excess iron in the COPD lung in promoting an iron-driven microbiota unique to the disease.
2. Mechanisms by which invading pathogens acquire and utilize iron in the respiratory space to enhance their survival and virulence.
3. How nutritional iron status regulates both normal and pathogenic responses of lung alveolar macrophages to infection and injury, and its impact on COPD.
4. The broader effects of iron status on overall lung health with a focus on how iron plays an important role in the development, protection and regeneration of the alveoli.

We actively encourage and support individuals who wish to explore innovative translational research questions that align with the overarching theme of our work.