Dr O’Grady gained his B.Sc. in Microbiology, his M.Sc. (Res) in infectious diseases molecular diagnostics and his Ph.D. in molecular diagnosis of bacterial pathogens in food all at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). He stayed at NUIG for his first post-doc, continuing his food microbiology research. This was followed by a two year stint in industry (Beckman Coulter) developing real-time PCR based molecular diagnostics assays for infectious diseases including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Dr O’Grady then returned to academia, taking up a post-doc position at University College London on TB diagnostics. In January 2013 he was appointed Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2016. His research continues to focus on the molecular diagnosis of pathogens with the aim of translating this research broadly, in different sectors and diseases, to maximise community/patient benefit.
2006-2008 Postdoctoral Researcher at the National University of Ireland Galway
2008-2010 Research Scientist at Beckman Coulter
2010-2011 Research Associate at University College London
2011-2012 Senior Research Associate at University College London
2013-2016 Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA
2016-Present Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA
1994-1998 B.Sc. in Microbiology, National University of Ireland Galway
1998-2000 M.Sc. (Res) in infectious diseases molecular diagnostics, National University of Ireland Galway
2003-2007 Ph.D. in the molecular diagnosis of Listeria species in food, National University of Ireland Galway
Key Research Interests
In January 2013 I joined UEA where my research focusses on the molecular diagnosis of pathogens in complex clinical syndromes such as sepsis, respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections. A particular focus is on the application of next generation sequencing in clinical diagnostics. Currently, NGS is being used in centralised national reference laboratories to type referred bacteria but is not yet used for routine diagnostic laboratories. Third generation NGS technology (eg real-time nanopore sequencing) will radically change this landscape, reducing cost and turnaround time and removing the need for expert operators and analysts. This will facilitate the use of NGS for the rapid, routine profiling of pathogens in clinical samples, possibly at the point-of-care. The main challenge to implementation remaining is sample preparation. Nucleic acid extraction is not optimised for the sequencing based detection of tiny amounts of pathogen nucleic acid in a vast excess of human nucleic acid, as applies, for example, in the investigation of bloodstream infection. We are facilitating the implementation of nanopore sequencing technology in clinical microbiology by developing nucleic acid extraction technologies for clinical samples containing low levels of pathogen (host DNA depletion and pathogen DNA enrichemnt methods) designed to make the sequencing based identification of pathogens and antibiotic resistances feasible.