David Cleary - First ASM Blog

Posted by on 20 July 2015 | Comments

IMG 2253I am not Australian. Phew! I’m glad we got that out of the way. Yes I am indeed not from these shores.  I am from the UK and for the next two weeks I’ve been given unprecedented access to you via your laptops, tablets and smartphones as an ASM communications ambassador. In addition to the occasional blog here, I’ll also endeavour to keep you entertainingly informed of developments that I hope will be of interest to you via the ASM twitter account. I also tweet from @bacterioskeptic

So let me introduce myself.  My name is David Cleary and I am a post-doctoral, early career researcher in microbial genomics at the University of Southampton.  I graduated with a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Surrey and obtained my PhD from the University of Warwick (if interested you can read all about me here http://www.southampton.ac.uk/medicine/about/staff/dwc1m13.page).  Before Southampton I worked in a government laboratory for more than a decade and consequently can say that I have seen both sides of the industry-academia fence and will happily offer an opinion on that particular contrast!

My research focuses on infectious disease epidemiology. Specifically I apply genomics (high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics) to determine the prevalence, and ecology, of pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae in the upper respiratory tract.  In our group in Southampton we do this in healthy individuals when we want to look at levels of community carriage of these organisms, but also in those with underlying pathologies such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The last obvious question then is why am I in Australia? I am here as the very grateful recipient of the Hayes-Burnet award given to me by the Society for General Microbiology in the UK.  This award has enabled me to attend the fantastic ASM conference in Canberra last week and now I’m writing to you from the University of Technology Sydney where I will be based until I return to the UK at the end of the week.

Lastly I’d like to say thanks to all the ambassadors that have gone before me.  I hope to keep up their good work.