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Keira Melican

Senior researcher

Department and organisational affiliation:

Research description

Local bacterial infections trigger a complex host response whose primary function is to clear the infection and prevent systemic spread of the pathogen. The roles of inflammation and vascular coagulation in this response, and the cross-talk between them is fast gaining recognition as a crucial element in the progression of infectious diseases. How these different systems interact to isolate and clear infection, or the mechanisms by which bacteria disseminate and cause sepsis, are currently unknown. In our work we aim to understand how the innate immune and coagulation systems respond to local bacterial infections during the first hours of infection. We study the first line of these dynamic host responses and how they interact to contribute to infection outcome.


Innovative in vivo infection models combined with intravital imaging are used to visualize infection progression in vivo with single cell resolution. Techniques including transgenic animals, antibody depletion, adoptive transfer, 3D cell tracking and novel imaging probes are used to study the molecular details of the infections.


Our focus currently is on two local bacterial infections that are commonly implicated in sepsis; Staphylococcus aureus skin infection and uropathogenic Escherichia coli kidney infection.


2004 Bachelor of Science, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

2005 Master of Science, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2010 PhD in Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2010-2013 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Paris Cardiovascular Research Center, Paris, France

2014 - current Assistant Professor, Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

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