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Prof Eshwar Mahenthiralingam  -  PhD

I was born in Penang, Malaysia, but grew up as a “Brummy” in Walsall, West Midlands, UK. My undergraduate studies (B.Sc. in Applied Biology; 1987) were completed at the then University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, which subsequently became part of Cardiff University.  I completed a Ph.D. (Molecular Microbiology; 1991) at the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, London, working on mycobacteria, the bacteria most known for causing tuberculosis.

After my PhD, I took up a postdoctoral position (1991) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. This is where I began to developing expertise in the cystic fibrosis microbiology, working on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria that cause devastating lung infections in these individuals. The two year postdoctoral position turned into a nine year stay, that included obtaining a Fellowship from the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, moving through several positions, with a final appointment as an Associate Professor in 1997.

In June 1999, I joined Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, as a Lecturer, returning to Wales and the institution I had first studied within. I served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology from 2000 to 2008, and continue to guest review for the American Society for Microbiology journals as well as many other science journals and grant funding bodies. In August, 2011, after previous promotions to Senior Lecturer (2004), and Reader (2007), I was promoted to Professor. I currently serve as the Postgraduate Tutor for the Organisms and Environment Division and coordinate the final year module “Human Infectious Diseases.”

While Burkholderia bacteria and cystic fibrosis microbiology remain major research foci, my interests are still wide and I am always getting involved in lots of very interesting molecular microbiology projects. In the last few years, we made a very exciting discovery that the Burkholderia bacteria I had studied as pathogens, also make some very potent antibiotics which kill other multidrug resistant bacteria and fungi. Antibiotic discovery has now become a major new research focus for me.