Dr Samantha Donnellan

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

I obtained my BSc (Hons) in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow and an MSc in Forensic Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. My PhD at Heriot Watt University/Moredun Research Institute was to develop a rapid, low cost assay suitable for screening the anti-mycobacterial properties of nanoparticles (NPs) against mycobacteria. This was an in vitro assay using a Green Fluorescent Protein reporter strain of Mycobacteruim avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map), a pathogenic mycobacterial species causing paratuberculosis in ruminants.  This organism can be considered a model for Mtb, the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis (TB).  Solid drug NPs (SDNs) of the first line TB antibiotics (rifampicin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide) were screened in the developed assay and compared to conventional antibiotics.  Additionally, the efficacy of the SDNs was monitored intracellularly (within a Map infected macrophage) and imaged to determine whether these particles co-localised with the mycobacteria. 

Higher Education Academy Accredited: Associate Fellow (Jan 2014).

Immune cells, macrophages, uptake the bacilli but are unable to destroy the disease causing pathogen through phagocytosis, reasons for which are not well elucidated. At LSTM I work in the parasitology team, investigating drug action on Mtb within the intracellular environment using High Content Imaging. 

• University of Edinburgh- April 2014 Edinburgh Infectious Diseases "Imaging Infection".
• Heriot-Watt University- Jan 2014. 3 short courses: Learning Enhancement and Development Skills.
• University of Edinburgh- May 2013 6 week course. CMVM light microscopy course: Beyond Pretty Pictures.
• University of Edinburgh- Feb 2013 Short Course: Statistical/Experimental Design course.
• University of Edinburgh- Mar 2011 Short Course: Cross-sectional and Surface Histology Workshop: An Application of Anthropological Methods.



  • Selected recent publications

    Donnellan, Stone, Johnston, Giardiello, Owen, Rannard, Aljayyoussi, Swift, Tran, Watkins and Stevenson (2017) ‘Intracellular delivery of nano-formulated antituberculosis drugs enhances bactericidal activity’. Journal of Interdisciplinary Nanomedicine, Vol 2, Issue 3

    Donnellan S, Tran L, Johnston H, McLuckie, J, Stevenson K, Stone V. A rapid screening assay for identifying mycobacteria targeted nanoparticle antibiotics. Nanotoxicology (2016) 5, 1-9.

    Selected recent presentations/meetings

    • Podium Presentation (invited speaker), ‘Nanomedicines for the Treatment of TB’, T-NANO, India, Dec 2014.
    • Podium Presentation, ‘A Rapid Screening Assay to Compare the Effectiveness of 3 Metal Oxide Nanoparticles at Killing Mycobacteria’ Smart and green interfaces: C.O.S.T ACTION, Marseille, April 2014.
    • Podium Presentation, ‘Nanomedicines for the Treatment of TB’ Science for Life Competition, Dundee, May 2014.
    • Poster Presentation, ‘Metal Oxide NPs against Map in a rapid screening assay’ CLINAM, Basel, July 2014.
    • Poster Presentation, ‘Metal Oxide NPs used in a rapid screening assay’ European Society of Mycobacteria (ESM), Vienna, July 2014
    • Poster Presentation, ‘A rapid screening assay for TB’ TB SUMIT, London, March 2015 (winner of poster competition).
    • Poster Presentation, ‘A Rapid Screening Assay to Compare the Effectiveness of 3 Metal Oxide Nanoparticles at Killing Mycobacteria’ Science for Life Competition- Royal Society of Edinburgh, Edinburgh May 2014.