Dr Jakki Cooney

Dr Jakki Cooney
Dr Jakki Cooney

Contact: jakki.cooney@ul.ie 

PROCESS Research Theme: Hybrid processing, process modelling

Research Interests:
Dr Cooney's research interests focus on the exploration of structure and function of proteolytic enzymes produced by bacteria, and the host-microbe interactions impacted on by proteolytic activity.  Her research also includes development of matching-strategies for tailored immobilization of active enzymes on solid surfaces.  The panel of techniques deployed in her group include bioinformatics, molecular biology, recombinant protein expression, protein isolation, enzyme kinetics, surface plasmon resonance, protein modelling, protein crystallography and molecular dynamics. 

Short Bio:

Dr Cooney is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Course Director for the BSc Bioscience.  Dr Cooney is a member of the Bernal Institute at University of Limerick and SFI funded research centres SSPC, APC Microbiome Institute and CÚRAM. She is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cala Medical, whose mission is to develop life-saving therapies for sepsis.  As an SSPC-funded investigator, she is leading a project entitled, Production, Isolation and Characterisation of Protein Active Ingredients, which investigates and implements innovative process and product solutions for the production of biologicals with a focus on the development of novel protein and peptide drugs.  She has previously lived and worked in Sweden, Canada, New Zealand and the US. 



ResearcherID: B-7975-2015 

Selected Publications:


Sun Z, Harris HM, McCann A, Guo C, Argimón S, Zhang W, Yang X, Jeffery IB, Cooney JC, Kagawa TF, Liu W, Song Y, Salvetti E, Wrobel A, Rasinkangas P, Parkhill J, Rea MC, O'Sullivan O, Ritari J, Douillard FP, Paul Ross R, Yang R, Briner AE, Felis GE, de Vos WM, Barrangou R, Klaenhammer TR, Caufield PW, Cui Y,  Zhang H, O'Toole PW. Expanding the biotechnology potential of lactobacilli through comparative genomics of 213 strains and associated genera. Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 29;6:8322. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9322. PMID: 26415554   WOS Highly cited paper

Thornton RF, Kagawa TF, O'Toole PW, Cooney JC. The dissemination of C10 cysteine protease genes in Bacteroides fragilis by mobile genetic elements. BMC Microbiol. 2010 Apr 23;10:122. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-10-122. PMID: 20416045

Protease structure:

Kagawa TF, O'Connell MR, Mouat P, Paoli M, O'Toole PW, Cooney JC. Model for substrate interactions in C5a peptidase from Streptococcus pyogenes: A 1.9 A crystal structure of the active form of ScpA. J Mol Biol. 2009 Feb 27;386(3):754-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2008.12.074. PMID: 19152799.

Kagawa TF, Cooney JC, Baker HM, McSweeney S, Liu M, Gubba S, Musser JM, Baker  EN. Crystal structure of the zymogen form of the group A Streptococcus virulence factor SpeB: an integrin-binding cysteine protease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 29;97(5):2235-40. PubMed PMID: 10681429.  Cover article.

Protease biology:

Thornton RF, Murphy EC, Kagawa TF, O'Toole PW, Cooney JC. The effect of environmental conditions on expression of Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron C10 protease genes. BMC Microbiol. 2012 Sep 3;12:190. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-12-190. PMID: 22943521

Kagawa TF, O'toole PW, Cooney JC. SpeB-Spi: a novel protease-inhibitor pair from Streptococcus pyogenes. Mol Microbiol. 2005 Aug;57(3):650-66. PubMed PMID:16045611.

Enzyme Immobilization:

Hudson S, Cooney J, Magner E. Proteins in mesoporous silicates. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2008;47(45):8582-94. doi: 10.1002/anie.200705238. PMID:18833554.  WOS Highly cited paper

Hudson S, Magner E, Cooney J, Hodnett BK. Methodology for the immobilization of enzymes onto mesoporous materials. J Phys Chem B. 2005 Oct 20;109(41):19496-506. PubMed PMID: 16853519.

Granted patents

IgG-binding recombinant H protein lacking albumin-binding region.     Schmidt, K-H, Åkesson, P; Cooney, J; Björck, L.  (HighTech Receptor AB, Swed.).    PCT Int. Appl.  (1991),     38 pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2  WO  9119740  A1  19911226

Gene for albumin-binding proteins of Streptococcus and its cloning.     Schmidt, K-H; Åkesson, P; Cooney, J; Björck, L.  (HighTech Receptor AB, Swed.).    PCT Int. Appl.  (1991),     34 pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2  WO  9119741  A1  19911226

Apparatus for the extracorporeal treatment of blood. Cooney, J; Kagawa, TF; Magner, E. (University of Limerick, Ireland) US20150166978

An apparatus for the extracorporeal treatment of blood. Cooney, J; Kagawa, TF; Magner, E. (University of Limerick, Ireland) EP288614B1


  • BA (Mod.)  Biochemistry. Trinity College Dublin 
  • PhD Molecular Microbiology. Trinity College Dublin.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801165.