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Dr David William Cleary

Research Interests

Dr Cleary’s research interests fall into four broad areas:

Genomic Epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae: This involves collaboration with the group of Prof. Stuart Clarke (University of Southampton) and his ongoing paediatric pneumococcal carriage study as well as international partners in South-east Asia, particularly Malaysia.

Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi): Specifically, epidemiology in paediatric carriage, as the cause of non-invasive infections and in those with chronic respiratory disease such as COPD. This includes collaboration with Prof. Margaret Ip (Chinese University of Hong Kong).

Upper Respiratory Tract Microbiomes: Research focussing on ecological shifts that enable outgrowth of a particular pathogen(s) or alteration in host responses to microbial encounters. Also includes an exploration of interactions between opportunistic pathogens and commensals such as Dolosigranulum and Corynebacterium sp.

Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM): Dr Cleary remains involved with Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM) research with the University of Southampton. Here he studies genomic stability of bacterial inocula during challenge as well as the impact on resident microflora.

Supervision Style

In three words or phrases: Supportive, student-focussed, objective driven.

Provision of Training

Initially I will take responsibility for your training and will make sure you have all the basic tools to begin your PhD. I will always be actively supportive of your desire to acquire new skills/experience through attendance at external courses/visits to other laboratories

Progression Monitoring and Management

As you progress through your PhD I expect you to become more independent in terms of progression monitoring - where you actively keep me up-to-date of what you are doing and how you are getting on. That said, I understand that every PhD journey is unique and whilst I will set out expectations in terms of when I’d like updates, I will always be available for advice and guidance. I encourage members of my group to engage with mentoring schemes so that they have a varied support network, and I will ensure that they are aware of and have access to peer support groups


I am known to email at all hours of the day and night. This is my issue, not yours, and therefore there is no expectation that you do the same. I am very happy to have informal methods of communication e.g., WhastApp or Slack group, as keeping communication free flowing is something I value very highly. Whilst I expect you to keep up with my/ team communications I will expect you to manage your work/life balance, but my door is always open, and I am happy to discuss any issues that are impacting your ability to fulfil your potential.

PhD Students can expect scheduled meetings with me:

In a group meeting

At least once a fortnight

In year 1 of PhD study

At least once a week

In year 2 of PhD study

At least once a fortnight

In year 3 of PhD study

At least once a fortnight

These meetings will be a mixture face to face or via video chat or telephone. I am usually contactable for an instant response on every working day.

Working Patterns

The timing of work in my lab is flexible, and other than attending pre-arranged meetings, I expect students to manage their own time.

Notice Period for Feedback

I need at least 2 weeks' notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.