I was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Infectious Diseases at Keele in 2024. My career so far includes time spent in academic, government and industry roles. 

I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1999 after doing a degree (BSc) in molecular biology. From there I undertook an MSc in Medical and Molecular Microbiology at Manchester University, where my project was on human herpes 6 virus, graduating in 2001. From there I went to the University of Aberdeen, based at the Rowett Research Institute for human nutrition, where my PhD project examined intestinal epithelial cell responses to bacterial flagellin from both a human pathogen (Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis) and a human commensal (the anaerobe, Roseburia hominis). Whilst a student here I was President of the Postgraduate society and Rapporteur for a Royal Society of Edinburgh event on the impact of obesity on public health. 

My first post-doctoral research position examined the secreted proteome of the zoonotic bacterial intestinal pathogen, E. coli O157:H7 at the Moredun research Institute for Animal Health near Edinburgh. After this I took up a lecturing position at Edinburgh Napier University, where I won the New Lecturer award from the Society for Applied Microbiology (now known as Applied Microbiology International) to study the antibiofilm properties of plant extracts. Here I completed my PGCert and gained my FHEA. My anti-biofilm work brought me back into contact with former colleagues from Aberdeen at a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, immune-based therapies for medically unmet conditions. After a sabbatical I joined the company, initially as a Senior Scientist, and then as a Principal Scientist conducting in-house research into their aminothiol based platform of candidate therapeutics for exacerbations of cystic fibrosis and in the treatment of community acquired pneumonia. 

My interests are in innate immunity to infection, particularly the respiratory bacterial pathogen, P. aeruiginosa. I’m also interested in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and ways to combat it, including the development of novel therapeutics. My recent work has focused on immunometabolism, the links between our metabolic health, inflammation and immunity to infection and how this could inform our understanding of susceptibility to disease.


Microbiology and Immunology BSc (Hons)

Further information

I have supervised and co-supervised 3 PhD students and 1 MPhil student, as well as many MSc and BSc honours project students. I have also supervised numerous student placements and internships and also work-experience students.


  • Cysteamine blockade of the glycine cleavage system modulates the epithelial cell inflammatory and innate immune response to viral infection. Fraser-Pitt D, Mercer D, Francis ML, Toledo-Aparicio D, Smith D, O’Neil DA. (2023). Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 667: 168-181. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2023.021
  • Cysteamine inhibits glycine utilisation and disrupts virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Fraser-Pitt D, Dolan SK, Toledo-Aparicio D, Hunt JG, Smith DW, Lacy-Roberts N, Hewage PSN, Stoyanova T, Manson E, McClean K, Inglis NF, Mercer DK, O’Neil DA. (2021). Frontiers Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 11:718213. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.718213.
  • What role for cysteamine in the defence against infection? Fraser-Pitt D, Mercer D. (2021). Emerg Top Life Sci. 5(5):629-635. doi: 10.1042/ETLS20200351.
  • Antimicrobial immunotherapeutics: past, present, and future. Mercer DK, Francis ML, Fraser-Pitt DJ. (2021). Emerg Top Life Sci. 5(5):609-628.
  • Oral cysteamine as an adjunct treatment in cystic fibrosis pulmonary exacerbations: An exploratory randomized clinical trial. Devereux G, Wrolstad D, Bourke SJ, Daines CL, Doe S, Dougherty R, Franco R, Innes A, Kopp BT, Lascano J, Layish D, MacGregor G, Murray L, Peckham D, Lucidi V, Lovie E, Robertson J, Fraser-Pitt DJ, O'Neil DA. (2020). PLOS One. 15(12):e0242945.
  • Evaluating appropriate PROMs in CARE CF 1 trial: Lynovex (cysteamine) as an oral adjunct to SOC interventions in cystic fibrosis infectious exacerbations. Devereux G, Bourke S, Daines C, Doe S, Dougherty R, Franco R, Innes A, Kopp B, Lascano J, Layish D, McGregor G, Murray L, Peckham D, Smith T, Lucidi V, Volpi S, Lovie E, Robertson J, Fraser-Pitt D, O’Neil D. (2019) J Cystic fibrosis (18) Supp1 S23.
  • Cysteamine, an endogenous aminothiol, and cystamine, the disulfide product of oxidation, increase Pseudomonas aeruginosa susceptibility to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and potentiate therapeutic antibiotics against bacterial infection. Fraser-Pitt DJ, Mercer DK, Smith D, Kowalczuk A, Robertson J, Lovie E, Perenyi P, Cole M, Doumith M, Hill RLR, Hopkins KL, Woodford N, O’Neil DA. (2018). Infect Immun. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00947-17.
  • Rapid and robust analytical protocol for E. coli STEC bacteria subspecies differentiation using whole cell MALDI mass spectrometry. Mclean K, Palarea-Albaladejo J, Currie CG, Imrie LHJ, Manson EDT, Fraser-Pitt D, Wright F, Alexander CJ, Pollock KGJ, Allison L, Hanson M, Smith DGE. 2018. Talanta 182(2018):167-170. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2018.01.055.
  • Activity of cysteamine against cystic fibrosis pathogen, Burkholderia cepacia complex. Fraser-Pitt DJ, Mercer D, Lovie E, Robertson J, O'Neil DA. (2016). Antimicrob Agents and Chemother. 60(10): 6200-6. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01198-16.
  • An Open-Label Investigation of the Pharmacokinetics and Tolerability of Oral Cysteamine in Adults with Cystic Fibrosis. Devereux G, Steele S, Griffiths K, Devlin E, Fraser-Pitt D, Cotton S, Norrie J, Chrystyn H, O'Neil D. (2016). Clin Drug Investig. 36(8):605-612. doi: 10.1007/s40261-016-0405-z.
  • Cysteamine as a Future Intervention in Cystic Fibrosis Against Current and Emerging Pathogens: A Patient-based ex vivo Study Confirming its Antimicrobial and Mucoactive Potential in Sputum. Devereux G, Fraser-Pitt D, Robertson J, Devlin E, Mercer D, O'Neil D.  (2015).  EBioMedicine 2(10):1507-1512. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.08.018.
  • Cysteamine (Lynovex®), a novel mucoactive antimicrobial & antibiofilm agent for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. Charrier C, Rodger C, Robertson J, Kowalczuk A, Shand N, Fraser-Pitt D, Mercer D, O'Neil D.  (2014).  Orphanet J Rare Dis. 9:189. doi: 10.1186/s13023-014-0189-2.
  • Progress towards next-generation therapeutics for cystic fibrosis. O'Neil DA, Fraser-Pitt D.  (2014). Future Med Chem. 6(9):1067-1079. doi: 10.4155/fmc.14.67.
  • Ex vivo efficacy of Lynovex®, a next generation tri-functional candidate cystic fibrosis therapy. Mercer DK, Charrier C, Robertson J, Kowalczuk A, Devlin E, Fraser-Pitt D, Devereux G, O’Neil DA. (2014) J. Cystic Fibrosis.13(S1):S58.
  • Phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is essential for interleukin-8 release from intestinal epithelial cells in response to challenge with Escherichia coli O157:H7 flagellin. Fraser-Pitt DJ, Cameron P, McNeilly TN, Boyd A, Manson ED, Smith DG. (2011).  Microbiology 157(8):2339-2347. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.047670-0.
  • Characterisation of proteins extracted from the surface of Salmonella Typhimurium grown under SPI-2-inducing conditions by LC-ESI/MS/MS sequencing. Sherry AE, Inglis NF, Stevenson A, Fraser-Pitt D, Everest P, Smith DG, Roberts M.  (2011).  Proteomics 11(3):361-70. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200900802.
  • Performance of five different electrospray ionisation sources in conjunction with rapid monolithic column liquid chromatography and fast MS/MS scanning. Burgess KE, Lainson A, Imrie L, Fraser-Pitt D, Yaga R, Smith DG, Swart R, Pitt AR, Inglis NF.  (2009). Proteomics 9(6):1720-1726. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200800200.
  • Analysis of the expression, regulation, and export of NleA-E in Escherichia coli O157:H7. Roe AJ, Tysall L, Dransfield T, Wang D, Fraser-Pitt D, Mahajan A, Constandinou C, Inglis N, Downing A, Talbot R, Smith DG, Gally DL.  (2007). Microbiology 153(5):1350-1360.
  • Ultra-fast tandem mass spectrometry scanning combined with monolithic column liquid chromatography increases throughput in proteomic analysis. Batycka M, Inglis NF, Cook K, Adam A, Fraser-Pitt D, Smith DG, Main L, Lubben A, Kessler BM.  (2006).  Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 20(14):2074-2080.
  • Acknowledged in: Kelly D, Campbell JI, King TP, Grant G, Jansson EA, Coutts AGP, Pettersen S, Conway S. Commensal anaerobic gut bacteria attenuate inflammation by regulating nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of PPAR-γ and RelA. (2004). Nature Immunol. 5. 104-112.

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