Samantha McLean

Samantha Mclean

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Samantha McLean is a senior lecturer in Microbiology. She is a member of the Antimicrobial Resistance, Omics and Microbiota Research Group and is actively engaged in antimicrobial research. She is course leader for MSc / MRes Molecular Microbiology and MSc / MRes Biotechnology courses and a module leader in both undergraduate and postgraduate Molecular Microbiology modules. Dr McLean is a Masters and undergraduate degree research project supervisor and currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases and their Control
  • Molecular Microbiology (UG and PG)

Career overview

Dr McLean received a BSc (Hons) degree in Microbiology at the University of Leeds before moving to the University of Sheffield where she completed her PhD in the department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. She spent a further six years at the University of Sheffield as a Research Associate investigating the interaction of enterobacteria with small molecules of the innate immune response, including reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species and carbon monoxide.

Dr McLean went on to spend two years at the University of Nottingham as a Research Fellow researching the optimisation of industrial gas fermentation for commercial low-carbon fuel and chemical production through systems and synthetic biology approaches.

In February 2016 Dr McLean took up the position of Lecturer in Microbiology at Nottingham Trent University.

Research areas

Dr McLean is a member of the Antimicrobial Resistance, Omics & Microbiota research group, situated within the Centre for Health, Ageing and Understanding Disease (CHAUD) Her research interests include investigating the interaction between bacterial pathogens and small molecules of the host innate immune response as well as the exploring the efficacy of novel antimicrobial compounds.

The McLean group is part of the School of Science and Technology, within our rapidly evolving Clifton Campus, a multi-award-winning site including a recently opened interdisciplinary science and technology building, with state of the art bioscience research and teaching labs. We encourage multidisciplinary research and have a diverse and supportive postgraduate community.

Research interests:

  • Antimicrobial molecules:

Due to the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance observed on a global scale there is an immediate need for the development of novel antimicrobial compounds to successfully combat infections caused by multi-drug resistant microorganisms.

Current research is focused on evaluating the antimicrobial activity of reactive small molecules (reactive oxygen / nitrogen species and carbon monoxide / CO-releasing molecules) and metal compounds.

Analyses of efficacy include growth and viability studies, cytotoxicity testing, antibiofilm activity, gene expression studies, evolution of antibiotic resistance testing and a range of molecular / biochemical assays.

  • Efficacy of antimicrobial agents in medical device materials

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of failure or replacement of implantable medical devices. It is estimated that 25,000 deaths per year are caused by bacterial infection in Europe, bacterial infections are responsible for major clinical complications including inflammation, tissue death and septic shock.

Of particular concern are bacterial biofilms. Biofilms cling to surfaces and form complex structures that make them far more resistant to drugs than free-floating bacteria. This property makes biofilms a deadly risk to patients in a hospital setting, where they can attach firmly to medical devices, prosthetic implants and other surfaces, making them resistant to sterilization with traditional antimicrobial agents.

Various strategies have been used to control and combat the spread of infection and the build-up of biofilms in healthcare settings including contact killing, anti-adhesion surfaces, functional materials and antimicrobial drugs. However, the efficacy of these strategies have their limitations such as showing a lack of long-term antimicrobial activity and toxicity.

There is an urgent need for the development of antimicrobial medical device materials to reduce the post-implant threat of infection to patients. Therefor this area of research investigates the activity of different antimicrobial agents to determine their ability to prevent infection when applied to medical device materials. This research is undertaken in collaboration with our SMART materials group that utilise an extensive range of high quality surface engineering and coating facilities and whose team researches improving medical implant performance. This research also takes place in collaboration with a number of industrial companies that provide vital experience in product development and commercialisation, ensuring that the antimicrobial materials produced are suitable for commercialisation.

  • Development of new biofilm infection models

Many current biofilm models fail to reflect the real-world development of infection, limiting the relevance of data obtained from these models. This research area aims to develop clinically relevant biofilm models to lay the groundwork for further development of these models to significantly advance our understanding of the mechanisms of biofilm formation on indwelling medical devices. This will lead to eventual application in the development of antimicrobial medical device materials that reduce the incidence and severity of biofilm infection on these devices.

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website Applications are currently open for our fully-funded PhD studentship scheme, the deadline for submission of applications is the 25th of February 2019 at 17:00.


  • CO-releasing molecules have non-heme targets in bacteria: transcriptomic, mathematical modelling and biochemical analyses of CORM-3 [Ru(CO)3Cl(glycinate)] actions on a heme-deficient mutant of Escherichia coli. Wilson JL, Wareham L, McLean S, Begg R, Greaves S, Mann BE, Sanguinetti G and Poole RK, Antioxidants and Redox Signalling, 2015, 23, 148-162
  • Interaction of the carbon monoxide-releasing molecule Ru(CO)3CL(glycinate) (CORM-3) with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium: in situ measurements of CO binding by integrating cavity dual beam spectrophotometry. Rana N, McLean S, Mann BE and Poole RK, Microbiology, 2014, 160, 2771-2779
  • Introducing [Mn(CO)3(tpa-k3N)]+ as a novel photoactivatable CO-releasing molecule with well-defined iCORM intermediates - synthesis, spectroscopy, and antibacterial activity. Nagel C, McLean S, Poole RK, Braunschweig H, Kramer T and Schatzschneider U, Dalton Transactions, 2013, 43, 9986-9997
  • Analysis of the bacterial response to Ru(CO)3Cl(glycinate) (CORM-3) and the inactivated compound identifies the role played by the ruthenium compound and reveals sulphur-containing species as a major target of CORM-3 action. McLean S, Begg R, Jesse HE, Mann BE, Sanguinetti G and Poole RK, Antioxidants and Redox Signalling, 2013, 17, 1999-2012
  • Sulfite species enhance CO release from CO-releasing molecules: Implications for the deoxymyoglobin assay of activity. McLean S, Mann BE and Poole RK, Analytical Biochemistry, 2012, 427, 36-40
  • Peroxynitrite stress is exacerbated by flavohaemoglobin-derived oxidative stress in Salmonella Typhimurium and is relieved by nitric oxide. McLean S, Bowman LAH and Poole RK, Microbiology, 2010, 156, 3556-3565
  • Peroxynitrite toxicity in Escherichia coli K12 elicits expression of oxidative stress responses and protein nitration and nitrosylation. McLean S, Bowman LAH, Sanguinetti G, Read RC and Poole RK, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2010, 285, 20724-20731
  • KatG from Salmonella Typhimurium is a peroxynitritase. McLean S, Bowman LAH and Poole RK, FEBS Letters, 2010, 584, 1628-1632

See all of Samantha McLean's publications...

Course(s) I teach on

  • Students in science lab
    Undergraduate | Full-time / Sandwich | 2019

  • Students in science lab
    Undergraduate | Full-time | 2019

  • Student using scientific equipment
    Postgraduate taught / Professional | Full-time / Part-time | 2019