Imperial College London

Professor Brian G Spratt FRS

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Emeritus Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 3625b.spratt




G30Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





Molecular epidemiology and the population and evolutionary biology of bacterial pathogens

In the 1970's, I developed methods to detect the penicillin-sensitive enzymes of peptidoglycan synthesis as penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) and identified the individual target enzymes inhibited by penicillins and other beta-lactam antibiotics when they kill bacteria. Subsequently, I worked on mechanisms of resistance to penicillin and identified the role of interspecies recombination and the formation of mosaic genes in the emergence of resistance in pneumococci, gonococci and meningococci, and then became interested more generally in the extent of homologous recombination in bacteria and in their population and evolutionary biology.  More recently we developed new tools for identifying strains of bacterial pathogens - particularly multilocus sequence typing (MLST) - and have been interested in bacterial speciation.  

I am now semi-retired and have closed my laboratory, but we work with collaborators on the use of genome sequencing to follow the spread of MRSA within and between hospitals, and of gonorrhoea in sexual networks. With David Aanensen, we developed, and continue to improve, the Android mobile phone  software application, EpiCollect, which is widely used for complex data collection projects, particularly field studies in ecology and global public health.



Reuter S, Torok ME, Holden MTG, et al., 2017, Building a genomic framework for prospective MRSA surveillance in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (vol 26, pg 263, 2016), Genome Research, Vol:27, ISSN:1088-9051, Pages:1622-1622

Donker T, Reuter S, Scriberras J, et al., 2017, Population genetic structuring of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clone EMRSA-15 within UK reflects patient referral patterns, Microbial Genomics, Vol:3, ISSN:2057-5858

Chewapreecha C, Holden MTG, Vehkala M, et al., 2017, Global and regional dissemination and evolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei., Nat Microbiol, Vol:2

Price EP, MacHunter B, Spratt BG, et al., 2016, Improved multilocus sequence typing of Burkholderia pseudomallei and closely related species, Journal of Medical Microbiology, Vol:65, ISSN:0022-2615, Pages:992-997

Aanensen DM, Feil EJ, Holden MT, et al., 2016, Whole-genome sequencing for routine pathogen surveillance in public health: a population snapshot of invasive staphylococcus aureus in Europe., Mbio, Vol:7, ISSN:2161-2129

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