Molecular microbiology

Translating fundamental research into novel therapeutics

The Section of Molecular Microbiology is located in the Flowers Building on the South Kensington campus of Imperial College London. The section has three major research themes centred around bacterial pathogenicity. Particular interests include the mechanisms underlying bacterial virulence, innate immunity and bacterial recalcitrance towards antibiotics.

Molecular Microbiology is part of the Centre for Bacterial Resistance Biology (CBRB), a joint initiative with the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The overall goals of the CBRB are to understand the biology of bacterial infections and to translate this information into novel strategies for preventing and treating microbial disease. The Section of Molecular Microbiology also plays a leading role in the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (CISBIO) and Centre for Infection Prevention and Management.

The section employs over 40 members of staff and includes over 20 research students. The Principal Investigators are currently supported by grants totalling over £20 million and contribute to teaching on 15 courses, organising modules on five of these courses. The section runs the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infection Stream of the MRes in Biomedical Research.

Research groups and section leadership

Research interests and areas

A selection of the Section's key research areas:

  • Cell wall assembly in gram-positive bacterial pathogens
  • Gene regulation and acquisition of bacteria by bacteriophages
  • Mechanisms underpinning bacterial adaptive responses to stress
  • Innate immune responses to commensal and pathogenic bacteria and role of the microbiota
  • Meningococcal genomics/type IV pilus biology
  • Salmonella pathogenesis and persistence
  • Staphylococcal persistence in host tissues 
  • Systems microbiology and the biology of tuberculosis

Section leadership

Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj
Section Head, Molecular Microbiology

Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj's research focusses on the investigation of the mechanisms that regulate the activity of bacterial transcription machinery, the RNA polymerase, the acquisition of bacteria by bacteriophages and adaptive responses to sustained nutrient stress at molecular, structural and genome-wide levels.

Further information on Professor Wigneshweraraj

Research group leads