Banner - Bacterial Pathogens

Even healthy humans constantly interact with a vast diversity of bacterial species, which can normally be found growing over the skin, inside the nose, and throughout the gut. However, bacterial diseases are responsible for the loss of millions of lives every year, and the rising threat of antibiotic resistance means many such infections are becoming more difficult to treat. Our research encompasses pathogenic bacteria that spread through the air or direct contact (e.g. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus), through contaminated food or water (e.g. Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica), or through sexual transmission (e.g. Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae). The differences in these bacteria’s lifestyles, and the types of disease they cause, pose varied challenges to understanding how to best prevent them causing infections.

Research within the MRC Centre ranges from laboratory-based molecular microbiology for understanding the evolution of bacteria and microbiome biology, to large-scale analysis of genomic data for epidemiological analysis and outbreak identification, and mathematical modelling of antibiotic resistance and vaccine introductions. Much bacterial pathogen research is focussed within the Bacterial Evolutionary Epidemiology group, with other aspects integrated with the broader pathogen research themes across the MRC Centre.