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 penicillin 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 became interested more generally in the extent of homologous recombination in bacteria and in their population and evolutionary biology.  We developed new tools for identifying strains of bacterial pathogens - particularly multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) - and have been interested in the concept of species in bacteria.  

I am now retired.



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

Argimón S, Abudahab K, Goater RJE, et al., 2016, Microreact: visualizing and sharing data for genomic epidemiology and phylogeography, Microbial Genomics, Vol:2, ISSN:2057-5858

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:1473-5644, Pages:992-997

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